Basswood is it bollox or the bollox!!

  1. Basswood: the principal wood used on many Japanese made instruments. This is due both to its tonal response, (once again, very similar to Alder) as well as the fact that Basswood is much more readily available to the manufacturers in Asia. FENDER


I don’t know what my other strats were/are made of, but I know that my basswood strat is the best sounding one I got, and from what I have heard ash and alder are more desired and known generally as better woods.

Ok dispelling the idea that Paulownia or Basswood are to be canned I have to say one of my fave Strats was a superlight Paulownia and I’ve also got a great black Bassy that signs.
So here’s the go…


Several [Fender] Japanese reissue models use Basswood [as body material]. Produces a light (body wt less than 4 lb.) guitar though some people find the sound to be too “dark”. Basswood is a very soft wood and cannot handle a lot of abuse.

Ideal for loud high gain tones [when used as body material]. The sound is smooth, without many sharp edges. Attack is moderate and sustain is round and even.

For a solid color guitar it is one of the better woods. It is used by many well known large manufacturers. It comes from Northern U.S.A. and Canada.  It costs less than dirt that’s and it does the job.. Thats why the big corporations love it.

This is a lighter weight wood offering Strat bodies usually under 4 lbs. The color is white, but often has nasty green mineral streaks in it. This is a closed-grain wood, but can absorb a lot of finish. This is not a wood for clear finishes, and it is quite soft, not good for much abuse. Sound wise, Basswood has a warm tone.

Strong Midrange, balanced tone and light weight. Light color and almost no grain patterns Basswood is best suited for solid colors or is excellent as a backing wood for a maple top. 


it amazes me that in 2011 the internet guitar forums are still inhabited by “tone-masters” who diss basswood.

basswood doesn’t sound good?
there’s a whole bunch of high-priced signature models that have basswood bodies. guess the tone-meisters know something that famous guitarists don’t seem to know about tone.

for example, here’s the John Petrucci Signature that goes for $2730. With a basswood body.…-roasted-neck-electric-guitar/h68023000001000


and then of course there’s Joe Satriani’s line of basswood body guitars, which probably don’t sound good:

oh, and also, there’s the Guthrie Govan signature model, unfortunately made with a basswood body:

and sadly, poor Steve Vai also has Signature models made with that nasty, bad-sounding basswood:

how much longer do i have to read the idiotic statements by internet tone experts about how basswood is not a good tonewood? will nothing get them to shut their dumb traps? it appears not.

It’s got bad press mostly unfairly. Yep it dents. It’s creamy and dark with super nice tones though. It’s a great lightweight tonewood used by a lot of ace manufacturers and luthiers.