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If you could have one Strat body...

  • Alder

    Votes: 7 30.4%
  • Swamp ash

    Votes: 16 69.6%
  • Mahogany

    Votes: 0 0.0%
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NSLALP
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Inspired by all the Strat talk around here lately, I've been thinking about the three primary Strat body choices: alder, ash, mahogany.

I've read all about them, and I have played examples of each, but my experiences are varied and incoherent. Ash strikes me as the snappiest (I think Fender usually goes for hard ash, though swamp ash would strike me as a better choice?), alder is balanced with a mellow attack, and mahogany is sort of compressed and deep. I usually think of mahogany as being rounded off in the treble department, but I don't know if that matters when using single coil pickups and maple necks.

Looking for comments and opinions on the pros/cons of each. Obviously alder is the traditional choice, but the others offer interesting alternatives, especially in an HSS configuration. I'm assuming maple necks and tremolos installed.
 

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I am Groot
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32,450 Posts
Swamp ash > *

Quite simply, it is *the* sound of Fender. I know most Strats are alder, but swamp ash has that pop that you most associate with Strats.
 

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Canis lupis robertus
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5,706 Posts
Swamp ash with a maple cap would be cool.

Even better (for me) mahogany body, swamp ash core, flame maple cap. I bet that would sound and look damn cool.
 

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EMERRRRRRRY!
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720 Posts
Mahogany is NOT a Strat wood at all, really.
Ron Thorn has built a few dozen strats out of limba which is tonally very similar to mahogany and they have all sounded VERY stratty, IMO. Maybe not quite as spanky as a swamp ash or alder, but saying it isn't a strat wood isn't 100% true. ;) I couldn't find the vids from the California event 1-2 years back where he had a few of them but I did find this one a guy put together:


The other vids sounded more "stratty" to my ears but you still have that chime found in a good strat, and that wood is very close to mahogany.
 

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Premium Member
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I said Alder, because I'm accustomed to thinking that Fender strats were Alder. But, if the best ones were swamp ash, then color me convinced :yesway:
 

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Mr. Negative Pants, ,
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What i mean is it's not a traditional Strat wood or one that's normally associated with the "Strat sound". :)
 

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NSLALP
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Leon, ash (swamp?) was huge in the 50's Strats, but alder has taken over since then as the standard wood.

I played a Fender American Special mahogany HSS in a store a few weeks back and liked it, but I need to try it again. I'm wondering if an HSS mahogany strat is the perfect marriage of Les Paul and Fender tones.

Korina is interesting - I think it's more reliably resonant, and tends to have more highs and "complex" mids, though I don't think that means "open" mids like alder.
 

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Ash :agreed: it isnt the typical alder sound but man does it POP and if you throw some slightly overwound pickups in it just stands above all others :yesway:
 

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Swamp Ash :yesway:

Ron Thorn has built a few dozen strats out of limba which is tonally very similar to mahogany and they have all sounded VERY stratty, IMO. Maybe not quite as spanky as a swamp ash or alder, but saying it isn't a strat wood isn't 100% true. ;) I couldn't find the vids from the California event 1-2 years back where he had a few of them but I did find this one a guy put together:
Thorn GAS, not helping it fucker :fawk:

Though to be honest that vid, while the guitar sounds fantastic, has a rounder tone than what I'd consider "straty" due to the limba :2cents:
 

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EMERRRRRRRY!
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Swamp Ash :yesway:

Thorn GAS, not helping it fucker :fawk:

Though to be honest that vid, while the guitar sounds fantastic, has a rounder tone than what I'd consider "straty" due to the limba :2cents:
:lol: Yeah like I said the dude who took live vids at the event a year or so ago sounded way spankier but he used some weird hosting site so I don't know where they are now. :( I'll see if I can find them. :D
 

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NSLALP
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
:lol: Yeah like I said the dude who took live vids at the event a year or so ago sounded way spankier but he used some weird hosting site so I don't know where they are now. :( I'll see if I can find them. :D
Would appreciate. :yesway:

My theory is that an overwound SC in mahogany will be less spanky and more mid-heavy due to the combination, so perhaps lower-output, bright pups are the trick.
 

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Is Actually Recording
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What i mean is it's not a traditional Strat wood or one that's normally associated with the "Strat sound". :)
:agreed: And Ron Thorn isn't Leo Fender. I'm not saying that singlecoils don't sound good in mahogany - they really do, surprisingly, but it's not a Strat.

Mine's alder, and I love how it sounds, but I've always thought it's not really a "traditional" sounding Strat. If I was to buy another, I'd want ash, just for the variety.
 

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:agreed: And Ron Thorn isn't Leo Fender.
I'm not sure what your point is here. So if it doesn't say Fender (which Leo has had nothing to do with for quite some time) or G&L on the headstock it's not a strat? To be honest I'd take one of the Thorn strats over anything the Fender Custom Shop is turning out currently at the same price point :2cents:

Granted limba and mahogany aren't "traditional" woods associated with strats, but Fender makes a mahogany strat currently...
 

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Is Actually Recording
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I'm not sure what your point is here. So if it doesn't say Fender (which Leo has had nothing to do with for quite some time) or G&L on the headstock it's not a strat? To be honest I'd take one of the Thorn strats over anything the Fender Custom Shop is turning out currently at the same price point :2cents:

Granted limba and mahogany aren't "traditional" woods associated with strats, but Fender makes a mahogany strat currently...
Capital-S, proper-noun Strat would be Fender. No one else has the rights to it. Thorn does great work, no doubt, but has precisely nothing to do with the choice of wood in a Fender Stratocaster, and his mention in this thread struck me as a little odd.
 
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