#1
i would like to ask builders what actually affects tone which seem debatable.

e.g.

Carved top..doesnt
center of body or neck size does
Body wing size..doesnt
natural finish..does
Number of wood pieces..does
#3
Quote by -MintSauce-
Carved top density and amount of wood does..
Body wing density and amount of wood does..
Natural finish vs. thick lacquer does..
Number of glue joints, and their positions does..



in what way for these 2 mate?
#4
Quote by DegaMeth
in what way for these 2 mate?


Glue joints dampen vibrations, affecting overall resonance of the guitar.
A 10mm carved maple top will affect resonance, and accentuate high frequencies.

From a physics perspective, anything that affects vibrations within the body will affect the sound - although how much is down to perception.
#5
Play a Les Paul without a maple top and then play one with the top. There's definitely a difference in brightness.

Glue joints aren't nearly as bad as people say IMO
Quote by bangoodcharlote
^Owned.

I suggest not screwing with the UGer with the best name on the site.


Quote by Albino_Rhino
I don't see how prostitution is going to help out your string buzz...
#6
Quote by -MintSauce-
Glue joints dampen vibrations, affecting overall resonance of the guitar.
A 10mm carved maple top will affect resonance, and accentuate high frequencies.

From a physics perspective, anything that affects vibrations within the body will affect the sound - although how much is down to perception.



So i should get a once piece back and once piece neck guitar reasonably thin to accentuate high frequencies with carved maple top and large wings to give more resonance?
#7
Quote by Rebelw/outaCord
Play a Les Paul without a maple top and then play one with the top. There's definitely a difference in brightness.

Glue joints aren't nearly as bad as people say IMO



I agree. If the wood is arrange well and the grain all runs the same direction then there will not be a noticeable effect on tone even if you are comparing a 5pc body to a 1 pc. On the other hand, if you don't carefully arrange the grain then there can be a significant change in tone. Most bodies are built with grain direction in mind.
Not taking any online orders.
#8
Quote by DegaMeth
So i should get a once piece back and once piece neck guitar reasonably thin to accentuate high frequencies with carved maple top and large wings to give more resonance?


That would be a pretty funny looking guitar.
The most important thing in how a guitar sounds is how it plays.

You want a 3 or 5 piece neck for stability so it never warps. Then make that a neck-thru core... start there and take what sort of tone you're looking for into account when you choose wood and size/shape of the wings.

Again, how it plays is probably more important-- if you have a guitar that's comfortable to play, the improvement in your playing is going to sound much more impressive than any effects of the wood of the wings on your tone.
Quote by bangoodcharlote
^Owned.

I suggest not screwing with the UGer with the best name on the site.


Quote by Albino_Rhino
I don't see how prostitution is going to help out your string buzz...
#9
EVERYTHING effects the tone of your guitar, how much they effect tone is a different matter.

e.g

amp > pickups > cable and connections? > bridge material and connection method > body wood > neck wood > etc etc


I'm not sure thats exact but you get the idea, there is very little way of working out what effects what and how much, as it is one system, the sound waves travel through the entire guitar it would be hard to isolate the effects of woods, hard ware etc.




Quote by dogismycopilot
Absent Mind, words cant express how much i love you. Id bone you, oh yea.

Quote by lumberjack
Absent Mind is, as usual, completely correct.

Quote by littlemurph7976
Id like to make my love for Neil public knowledge as he is a beautiful man
#11
No, the parts that go on the sides of the neckthrough to make the body shape.

Also, yes everything does affect the tone of the guitar, but different does not mean worse. Keep that in mind.

Mintsauce, AbsentMind, and CorduroyEW have solid advice.
Enjoi <--- Friend me
Quote by Scowmoo
Otter, you're my new god.
#12
Quote by Øttər
No, the parts that go on the sides of the neckthrough to make the body shape.

Also, yes everything does affect the tone of the guitar, but different does not mean worse. Keep that in mind.

Mintsauce, AbsentMind, and CorduroyEW have solid advice.



Hahhaaa is that a restatement of LP's philosophical realization in his 'I am now a believer thread'? There is no worse....only different.


I loved that


Anyways, I think AbsentMind has got the best advice here so far.
#13
I'm not sure if this is correct, but from my understanding if you have a guitar with a smaller body and has a single solid structure (neck thru) running down the middle with the bridge/ nut/ headstock all one piece of wood with smaller wings you will get more vibration as the the vibration of the string's will not be spread/ dissapated (sp) over the larger surface, allowing the string's and body to vibrate for a longer period of time at an un-reduced rate, compared to an LP guitar with a large thick boody etc... That could be wrong though..
Black Knight CF-60F Semi-Acoustic.

Black Knight CP200 (Red flamed maple).

Neck-thru 4 string bass.

Acoustic 6 string.
#14
That is wrong.

A masive chunk-o-wood sustains longer than a slice of tree. For example my Gibson SG versus a Les Paul. The SG is almost half as thin, and the LP will sustain much longer.
Enjoi <--- Friend me
Quote by Scowmoo
Otter, you're my new god.
#15
Quote by Øttər
That is wrong.

A masive chunk-o-wood sustains longer than a slice of tree. For example my Gibson SG versus a Les Paul. The SG is almost half as thin, and the LP will sustain much longer.



i guess the question is how much sustain do you need. i would never hold a bend or w/e over 2 bars normally.
#16
Quote by Øttər
That is wrong.

A masive chunk-o-wood sustains longer than a slice of tree. For example my Gibson SG versus a Les Paul. The SG is almost half as thin, and the LP will sustain much longer.


Your Les Paul could be chambered, which might explain some of the difference. Gibson, at various points through history, has drilled "weight relief" holes in the mahogany body of carved top LP's.

These things are so subjective. Some people (and by that I mean luthiers with years of experience) will tell you that wood doesn't matter at all.

I don't really know yet what's most important
Quote by bangoodcharlote
^Owned.

I suggest not screwing with the UGer with the best name on the site.


Quote by Albino_Rhino
I don't see how prostitution is going to help out your string buzz...
#17
I don't have a Les Paul, and if I did, it wouldn't be one of those chanbered POSs.

Also, luthiers with many years of experience agree that wood does make a large difference. I jad read differently until a few weeks ago.
Enjoi <--- Friend me
Quote by Scowmoo
Otter, you're my new god.
#18
Quote by Øttər
I don't have a Les Paul, and if I did, it wouldn't be one of those chanbered POSs.

Also, luthiers with many years of experience agree that wood does make a large difference. I jad read differently until a few weeks ago.


My grandfather's friend is a builder who does luthier work on the side (he's built a number of electrics and acoustics, mainly for him but also for my grandfather and other friends). He's always said that the wood in a guitar doesn't really matter, and he quotes that if you were to put pickups and strings on a coffee table, it'd sound like a guitar.

I think sometimes, the wood won't really make a difference to your sound, and it's certainly not the thing that affects the sound the most. If you stuck some EMGs or other inorganic pickups in any piece of wood, the only real variable in sound would be the density of the wood, which determines the sustain (or so I believe...).
#19
Quote by Rebelw/outaCord


These things are so subjective. Some people (and by that I mean luthiers with years of experience) will tell you that wood doesn't matter at all.

I don't really know yet what's most important



Lots of people that call themselves luthiers are really just woodworkers that happen to construct objects that are playable as guitars. They have little or no knowledge about why guitars sound the way they do or how the parts of the guitar effect tone.

Many of the woodworkers will say things like

You mention that each pickup winder has his own scatter pattern, that makes each builder sound different (all other things equal). How is your "by hand" method, more consistent than a CNC controlled machine that replicates the SAME pattern every time?


or things like this

Lacquer is the only finish that doesn't effect tone at all


Any real luthier, specializing in electric guitars, should know that although lacquer has a "vintage tone," it's still one of the finishes that effects the resonance of the wood the most. They understand enough about pickups to know what makes a hand wound pickup as good, or better, than a CNC wound pickup. They also know that tonewood has a huge effect on the tone of an instrument.

I know I got off onto a bit of a rant but I do have a point. It's that there are a lot of talented woodworkers that claim to be luthiers but aren't. They are successful because they copy the basic designs of other luthiers. The "knowledge and advise" they give is typically inaccurate and cant be trusted. If you go to a luthier for a custom built guitar and they tell you that wood has no effect on tone then you should find somebody else to build your guitar for you.
Not taking any online orders.
Last edited by CorduroyEW at Jan 26, 2009,
#20
Well, again, everything has some effect. I think wood matters in a lot of ways but not always the ones people think of. I'm sure you're more likely to play well on a guitar you like the feel of, and even, to a lesser extent, the look of.

The only real way to test the effect of any of the purely physical factors we discussed would be with carefully controlled experiments and an incredibly hi-fi studio setup.

You'd have to build 10 or 15 guitars exactly the same way but change one variable each time. Wood species, density, neck thru vs set neck, bridge and nut materials, 1 vs 2 or 3 piece bodies, maple top vs no top, french polish vs lacquer, etc.

Get 5 or 10 players in the studio and blindfold them. Set some guitars up on stands so that they can't feel the weight and do some blind testing with all the different models, and have tape rolling the whole time. Make them play the same lick, hold notes and chords for sustain... all that crap. See what happens.

This experiment STILL wouldn't be perfect but it's a start. The wood used in each guitar would vary and there's no way to perfectly standardize all of the production factors no matter how much CNC you use.

I'd love to see someone do it but I doubt it would ever happen. It would certainly put a lot of these issues to bed and silence a lot of tone nazis.

I had the same discussion with a professor of mine who owns somewhere around 50 guitars. He basically said something to the effect of (not a direct quote)
"Sure, I've got a lot of expensive Gibson and Heritage Les Pauls, and I can hear the difference when I'm playing alone, and even in the studio. But on stage, in a real mix, 90% of the time I could be playing an Epiphone and almost nobody would notice the difference in sound. Playability and looks, yes, but in a live sound situation, most of the nitpicking doesn't matter."

I for one am inclined to believe it. But again, like I said, all things equal, I know I sound better on a guitar that feels more comfortable and fits my hands better. Thats why I've been playing with gear almost as long as I've been playing guitar and that's why I'm building my own.
Quote by bangoodcharlote
^Owned.

I suggest not screwing with the UGer with the best name on the site.


Quote by Albino_Rhino
I don't see how prostitution is going to help out your string buzz...
#21
Comparing a Mahogany epi LP to a mahogany epi Gibson LP is hardly the same as comparing a mahogany to a basswood. Telling the difference in tone between two brands of the same guitar can be difficult and even impossible in some situations. Being able to tell that the guitars are made of different tonewoods when everything else is the same is usually very easy both in recorded and live situations.

I've built myself basswood, Honduran mahogany, African mahogany, alder, lacewood, hard ash and poplar strat style instruments. Everything on these guitars was the same except for the body wood. I know from experience that putting exactly the same pickup in each of the different guitars will give me a different tone. The Honduran mahogany and African mahogany sounded pretty much the same and have a darker tone. Basswood has a much more neutral tone that doesn't really stand out making the resonate frequency of the pickups significantly more obvious. Alder and lasewood similar to each other with a nice upper midrange bite the the mahogany and basswood didn't have. The poplar has pretty much the same tonal character as the Alder and lacewood except there is a bit of a "sparkle" in the high end and it's got better sustain. Hard ash has a sharp cutting high end that none of the other tonewoods have.

I I've done similar tone comparisons with RG guitars. I've done this so that I can match pickups to tonewood for the best possible tone. I didn't do any kind of scientific study or anything but the experience that I have picked up has created many happy customers.

I do agree that one of the most important factors of an electric guitar is how it feels when you play it. One of my favorite guitars is made of plywood but it feels great and with the right pickups it sounds great too. I'm not saying that you can't work around tonewood and end up with a great sounding guitar no matter what you use. I am saying that the effect tonewood has on tone is very significant.
Not taking any online orders.