Question for guitar builders

In looking at web sites for kits, Tele style, and I am looking at Music Maker's site which has a tele kit with a Basswood body. I've heard of some different woods for the body, but not Bass wood. Is this a good wood for the body, or are they using it to just make the kit cheaper? I'm a ways from doing this, but I am looking to see what's out there. Thanks.
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Paul O.
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wrote:

You might ask over in rec.music.makers.builders. There are some very helpful guitar guys there.
Mike O.
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Paul O.
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wrote:

Maybe.
Remember that different woods will have an effect on the sound of the instrument. "Better" will be subjective, based on the goal of the particular instrument.
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Teles (which in my mind include Broadcasters, "No-casters" and Esquires) have been made by Fender with bodies made of pine, ash, poplar, alder, ash with a maple center block, mahogany, rosewood, koa, ash with a spruce top, various of the above with a maple cap, and basswood.
To my ear, the basswood, alder, and poplar Teles all sound about the same, which is pretty good. They've got the sort of spanky top end that makes that Tele sound, and they don't weigh a ton.
Dave O'Heare oheareATmagmaDOTca
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Paul O. wrote:

Basswood is cheap, and used primarily in cheaper guitars. But the truth is that most of the woods used in traditional mass-produced guitars is cheap-- that's why Leo Fender used ash and alder back in the 1950s. The designs worked with those woods and everyone became accustomed to the tones they produced. The Gibson solid bodies that use a maple cap on a mahogany body were more expensive and sounded darker, also by design.
At any rate, I'd suggest skipping the kit all together. Buy a pre-made neck if you must, but making an electric guitar body is remarkably easy and will allow you to create a design of your own, with the woods you want to use, at a fraction of the price of a pre-fab kit. (I'm assuming that you have access to woodworking tools since you're posting to a woodworking group.)
I'm at the finishing stage of a semi-solid body electric I made from hard ash with a maple cap split by two 1" strips of walnut. The double-cutaway ash body is hollowed out within 3/8" of the rim except for the center core which I left intact for mounting the neck, pickups, and bridge. I cut F-holes in the top and made mounting rings for the pickups from thin walnut stock to match the strips in the top. I put twin P90s in and am still playing around with the electronics, but am probably going to go with mini-toggles for each pickup (in phase-off-out of phase), a single volume, and a varitone type circuit. The finish will be clear lacquer but I'll probably tint it toward amber a bit to help bring out the figure in the maple top. The neck is a tele copy of rock maple with a rosewood fretboard.
Anyway, making the body took about two hours in the shop (minus gluing time). You can make a tele in probably 30 minutes, if you have a template for routing the pickup cavities handy. I've never made a tele (I have a Fender already) but if I were planning to make one I'd probably use white ash or alder for the body before basswood.
Good luck!
-Kiwanda
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Paul O. wrote:

It'll be more than you think! Take a look at rec.music.makers.builders for some threads on cost...many people are putting $700-1000 into their guitars. At the other end (where I'm working) it's going to be hard to build a guitar for less than $200 even if you buy parts used on Ebay. Make a list and check prices on the following (assuming you'd buying a finished neck):
pickups tuners bridge volume/tone pots switch(es) switch top(s) knobs jack/jack plate pickguard ( if you want one) neck plate screws strap locks
Then look around for sources of 8/4 wood suitable for guitar building. None of the small mills around here routinely cut 8/4 so my best source is 75 miles away and charges about $4/BF for ash ($75 will make me about four bodies at that price). I buy figured maple or walnut for the tops on Ebay, which I resaw myself to get 2-3 tops from a typical $15 board. If you're building necks then you need to consider the cost of fret wire, nuts, and fretboards in addition to the rock maple blanks for a Fender-style neck.
It all add up pretty quickly. But the first time I plugged in a guitar I had built and it played better than the last NEW Fender I'd purchased I was hooked. That one cost me perhaps $200, but some of that included leftover parts that went into the next one too.
best,
Kiwanda
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post some pictures. I would love to see your work.....
a.b.p.woodworking is a good place to post
Kiwanda wrote:

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