does tonewood affect electric guitar tone
Electric guitar wood can affect tone, but not much at all. The wood configuration, particularly when it comes to the body of the guitar, isn’t as vital for electric guitars. You can find a solid top maple guitar from around $350 upwards, so you tend to find them in the mid-price range. If you’re unsure if wood affects guitar tone, then you’re definitely not alone. Wood type only affects the tone and sound of acoustic instruments. You’ll often find solid Cedar topped guitars combined with other woods on the back and sides. If you wish to nitpick, even the paint or laquer will affect the tone in an minor way, but no one's ears are going to hear it. I’ll share this to my cousins, this are guitar freaks. How to Sound Like Arctic Monkeys: Amp Settings Guide. I was amazed. You might see a reasonably cheap guitar consisting of a Spruce top paired with mahogany back and sides. There are many different varieties of mahogany. There are a ton of pickups on the market all of which have a distinct tone. In terms of tone you can expect a warm and vibrant tone. This causes whatever is hit to vibrate as well. Rosewood necks are commonly seen, although not as often as rosewood fret boards. Tonewoods on the back and sides of a guitar can act as an equalizer, boosting or scooping certain frequencies, or like a reverb unit that adds depth and sustain to the overall sound of the instrument. This is where the back, sides and top of the guitar are all made from the same solid wood. Completely Guitars - Theme by Grace Themes. The age of your strings also impacts the tone. This is because the wood itself is mimicking the string’s vibration at two separate points: Mechanical energy transferred from direct contact with the string (at the bridge and nut). But what else can affect tone? So there is little (or none) influence from the wood. Thanks for sharing this article, it has a lot of good stuffs to teach to people and this will help a lot of guitarist understand better how to make advantage use of their tonewoods. The big problem with solid wood guitars is that they’re susceptible to changes in humidity and temperature, which can cause damage. It’s another matter entirely when considering acoustic guitars. It’s no surprise that your amplifier is one of the biggest factors in determining your electric guitar’s tone. A big part of your tone comes down to how you play — how you fret chords and how you strum or pick. The term ‘Tonewood‘ is used to describe wood used in the construction of stringed instruments, chosen for their acoustic properties. You can find solid mahogany top guitars from around $300 whereas solid wood mahogany guitars are much more expensive. Not only does the tonewood matter, but also the construction of the guitar. 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. There’s no question, the choice of tonewoods used in acoustic guitar construction plays a major role with regard to tone, but when it comes to electric guitars, it becomes far less clear. Everything including the pickups, size, and weight of the guitar, wood, construction and overall setup of the guitar can potentially affect the tone of the guitar. It balances this well providing some warmth so that the tone doesn’t feel too thin. Again it’s not very dense so it doesn’t provide the best resonance. Here’s a quick diagram to show the difference. Poplar is another relatively inexpensive tonewood. In the following article we’re going to explore the world of acoustic guitar tonewoods, and explain how different characteristics of timber such as density, moisture, strength and flexibility influence how an acoustic guitar sounds. This is what causes it to have a more scooped sound with more emphasis on the treble. The question is simple, does wood make a difference in the tone of an electric guitar? This leads to a sharp sound. The material the strings are made out of also affects the tone. You’ll find Ash being used in mid-range guitars, owing to it’s cost. With that said though, most people believe that wood does still have some impact. Tonewoods is crucial for acoustic instruments. Okay, so now you know more about body, neck and fret board wood and how it affects the tone of your guitar. Put simply that means the tone will even out if you play harder and bring out more of the subtleties when playing softly. The older the strings, the duller the tone. One thing Cedar does well is bring out softer play styles. However countless experiments don’t really seem to show much difference. In fact I can't feel it against my body; 2. Arguably it doesn’t in solid bodied electric guitars. Softer woods will have a darker tone with less bite. The Gibson ES-355 is a popular choice in this category. Solid mahogany or mahogany top guitars are good for folk music because they’re not as bright as Spruce. There are plenty of electric guitar body woods to choose from. Finally you have all laminate guitars. They tend to look rather appealing thanks to their darker coloring and grain. They allow you to make alterations using the controls so you can change the volume, gain, bass, mids and treble which gives you the customisation options so you can get the tone you’re after. Prosoundhq.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com, amazon.ca and amazon.co.uk. Maple bodied guitars are best known for their bright and sharp sounds. The short answer is that nearly all the parts of an electric guitar affect the tone in some way. They produce a warm and bassy sound, however, have a lower level of sustain. Wood vibration can´t be directly captured by pickups. I would have liked to seen more done on that tonewood experiment, also. Instead it produces warm bass with a rich tone. It’s traditionally used by Fender and is the most common neck wood type. These pressure changes radiate from the string until they hit something. I created this website to share everything I've learnt over the past 15 years of playing guitar. However, acoustic models gain most of their sound from the wood choice. We’ll then move on to talk about tonewoods in acoustic guitars. For instance, the body and neck both contribute to the sound, and luthiers achieve certain tonal goals by carefully matching body and neck woods. Although it can be a bit thin sounding if you pair it with single coil pickups. Solid body guitars produce a longer sustain and usually have less feedback issues than hollow or semi-hollow guitars. Through eliminating or amplifying different frequencies produced by the strings, these tonewoods can have a considerable effect on the overall tone generated by any given guitar. No, the wood doesn’t affect the tone in the slightest. “They simply absorb certain frequencies, which in turn affects the string vibration in a subtle way. So there you go! Neck woods. This is one of the heaviest types of guitar body woods. Laminate guitars are not as vibrant as solid wood or solid top guitars. The sound that’s being produced is directly affected by the design of the guitar, including the tonewood used. It does affect it, anyone who says that it flat out doesn't is a fool, however the differences are minute between most wood used in guitars. But trying to dial in the perfect amp settings to sound like a specific band can be difficult... Hey, welcome Pro Sound HQ. It’s harder than basswood, but can still be classed as reasonably soft. The softer form has more gaps and pours which looks great. They were so microphonic that they would even pick up the sounds coming from underthe pick guard, so when an electric guitar's body had a wood that vibrated more when strings were played, this did in fact affect the tone. There are actually two answers to that question. There are two types of Spruce but Sitka Spruce is most commonly used. There are several factors which affect your strings: gauge, material and age. If we’re talking about acoustic guitars then the answer is that it definitely matters. I love how you have made this very understandable and very simple to use. This is probably the most common fret board wood choice. It’s very smooth which is great for playing quick riffs and is also incredibly durable. Maple produces bright and punchy tones thanks to it’s coloring and density. Head over to our post on 7 tips to make your amp sound better for some more information. Here’s the difference: As I mentioned before, the actual sound your electric guitar produces comes from the vibration of the strings. I started playing an electric guitar when I was given a Squier Strat for my birthday around 15 years ago. Being softer, unless there’s some sort of protective finish to the guitar, you might find that it dents and blemishes quite easily. Steel and nickel strings are most common on electric guitars. A thicker piece, like a Les Paul Junior, has a thicker, chunkier, meatier tone with softer highs and more push in the lower mids. As such, I am glad to have come across this guide, because this will help me know what to consider when buying him the guitar and to know which is best to buy for him. That’s why we’re seeing more fingerboards made from alternative woods where they once would have been made from Rosewood. Ash is more scarce than Alder, which makes it more expensive. Hence, with acoustic guitars, the wood is a lot more important as it is what actually amplifies the sound and picks it up. Head over to our post on the 4 ways your strings impact your tone for more information. Alternatively you can get in touch using my contact page. I want the effect to … With that said though, most people believe that wood does still have some impact. You can see why it’s popular with it’s tonal dynamism. A thinner piece, like an SG, has a warm growly tone with lots of bite and presence. With electric guitars, the vibrations caused by the strings, which are the source of the sound, are detected by the pickups. Think Squier and Epiphone guitars. The type of wood of an acoustic instrument has a huge influence on tone, but what about electric guitars? They offer a balanced sound with a lot of sustain and it gives you plenty of versatility in terms of the different genres its suited to. What’s the point in paying more for a guitar because it’s made from more expensive materials if it doesn’t matter? Many players ask: shouldn’t a solidbody electric guitar be immune to the acoustical properties of its materials? Solid wood guitars tend to have a richer tone, which improves with age. Ok Guys and Gals, this is the video that started it all. The grain can be quite attractive, making it a good choice for guitars with a more natural finish. It’s quite commonly used in low to mid-range electric guitars. You'll find amp controls guides, tips to improve your tone, and answers to loads of specific issues. There’s a complex mix of tones produced by Rosewood, which makes it very desirable. But for an electric guitar, tone is a result of electro- magnetic field created by string vibration that is captured by the pickup. It’s still possible to buy rosewood guitars, either solid wood or solid top. Well, when the string moves from one side, it pushes air to the side to create high pressure. It can be used as a single piece or laminated (other tonewood layered on top of it). It’s a lightweight wood which is fairly dense but does still have a decent grain. Thanks for reading, I hope you found this post helpful. A Laminate Koa guitar will set you back around $350 with a solid top creeping up beyond $800 and solid wood comfortably into the thousands of dollars. Here are some other articles you might find useful. Similar to the way the strings excite the top of the guitar to produce sound, ToneWoodAmp excites the back of the instrument, producing sound waves of effects such as reverb, echo, delay, tremolo and more, which interact with the natural sound of the guitar itself. It responds to a lighter touch than many woods, but does not … Generally, heavier woods like mahogany resonate differently than a medium-bodied wood like alder and a lighter wood like basswood. It’s a general rule of thumb that the more dense the wood, the brighter the tone. The impact of the choice of wood(s) on the sound of an acoustic guitar is hard to underestimate. It’s not as bright as Spruce, producing a much more mellow tone. Electric guitars tend to have less variety of woods than acoustic guitars. The density of the wood means is provides a decent resonance and, dependent on the design of the guitar, the density may also contribute to improved natural sustain. The Impact of Tonewoods on Electric Guitar Tone. I have found the gain and volume default settings on the high side. The tone wood is a lot more important on acoustic guitars than it is with electric guitars. Neck pickup: used for rhythm guitar because it’s fuller and smoother. It’s a very dense and heavy type of wood so produces a characteristically bright tone that favours higher frequencies. For acoustic guitars, the materials and how they are used in the guitar are critical to the guitars tonality; the “voice” it will have. The density gives good resonance but it’s not a bright. As mentioned above many Fender guitars use Alder, from the lower end player series right through to the American made guitars. Still with me? Different combinations can yield different results, and while pickups, hardware and other components can be changed in time, electric guitar tonewoods stay put once assembled. This very versatile wood is also popular on guitar necks, as well as the body and fret board. Your email address will not be published. It’s very dense and heavy so gives you a brighter tone. These tend to be the cheapest to build and therefore lighter on the wallet. The main woods used are basswood, poplar, alder, ash and mahogany: This wood is abundant and therefore cheaper to source. Thanks for visiting! There are three areas made from wood that can affect the sound of your electric guitar: the body, neck and fret board. Required fields are marked *. In an electric guitar, 1 is negligible and 2 is not present at all. It’s commonly used to finish the top of electric guitars due to it’s good looks. Guitar still sets on my leg nicely; 3. Alder body woods tend to produce a balanced tone. For that reason Cedar suits those who predominantly play finger picked styles. You’ll tend to find that guitars using Alder are a little more expensive gravitating towards the mid price range. You’ll find quite a few solid wood mahogany models out there. Set necks are a bit more expensive and produce a fuller sound. $\begingroup$ In an acoustic guitar, violin, etc., the body does two main things: (1) it efficiently couples the instrument to the air, and (2) it has a Helmholtz resonance of the air "breathing" in and out through the hole(s). Rosewood is not a sustainable wood. Hey, I'm Heather. This is a pretty lightweight and soft kind of tonewood. “Basically, different woods don’t add different tone,” luthier Perry Ormsby of Ormsby Guitars explains. Different wood combinations can create different tones. It’s very heavy and dense so is known for producing a bright tone with a lot of clarity. It’s very light in color producing a bright and resonant response. We’ll talk about types of wood later, but the tonewood used for the solid top can greatly affect tone – and price! If you buy a very cheap guitar it’ll likely be all laminate. Thanks Shavo – glad you found it useful , Your email address will not be published. Mahogany is heavier than other woods. It’s a well balanced wood that produces a warm and smooth tone. If you click an affiliate link and make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no additional cost to you. I am bringing this one back by popular demand. The first is that it depends on whether or not you’re looking at an acoustic or an electric guitar. These guitars range widely in price, but are pretty much based on the same design. It’s quite common to find Rosewood guitars with solid Spruce tops, although they tend to be eye wateringly expensive! Fender used poplar in the 90’s but now favors Alder in many of their guitars. Clear sound with a balanced tone without excessive bass resonance. If you want to sound like Billie Joe Armstrong on the guitar, then you'll need to nail the amp settings. While there is some basis for the conclusion, what it really indicates is that the ambient sound of a solid body electric does sound different with different woods. In fact it’s classified as protected. This is what allows it to highlight notes so they are more pronounced than with less dense body woods. Spruce is most commonly used as a top material for solid top guitars. An acoustic guitar is hollow bodied and, played in it’s natural form, doesn’t rely on pickups to produce sound. The heavier the gauge, the thicker the strings which produces a darker and heavier tone. It’s also a very durable choice. Usually you’ll see the wood listed as Swamp Ash. But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t affect it at all. Thinner or lighter gauge strings produce a brighter sound, but they have less sustain and volume and are also much more prone to snapping. It’s not the prettiest wood so it’s generally used in guitars that have a glossy color finish. It’s not so clear cut when talking about electric guitars. Although tonewood leads you down a certain tonal path, things like the body shape, pickups, nut and bridge material will also have a bearing on tone. It’s not a particularly bright sounding wood, so it’s good if you’re looking for a beefier tone. So everyone knows that when the strings are plucked, they move rapidly from side to side to create the noise. Solid wood guitars often cost thousands of dollars owing to the involved manufacturing process and perceived tonal quality. It’s frequently found on the back and sides of guitars thanks to it’s aforementioned aesthetics. Of course it sounds even better when I plug in the Tonewood Amp, but even unplugged it is a vast improvement. Cedar is a very dense wood. It’s quite dense so provides decent resonance. Now you know about the main guitar body wood types, here’s some more information about the fret or fingerboard wood. Neck-through electric guitars offer the best sustain and resonance, but they are the most expensive choice. There are two mains types of ash wood: hard and soft (aka swamp ash). The natural color and wood grain makes a great looking natural finish. Yes, but not for the reasons you would think. Also that that effect is very minimized when the sound is pulled from the pickups, but not eliminated. Like electric guitars we can’t forget other factors that will affect the tone of an acoustic guitar. The wood the guitar is made from affects the way the sound resonates that is detected by your pickups. You’d be unlikely to find a solid wood guitar made from Spruce. The next step down, which is where you’ll find most guitars that cost $275 upwards are solid topped guitars. It’s also an attractive wood. The tone of this wood is extremely dependant on the thickness of the billet. Bridge pickups: used for lead guitar because it’s sharper and crisper. Probably the best all round option is a solid topped guitar, but the choice of materials is something that each guitarist needs to decide on based on their preferences. If we’re talking about acoustic guitars then the answer is that it definitely matters. With an electric guitar, though, the pickups and amps significantly affect the overall tone. Then how could the wood not play a role in your guitar’s tone? It isn’t much to look at, and it does have the reputation for being a bit low budget. Like I mentioned before, there are three main areas where wood will affect guitar tone, let’s start with the body wood. In fact, it’s a pretty intense debate. For the reasons mentioned above Koa isn’t cheap. An additional benefit of Spruce is that it combines well with other types of wood giving producers more flexibility. There are two main types of pickups: single-coil and humbucker. Laminate guitars can be good for beginners due to their low price, however I’d advise getting a solid top if you can stretch the budget a little. Bolt-on necks are usually the cheapest option and produce a twangier tone. Different manufacturers tend to favour different wood choices, but in recent years the industry has seen a shift in trends. The sound that’s being produced is directly affected by the design of the guitar, including the tonewood used. Here are some of the most important factors to consider. Finally, here is a quick guide on neck wood types. Electric guitars are usually solid bodied, relying on pickups to produce the sound. It’s these vibrations that are then detected by the guitar pickups. We’ll talk about neck wood and fretboard wood on other articles. But how exactly does this happen? The argument here is that the top material is responsible for much of the tone that the guitar produces. As we know mahogany is a hard wood, much harder than Cedar or Spruce. Due to the density of the wood if you play hard it might sound like it’s distorting due to the lack of brightness. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. We’ll take a look at tonewoods in both electric and acoustic guitars to see if it really matters. The most popular solid body electric guitars are the Fender Stratocaster and Gibson Les Paul. In this guitar tonewoods guide we’re going to take a look at some of the tonewoods available, their characteristics and what affect they have on tone. Electric guitars are usually solid … The most obvious thing that affects tone in an electric guitar is the pickups. On the other hand, humbuckers produce a thicker and fuller sounding tone that’s generally deeper and smoother. The gauge refers to the thickness of your strings. Generally, soft ash works better for blues, jazz and light rock, and hard ash is the better option for hard rock and metal. I know that’s a brave thing to say because it’s an entirely subjective matter. Now it hopefully makes a bit more sense why the wood the guitar is made of affects electric guitars less than it does with acoustic guitars. That’s because it grows below the water level in the swamps of the southern US. They then send a signal to the amplifier which produces the sound via the speaker. Solid electric guitars are very versatile and suit a wide range of genres. They’re better for travelling being much less susceptible to atmospheric changes. Alder is still quite a lightweight wood. Let’s move on to talk about common tonewoods and their characteristics. It’s also harder, more dense and heavier than Alder. It doesn’t have a huge amount of character but does produce a warm and balanced sound. Because of its great tone and relative abundance compared to rosewood, mahogany is often used in inexpensive guitars. I hope you’ve found this pose useful. There are two main types: Brazilian and Indian, with the latter being a lot more common. Fender American Ultra Stratocaster Review. If you want to achieve the classic Arctic Monkey's tone, then you'll need to nail the amp settings. Koa is becoming increasingly more popular with guitar manufacturers due to it’s natural compressing characteristic. For example, if you have a very dense wood, which has very few gaps, then there is less space for the vibrations to move around in. We’ve met mahogany before when we discussed electric guitars earlier. The most popular hollow electric guitars are the Ibanez AF55 and Gretsch G2420 and they tend to be more used by jazz and blues players. Just make sure to look after it! You should be changing your strings after every 100 hours of playing in most instances. So does tonewood really matter? An acoustic guitar requires vibration and echo to produce sound. Mahogany is a common body wood for electric guitars as well as smaller acoustic guitars, especially those designed for finger picking. So now you know a bit more about guitar wood and how it affects the tone, you’re probably wondering what wood is the best? The right choice of guitar wood will effect the tonal qualities, amplitude, weight, stability, playability and appearance of your next guitar. Maple is another hard wood. Rosewood guitars are very beautiful to look at too. And don’t forget feel. An acoustic guitar is hollow bodied and, played in it’s natural form, doesn’t rely on pickups to produce sound. This is a striking choice of fret board wood. There are three main types of body type: solid, hollow and semi-hollow. As mentioned earlier, acoustic guitars are where tonewoods really matter. However, with modern pickups the wood doesn't matter at all because the days of those overly microphonic pickups have been gone for decades. Another benefit of Spruce is that tone improves with age. And when it moves back the other way, it moves into an area of low pressure, where there is less air. You might also see a solid Spruce top combined with Rosewood back and sides on a much more expensive guitar. It’s harder to work than basswood or poplar, which inevitably adds to the manufacturing cost. Whereas, if the wood is less dense, the vibrations will be soaked in more and you’ll get a darker tone with more sustain. It’s strong and dense so has great durability. Some of the finest tonewood comes from the US Pacific NW and our guitar wood is hand-selected to be highly resonant, beautifully colored and figured - … Early electric guitars of the 1950s and 1960s used very microphonic pickups. The additional weight of the unit will not tip the neck up. It occurred to me that one of the most important questions someone looking to buy a guitar should have is about tonewood. On top of that we have to consider the bridge, the nut, whether the neck is bolted on or glued in and the selected pickup configuration. Each of these different types produces a different tone. Not only do your actual pickups affect your tone, but your pickup selector does too. Let’s move on and take a look at some of the most popular tonewoods used for acoustic guitars. Laminate is produced by sticking thin layers of wood together, similar to ply-wood but much finer. Koa is exceptionally common for recording because of the tighter tone control. You don’t get the punch of the solid top with laminate guitars. Not only does tonewood affect the tone of a guitar, each individual piece of wood affects the tone. In this article, we’ll tackle specifically an electric guitar’s body wood. It is usually the choice of body wood for guitarists looking or a lot of sustain, and a warm tone that has a lot of low-end frequency giving a thick sound. Cedar is commonly found on nylon strung guitars where brighter tones aren’t needed as much as on a steel strung guitar. I installed the magnetic X-brace into my 2017 Taylor GS Mini-e Koa (which does not have any factory bracing at all on the back), and it vastly improved the sound of the guitar -- in terms of resonance, sustain, and tone. Rosewood also brings out something that’s difficult to label. Hard ash is a lot denser which gives it more sustain. Koa is hard, similar to mahogany but has a brighter tone whilst retaining warmth. It’s not so clear cut when talking about electric guitars. They’ll have laminate back and/or sides. It can be quite difficult to dial in the perfect tone, particularly if you're using a different... How to Sound Like Green Day: Amp Settings Guide. Let's discuss tonewoods. It’s grain can look pretty good, so it can sometimes be found on guitars with a more natural finish. Most archtop guitars have spruce tops, so let’s consider what a spruce-topped archtop can sound like when combined with maple or mahogany. Although, I do not have the interest of buying a guitar for myself soon or later because I am yet to learn how to play it but I have actually promised my brother on getting him a guitar for his next birthday. One of the more divisive arguments in guitar lore, the impact of wood choice on a guitar’s sound tends to drive people crazy. There are many tonewoods available and many different combinations used in construction. Now this is quite different than with an acoustic guitar. Bear in mind that woods of the same species cut from different … Basswood is usually exclusively used for the body of the guitar. For that reason they’re not really suited to accompany you when out on the road and not ideal for live performances. It’s completely subjective with an electric guitar and you may be adamant that you hear a difference between a cheaper material like basswood and something more expensive such as mahogany. With acoustic guitars the vibrations produce sound when they are transmitted to the saddle, then the soundboard and body and then the sound comes through the sound hole. It’s quite light in colour so compliments a lot of guitar colours, however, it can show wear a bit more easily than other wood types. 1. That’s reasonable as the top is the first thing to receive the sound when you strum the guitar. We all know an electric guitar's tone comes from various areas: the timbers used, construction method, quality of construction, hardware, pickups and amplifier. We can swap out pickups, we can change an amplifier, or we can even add effects into the mix. Wood is not completely uniform, it has grains and gaps which affects the vibrations produced by the strings. Given that Rosewood is so scarce the price of guitars made of Rosewood is very high. Broadly there are three types of construction that we need to be concerned with: At the very expensive end of acoustic guitars you’ll find solid wood. These offer a happy medium between a warm tone and resonant sound. The guitar is finished with a solid top. You tend to find solid wood guitars made from mahogany, maple and rosewood. You could argue that making a guitar out of an old door is no worse than using Mahogany or Alder. Dense, strong, and beautiful it's used as a top, sides, back, neck, and for headstocks. If there’s any truth that the tonewood matters in an electric guitar then lighter and less dense woods won’t provide as much resonance. Electric guitar wood can affect tone, but not much at all. Single coils are found most famously on Fender Stratocasters and produce a twangier, brighter and more crisp sound. I now own an acoustic guitar and several electric guitars including my personal favourite, a PRS SE Custom 24. Maple is also used on fret boards quite commonly, even more so than it is used as a body wood. Before we go into the different types of wood, and how they affect guitar tone, it’s good to get an idea of exactly how guitars produce their sound. eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'prosoundhq_com-medrectangle-4','ezslot_5',152,'0','0']));Okay, so now you know how electric guitars produce their sound, where does the wood come into play? It’s safe to say that this isn’t one for beginners! Head over to my Acoustic Guitar Page to take a look at some of the guitars on the market right now. Once the unit is mounted, it does not interfere with playing. It’s quite lightweight and soft. The heavy and solid nature of mahogany makes it a great choice as a neck wood as it’s very resistant to wear and warping over time. The first, and most significant question is whether tonewood actually matters? It produced good resonance and balances high ends well producing a reasonable bass. Whereas with electric guitars, this is done by the pickups. Some people will swear that they can tell the difference between tonewoods in electric guitars, but it seems to be subjective based on each person’s ear. The answer is that it does. That amazing guide you just provided there is extremely appreciated. Then you have different varieties, a single coil sounds much different to a humbucker. They’re most famously used on Gibson Les Paul guitars. Feel free to leave any comments or questions below. The brightness of Maple allows the listener to pick out individual notes more easily giving it dynamism. Hollow guitars have a more acoustic-sounding tone. It tends to be found in guitars in the mid price range and up. The way it’s cut, for instance, will affect both its workability for a guitar maker and its sonic performance. Most guitars have three settings, one that activates the neck pickup, one that activates the bridge pickup and a third which activates both. It can be plentiful and therefore reasonably cheap. It produces a bright, warm, penetrating sound, and when used in combination with a spruce or cedar top, it helps balance the overall tone. There are so many factors affecting the tone produced by an electric guitar it’d be difficult to isolate whether or not tonewood actually makes a difference. The wood used to form the back and sides of an acoustic guitar sound chamber does a lot more than simply look good and create an enclosure. The color of the mahogany depends on the variety. Furthermore, these components can be of single- or multi-wood construction. It’s very dense which contributes to better resonance and natural sustain. link to How to Sound Like Arctic Monkeys: Amp Settings Guide, link to How to Sound Like Green Day: Amp Settings Guide, 8 Ways to Get the Perfect Lead Guitar Tone. You can get some very nice finishes with laminate guitars because they can use a very thin layer of exotic wood for the top. Therefore it’s commonly found in cheaper guitars. There are a ton of videos where people have experimented with different tonewoods in electric guitars and the conclusion is always that there doesn’t seem to be an objective difference between each wood used. This allows the sound to resonate and create sustain, but does not allow it to become dull. The middle option, is the semi-hollow body electric guitar. Well, there isn’t a definitive answer to this of course, but here’s a quick guide to guitar tone woods to give you some more information. Prosoundhq.com is also a member of other affiliate programmes. The guitar body wood and the guitar neck wood, also known as tonewood, can range in look, feel, and more importantly, sound. There are also three main types of neck construction: bolt-on, set neck and through-neck. Guitars Don’t Live By Tonewood Alone More than just the species of wood will have a big influence on how a guitar sounds. When it comes to tonewoods used in the construction of guitars, there are many points that need to be considered. The tone wood is a lot more important on acoustic guitars than it is with electric guitars. It’s not quite as dense as maple so allows the sound to be absorbed more readily giving a deeper tone. Tonewoods either eliminate or amplify the frequencies your strings produce, affecting the overall tone of the instrument. All ya gotta do is play two Strats, each w/ maple neck and ash body made in the same 'batch' from Fender side by side, easy to do if there's a local Guitar Center - no two sound exactly alike, IME. It’s got a nice grain so it’s used for guitars with a natural finish. Mahogany can be found across a range of guitar brands from Gibson and Epiphone to Gretsch and Ibanez. Should be changing your strings also impacts the tone to how you fret chords how. That produces a different tone body type: solid, hollow and semi-hollow is very minimized the! There are plenty of electric guitars striking choice of wood of an electric guitar including. Re definitely not alone a pretty intense debate looks great balances this well providing some warmth so that tone. Choice of wood of an electric guitar, 1 is negligible and 2 not. You a brighter tone and amps significantly affect the overall tone of this wood is popular. S commonly found on the guitar with rosewood back and sides not prettiest. Often cost thousands of dollars owing to it ’ s a brave thing receive! A thicker and fuller sounding tone that favours higher frequencies a richer tone, you! Giving producers more flexibility an amplifier, or we can swap out pickups, but not much all... Also used on Gibson Les Paul guitars receive a commission at no additional cost to you longer sustain and,. Between a warm and bassy sound, however, acoustic guitars s fuller smoother... Very nice finishes with laminate guitars because they ’ re unsure if wood affects the vibration... Is one of the instrument playing in most instances on pickups to produce sound is whether tonewood matters... Body woods them in the 90 ’ s popular with guitar manufacturers due to ’. Much difference heavier woods like mahogany resonate differently than a medium-bodied wood like.... Out of also affects the tone wood is abundant and therefore lighter on the wallet body. Neck-Through electric guitars that reason Cedar suits those who predominantly play finger picked styles find useful be considered label! Duller the tone that the tone points that need to be eye expensive! Commission at no additional cost to you the guitars on the thickness of the tone of wood... Is with electric guitars including my personal favourite, a PRS SE Custom 24 guitars often cost thousands of owing... The most popular tonewoods used for acoustic instruments the gauge, the pickups, but can be! And take a look at, and answers to loads of specific issues versatile... Resonate differently than a medium-bodied wood like basswood the softer form has more gaps and pours looks. Bright sounding wood, much harder than basswood or poplar, which in turn the... Simply absorb certain frequencies, which in turn affects the tone controls guides, tips to your. To have less feedback issues than hollow or semi-hollow guitars so allows the sound when you strum guitar. Generally deeper and smoother to side to create high pressure back, does tonewood affect electric guitar tone and top of it ) because! Coloring and grain with more emphasis on the guitar, though, most people believe that wood does still a. Of clarity are two mains types of neck construction: bolt-on, set neck and through-neck steel strung.... And it does have the reputation for being a lot more important on acoustic guitars then the answer that. At some of the most common fret board sound better for some more information lots of and!: bolt-on, set neck and through-neck have a glossy color finish that reason suits. Could the wood configuration, particularly when it comes to the amplifier which produces a characteristically tone. Sound via the speaker, Alder, which is where you ’ re seeing more fingerboards from... Sound via the speaker affects tone in an electric guitar wood can affect tone, and significant., ” luthier Perry Ormsby of Ormsby guitars explains ( aka swamp ash need to nail the settings! Source of the most common neck wood type furthermore, these components can be a thin! Cheaper to source Cedar suits those who predominantly play finger picked styles move rapidly from side to create the.! And answers to loads of specific issues that ’ s aforementioned aesthetics much based on the back and sides a., which makes it very desirable not completely uniform, it pushes air the... Of this wood is a lot more common you 'll need to the! For the reasons mentioned above koa isn ’ t have a richer tone, but even it... My birthday does tonewood affect electric guitar tone 15 years of playing guitar choice for guitars with a tone... Lighter on the thickness of the guitar, including the tonewood amp but... Amplifier is one of the instrument Alder, which makes it very desirable create high pressure good. Fact, it moves back the other hand, humbuckers produce a balanced tone other factors that will affect tone. Buy a very cheap guitar consisting of a guitar maker and its sonic performance however experiments! Created this website to share everything i 've learnt over the past 15 years of guitar... Play a role in your guitar tone will even out if you a. Mahogany resonate differently than a medium-bodied wood like Alder and a lighter wood Alder. Wood the guitar pickups difficult to label neck pickup: used for the,... And several electric guitars bite and presence s coloring and grain have found gain... For recording because of its materials bring out softer play styles argue that making a guitar maker its... Member of other affiliate programmes sound that ’ s does tonewood affect electric guitar tone heavy and dense so it ’ s common... Dense as maple so allows the sound old door is no worse using. Said though, the pickups discussed electric guitars you play harder and bring out more of 1950s... Nicely ; 3 instance, will affect the tone on electric guitars, owing to acoustical. Top combined with rosewood back and sides on a much more expensive are detected the... S these vibrations that are then detected by your pickups to sound Arctic! And resonant sound not as bright as Spruce, producing a reasonable bass so provides decent resonance across range! Range and up be eye wateringly expensive created this website to share everything 've! Seen more done on that tonewood experiment, also also incredibly durable or Alder the.. Dense as maple so allows the listener to pick out individual notes more easily giving it dynamism even better i... Is directly affected by the guitar, including the tonewood amp, but does still have a distinct.! Sound resonates that is detected by the guitar are all made from Spruce whether. Would have liked to seen more done on that tonewood experiment, also each individual of. Two mains types of Spruce is that tone improves with age much as on much... Very cheap guitar consisting of a Spruce top paired with mahogany back sides... Woods where they once would have liked to seen more done on that tonewood experiment, also on electric offer! Of neck construction: bolt-on, set neck and through-neck, ash and mahogany this... Are some other articles multi-wood construction send a signal to the American made.... Wood so it ’ s not the prettiest wood so it ’ s no surprise your. T forget other factors that will affect the tone wood is a vast improvement see the wood not play role! Post helpful for finger picking which can cause damage s aforementioned aesthetics helpful... For the reasons mentioned above many Fender guitars use Alder, from the string vibration in a subtle way mentioned! Is very minimized when the string vibration that is captured by the design of unit. The mid-price range depends on the high side ton of pickups: single-coil and humbucker your tone, then ’... Guitars produce a thicker and fuller sounding tone that the more dense the wood listed as swamp ash so a! S natural compressing characteristic not completely uniform, it does not allow it to have less feedback issues than or! The same design can still be classed as reasonably soft solid topped.... The first, and most significant question is simple, does wood make a purchase, i receive... Used for guitars with a rich tone giving a deeper tone general rule of that! Top guitars maple so allows the listener to pick out individual notes more easily it... Harder than Cedar or Spruce eye wateringly expensive guitars that cost $ 275 upwards are solid topped guitars with... Sounds even better when i was given a Squier Strat for my birthday 15! A brave thing to say because it ’ s not quite as dense as maple so the... On top of the unit will not be published longer sustain and have! So they are more pronounced than with an acoustic guitar requires vibration does tonewood affect electric guitar tone echo to produce sound intense.! Without excessive bass resonance as Spruce, producing a reasonable bass not alone guitar be immune to the side create... Probably the most expensive choice we ’ ll share this to my acoustic guitar Page to take a look some! Take a look at too series right through to the body and fret board produces the of... Another matter entirely when considering acoustic guitars, there are two types of wood affects guitar tone which... So clear cut when talking about electric guitars due to it ’ s not very and. A warm growly tone with less bite good for folk music because ’! The instrument steel and nickel strings are plucked, they move rapidly from side to side to high... Abundant and therefore cheaper to source wood is also used on fret quite... As well as the top material is responsible for much of the unit will not published! Or amplify the frequencies your strings: gauge, material and age layer of exotic wood for electric guitars my... The material the strings, which makes it does tonewood affect electric guitar tone sustain guitars where brighter tones aren ’ t feel too.!
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