andrew625
Registered User
Join date: Feb 2008
279 IQ
#1
Hey all!!

So recently I've been trying to learn more about the wood used in guitar construction. There are a few websites describing the general characteristics of different types of wood. However, I can't seem to find a place where the wood is sorted by its hardness or density.

Can someone sort the wood commonly used in guitar construction by hardness/density??
Also, if there's a thread about tonewood characteristics that I haven't found here? If so can someone share it again??
Thank you thank you so much!!
Garthman
Registered User
Join date: Dec 2013
32 IQ
#2
I wouldn't worry too much about wood. Most of what you hear about "tonewood" is hype.
Jimjambanx
Friendly nihilist
Join date: Nov 2011
1,506 IQ
#4
Quote by Garthman
I wouldn't worry too much about wood. Most of what you hear about "tonewood" is hype.


Oh boy here we go.
Captaincranky
Registered User
Join date: Sep 2011
288 IQ
#5
If you're on about "density", every wood has a typical range of weigh per cubic foot.

"Tonewood", is sort of a term applied to all woods used in guitar construction.

However, mahogany for guitars, comes from the same trees as mahogany for furniture, and all the characteristics of any species in commercial use are available with a simple Google search. In fact, I think even Bing or Yahoo could find those stats for you as well.

What sounds good, is usually left to a luthier's good judgement when selecting wood for any particular instrument.

Softwoods, (coniferous species in general), are used in the soundboards and its braces. While hardwoods, (deciduous species), are generally used for the back, sides, and necks.

Because of the scarcity of species, (and hence cost), used for the construction of musical instruments, new sources are being investigated, "sapele" being just one example.

Learn more here: http://www.pantheonguitars.com/tonewoods.htm
Last edited by Captaincranky at Aug 21, 2014,
Tony Done
Registered User
Join date: Apr 2014
699 IQ
#6
Look up timber (or specific timber) density and Janka rating. There's a mountain of stuff on the internet. Also try guitar tonewood properties.

Here's one example:

http://ejmas.com/tin/2009tin/tinart_goldstein_0904.html

If you are doing this as an aid to buying, whatever you read about tonewoods, especially b&s timbers, should be taken as nothing more than a broad generality. Tone largely depends on construction, the particular piece of wood and luck. Eg Martins vary very substantially among individual guitars of the same model. Cosmetics and tradition also have a big influence on timber choices, and these choices may conflict with optimising tone.
andrew625
Registered User
Join date: Feb 2008
279 IQ
#7
Thank you guys for all of the responses. The main reason I'm asking is because I wanted to know how to suggest guitars to others. For example, when someone asks "what kinda of guitar should I get if I like 'warm' sound". Between these common types of top wood, Mahogany, Spruce, Cedar and Sapele, which is the brightest and warmest? I've got a general idea between Spruce (bright, more articulate) and Mahogany (mellow and rounded) but where would you place Cedar and sapele? Thanks
Tony Done
Registered User
Join date: Apr 2014
699 IQ
#8
Quote by andrew625
Thank you guys for all of the responses. The main reason I'm asking is because I wanted to know how to suggest guitars to others. For example, when someone asks "what kinda of guitar should I get if I like 'warm' sound". Between these common types of top wood, Mahogany, Spruce, Cedar and Sapele, which is the brightest and warmest? I've got a general idea between Spruce (bright, more articulate) and Mahogany (mellow and rounded) but where would you place Cedar and sapele? Thanks


Sapele is like mahogany, cedar is powerful and "bouncy"', but lacks headroom. IMO it works very well for nylon string guitars and fingerpickers, but not for heavy-handed flatpickers. Takamine have been using cedar formany decades to liven up what would otherwise probably be dull laminated b&s guitars. As a fingerpicker I have often found that a cedar top on a lam b&s guitar works very well.

EDIT. A lot is in the build. I have an all-sapele (at least I don't think it is mahogany) kona lap steel, that is the most lightly built acoustic I have ever seen. There is nothing mellow and rounded about its sound, it is loud and totally unsubtle; I put brass bridge pins in it to mellow it down a bit.
Last edited by Tony Done at Aug 22, 2014,
Classy Lady
Registered User
Join date: Aug 2014
10 IQ
#9
The article referenced about various woods used for guitar making was most interesting. Thank you for sharing the URL.
Ann

_______________
Handmade classical guitar
Luthier Richard Young
Still Rivers Guitar, Eastford CT