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#1
Well, I got bored, so i did a test.

I used 2 platforms, one of mahogany and one of maple. These two ''tonewoods'' are on opposite sides of the spectrum. Mahogany being darkest and maple being brightest according to Warmoth.

It was controlled. Same pickup, no adjustments through amp or pickup. Same strings, hardware, neck. The neck was maple, but it shouldn't matter, the maple should prevail in brightness.

Anyways, here are the MP3s. They are in no order and there are 5 recordings so one repeats.

These are also in my profile if you want to stream these instead of downloading.

http://www.mediafire.com/file/2kyz3czz4az/audio1.mp3
http://www.mediafire.com/file/4okmmmrmjyd/audio2.mp3
http://www.mediafire.com/file/dkima5j2yuz/audio4.mp3
http://www.mediafire.com/file/nqilic3z2dw/audio7.mp3
http://www.mediafire.com/file/ckam2lorjm2/audio8.mp3


What you should do, is list the audio files and put which ones you think are maple and which you think are mahogany! I'll leave my opinion for later...

Thanks!
Last edited by ohspyro89 at Jul 11, 2009,
#2
Try uploading to a music streaming site. I'm acutually interested in this, but I'm too lazy to download files, and i'm shure alot of other guys are lazy too
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#4
1-mahogany
2-maple
4-maple
7-mahogany
8-maple

this should be interesting
good idea TS
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#5
1.Mahogany
2.maple
3.Maple
4.Mahogany
5.Maple.
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#6
1.Mahogany
2.Mahogany
3.Maple
4.Mahogany
5.Maple

whats up with 2? its the only one in question. I know you only played two chords.
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#7
1)Mahogany
2)Mahogany
3)Maple
4)Mahogany
5)Maple

I agree about #2. What's up with it?


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#8
It was played in open standard then open D. I didn't want to fret because it'll cause variables. I did notice it sounded a bit different. But really, it should sound COMPLETELY different. If I am taking the brightest and darkest woods, there should be extreme difference.

I want to get a few more peoples input, then I'll put up the actual woods for each clip.

Good luck!
#11
1: Mahogany
2: Mahogany
3: Maple
4: Mahogany
5: Maple

looks like everyone has the same answer except #2 which is about 50/50...
#12
Quote by ohspyro89
Well hell, without even showing which is which this kind of proves a solid point.

Do you guys still believe in "tonewoods" in an electric guitar?

I'm going to play devil's advocate here and say that all this test shows is that there is not a huge difference with these pickups. I am going to further play devil's advocate and say that if you had pickups that were more transparent, the difference would be more pronounced. I would expect a piezo to sound more different for each wood than an overwound, high-output humbucker.

I call foul and say you are using EMGs!! haha just kidding.

What is your physical setup? Are these two guitar bodies, or just hunks of wood with a neck/bridge/pups mounted to them? Also, are the woods mounted to a table or anything? Because if they are, that might be a big factor in the tone.

At any rate, this is a terrific idea. We need more of this!!!
#13
The differences I'm hearing are the same that I can get by playing closer to, or further from the bridge, or by fiddling with the tone controls, etc.
#14
If you say that they are all maple or all mahogany, i'll kill you.

Also, I would do a test with the same amp with all the tone controls either set to 0, 12 or 5 o'clock. Then play the open strings individually along with the strum.

I do notice brighter treble in my maple guitar than my mahogany, but it isn't very noticeable until you use higher frets on the E string.

Anyway, just some ideas.

I halfarsedly say
1.Mahogany
2.maple
3.Maple
4.Mahogany
5.Maple.
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Sort ofthing.
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#17
1 mahogany
2 mahogany
4 maple
7 mahogany
8 maple

lol... i have no idea, but that's what it sounded like to me. all of my guitars are mahogany, with the exception that my ravelle has a flame maple top.

this is really interesting, i second having more of these. and cedricsmods is now the official devil's advocate for GB&C!
#18
*interest*

i've been wanting to see something like this for a long time. i personally have not noticed that much difference between tonewoods, even when using high quality pickups, but i'm interested to see which are which in this test.

EDIT: oh, btw, what's up with test 4? why is it so bright?? did you pick really close to the bridge or something?
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Last edited by bored_maniac33 at Jul 12, 2009,
#19
Mahogany
Mahogany
Maple
Mahogany
Maple

What amp did you use to record these, btw?

EDIT: You know that this will settle nothing right? People who never believed in tonewood will still not believe in it, people who do will find a way to dismiss this as bull****, and the middle ground will stay the middle ground (especially since major sites like Warmoth and Guitar World all have articles on tonewood effect)
R.I.P. Les Paul, 1915-2009

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Last edited by bv310 at Jul 12, 2009,
#20
1: Mahogany
2: Mahogany
3: Maple
4: Mahogany
5: Maple

Then there's this band called Slice The Cake...

Bunch of faggots putting random riffs together and calling it "progressive" deathcore.
Stupid name.
Probably picked "for teh lulz"

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#21
I swear, if I win the lottery, I'm going to do a scientifically rigorous test to solve this question once and for all.
R.I.P. Les Paul, 1915-2009

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#22
Quote by The_Kelaninator
1-mahogany
2-maple
4-maple
7-mahogany
8-maple

this should be interesting
good idea TS

I agree.
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#23
Quote by bv310
I swear, if I win the lottery, I'm going to do a scientifically rigorous test to solve this question once and for all.


and then please post it on UG to shut people up one way or the other lol
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#24
Mr.David Collins... you are such a downer
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I hope you never get a driving license.


Quote by Albino_Rhino
Dude mangoes are so good. Imagine a blowjob, but instead of the feeling being on your dick, it's on your mouth.
#25
Quote by bored_maniac33
and then please post it on UG to shut people up one way or the other lol

You have no idea how much I want to. I'm sick of seeing this argument come up so often.
R.I.P. Les Paul, 1915-2009

A man chooses, a slave obeys.
#26
Quote by bv310
I swear, if I win the lottery, I'm going to do a scientifically rigorous test to solve this question once and for all.


If I am not mistaken what you are suggesting has been done and posted on UG many times, only to have people blow it off as complete crap. I'll have to look for this study, but what it showed is that sonically the guitars are different when they are played unplugged, not that big of a surprise since acoustic guitars already demonstrate this.

What it did also show is that two very different woods have almost the same frequency response with all other factors kept the same, there were a few small spots where the response was different but overall it was the same.
#27
That study compared two very similar tonewoods, rather than two at opposite ends of the spectrum, as this demo (and my study) did/will do. IIRC, it used Alder and Ash, both very middy woods.

EDIT: Plus, it was not scientifically rigorous. They only did a few tests and averaged the results out. The proper way would require treating every result as a separate unit, and doing ~50 or more tests using the same set of notes.
R.I.P. Les Paul, 1915-2009

A man chooses, a slave obeys.
Last edited by bv310 at Jul 12, 2009,
#28
The recording wasn't good enough to make any decisions. Some of the clips did sound different, but it could have been because of the recording itself.

Also, I doubt many of us have ears sensitive enough to notice subtle differences. To each his own (Who here can tell if the back control plate on a strat is missing just by the sound? Eric Johnson can, but I sure as heck can't.)

To cut out variables, a direct-in recording would get you closer to anything usable. Also, high output humbuckers often color a guitar's sound in their own way.

To further complicate things, because wood was once a living thing, no two pieces sound the same. Two pieces of maple from different trees have the potential to sound different.

There has been a lot of research done into tone woods like this, but most of it is in a violin or acoustic guitar perspective.

Good idea though dude.
#29
Quote by bv310
That study compared two very similar tonewoods, rather than two at opposite ends of the spectrum, as this demo (and my study) did/will do. IIRC, it used Alder and Ash, both very middy woods.

EDIT: Plus, it was not scientifically rigorous. They only did a few tests and averaged the results out. The proper way would require treating every result as a separate unit, and doing ~50 or more tests using the same set of notes.


That is not the study I was referring too. I know which one you are talking about though, the guy used two telecaster style guitars that were made by a CNC machine.

I'll keep looking for the one I found, it was done as some sort of masters research, and had quite a large number of guitars.

As a bit of personal experience, one thing I have noticed is that a Tele bridge pickup always seems to sound like a Tele bridge pickup no matter what type of guitar its in. I've played an alder, ash, mahogany, and spruce Tele and they all sounded quite similar to me, besides the sustain.
#30
I've actually found a difference in tone between my old mahogany Agile LP, and my friend's custom maple Strat. Both have PAF-type pickups.

I guess it just comes down to the person whether the small effect of tonewood is noticeable or not.
R.I.P. Les Paul, 1915-2009

A man chooses, a slave obeys.
#31
Quote by David Collins
While I applaud your motivation and efforts, I think it's important to say that successfully executing a controlled comparison test can be a very painstaking process, and to be truly objective would require a lot more than simply playing and recording instruments of different body woods, even if the same neck, hardware, pickups, etc, are transfered from one body to the other for successive recordings. The room for inconsistencies and errors in such a simple comparison are immense.

I don't have an appropriate speaker system on hand to attempt to judge any of the recordings, so I haven't listened yet. Still, I'd be interested to hear a more detailed description of your testing procedures.

It sounds as though you are skeptical of the effect of different body woods on tone of electric guitars, which honestly surprises me. I've not done any controlled comparisons that I would consider publishable, but still find the differences quite hard to deny from informal comparisons and experience in general.

I would be careful in describing your testing as "settling" any questions or arguments until you have satisfactorily proven the consistency of your testing procedures, and proven that all other variables other than the one in question are accounted, standard deviations established, etc. It's a pretty sizable task to carry out a truly objective controlled comparison of something such as this.



not that i want to argue with your logic as i think its very sound, but in this particular test i think the idea is to say look, this isn't a perfect example, but the difference is not very readily apparent, and with the 2 being on the opposite ends of the spectrum and so much made of the different sounds it should be more obvious than it is
#33
Quote by Schism1985



This is wrong. Two different guitars with two different sets of pickups. This is a stupid test in my opinion. I've seen it before. The 2 sets of pickups are COMPLETELY different. It's another variable along with all the electronics in that guitar.


My test was simple. I struck the strings over the polepiece of the humbucker I was using. I also did a direct recording from the output of my amplifier.

Of course there were some major variables, like the force i put into the strings while striking them.


But check this out, why can't you tell the difference? Everyone that has posted has been wrong, and sometimes completely backwards. In a real world situation, there would be a TON more variables. If you pick up a maple capped guitar vs a mahogany guitar, there are 2 different pickups and often different hardware or the worse, a different scale length.

Ever think that strats and teles are brighter because of scale length? That's why Les PAuls are warm, it's shorter. I noticed this in my multiscale acoustic build.


If people are open minded about this, to really get to the bottom, consider the following; Same pickup and hardware with a different body wood and the sounds produced are too similar to actually distinguish a clear difference. Most of the guessed results were backwards. I found more were reverse than were correct.

Another thing I'd like to mention. If I changed the pickup, it would change the tone. Keeping the same pickup, even if it did sound like garbage, was important. That way, the tonal differences would be picked up if there were any.

I noticed most tonal differences came from how the strings were played. When played near the neck, it was warmer and near the bridge it was crisp and almost harsh. If you want a mahogany sound play near the neck, it's simple and cheap.

I've owned guitars of all woods including poplar, ash, mahogany, and paduok. None of them really exhibit tonal qualities that I'd contribute to the wood. When I changed the pickups in my Tele, which was a mexican, the tone went from warm, to crisp and vintage sounding. Something that you would consider maple sounding.

I've always thought that this idea in electrics was malarky. Wood does not effect a magnetic induction system. Hell the wood isn't even between the system, it's around it. It's like saying that the casing for a pen effects how the pen writes on a piece of paper. I'm pretty sure the first electric guitar was made from some sort of small piece of wood on which all the hardware was connected, then wings were added.

Even if a lot of people who swear by ''tonewoods'' in electric guitars don't believe this, I'm not too worried. It's proved itself for me, as nobody is right yet I don't think. I do appreciate those who listened and put in their thoughts, without you this would be a big waste of time and some good looking woods. But some of you are completely backwards to which is which. I find that to prove something.

Even if there are other variables I messed up, the brightest and darkest tonewoods should be able to be easily distinguished with these set ups.

Call me crazy, but Tonewood is like stick on horsepower. It sounds like a big ole way to get people to pay a **** ton for tonewood. I might as well paint up some Nato and sell it as Honduran Mahogany for all it matters.
#35
Quote by ohspyro89
This is wrong. Two different guitars with two different sets of pickups. This is a stupid test in my opinion. I've seen it before. The 2 sets of pickups are COMPLETELY different. It's another variable along with all the electronics in that guitar.


It says in the description that the guitars are identical aside from year of manufacture and necks.
#37
Quote by ohspyro89
Schism, 2 pickups cannot be the same even off the same machine. It's a variable.

Do you think that fender really has that good of quality control? Exact same? That's not right. Same resistance, magnets, and so on? I doubt it.


yeah but they're both MIA strats, and if people consistently choose strats b/c they want a brighter tone and Les Pauls because they want a warmer tone, then that's proof enough.
#38
I don't understand why there's all this back and forth about tonewoods. Every encounter that I've had with gear and modification has demonstrated that everything you do to a guitar, whether it be a new bridge, set of tuners, paint job, volume pot, basically anything significant (no straplocks or knobs) effects tone to some extent.

That I believe very firmly and I don't see any reason to doubt that; the whole system vibrates, and those vibrations are what create the tone.

So why then all this "these two compressed mp3 files sound more alike than you might have expected, therefore wood doesn't effect tone" business?

Sure, the wood probably isn't as big of a factor as it's made out to be, but I know from experience that I can tell blind if an SG has an ebony or a rosewood board. It seems really silly to just disregard tonewoods, just as it seems preposterous to disregard pickups, strings, bridges, tuners, etc.


Side note: I imagine that very, very, very, few people could tell the difference between ernie ball and d'addario strings in this sort of mp3 test, but I'd also wager that most people have a preference and definitely know the difference live on their own instruments.
#39
Quote by XgamerGt04
If I am not mistaken what you are suggesting has been done and posted on UG many times, only to have people blow it off as complete crap.

I have that study saved, and it was between Alder and Ash (slightly similar woods) on Telecasters, the one guitar that will consistently provide a similar sound due to the bridge if you use similar body woods. If it was between African sapele and basswood or alder, it would have come out differently.

David Collins: You wouldn't happen to be a teacher at VHCC would you? Because that's the exact same name of my old math teacher's husband.

EDIT: Never mind, as far as I know he isn't a luthier xD
Then there's this band called Slice The Cake...

Bunch of faggots putting random riffs together and calling it "progressive" deathcore.
Stupid name.
Probably picked "for teh lulz"

Mod in UG's Official Gain Whores
Last edited by Shinozoku at Jul 13, 2009,
#40
David, I do appreciate intelligence, but I don't want to read that... tonight.

But I mean, you can't hear that much. Your explinations were great, but too much for me. I think that's past the point. Even with my loose variables, you should still be able to tell the difference. I think the point was really to show how minimal the effect is. Everyone on here thinks it's the backbone of the guitar when it's probably pickups more than anything.
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