Does anyone know how cherry backs and sides on acoustics sound compared to rosewood or maple? I've seen some pretty sweet Martins that were cherry, which really appealed to me visually, but duh, that's not what matters. I haven't gotten a chance to get out there and play any.

What do you think?
it's often compared to mahogany. i've only played laminate cherry, so not sure from personal experience what solid cherry sounds like.
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I just looked in my Oxford English Dictionary and under "Acoustic Guitar", there was your Avatar and an email address!
From personal experience and the words of a local luthier, Cherry (solid or laminate, I've tried both) generally smooths out the lows, adds some punch to the mids, and makes the highs twangier, and accentuates them a little. It's kind of a mix of mahogany and maple.

For those who want to know, the laminate cherry was on a Seagull S6+ Spruce, and the solid cherry was on a customer's custom made guitar. Both had solid Sitka spruce tops, and although the custom one obviously sounded better (being all-solid and handcrafted), the cherry affected both in virtually the same way.
1994 Seagull SM6
2007 Takamine G5013SVFT

2008 Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plain Top (Cherryburst)
1964 Gibson Melody Maker D (DC)

Traynor YGL-1

MXR Distortion III (C4 Modded)
Cherry is a great tonewood and I know a lot of luthiers that use it in their more moderately priced (under 1.8K USD) custom builds. It is similar to Honduran mahogany but I'd say it's somewhere between maple and mahogany with more of the mahogany qualities than maple. To my ear it doesn't have the overtones you get from mahogany which makes it more cutting and cold which is the maple aspect that I mentioned. This controlled "cold" sound is good for many types of fingerpicking and for recording because it helps the notes to ring out clearly without getting boomy. The mahogany aspect is in the way it balances frequencies. It's top middle and low ends all fall at about the same levels as you would expect from a mahogany guitar.

So to sum it up it's similar to mahogany but more defined and not as warm.

The problem with cherry is that it isn't a very stable wood which means it responds more dramatically to humidity changes than mahogany or rosewood. It is certainly stable enough to build a guitar from if you use quarter cut back and sides but you do need to take extra notice of humidity levels if you want to avoid tuning problems and cracks.
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Check out the Janka hardness of it: http://www.hardwoodmaniac.com/hardwood-floor-research/janka-hardness.htm

It's indeed closest to mahogany.

Generally, the harder the back and sides are, the better they reflect the sound, and the less coupling occurs between them and the softer (usually spruce, sometimes cedar or mahogany) top. So the whole thing kinda works like an equalizer, where with a harder, stiffer back and sides, you get particularly more bass and treble, while with softer back and sides, without the bigger lows and highs the mids seem to be the more prominent frequencies (especially that that's the range where the human ear is the most sensitive).
Last edited by Tinderwet at Jun 1, 2011,