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Author Topic: N4 Paduak alder/swamp ash? Help  (Read 18712 times)

Offline presa_tito

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N4 Paduak alder/swamp ash? Help
« on: July 23, 2004, 06:21:12 PM »
Hi, I'm in the market for an N4 and would just like to know about the paduak or alder models.  I have read that some people think the pickups in the guitar are better suited for the paduak wood and the alder is a little bright.  I don't mind a little brightness, but can anyone tell me some differences between the two that have tried both.  I just want to know if the alder is also great playing and sounding, or if the pauduak model is the way to go.  Thanks.
 

Offline presa_tito

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N4 Paduak alder/swamp ash? Help
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2004, 02:58:55 AM »
someone has to know the anwser here.  If not then these forums are weak.
 

Offline Charvelguy

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N4 Paduak alder/swamp ash? Help
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2004, 08:22:46 AM »
They girlie man, ya!

I tell ya, I own a '92 alder with the purple rain finish. (looks just like this one from this store:) http://www.guitarhanger.com/guitars/washburnnunon4multi.htm

As far as the necks go, they probably play just the same as the paduak as the neck is most likely no different in spec.
N4's were actually made in more than just these two woods. I used to have a link to show this as someone had a number of them for comparison but where that link is I have no idea now.
From memory, I recall they were also made bodies of Maple, Ash, Swampash, Mahagony, Korina (special edition-75 made), and I believe walnut in addition to Alder and Paduak. Some were probably custom shop.
As you probably know, they also stain alder to look like Paduak, so..you have to be certain it really is paduak wood you are buying and not the stained version.

Yes, people have said the padauk has a darker, richer tonal character than the alder. Some attribute brightness to the L500. You likely will also pay considerable more money for a paduak, in the neighborhood of possibly several hundred on upwards more. I have not played a padauk N4, but in researching some before I bought my N4, I found some people do remark the neck feels smoother on it (wood oils maybe?) Unless the neck is also paduak, this is probably bunk.

I personally think the alder N4 is just fine. Mine plays great but it just sits in the case at the moment and  has been for the majority of several months forgotten about and I'll tell you why in a minute k?. Swap in whatever pup of your choice, tung oil the neck if you so choose (I also lightly sanded the back with well worn emory cloth and 0000 steel wool-making sure pickups were fully taped off) I bought mine used for just less than 400 a year ago and it was well played but with a lot of miles left on the frets.

The neck is ultra stable, solid and fast. The back plates seem cheap.
The schaller trem has a cheap plate in that the saddle holdowns will strip when intonating if you are not careful. This is the reason why mine sits in the case, I can't keep the thing in tune while playing even if I switch to another hole in the plate as they're both stripped on the low E! The guy put a sheet metal screw into the plate and unless I tap it, it is going to be a problem-hence the cheap price as he only mentioned it needed work and a setup. So..I've been lazy and haven't swapped out the baseplate or replaced with a floyd. Drop in a real floyd and these guitars are players.

Here is a '91, you can see the difference in the backplates in comparison to the production model.

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=33048&item=3738420860&rd=1

Hope that helps~
« Last Edit: July 31, 2004, 08:38:11 AM by Charvelguy »
In search of.. old early 80's Washburn V's with a 3x3 headstock! email me if for sale..

Offline presa_tito

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N4 Paduak alder/swamp ash? Help
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2004, 07:13:06 PM »
Thanks for the review.  I actually found a swamp ash one I can pick up that's one year old.  Hopefully the schaller isn't too bad on it.
 

Offline stereodevil

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N4 Paduak alder/swamp ash? Help
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2007, 02:41:08 PM »
I called Washburn and was told that all N4 Padauk's are made of Padauk and only the N2 is stained by a guy named Tim who said the sales manager stated this.

I have seen much information in contrast to what he is stating. Anyone know if this is so and how to tell the difference?
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Offline Chaos Rex

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N4 Paduak alder/swamp ash? Help
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2007, 03:43:39 PM »
quote:
Originally posted by stereodevil

I called Washburn and was told that all N4 Padauk's are made of Padauk and only the N2 is stained by a guy named Tim who said the sales manager stated this.

I have seen much information in contrast to what he is stating. Anyone know if this is so and how to tell the difference?



Washburn's Archieved Price Lists tell a different story than what your Washburn contact says. I have an N4 which was sold to me as a solid body Padauk guitar. This guitar was unique looking as far as any other N4 Padauk I've even seen. So one day I decided I wanted to know what was under it's thick dark finish. I got some paint/varnish stripper and slathered it on under the Trem's tension springs. After much slathering, scraping etc, I barely dented the finish but I did uncover some very, very pale wood underneath. My first N4 I'm sad to say is not made of Padauk wood, desptie it's weight (very heavy). So when I e-mailed Washburn they told me it was Swamp Ash.

Now I still don't agree with them but there you have it. There most certianly are N4's with Pad stain out there.

Now how you can tell, get an expert on wood to find an unfinished or stripped part of the guitar to tell you or get the guys in the shop who actually built it to tell you.

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Offline stereodevil

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N4 Paduak alder/swamp ash? Help
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2007, 04:09:35 PM »
Yeah I agree that there are N4's that are stained. Mine is very heavy and truthfully it sounds killer. So even if it is not Padauk I am happy. It sounds great and it close to what I want but I  will try some pickups I have been wanting to try. The playability (is that a word?) is off the chart. So it's sweet and I can't complain.
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Offline ZeGlobox

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N4 Paduak alder/swamp ash? Help
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2007, 04:45:20 PM »
Well, N4 woods... that's a loooong story ;-)

Let's start with some N4-history ;-)
N4 production started late 90 in Stephen Davies' shop in seattle... Using his own selected alder pieces which were both very rich sounding and extremely light weight (got one ;-) ). The neck profile was kinda thin, the tremolo unit was an excellent Khaler one (although Nuno only used Original Floyd Roses on his ones).
Early 92, Grover Jackson (hired by Washburn at that time) started the production of Washburn N4s. Few differences : The wood wasn't that light, and probably not as good. I'm not saying it was bad wood.. just not as good as Davies' models. The neck became a little thicker (it's not a log either.. just a little bigger). And the tremolo was a Schaller specially made for Washburn. We later learned (from schaller techs) that, probably, to reduce costs, washburn decided to specify a not-so-hard alloy for this trem... Making it quite fragile... Schaller is actually not so happy with that, since it isn't a good thing for their reputation, but anyway.. Those washburn floyds are indeed very fragile, and I broke one during intonation setup...
In 93, a new model appeared : The padauk one... Exactly the same 'shape' (same body, same neck profile), same pickups, etc...
One thing that's very important... The Padauk pieces that were used back in 93 were very hard/dense dark padauk wood pieces, with a very dark sound. Actually, Padauk sounds pretty much like Mahogany, just with extra treble... (also got one ;-) ) Many people believe that padauk pieces came from some limited very old stock since they stopped producing Padauks after some time...

I will pass on the Korina model, and all other limited series (Mahogany, etc...)..

Then came the ESA : Swamp Ash model... Swamp Ash is an extremely bright wood... it adds a lot of treble to the N4 (compared to the alder models)... Personnaly, I don't like the look of it that muchs (looks way too much 'IKEA' for me ;-) )
They also stained those ones to make them look like padauk or whatever, but it's still ESA N4s ;-)

And then came the Padouk reeditions (got one too ;-) )... Well.. actually, many people suppose they used some other type of padouk.. maybe african padouk instead of asian padouk (or the other way around)... And probably woods from younger trees... anyway, those paddies (that's how we call those new padauk) are way lighter than old padouk modes, and sound just a tiny bit darker than alder models... Also they don't have the same color at all... older padauk have dark red / brown / purple nuances, while paddies are more 'orange red'... As far as the sound is concerned, as I said.. not much of a difference..
And there's the relic mode (you guessed... got one ;-) )...Which is more or less a mix up between Davies and Washburn early models : It features alder wood, thin neck profile, and OFR yeah !

So, basically, picking between an Alder or a Paddy will give you pretty much the same sound...
And if you can pickup a 93' padauk.. just go for it !

And as far as the pickup is concerned, all have the (horribly) trebbly 'Bill Lawrence USA' L500-L !
Just spend an extra $50 to get some real Bill & Becky L500-L or L500-XL, you won't regret it ! believe me !!! Bill & Becky L500s are extremely well balanced, real tight lows, rich mediums and punchy treble freqs !! heaven on earth :-)






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« Last Edit: June 08, 2007, 04:46:31 PM by ZeGlobox »
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Offline ZeGlobox

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N4 Paduak alder/swamp ash? Help
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2007, 04:56:51 PM »
quote:
Originally posted by Chaos Rex

quote:
Originally posted by stereodevil

I called Washburn and was told that all N4 Padauk's are made of Padauk and only the N2 is stained by a guy named Tim who said the sales manager stated this.

I have seen much information in contrast to what he is stating. Anyone know if this is so and how to tell the difference?



Washburn's Archieved Price Lists tell a different story than what your Washburn contact says. I have an N4 which was sold to me as a solid body Padauk guitar. This guitar was unique looking as far as any other N4 Padauk I've even seen. So one day I decided I wanted to know what was under it's thick dark finish. I got some paint/varnish stripper and slathered it on under the Trem's tension springs. After much slathering, scraping etc, I barely dented the finish but I did uncover some very, very pale wood underneath. My first N4 I'm sad to say is not made of Padauk wood, desptie it's weight (very heavy). So when I e-mailed Washburn they told me it was Swamp Ash.

Now I still don't agree with them but there you have it. There most certianly are N4's with Pad stain out there.

Now how you can tell, get an expert on wood to find an unfinished or stripped part of the guitar to tell you or get the guys in the shop who actually built it to tell you.

Founding Member of the Nuno Brigade



Stained Swamp ash N4s are kinda easy to spot actually...
Padauk is a very strong wood that has many pores (tiny holes)
like you can see here (thanks to the very bright sunlight) :


Swamp ash has very big pronounced veins like this :

Stained ESAs have those big wood veins show up beind the stain..


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Offline Chaos Rex

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N4 Paduak alder/swamp ash? Help
« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2007, 05:25:18 PM »
quote:
Originally posted by Charvelguy


I tell ya, I own a '92 alder with the purple rain finish. (looks just like this one from this store:) http://www.guitarhanger.com/guitars/washburnnunon4multi.htm





Hey I can't find the N4 on this site. The link just goes to the home page. I'd love to see it though, I've always wanted to see one of the Purple/Acid Rain N4s.

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Offline stereodevil

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N4 Paduak alder/swamp ash? Help
« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2007, 05:44:53 PM »
Cool I will photograph it this weekend and post it. Thanks everyone. ZeGlobox has helped out tremendously.
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Offline stereodevil

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N4 Paduak alder/swamp ash? Help
« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2007, 06:40:29 PM »
Ok you guys can be the judge. Padauk or stained?



« Last Edit: June 09, 2007, 06:10:58 AM by stereodevil »
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Offline Riffrob

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N4 Paduak alder/swamp ash? Help
« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2007, 06:53:13 PM »
Man Zeglobox, you know everything about the N4 lineup.  I gotta ask, when you replaced the Kahler Steeler with the OFR, did it install without any modifications?  How does it feel compared to the Kahler?  I also noticed a little extra routing around the low E compared to a snug fit on the high E side. I'm guessing that's just an appearance thing (?)
 

Offline ZeGlobox

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N4 Paduak alder/swamp ash? Help
« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2007, 02:50:05 AM »
quote:
Originally posted by Riffrob

Man Zeglobox, you know everything about the N4 lineup.  I gotta ask, when you replaced the Kahler Steeler with the OFR, did it install without any modifications?  How does it feel compared to the Kahler?  I also noticed a little extra routing around the low E compared to a snug fit on the high E side. I'm guessing that's just an appearance thing (?)



Well, I know a few things, but not everything ;-)
As for replacing the Kahler, no re-routing has been made... just a drop in.. But if I were you, I'd ask a professionnal to remove the inserts and stud to also replace them... cause kahler's are kinda hard to find, and not 'compatible' with standard floyd screws...



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Offline ZeGlobox

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N4 Paduak alder/swamp ash? Help
« Reply #14 on: June 09, 2007, 02:53:14 AM »
quote:
Originally posted by stereodevil

Ok you guys can be the judge. Padauk or stained?







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That's a real padouk [:)]

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