I believe it is all just a matter of the musicians opinion and preferences. A thinner piece, like an SG, has a warm growly tone with lots of bite and presence. I have a guitar that I use to try out different strings and pins – it is astonishing how much the tone can be changed, and how much I can hate the sound of that guitar with the wrong combinations, and love it with the strings and pins that suit it best to my ears. And you are sure to find a different grade wood on a $3,000 custom shop than you are on a $300 stock. One is an original 59. If you use epoxy for grain filling you just killed your guitar tone. You’re right that 2 guitars is not a large enough sample size at all. The big question is whether the species of wood makes a noticeable difference in the electric tone of a solid body electric guitar. I don’t need to build anything, I need to play them. It’s like an exaggeration of a rosewood fingerboard. For pure tonal reasons, the cap isn’t necessary: after all, a flattop mahogany guitar also has plenty of bite. same bracing pattern? You cannot properly evaluate the tone of production guitars, they are too inconsistent in supplies and craftsmanship. Mahogany is a tonewood that produces a punchy growl with excellent sustain, generally favoured for punchy rock music. A great deal, actually. This article talks about the need to wait for the note to bloom for a fraction of a second. Sapwood tends to have a more porous structure – it is softer, and tends to shrink or swell more easily with changes in moisture – so luthiers avoid it and use ‘heartwood’ whenever possible. I would be hard pressed to attribute a specific tone or feel or characteristic to rosewood in these contexts but I feel that the warmth I have with a rosewood neck or board is noticeable when the rosewood is in the body, too. Our interactive gear guide, FindYour.Fender.com, matches you with the perfect model by learning about your sound & style. importance of the wood in an electric guitar must also be evaluated. !” It’s a bias or a placebo. So what’s the difference? Where does cherry fall into your list? This coarse-grained wood can be used for bodies, necks and fretboards and feels incredibly fast because your fingers have less drag. You will get an opener sound with lots of highs and upper mids that cut through the mix like a hot knife through butter. It is not the only factor, there is also the touch of the player, quality of strings, amp settings, pickup quality and so on. Ebony is most closely associated with black, but brown, yellow, red and even purple hues and stripes aren’t uncommon for ebony. In my experience, what Orpheo has said is pretty accurate, and as he mentions are general rules for species. Walnut is also beautiful – why not go for a cherry and walnut mix – very tasty – see my acoustics at http://www.catherwoodguitars.com, Idk if this is true with electrics I would belive it when I see a video where someone is blind folded and plays each, don’t feel the wood just play and see if they know what’s what and if it really is a tonal difference. I could make the mahogany sound like the Maple, or make the maple deeper and more resonant and the mahogany bright and treble dominated just by doing that – with no change to the wood used in the body. There are generally only two different electric guitar neck woods. A big part of your tone comes down to how you play — how you fret chords and how you strum or pick. The amount of peer-reviewed research on this subject currently is lacking; an article published by a university in Australia claims that a researcher has proven that wood does not affect a guitar's sound, but no data has been published together with this assertion. Forgot your password? An acoustic guitar requires vibration and echo to produce sound. When someone says, “this guitar sounds better” I focus on the word “better’. According to many musicians, in order to have the best sound possible, an acoustic guitar has to be made from the "right" type of wood. All rights reserved. Wood types don’t matter? ♦ True temperament frets (True overtones increase sustain instead of strings canceling each other out). Just to confuse things some “hardwoods (like Balsa and Obeche) are very soft, while some “softwoods” like Pitch pine are quite hard. The more I read this article, especially with the reply of John Catherwood considered, the more I suspect this article was copied from somewhere else and then edited by Orpheo. Yes they are, they connect with the wood through the bridge and the nut. Its color and grain pattern is a love or hate affair. Maple: Many an electric guitar is capped with a maple top and neck. Its just more subtle. There is variance within a species of wood but certain species of wood, especially the heartwood, have certain characteristics. Poplar sounds a lot like alder, but looks usually a lot less appealing (and some players report a little more upper midrange compared to alder). With that said though, most people believe that wood does still have some impact. light lacquer on necks & body’s little yellow stain on maple body, identical build, pickups and hardware…. Also, is it just me or is anyone else having a Spinal Tap moment? Shut up and go play your guitars!!!!!! Remember me Not recommended on shared computers. Rosewood is on occasion also being used for neck blanks. I wouldn’t call that a confirmation. Minor grammar errors in an article like this don’t bother me. They do not pick up wood vibration, the vibration of the wood is not amplified. Strings suspended by a piece of metal and plastic/bone/etc don’t touch wood. But somebody who is being paid to write should be able to write with correct spelling and grammar. Even resting your axe against your body will affect the sound,if however ,you have electronically distorted everything beyond any tonal recognition thru use of distortion, or any other direct change to the original resonance, that will absolutely affect whether ANYONE ,can hear the natural tonal characteristics of whatever instrument you choose. Wood type only affects the tone and sound of acoustic instruments. For years I have challenged folks to do double-blind tests of identical guitars (shape, paint, etc) varying only the wood say of the body, neck, or fingerboard. So if the guitar tone and sound is all you’re concerned about, then it might not be worth spending the extra cash for features that don’t contribute to the tone. If it was only changing pickups and hardware….. oh what a beautiful world it would be!! you might be suprised at the results. Santa Barbara, California. Acoustics, in my opinion, are a whole other ball game. I pick out my Gibson’s by choosing the one that sounds the best. And for those who care about grammar, why not become professors of tone and open up a school for guitar players who need to brush up on their ABC’s LOL Orpheo nice work with the article very informative . trust me, those same difference you hear with an accoustic are technically there on an electric, they don’t just dissapers. Do you really think the last 500 years of guitar making with exotic wood was bullshit?? Do notes last long enough for the timber to affect the timbre? Instead, it has all of that, although to a lesser degree. This is a dense, hard wood that’s being used on necks, fingerboards, tops and occasionally bodies and comes in three major figure patterns: flamed (stripes across the grain), quilt (cloud like shapes across the grain) and no pattern at all called plain. Neck's wood has a strong influence in the guitar tone. The reason wood affects the tone of the guitar is because the wood responds to the vibration of the strings. Despite what /u/swordfingers has stated modern electric guitars do have cavities- if there are tone blocks added, for instance, and so this does have an impact of the sound. The strings might not directly touch the wood, but the energy from a strummed string is transferred from the bridge and nut into the body and neck, creating frequencies that move through that wood. I wrote to the mythbusters, unlikely that they will test it, but it’s worth a try… It’s probably most worth buying unfinished bodies and necks, Just pick the cheapest/lightest one. Finally, a confirmation of what I have long believed in! It’s more like a “That is where my logic goes, but a real test should be made to make sure”. You can talk to a thousand guitarists and everyone of them will have a slightly adjusted opinion. Not only does tonewood affect the tone of a guitar, each individual piece of wood affects the tone. Birdseye is considered a figure pattern but actually, it is not. A plexiglas/acrylic type of guitar looks very cool but sounds bad. on tgp: yes, only the most expensive, rarist finger board wood will give you good tone. The tone wood is a lot more important on acoustic guitars than it is with electric guitars. That makes it a perfect template for your own sound. Does an electric guitar's tonewood affect the tone? Not much mention of wood there, but in reality, that is only part of the story. If the guitar is tonally dead unamplified, its electrified tone will mirror that inadequacy. How do Gibson SGs, LPs, Flying Vs, and Explorers sound different if not for the woods? If the body material did a difference, the tone of the guitar would significantly change if you pressed the guitar against a wall, or put the guitar on the floor, because that’s like an extention of the body. Considered by some to be the holy grail of neck woods, Pau ferro feels slick, speedy, fast. Welcome back to Fundamentals of Guitar Anatomy, my multi-part series examining the ins and outs of your electric guitar.In the last lecture, we talked about body styles, and that knowledge will help you to grasp this one, as we’re going to be talking about the different types of wood used for guitars and their effect. You can make to identical bodies from on plank and they can sound different. Same pickups, same scale length. At the end of the day, electric guitar tone is a magic brew made up of a lot of factors. wood is the element of chaos. Intuitively, it would seem strange if it didn’t; but, there are many factors that are going to affect the sound produced from a guitar; isolating them is as difficult as creating a study that will convince anyone of an idea they already are clinging to. Fender Musical Instruments Corporation. I haven’t played enough guitars to actually tell for sure. A thicker piece, like a Les Paul Junior, has a thicker, chunkier, meatier tone with softer highs and more push in the lower mids. For most players it’s just too heavy. I agree with the majority of what you are saying here. Try a quality hand made electric guitar and plug into a clean Jazz amp like a ploytone, you’ll hear all the tonal differences in the wood. were the braces carved to be a close as identical as possible? Wood has very minimal effect on the tone of an electric guitar. Baked maple is heat treated maple. overall tone of an electric guitar. I have played six near identical factory made guitars in a row, and found tonal differences – two were lovely, four were poor. This classic, brownish wood has being used for instruments for years. Maple brings in a nice amount of high-end with a good bass boost too, however when strings are … The tone is bright with an incredible push in the upper mids. The coloring doesn’t take away anything of the tonal qualities we came to know and love. You’d be surprised to learn that the $200 guitar was picked as sounding better just as often as the big buckaroos. Also the shape of the guitar or if it’s solid or hallow shouldn’t be a tone factor… Realy?! Some guitars of the ’80s were fully maple, and for the styles they were used for were extremely good. The sound comes from the direct vibration of the strings, picked up by magnetic pickups. Maple. In my experience of experimenting with builds/transfers of components between custom guitars, body & neck wood absolutely contributes to electric guitar “tone” (frequency curve), as well as – perhaps even more so – to attack, decay, and sustain. So make a guitar body out of crap and play it so we can all listen how it sounds… If you really can’t hear any difference, change instrument… Learn the flute. I built an ash guitar recently for a customer based on his ’58 Tele in swamp ash, and it had nothing like the acoustic properties of the original, even with identical hardware and construction. A non subjective test must be made to make sure. It should always be remembered that no two pieces are the same, there are the general tonal characteristics to these woods. Walnut is a great choice as a laminate top on korina or as a core for Koa. I really REALLY want to know the truth. It may or may not be that the wood colors the vibration of the strings, but the effect is so small it’s insignificant. This is by no means a complete picture, only a global overview. Some electrics (modern designs like Ibanez and ESP i.e. The 50 year old seasoned wood made for one loud guitar. But it doesn’t. My grandson and I went to GuitarCenter today and did a little test. This wood is most often used for fretboards on more luxurious guitars and as laminate tops and backs for the most expensive guitars, electric and acoustic alike. HOME > Neck influence in guitar tone THE NECK INFLUENCE IN GUITAR TONE. I think your sample size is too small – are the two guitars identical in all other respects – necks the same, same type of neck joint, same tuners, same nut, same saddle, same bridge material, same bridge pins, tops the same, size the same, same strings? The tone is similar to maple but with more chunky mids. No doubt the pickups and electronics you use will have a bigger effect on your tone than the wood, because its an *electric* guitar. It’s undeniable that acoustic guitars are dependent on tonewood for their sound, but much more goes into it with regards to electrics. The difference between a billet cut from the top or the bottom of the tree makes a huge difference in tone. The short answer is yes, different wood species have distinguishable sound characteristics, influencing the tone of an electric guitar. right! to me the sound difference is huge. It sounded like mud…. I would say the wood species contributes some characteristics to the electric clean sound. Then how could the wood not play a role in your guitar’s tone? Agathis is a general moniker? Can I tell you what kills the tone and gives all the guitars an average tone of similarity??? Previously, the reason behind the different tones that different woods create has been explained.