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Basswood vs Alder: A Detailed Comparison

Choosing the right wood is no piece of cake. Especially when there are so many to choose from. You have to weigh in and compare among them to select the right one.

Here we have provided a detailed comparison between basswood vs alder

When compared, alder is the more dynamic one. It provides better workability, finishing, and durability than basswood. On the other hand, basswood being too soft is vulnerable to breakage. Plus, it is non-durable. As for guitars too, alder wood is preferred as it offers a wider range of sounds.

Not sure yet? Well, do not worry! Because in this article, we have resolved all your queries. Plus, provide a detailed comparison so it is easier for you to decide.

Just keep scrolling to find out all about it!

A Brief Comparison

In determining the best tonewood, a few factors are to be considered.

Factors such as workability, durability, sustainability, finishing, etc.

You have to know which one provides better workability. Meaning, which one offers an effortless workflow. 

Also, you have to look for the one that offers better finishing. 

Suppose, you are a guitar enthusiast, would you like it if the instrument has a bizarre finish? Of course not!

So, looking for a finish that looks smooth and attractive to the eyes is always welcome.

Also, not only woods but in the case of every product, you would want durability. So, checking which one among alder and basswood is the most durable is important.

You need to be aware of all these facts. For that purpose and to help you choose better, we provide this snapshot. Here you can have a quick glance and make out the differences between alder and basswood.

Here you go!

          FactorsAlderBasswood
WorkabilityExcellent Good
Durability Excellent    Non-durable 
Sustainability Excellent None
SoftnessComparatively HarderToo Soft
Lightweight NoYes
FinishingEasyDifficult 
UsesVeneer, furniture, cabinetry, musical instruments (guitar body), etc.Carvings, lumber, musical instruments (electric guitar bodies), veneer, etc.

So, that was it! A brief comparison between Alder wood vs basswood for you,!

In-depth Comparison

So, you have gone through the brief comparison. Now it is time to discuss it in detail.

In this section, we do exactly that!

Here, we have explained all the factors and the comparison based on that.

Go through it to figure it out in detail. And determine which is best for you. Alder wood or basswood?

Do let us jump right in!

Workability 

Whenever you are working with wood, workability matters a lot. The ones that are easy to work with always give you better results.

Alder is soft, but not too soft. It has the perfect amount of softness to ensure excellent workability. 

They are quite dense which makes them suitable for carving, machining, molding, and turning. And this ideal amount of density also makes alder easy to work with.

On the other hand, the workability of basswood is not as satisfactory. Basswoods can’t be easily bent. You can not nail it easy either. 

The reason is that they are too soft. It leads to a poor screw and nail holding property. There is a high chance it will break if you try to hold two wooden blocks.

Winner: So, for better workability, always go for Alder.

Finishing

In woodwork a great finishing is always wanted. Especially for the guitar enthusiasts out there!

No one wants their favorite musical instrument without a great finish.

In this case, Alder woods provide better results.

They have tiny pores as well as a uniform texture. These are things that make these highly suitable for finishing. 

Not to mention their unique and fascinating reddish color touch. It is one of alder woods’ specialties that makes them one of a kind. 

Alder woods are easily stainable, as well. They usually take any type of wood stains very well. Also, the color consistency remains better due to their non-porous nature.

This even and smooth textured wood has a docile grain pattern. 

And wood sanding is another thing to think about. And alder is also sandable. However, the scenario is not quite the same as sanding plywood.

All of these make alder woods great for finishing.

On the other hand, the basswood finishing will not be as good.

Their texture is not as smooth and rather porous. This leads the stains to get inside those pores and result in an uneven finishing. Then there is the hassle of cleaning unfinished wood.

Thus, in basswoods, it is pretty complex to maintain the color consistency.

Also, being too soft, it is also not easily sandable.

Winner: So, in terms of finishing, the Alder woods is our winner.

Durability

Durability is one of the most significant factors in choosing the best tonewood.

No one would want to buy a guitar that will not last more than 6 months.

So, let us see which one has better durability.

Alder woods generally are extremely versatile. And they provide better durability when compared to any other woods. For example, basswood. 

As mentioned before, Alder woods are easily nailed as well as bent. This is something that makes them relatively adequate for interior applications.

You can even try gluing pennies to them and it won’t matter.

Also, alder wood is shock-resistant. This is something you should definitely check before buying.

Basswood is usually a soft hardwood. It is classified as being non-durable. Definitely not suitable for any kind of exterior applications. 

Moreover, basswood even starts to rot if exposed to moisture or bad weather.

It also contains low-strength properties. And due to that, it can not handle any heavyweight.

So, overall much less durable than the Alder wood.

Winner: So, once again, if you want more durability, alder wood can give you that.

Which One Should You Choose?

By now you have gone through the detailed discussion. Now it is time to choose.

So, as you can see, for better workability, alder wood is preferred.

Whatever you are upto- carving, machining, molding, and turning- you can do it all. That too, without any extra effort or hassle.

It is safe to say, Alder wood provides much better workability than basswood.

Now if we consider, which gives the better finishing. The non-porous texture of alder wood provides a much better finish. Be it staining or sanding, everything can be done smoothly.

Whereas, in basswood, due its porous texture, the finishing is not as good. The stain does not sit properly. And looks a bit coarse.

So, once again, alder wins the game.

Now, another factor is durability. Possessing the ideal amount of softness, the alder wood can withstand anything. Even electric shocks. It can be nailed and bent without causing any damage.

And the basswood is way too soft and thus quite vulnerable to heavyweight. There is a high chance it will break if nailed or bent.  Hence, it is classified as non-durable.

However, basswood is more lightweight than alder wood. Alderwood tends to be heavier. However, the other advantages you get from alder wood overshadow this one drawback.

Now which guitar body wood is better?

For the guitar body, both are good. 

However, Alder wood tends to be overall a little more dynamic than basswood. 

Because alder wood is able to provide the perfect tone. Plus, suitable for a broader range of sounds which is the goal of every guitar enthusiast.

Here are some product recommendation for the chosen wood type:

Product 1
Product 2

So, we are not saying that Basswood is not good. But when compared to Alder wood, Alder wins the game.

Hence, our recommendation would be to go for Alder wood.

FAQs

Is basswood better than alder?

No, alder wood is a bit more tonally balanced than basswood. Alder wood is harder than basswood. Due to this, it provides better workability, sustainability, and finishing. And basswood being quite soft, can not provide that. The durability of alder is also much better than basswood. 

Which is heavier basswood or alder?

Alder is much heavier than basswood. Basswood is known to be one of the most lightweight ones among all the tonewood. They are way too soft, as well. And that makes it very easy to carry or handle. Whereas alder tends to be a bit heavier when compared to it. But not too much.

Are basswood guitars good?

Yes, if you wish for a mid-level or a budget guitar. The guitars made from basswood are good by general standards. Sometimes it provides excellent tones and results. It is also extremely lightweight. Also, it gives a nice light color to the guitar.

Is basswood good for Stratocaster?

Yes, basswood is pretty good for a Stratocaster. But not as much as alder. This is because the basswood tends to be quite light and soft. That makes it a bit vulnerable. And this is not the best for a Stratocaster. But, alder on the other hand is ideal for this. 

Wrapping Up

Hope we have cleared all your confusion on basswood vs alder?

Now you know the difference. And all the factors and attributes that make them different. Go through this guide once again if needed. Just to understand better. Now decide which one suits your needs the best. And then choose according to that. 

That is all for now! Have an amazing day!