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Unread 02-08-2011, 02:47 AM   #1
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Need advice! (wood for my custom)

Hi all,
long time reader, first time poster. I need your advice on the wood for my custom 7. I've tried different wood combinations, yet I couldn't find anything that would suit the sound I'm looking for perfectly. The sound I want:
- tight low end - I'm extremely satisfied with my maple neck thru + alder body + ebony board, it's just stupidly tight, love it
- brutal roaring low mids - and this is the area where my Jackson Soloist doesn't shine.. In my custom I want something with more balls..
- upper midrange - again, love the aggressiveness of my maple neck thru, but it's too bright for my taste

It's gotta be really responsive to my playing (once again, love it with my Jackson), dynamic sounding, with great resonance to it. Quick attack, nice sustain and definitely lightweight (about 3,5kg/8lbs)

It will be soloist/caparison body, H-H, 24 frets and 26/26,5" scale. Fixed hipshot bridge, probably BKP's.

Tight low end and strong upper midrange just screams maple, but I want more ballsy sound, more 'roar' to it. Probably I will stick with the neck thru construction, because of the heelless neck and overall sound characteristics that I like.

Maybe I should think about bolt on construction, walnut body, maple neck and let's say ebony board (thinking Caparison )? I haven't played on any walnut guitar though. I don't know, I'm getting confused right now Hope you guys can help me!
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Unread 02-08-2011, 04:11 AM   #2
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you'll get a whole lot of suggestions and opinions soon but i reckon neck joint, scale length and pickups plays a bigger part in the response/tonal equation of a guitar compared to choice of wood especially with huge amount of gain. no luthier will guarantee the finished product will sound exactly what you want based on the wood you choose.

decide what feels/looks best for the fretboard and top wood if any and choose the body and neck wood base on how light or heavy you want the guitar to be. different slabs of wood of the same species will sound different. a jackson soloist built by two different luthier will sound and feel different even if using wood from the same billet. as long as the wood is dried properly, it is all in the skill and experience of the luthier that will make the guitar feel right to you.

at the end of the day, as long as the guitar feels and plays right, there is always an eq to shape the tone to your specific requirement.

the good guys: battousai, tmm, clydefrog, drache713, edroz, ultimaweapon, k-roll, moshwitz
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Unread 02-08-2011, 06:02 AM   #3
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While I do agree with the above post ^ , I do think that the woods contribute a big part to an overall tone/vibe, and it's also the only thing you can never dial out

I think walnut sounds like just what you're looking for, and a maple neck bolted to a walnut body would sound very woody and tight, with a smooth top end and the mids will definitely growl when put under distortion. Bolt ons (GENERALLY it's all subjective) will sound spankier and bright, whereas a maple neck through will sound probably just as bright, with a little less spank.

If you want to keep the highs/high mids under control and keep all the tonal qualities you love about your neckthrough with some walnut thrown in to get that flavor you're looking for, I think a laminate neck would fit your bill and then some

My recommendation is a 5 piece neck (either 2 maple+3walnut stripes or vice versa) with an ebony fretboard, and walnut wings. Just my Oh, and warpigs

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Unread 02-08-2011, 06:41 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shogunate View Post
While I do agree with the above post ^ , I do think that the woods contribute a big part to an overall tone/vibe, and it's also the only thing you can never dial out

I think walnut sounds like just what you're looking for, and a maple neck bolted to a walnut body would sound very woody and tight, with a smooth top end and the mids will definitely growl when put under distortion. Bolt ons (GENERALLY it's all subjective) will sound spankier and bright, whereas a maple neck through will sound probably just as bright, with a little less spank.

If you want to keep the highs/high mids under control and keep all the tonal qualities you love about your neckthrough with some walnut thrown in to get that flavor you're looking for, I think a laminate neck would fit your bill and then some

My recommendation is a 5 piece neck (either 2 maple+3walnut stripes or vice versa) with an ebony fretboard, and walnut wings. Just my Oh, and warpigs
^This. a 5 piece laminate neck probably your best bet, and looks the best. I've been working with an all maple and walnut neckthrough recently and it looks like your best bet.
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Unread 02-08-2011, 07:25 AM   #5
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Walnut is what you need..




.... YEAH WALNUT!

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Debut track will be out soon!

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Unread 02-08-2011, 09:14 AM   #6
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crushingattack - let me expand on my post for clarifications but it is just my opinions.

i am primarily a rhythm player in the band i play with and my requirements are similar to your needs. i gather you play with pretty high gain from your descriptive tonal/response requirements.

just to qualify, the more gain you add to your tone, the less that wood is going to contribute to the overall tonal signature. pickups, dirt pedals (if applicable) and amp will be the dominant factor in your guitar's tone and response.

i did an experiment some time back between my fender mij contemporary strat with a jb in the bridge and my gibson 68ri les paul custom with a stock 57 classic into a jcm800 in a local guitar shop in melbourne. with the gain fully dimed and eq at 12 o'clock, i can replicate the 68ri bridge lead tone with my strat just by tweaking the sliders on a boss ge-7. just for laughs, i got the owner, staff and some in-store shoppers to do a blind listening test. i played the same lick over and over again switching guitars via a boss line selector and non of them could tell the difference if it was played on the strat or les paul. however, everyone could differentiate between the strat and les paul when i play the same lick clean. i believed the jcm800 added its own harmonic content when overdriven so much so that it imparts its own tonal signature masking the inherent tonal qualities of both the strat and les paul.

do bear in mind that the strat has an alder body, maple/rosewood neck and a system II trem while he 68ri has a mahogany/maple body, mahogany/ebony neck and t-o-m bridge. being the player, i could feel the difference in tracking response and string tension between the guitars but not how it sounded hearing it from the amp under high gain. i gather most folks in that situation probably will not be able to hear the difference unless you are eric johnson.

i've been playing metal for the past 22 years and used to own and played quite a number of guitars during that time. i had a warmoth mahogany les paul with a bolt-on 25.5" mahogany/rosewood neck and that peculiar guitar never felt and sounded like how a les paul should although it had a duncan 59 in the bridge. it just had the attack and snappiness of a strat/tele and none of the warmth and note bloom of a les paul when played clean.

all else being equal, a longer scale bolt-on neck will give you the snappiness, clarity and tight attack response you want at the expense of note bloom and harmonic richness in the higher registers.

let's look at this from another perspective. a custom commissioned guitar will be bought unplayed by you until it reaches your hands. as my previous post states, even the luthier who build your guitar won't guarantee the finished product will sound exactly what you wanted.

in an equation, the guitar will be the variable since you won't know what you'll get until you feel and hear it with the stock pickup into your rig. it will be perfect if you can get what you want out of your guitar the first time around but we all do know that a perfect world seldom exist if at all.

and that's where aftermarket pickups comes in. since they are cheap compared to the cost of a new custom guitar or amp, they are the most cost effective tool to achieve the tracking response and tonal signature you require. pickups chosen should complement and compensate what is lacking in the frequency response of your guitar based on your needs. and that's the reason why pickup makers give us a huge selection to choose from.

i am not saying wood don't matter. but why focus on a factor that you don't have control of until it is delivered? you can make an educated guess on the tonal signature of tonewoods and which pickup will complement it on paper based on generalisations. heck, even different bridge system will alter the tonal signature of a guitar. but the point is moot until you play said guitar through your own rig.

furthermore, your luthier (and everybody else) will not have your ears, picking technique and rig. how can you be sure that he will be hearing and feeling what is in your head?

this may not be what you want to hear/read, my apologies for the rambling.

edit: try a bkp aftermath in you soloist if you can, it should give you the low-mids you need while being uber-tight in the low end. the inherent high mids of your soloist should still cut through. though the aftermath may be too bright in your soloist, there's always a 250k pot or eq pedal to tame the highs if need be.

the good guys: battousai, tmm, clydefrog, drache713, edroz, ultimaweapon, k-roll, moshwitz
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Unread 02-08-2011, 01:16 PM   #7
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Swamp ash?
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Unread 02-08-2011, 03:15 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daniboy View Post
crushingattack - let me expand on my post for clarifications but it is just my opinions.

i am primarily a rhythm player in the band i play with and my requirements are similar to your needs. i gather you play with pretty high gain from your descriptive tonal/response requirements.

just to qualify, the more gain you add to your tone, the less that wood is going to contribute to the overall tonal signature. pickups, dirt pedals (if applicable) and amp will be the dominant factor in your guitar's tone and response.

i did an experiment some time back between my fender mij contemporary strat with a jb in the bridge and my gibson 68ri les paul custom with a stock 57 classic into a jcm800 in a local guitar shop in melbourne. with the gain fully dimed and eq at 12 o'clock, i can replicate the 68ri bridge lead tone with my strat just by tweaking the sliders on a boss ge-7. just for laughs, i got the owner, staff and some in-store shoppers to do a blind listening test. i played the same lick over and over again switching guitars via a boss line selector and non of them could tell the difference if it was played on the strat or les paul. however, everyone could differentiate between the strat and les paul when i play the same lick clean. i believed the jcm800 added its own harmonic content when overdriven so much so that it imparts its own tonal signature masking the inherent tonal qualities of both the strat and les paul.

do bear in mind that the strat has an alder body, maple/rosewood neck and a system II trem while he 68ri has a mahogany/maple body, mahogany/ebony neck and t-o-m bridge. being the player, i could feel the difference in tracking response and string tension between the guitars but not how it sounded hearing it from the amp under high gain. i gather most folks in that situation probably will not be able to hear the difference unless you are eric johnson.

i've been playing metal for the past 22 years and used to own and played quite a number of guitars during that time. i had a warmoth mahogany les paul with a bolt-on 25.5" mahogany/rosewood neck and that peculiar guitar never felt and sounded like how a les paul should although it had a duncan 59 in the bridge. it just had the attack and snappiness of a strat/tele and none of the warmth and note bloom of a les paul when played clean.

all else being equal, a longer scale bolt-on neck will give you the snappiness, clarity and tight attack response you want at the expense of note bloom and harmonic richness in the higher registers.

let's look at this from another perspective. a custom commissioned guitar will be bought unplayed by you until it reaches your hands. as my previous post states, even the luthier who build your guitar won't guarantee the finished product will sound exactly what you wanted.

in an equation, the guitar will be the variable since you won't know what you'll get until you feel and hear it with the stock pickup into your rig. it will be perfect if you can get what you want out of your guitar the first time around but we all do know that a perfect world seldom exist if at all.

and that's where aftermarket pickups comes in. since they are cheap compared to the cost of a new custom guitar or amp, they are the most cost effective tool to achieve the tracking response and tonal signature you require. pickups chosen should complement and compensate what is lacking in the frequency response of your guitar based on your needs. and that's the reason why pickup makers give us a huge selection to choose from.

i am not saying wood don't matter. but why focus on a factor that you don't have control of until it is delivered? you can make an educated guess on the tonal signature of tonewoods and which pickup will complement it on paper based on generalisations. heck, even different bridge system will alter the tonal signature of a guitar. but the point is moot until you play said guitar through your own rig.

furthermore, your luthier (and everybody else) will not have your ears, picking technique and rig. how can you be sure that he will be hearing and feeling what is in your head?

this may not be what you want to hear/read, my apologies for the rambling.

edit: try a bkp aftermath in you soloist if you can, it should give you the low-mids you need while being uber-tight in the low end. the inherent high mids of your soloist should still cut through. though the aftermath may be too bright in your soloist, there's always a 250k pot or eq pedal to tame the highs if need be.
Quote:
Originally Posted by buffa d View Post
Swamp ash?

Funny how answers can differ in length!

Daniboy's one was good read!
And swamp ash was also what came to my mind...

oh, and welcome
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Unread 02-08-2011, 04:22 PM   #9
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swamp ash body with walnut guitar. yeah!
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Unread 02-09-2011, 02:56 PM   #10
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Thanks all for replies.. Really clarified my views.

@daniboy I agree with all that you said, though as shogunate said, there's a part of a sound characteristics that you can not dial out, no matter what pickup and EQ you try to apply. It's funny that is mostly concerning for the guitarist, not anyone else at the gig It's all about a right feel and a vibe of a wood combination that makes your guitar special, then a right pickup and the rest of a rig imo. Fighting with your sound from the very beginning will not make it easier to get the tone that you want. Though I find that more practice really helps me with most tone problems

And, as I need 7 string right now, I thought I will go for spec that's more suited for me. Probably swamp ash body, with maple neck and ebony/pau ferro board, bolt on..
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Unread 02-09-2011, 03:41 PM   #11
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Quote:
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Though I find that more practice really helps me with most tone problems

no no no!
Here on SS.org we don't practice, we solve all problems by buying/making more gear.
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