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1pc Swamp Ash or 1pc Alder?

 
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Which lightweight 1pc body should I get?
1pc Swamp Ash - 3lbs 2oz
75%
 75%  [ 6 ]
1pc Alder - 3lbs 10oz
25%
 25%  [ 2 ]
Total Votes : 8

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lchyi



Joined: 08 Nov 2005
Posts: 522
Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 12:49 am    Post subject: 1pc Swamp Ash or 1pc Alder? Reply with quote

Okay guys, I'm building my ultimate strat, which body should I go for? On one hand a 1pc swamp ash body is extremely light at about 3lbs 2oz. On the other hand, there is an Alder weighing in at 3lbs 10oz which is tough to find at the 1pc level and is a great to work with and requires no filler.

I have an alder strat I really like but have no real experience with swamp ash. Any suggestions on which to get? Neither are hollow and both are routed the same.

*edit* It's going to be solid black.


Last edited by lchyi on Wed Jul 12, 2006 6:18 am; edited 1 time in total
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marksound



Joined: 15 Aug 2005
Posts: 16669
Location: OKUSA

PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 12:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What finish are you doing? Trans or opaque? That's what will ultimately make the difference. Wink

EDIT: Black, eh? Definitely alder.
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Last edited by marksound on Wed Jul 12, 2006 6:36 am; edited 1 time in total
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Craig_



Joined: 25 Jun 2006
Posts: 2532
Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 1:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm a big fan of swamp ash...I have 2 teles and a strat that are SA and like them all a great deal.

Alder is easier to finish by all accounts (I've only done ash and mahogany).

Good point about the grain...SA is usually more 'interesting'.

USACG & Warmoth both have descriptions of tone...from memory, I think USACG describe alder as the 'chicken' of tonewoods.

Unless I was specifically looking for an easy to finish wood for a solid color, I'd probably go with SA.

2c...and it may be worth less (did you see that it costs 1.3c to make a penny Laughing )
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GUITARmole



Joined: 26 Jan 2005
Posts: 169

PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 1:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What does your "ultimate" Strat sound like? In other words, what do you WANT it to sound like?

The USACG description of alder is pretty accurate in my view. Also, regardless of general wood descriptions a good piece of Alder is going to sound better than a crap piece of Swamp Ash.

Given the same quality of wood I'd take the Swamp Ash over Alder any day of the week...and I'd get it from USACG.

If cosmetics or ease of finishing are a concern do yourself a favor and go with the Alder...3lb2oz quality 1pc Swamp Ash is unbeatable for sound but very 'beatable' when it comes to getting dinged up. Mine doesn't seem much more dense than packing foam or Balsa wood.
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Joeglow
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Joined: 26 Aug 2003
Posts: 11054
Location: NY/NJ

PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 6:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

marksound wrote:
What finish are you doing? Trans or opaque? That's what will ultimately make the difference. Wink


I agree. If you're going to do an opaque (solid color) I'd go alder and ash with the trans. finish. I do like the sound of a 3 lb. body though.
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lchyi



Joined: 08 Nov 2005
Posts: 522
Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 6:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm getting the bodies from Warmoth so frankly I don't know what kind of wood quality I'm getting. Is there something physical I should be looking at for Swamp Ash, perhaps something about the grain? I know it's a little harder to tell on Alder because it's a very neutral looking wood.

BTW, I can generally assume USACG is higher quality than Warmoth but $275-300 is the charge for a 1pc SA body while there are plenty of good looking 1pc bodies ranging from 3lbs to 4.5lbs in the Showcase for $180-$280 which makes a big difference for me.
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maxnew40



Joined: 14 Apr 2004
Posts: 1045
Location: Everett, WA

PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 7:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that more Fender strats were made from alder than from ash. If you want traditional I would go with alder. If you want something less traditional and more "custom" go for swamp ash with a trans finish. I don't think you can go wrong with either choice.

Max
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stratman



Joined: 15 Oct 2005
Posts: 1420
Location: Michigan

PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 8:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your gaining about 8oz on the alder, I prefer the lightest guitar possible and do like the sound of my swamp ash bodies. But if I was doing a solid color I would go with the alder. A alder strat body under 4lbs will sound awesome and be easy to lug around. Grain filling is not fun either and you risk having the lacquer settle into the grain and showing through your finish later. Save the ash for a nice Mary Kaye or sunburst finish. Also check the guitarmill on Ebay for bodies if you haven't purchased yet. They are highly accurate and usually $110 to $150 for a 4lb body. They also have a website. http://guitarmill.com/
Have fun
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lchyi



Joined: 08 Nov 2005
Posts: 522
Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 9:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the Guitarmill link I think I'm actually going to go with them. A 1pc Swamp Ash body, extra light too, is much cheaper than anything Warmoth has to offer, and theyr'e a little more personable. I even might have them finish it for me because their rates are really decent for that too.
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