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Swamp Ash, Northern Ash, or Alder???

Discussion in 'DIY Strat Forum' started by HalfLerxst, Mar 27, 2018.

  1. HalfLerxst

    HalfLerxst New Member!

    Feb 14, 2018
    Nova Scotia
    Hey guys, I'm building a Hentor Sportscaster replica.
    I was told by a very reliable source that Northern Ash is a big component of the tone for this particular guitar. I found a company that can custom make a Northern Ash body, but Warmoth offers everything I need in one shipment, but only provide Swamp Ash - for the same price as the custom Northern Ash body I found.
    Basically, should I worry about Northern Ash like the original is made out of, or should I stick with swamp ash?
    OR just go Alder?

    Attached Files:

  2. bassetman

    bassetman Strat-O-Master Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jan 14, 2018
    Pomeroy, WA
    I like swamp ash myself. ;)

    Stratbats and strat_strummer like this.
  3. strat_strummer

    strat_strummer Senior Stratmaster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Dec 17, 2017
    In the shop...
    Hiya Half, welcome in. I personally prefer Swamp Ash. Just like bassetman showed, it has beautiful grain.
  4. Ebidis

    Ebidis Providing the world with flat bends since 1985 Strat-Talk Supporter

    Nov 14, 2013
    The difference between northern ash and swamp ash is the weight. they are both the same species, swamp ash tends to be lighter weight (it has to do with the wet conditions it grows in). Northern ash can be quite heavy, like a '70s Strat.
  5. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit Grand Master Curmudgeon Strat-Talk Supporter

    May 21, 2010
    Sheffield, UK
    Understatement of the year. Well done sir.
  6. montemerrick

    montemerrick spiritual birthday, April 1 Strat-Talk Supporter

    one thing that both northern ash and swamp ash have in common is that neither of them are actual species...

    "swamp ash" means less mass, northern ash does not...

    my opinion as a furniture guy (early retirement - no i wont strip your chairs) - i liked ash because it does what oak does for a lot less (money, weight, etc)

    but alder is much nicer to work with. and it really takes stain and oil very nicely for a hardwood.
    Bob the builder and Raimonds like this.
  7. Mr. Lumbergh

    Mr. Lumbergh needs you to go ahead and come in on Sunday, too. Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jan 10, 2014
    Initech, Inc.
    I would go with whatever looks the nicest with the finish you’re planning. I do think the body makes a difference in your final sound, but every piece of wood is different. I don’t think you can achieve a particular sound just from wood selection.
    Bob the builder and Raimonds like this.
  8. StratSounds

    StratSounds Senior Stratmaster

    Sep 10, 2016
    Rocky Mountain Way
    Basswood is the fuhshiznit bruh.:D
  9. theanalogkid458

    theanalogkid458 New Member!

    Jan 12, 2019
    Indiana, US
    Alex built the sportscaster from a '73 strat so I would go with alder
  10. CGHguitars

    CGHguitars Strat-O-Master

    Sep 8, 2015
    Eden Prairie
    If you're using an opaque paint finish like the pic in your post, Alder is your best bet. If you're doing something translucent, or want to see grain, then ash. The Alder will take a fraction of the filling and sanding before you paint. the ash takes forever to fully level.

    good luck!

    Bob the builder likes this.
  11. Kloun

    Kloun Strat-Talk Member

    ^^What he said.
    If it were me, I would use swamp ash because I love swamp ash due to its weight. If you want a "truer" replica of the guitar, Northern ash would be appropriate as it was used in the '70's strats. However, I really really don't like Northern Ash because of its weight. Heavy. Very heavy. Very heavy is an understatement. A Northern Hard ash body by itself can weigh more than an entire constructed guitar made out of swamp ash. Have you ever held a guitar made out of northern Ash? I would suggest you try one in person (maybe go to Guitar Center) before deciding on it. I myself would not even consider building a guitar out of Northern Ash because I know how heavy it is.

    Finally, if you just want the looks of the original guitar with the least work, it's alder because it is closed pore and easier to paint than ash.
    Bob the builder likes this.