Bustin out a big 'ol can o'worms, so this is a warning up front...we won't solve this one.


I was in the hardware store getting some "chair lock" and I ran into an old friend who used to own a guitar shop. He still repairs and builds them. Then it occurred to me that he has some experience with this issue, so I asked him, "Do you think the body wood contributes to the sound? Is one kind brighter than another?" He said, "Sure, but I see the neck contribute more often." A long fun conversation ensued. Neck material affects tone, body wood affects tone. He tried swapping out necks and noticed a difference from neck to neck. General rules seemed to be true, but the rules aren't hard and fast. Ash bodies were usually brighter, but sometimes rosewood will be bright if it's a really dense chunk. Maple necks are usually more articulate and overall bright. The bottom line for him is that almost anything can affect the tone, not just the pickups. Some things contribute more than others.


Now this is the first person I've talked to who has tested it to any scientific degree and he seems to think the type of wood makes a difference. Do I have an opinion? Not really. I just buy what sounds and looks good. I don't have enough skill to care about anything other than playability and good tone. If those two things are achieved, I'm happy.


So here's what I'm asking for: evidence. I can tell you how the theory would work, but I've not played enough guitars against each other to really know. I know my acoustics have distinct tones and I can give you the general rules for rosewood vs. mahogany - I know these two very well. Sitka vs. Engleman is another one I'm very used to. But electric guitar tones? Don't know. 


Anyone out there played enough to get a general feel for the differences? Maybe we can solve this...



Views: 205

Replies to This Discussion

Ah, Stevo - now I KNOW you can't tell good from bad guitars.


The real secret is whether it's stored in a Tweed case. All the classic Fenders and Gibsons were, but do you remember how bad their quality was in the late 70s and 80s? It's because they went to black leatherette or (gasp) plastic blow-moulded cases. Now Gibson have gone back to shipping in tweed cases quality has been restored.

Oh yea, I forgot about that. My guitars didn't sound any good until I started carrying them in a tweed case. I swap it around so that the guitar I play next gets to be in the tweed case at least a week before playing. Test's have show that one week in tweed is all you need.

Im Actually working on designing a Tweed Speaker Cone, i just think that if before the sound even gets into the air, If it can pass through tweed it will improve it.


my gretsch was sounding amazing on sunday, and i realised it was because it had spent the entire weekend in the storeroom next to a tweed guitar case... just crazy!

We're on to something. I know it.

tell me about it!! i just had a baby last week (i actually did) and he is Sooooooo cute!! im pretty sure it comes down to the tweed undies i have been wearing this past year...



Tweed undies - now there's an area you don't want inflamed!


As for speaker cones, they need to be made from hemp (man).



You gotta put the baby in tweed. He'd be soooo cool.
hi guys, ever wondered why a guitar humidifier is so important .... when drier wood gives better tone??/ i am trying to figure this out but cannot come to terms.... any help please???/ thanks

First off, I don't humidify my solid body electric guitars.


Wood loses total mass and shrinks when it's drier. I humidify my acoustic guitars because I like my guitars in 1 peice and not cracked and split. It's the same reason why up here in cold & dry Canadian winters I humidify my house so the solid oak floors I put in don't split.


Ever compare beef jerky to a rare steak?

Wood is aged and seasoned in a particular climate - a stable state where it's not so dried out that it cracks and not so humid that it swells and becomes soft. It looks dry to you, but it's got a bit of moisture in it. When it's really dried out, it doesn't hold together and can't resonate because it's all flaked apart. When it has too much moisture, it doesn't resonate as well and tends to get swell out of shape. Generally, the climate that it's stabilized in is the climate the one you want to keep it at.  But it's of little concern with electric guitars as Wayne suggests.


© 2019       Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service