UG's Only Moose Guitarist
Join date: Dec 2010
1,253 IQ
Hey guys,
So I am doing an essay on entreprenuership in Canada and my idea is to create my own guitar company. basically, I live and go to school in Northern Ontario (Sudbury to be exact) and my idea is that my company would build my guitars out of local wood then have the option to have them painted with unique artwork ( like Aboriginal and Metis art, etc etc.) My question is would these woods be useful in guitar building?

-Balsam Fir
-Red Maple
-Black Ash
-White or Black Spruce
-White, Red or Jack Pine
-White Cedar

TL/DR: Can the woods listed above be used in guitars, both acoustic and electric?
Please, call me Pig.
Join date: May 2010
2,847 IQ
Well, I'm guessing that red Maple is the only one that could be used as a neck, assuming it's as hard as hard maple. I think ash has been used as a neck wood before, but it's so heavy that it's not ideal.

As for the others, you can get away with a lot when choosing a body wood. Pine works, I know some pines have lots of knots, or can split open on you. Poplar would probably be the safest choice as a body wood, assuming you are going to paint the body. I don't know anything about white cedar, but if it's anything like red cedar, I'd stay away on electric guitars. Far too soft. Good for acoustics though.

So I guess you could use almost all of those woods. However, guitarists are pretty particular about the wood used. They tend to want the familiar "tried and true" combinations.
Last edited by W4RP1G at Oct 3, 2012,
Join date: Feb 2005
6,579 IQ
Any hardwood will work as long as it doesn't collapse under the tension of the strings.

Many guitar manufacturers stick to the tried and true combinations of alder, maple and mahogany for electric guitars, and spruce/cedar and mahogany/rosewood for acoustics. However, that doesn't mean that all other woods cannot be used. Electric guitars tend to be much more forgiving when it comes to wood choies, and the idea of using exclusively locally sourced wood would be a major selling point.

I believe Godin makes an effort to use canadian woods.

Fender has used Black Ash, Poplar and Pine to make guitars.
Red maple could be used to make electric guitar tops. It might be a bit soft for necks. Sugar maple would be a better choice.
White spruce might work for acoustic guitar tops.
Fist Shaking Pony
Join date: Apr 2010
523 IQ
The body that I'm currently working on is made of Poplar and that seems fine.
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I hate sanding
Join date: Sep 2007
10 IQ
I think any wood is good if you are wiling to try it.....some will work, others won't. To me half the joy of building is trying stuff outside the box. You can reinforce necks now with things other than wood so any hardish wood is probably worth a try......look at how the major builders are now searching out different woods to try (esp since the gibson raids...although it has been going on long before that as well). I work as a landscaper so when ever I chop down a tree big enough I will keep some of the wood to try build with.

guitarists need to lighten up on it needing to be mahogany, maple etc and just use their ears instead of the minds.....

just enjoy the journey