#1
So, I've noticed that most of the heavy metal/metalcore bands I listen to use mahogany bodied guitars. Examples being:
All That Remains
Atreyu
Avenged Sevenfold
Bullet for my Valentine
Lamb of God
Trivium

I'm just wondering, is there a particular reason for this? Both of my main guitars are agathis but they don't sound particularly horrible (well, at least my LTD doesn't hahaha). I have a Epiphone Goth G-400, but when I use it for metal, it just sounds weird, whereas my Ibanez and my LTD sounds like they were meant more for it.
#2
Mahogany gives a darker, warmer sound. It's better suited for the heavy style of metal as opposed to say maple which is very bright and more suited to indie rock.
#3
You'll likely get a lot of responses on this but overall your amp is the biggest factor in your sound.

No question that the materials of your guitar (wood) will have a small (nuanced) effect on your tone. But with the necks, the thickness of the paint/finish on your guitar its truly negligable.

Unless you are an absolute obsessive tone chaser I doubt you would really tell significant differences due to the wood.

The differences you are hearing are most likely the rest of the chain, pickups, tone settings, strings, etc.

If it looks good, sounds good and feels good. You're golden.
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#4
Mahogany is dark sounding, which fits metal, as said before.
A large number of people don't use mahogany guitars in metal - Alexi Laiho and Kirk Hammett for example, use alder bodied, maple necked guitars.

Also, Corey Beaulieu(sp?) uses 7 string Jacksons, AFAIK. They're alder, most likely.
Current Gear:
LTD MH-400 with Gotoh GE1996T (EMG 85/60)
PRS SE Custom 24 (Suhr SSH+/SSV)
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Quote by Anonden
You CAN play anything with anything....but some guitars sound right for some things, and not for others. Single coils sound retarded for metal, though those who are apeshit about harpsichord probably beg to differ.
Last edited by oneblackened at Dec 14, 2009,
#5
I can see that. Maybe I like my Agathis guitars more than my Epi because I try to sound like Drop Dead, Gorgeous.
#6
Lets be honest, are you gonna notice that big of a difference when you play a guitar made of mahogany and a guitar of basswood/agathis/alder, etc. with the same pickups? Probably not unless you know what each guitar is supposed to sound like based on its wood.

Realistically, you can take that Epi and make it sound like Drop Dead Gorgeous by messing with your amp settings and a few other things. My Dean DBD T is made of basswood, but with my pedal and amp settings, all my friends say it sounds like Pantera when I palm mute, no pun intended. The guitar is completely stock, as well. The pickups are damn flexible and hot. So I can't complain.
#7
Epiphone Goth G-400 Electric Guitar Features:
Double-cutaway solid mahogany body
Set mahogany neck


Are you sure your G400 is agathis? Ive never heard of it. And Musicians friend agrees.
#8
it doesn't make that big of a difference. However, usually mahogany is very thick and dense, quality cut wood for higher end guitars, and so people automatically associate mahogany with being the best.


IMO wood type has less impact on tone than the strings you use.


I'd like to see someone play a mahogany guitar and an identical guitar made with alder. I doubt there will be any noticeable difference in tone.
#9
Quote by Dazzl1113
You'll likely get a lot of responses on this but overall your amp is the biggest factor in your sound.

No question that the materials of your guitar (wood) will have a small (nuanced) effect on your tone. But with the necks, the thickness of the paint/finish on your guitar its truly negligable.

Unless you are an absolute obsessive tone chaser I doubt you would really tell significant differences due to the wood.

The differences you are hearing are most likely the rest of the chain, pickups, tone settings, strings, etc.

If it looks good, sounds good and feels good. You're golden.


the problem with what you are saying is that good amp makes the smaller differences of your tone shine through MORE. you may not hear the difference a nitro cellulose finish makes on a line 6 spider, but you sure as hell will hear it through a vox AC30HH. and no matter what amp you're playing through, wood makes a huge difference. basswood and maple do not sound even remotely the same.
#10
I think it's probably the pickups. I have an Epi G-400 and I changed the pickups to 2 Dirty Fingers and now it has one of the best metal tones. The Ibanez and LTD probably came with much hotter pickups. The Epi comes with Alnico 2s that are vintage-voiced.
#11
I'd like two see two totally similar guitars but made with different body woods and play them both with the same amp, same settings. And I'd want to see if I could tell the difference...
#12
your ibanez and LTD's might have 25.5" scales, as opposed to the epiphone's 24.75" scale. the epiphone will sound slightly more muddy if it's tuned down too far. the LTD might be a 24.75" scale also, but if it has EMGs the sound will be a bit more focused, and so not quite as muddy if tuned low. depends on what model of LTD though.
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#13
Quote by nickdohle
Epiphone Goth G-400 Electric Guitar Features:
Double-cutaway solid mahogany body
Set mahogany neck


Are you sure your G400 is agathis? Ive never heard of it. And Musicians friend agrees.


I never said it was agathis, I said my Ibanez and LTD werem and my G-400 was Mahogany.


Quote by LifeIsABullet16
your ibanez and LTD's might have 25.5" scales, as opposed to the epiphone's 24.75" scale. the epiphone will sound slightly more muddy if it's tuned down too far. the LTD might be a 24.75" scale also, but if it has EMGs the sound will be a bit more focused, and so not quite as muddy if tuned low. depends on what model of LTD though.


The Epihone's scale is probably 24.75, but I'm not positive. All 3 still have stock pickups, because I'm broke =( hahaha And yeah, the Epiphone, does just sound muddy in general, even when I'm playing cleans it still just sounds really thick and I don't like it.

I have an LTD M-200FM.
#14
https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1052639

These questions get asked every day and get answered over and over again but no one bothers to search the dang forums. Instead of being an ass and telling you to use the searchbar, I'll give you a link to a relevant thread. Click that link and you'll get your answer, and with a far higher degree of accuracy than you'll get in this thread.
Quote by CarpUK
Beat the recession by soldering your strings back together! What's more, the extra metal vibrating back and forth will add to your tone... and what could be more metal than more metal!?!

Quote by biga29
Plz uz reel wurdz bcoz wen u tipe lik this its hard 2 red.
Last edited by The_Future_Soon at Dec 14, 2009,
#15
Quote by The_Future_Soon
https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1052639

These questions get asked every day and get answered over and over again but no one bothers to search the dang forums. Instead of being an ass and telling you to use the searchbar, I'll give you a link to a relevant thread. Click that link and you'll get your answer, and with a far higher degree of accuracy than you'll get in this thread.


Correct me if I'm wrong, but I didn't see anything there about agathis. That thread is mainly about exotic species of wood, which doesn't really help me... I'm not a guitar builder. Or a tone ***** per se.
#16
Quote by Offworld92
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I didn't see anything there about agathis. That thread is mainly about exotic species of wood, which doesn't really help me... I'm not a guitar builder. Or a tone ***** per se.


http://www.frugalguitarist.com/Frugal.aspx?Issue=2&Page=Alternative%20Tonewoods

Its similar to alder, but cheaper. Regardless, you'll get better information if you ask in that thread instead of this one.
Quote by CarpUK
Beat the recession by soldering your strings back together! What's more, the extra metal vibrating back and forth will add to your tone... and what could be more metal than more metal!?!

Quote by biga29
Plz uz reel wurdz bcoz wen u tipe lik this its hard 2 red.
#17
I prefer Mahogany myself because of the tone it is a deeper tone that works well with heavy music where guitars that are made of say maple have a higher tone. I have a few LPs copies made of Alder that seem to have a midrange tone I can live with I just dial back the treble a bit more. Your Epi GOTH SG should sound better for metal than the LTD they use NATO mahogany and have a pretty deep tone. All my GOTH Epis sounded great I kept my LP because has amazing low end for this kind of music.


John
#18
Actually, basswood is not a bad tonewood for metal at all. It works much better with the distorted tones than cleans, due to the attenuation of extreme high/low frequencies
#20
Wood does make a substantial difference when playing through high end gear, as does all components such as pickups and even pots and capacitors to some degree. When playing through my roland cube 20x i can change guitars and the difference between tone is barely audible, this is between a SSS Fender mexi strat with bareknuckle trilogy suites, an ibanez S520EX with bareknuckle warpigs, and a BC Rich plat warlock stock. I can tell the difference in tone slightly, but when playing through my ENGL Savage the difference is enormous, its like a whole new sound even when using the same amp settings.

All things have a bearing on your tone, but of course one thing will limit the other to some degree, if you are playing through a cheap practice amp you are not going to get the full effect of your instrument from it. Think of it in computing terms, if you have a 9GHZ Quad core processor, but 512 mb of ram, you arent going to feel the effect of the processor due to the limitations of said cheaper component, works the same in the guitar world, one component limits the other.

Now mahogany, this is my preferred tonewood, notably because of its density it has a lovely bass response and delicious lower mids which suits my style of play, the pickups in the guitar and of course the amp im using. Typically mahogany has a nasal sound which some people love or hate.

Agathis is a cheap version of mahogany, same characteristics but the overall sound you get from agathis is less dynamic than that of mahogany, unfortunately unless your running an amazing amp you probably wont hear this change in dynamics anyway!
My Gear

Ibanez J Custom RG8570Z-BX - BKP Warpigs
ESP Eclipse II Full Thickness - BKP Nailbombs
Fender Mexican Strat - BKP Trilogy Suites.

Axe FX II - Matrix GT1000FX - Rocktron All Access.

Stinnett M7 in the works
#21
Quote by Talentless
When playing through my roland cube 20x i can change guitars and the difference between tone is barely audible


I notice a massive difference between my BC Rich JR V and my JH200 through my roland cube 30x.


Cube love eh?
#22
Quote by Tedward

I'd like to see someone play a mahogany guitar and an identical guitar made with alder. I doubt there will be any noticeable difference in tone.


I have a mahogany SG and an alder strat.

Both of them have dimarzio SD on bridge

There is a HUGE difference on unplugged, clean, crunch and low to mid gain settings

No noticeable difference only on ****ed-up-beyond-all-recognition distortion
#23
Quote by Banana Wedgie
I notice a massive difference between my BC Rich JR V and my JH200 through my roland cube 30x.


Cube love eh?


I dont use the BC Rich anymore but basically the only difference is....

Strat = Brighter bit more bite.
Ibanez = Darker, warmer.

But the effect is slight through the cube. What im talking about is when i plug into my high end gear, you hear all the little tonal differences, every little aspect of the wood and pickups shining through. The ibanez turns into a barking growling monster, the sound of it is almost like a voice. I can hear the bass and lower mids shining through. Then i plug in my strat and its bright top end is like wow....... and the distortion tone changes completely, it goes from this lower mid orientated growl to this incredible biting high end crunch. You cant hear this through the cube, you just hear "Oh strat sounds a bit more trebly"
My Gear

Ibanez J Custom RG8570Z-BX - BKP Warpigs
ESP Eclipse II Full Thickness - BKP Nailbombs
Fender Mexican Strat - BKP Trilogy Suites.

Axe FX II - Matrix GT1000FX - Rocktron All Access.

Stinnett M7 in the works
#24
Thanks a lot for all the replies guys =) This will give me a bit to think about for the future...
#25
You'll notice a bigger difference just by the quality of the wood. If the Epi has poor quality wood, it's likely to show up, regardless of it being mahogany or agathis.

Example being that both my Ibanez have basswood bodies, but the PGM sounds a lot better due to resonance etc. This is despite them both having nice pups.
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#26
Quote by GrandWazoo
I have a mahogany SG and an alder strat.

Both of them have dimarzio SD on bridge

There is a HUGE difference on unplugged, clean, crunch and low to mid gain settings

No noticeable difference only on ****ed-up-beyond-all-recognition distortion


They're not identical guitars though I think they wanted both guitars be pretty much the same except for the body wood used. Even then you can tell differences when played unplugged.