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#1
By tone, I mean the tone of the pickups when the guitar is plugged in. Do neck woods effect the entire tone of the guitar like the body wood does?

I get the general "tone" of each wood, by the way. Just didn't know what aspect of tone they affect, assuming the effect is noticeable.
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#2
Yes, it matters, and a lot of people actually think it matters more than the body wood. Obviously that's a hard thing to test for, but a good way to get an impression of the difference would be to play a few guitars with unusual necks.

For instance, a strat or tele with a really fat maple neck often has a characteristic depth to the tone (I guess that's not wood type, but it does demonstrate that the mass/density of the neck matters). PRS is great for this, they've made a lot of guitars with interesting neck woods. You can for example play a 513 with a mahogany neck right next to one with a rosewood neck. Given enough exposure to these unusual types of guitars, it becomes fairly obvious that the neck plays a role in the tone of the instrument.
#3
In my experience I notice the most tonal differences with fretboard woods, then body woods, then neck woods.
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#4
Crap that's what I meant, the fret board wood.
Charvel So-Cal (SH6TB/N, killswitch), Jackson RR5FR (TB6/Jazz, Drop C). Joyo pxl pro.
Loop1=Crybaby from hell, Boss PS-5, Seymour Duncan 805 or Green Rhino, EQD Hoof or Earthbound Audio Super Collider. Loop 1 into ISP Decimator II.
Loop 2 (FX loop)-Line6 M9, TC Spark Mini. Loop 2 into mxr 10band. All into a Peavey Triple XXX 212, Ibanez IL15.
#5
Yeah, still a difference. If you think about it, it makes some sense because it's transferring the vibration from the frets through to the body/headstock. So it's going to alter how those vibrations travel.

That's an even easier one to test. At a big guitar shop you could sit down with three or more MIM or MIA strats, with no differences besides the fretboard wood. Once you play enough guitars you'll probably start to notice the changes each fretboard wood imparts. To me, ebony in particular has a fairly recognizable zing or pop to the tone, and is the most noticeably different board.
#6
If you can hear it, it does. If you can't then it doesn't.

Can you hear it? You may not have the ear for it yet, if you think you do have the ear for it and you don't hear it then it doesn't.
Last edited by Mephaphil at Aug 3, 2013,
#7
Quote by Roc8995
Yeah, still a difference. If you think about it, it makes some sense because it's transferring the vibration from the frets through to the body/headstock. So it's going to alter how those vibrations travel.

That's an even easier one to test. At a big guitar shop you could sit down with three or more MIM or MIA strats, with no differences besides the fretboard wood. Once you play enough guitars you'll probably start to notice the changes each fretboard wood imparts. To me, ebony in particular has a fairly recognizable zing or pop to the tone, and is the most noticeably different board.


So what I said about it affecting the entire, overall tone is accurate?
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Last edited by Maidenheadsteve at Aug 3, 2013,
#8
Depending on what you can hear, yes or no.

It splits the guitar community maybe more than any other topic.
#9
Sure, I just didn't know exactly what you meant. "Like body wood" is a bit vague so I didn't quite know how to respond.

I would say the effect is fairly similar, though to me it seems to make more of a difference in the attack of the note. Maybe that's just got to do with the type of wood that gets used on boards, not a lot of maple or rosewood bodies out there. But to me a different body changes the decay more, and the neck/board changes the attack more. These are fairly nuanced differences though, so there's a lot of overlap and I can't say I'm totally confident in how they all interact. That's a very hard thing to nail down.
#10
^ +1 on the attack thing. in some ways the fretboard wood thing is very subtle. in others, once you know how to look out for it, it's actually quite noticeable. Maybe more so than other supposedly less subtle things.

Quote by Maidenheadsteve
Crap that's what I meant, the fret board wood.




Quote by Mephaphil

It splits the guitar community maybe more than any other topic.


relics

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#11
Hmm. I think relics are somewhat new to the table. Tone wood has always been the big one, from my experience.
#14
I'd honestly love to see a huge "most affect on tone" thread/debate and see the long time savvy veterans of both the thread and guitar in general bash the s**t out of each other (or kindly debate. whichever).

However, I guess I started this to get an idea of which fret wood to pick. I'm getting a custom alder guitar, and I'm having fairly warm, high output pickups on it. Any quick suggestions on which fret wood? (If it doesn't quite matter or the differences are a bit too subtle, I think I'm taking a dark color wood to match the black guitar)
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Loop1=Crybaby from hell, Boss PS-5, Seymour Duncan 805 or Green Rhino, EQD Hoof or Earthbound Audio Super Collider. Loop 1 into ISP Decimator II.
Loop 2 (FX loop)-Line6 M9, TC Spark Mini. Loop 2 into mxr 10band. All into a Peavey Triple XXX 212, Ibanez IL15.
#15
I think that was a bit of misunderstanding. Dave said relics were more of a hot topic, Ippon said that amps were the more noticeable factor than tonewood. I don't think he meant that amps were a more contentious topic.

And no, you probably would not want to see a "most effect on tone" thread. We used to have them all the time and I had to start closing them because they were awful. See, there's no way to categorize these changes. You can't just say "pickups matter more than body wood" because what does that mean? EMGs vs. PAFs in alder vs. poplar? A Duncan PAF vs a DiMarzio PAF in pine vs. hollowbody maple? The variables become so convoluted so fast that it gets absurd, and people try to put a percentage value on "what matters" which is of course completely worthless, because there's no way to measure that sort of thing so it's all just talking out the ass, and that means everyone has a very strong and completely unassailable position and it's a mess. Basically it's such a tough topic that in vague terms like those threads, you can say anything you want, reason or evidence notwithstanding.

So no, let's please not do that. I still have flashbacks
#16
Quote by Mephaphil
Depending on what you can hear, yes or no.

It splits the guitar community maybe more than any other topic.

Along with the infamous "truss rod adjustments" topic.
#17
I'm going to go against the grain because I don't believe any of it, body, neck or fretwood makes a significant difference beyond the minor overall density deviations inherent in all wood.

YMMV.
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
#18
its all about pickups and what amp your using in my 20+ yrs of music experience. That would be 2/3 of your tone imo.
#19
Quote by Arby911
I'm going to go against the grain because I don't believe any of it, body, neck or fretwood makes a significant difference beyond the minor overall density deviations inherent in all wood.

YMMV.

I always have trouble with this. Sitting down with a bunch of guitars and a Twin Reverb, I can hear a difference, and it feels significant. Then later with just one of them and some OD and maybe a pedal in front, I never find myself going, "great, but I sure wish it had a maple board." Does that mean I should totally ignore the finer points I heard before? Obviously there are other factors but I have a hard time accepting that I should just ignore what my ears tell me when I'm at my most discerning.

So I'm stuck between knowing full well that there is a difference and that nuance is important, and realizing that at some point it stops being a worthwhile concern. I can certainly understand both approaches. The question, on the other hand, was "is there a difference" so I feel like it would be disingenuous to say no, even if it becomes trivial in certain circumstances.

There are enough great guitars out there that you can afford to be picky. Sweating the details is optional but to me it's fun and feels rewarding, even if it's not always an obvious advantage. If I can be picky about color, I can be picky about wood
#20
TBH, I'd probably attach more significance to the slight differences in feel and tone once my technique is 100X better.

For example, even at my skill level, I can easily differentiate a KT88-based Fryette UltraLead from the similar but EL34-based CLX, when I'm A/Bing them. When playing with the volume at significantly higher volume, it becomes difficult to differentiate the smoother, wider UL vs. the rougher, middier CLX.
#21
I can hear a difference between similar guitars too but how much of that difference is actually due to the wood? I mean do these guitars have the same pot and cap values and pickups that read the same? Is the scale length the same between both guitars? Are both guitars wired the same way? Heck, is the pickup height the same?


Like there's so many factors to the sound its hard to narrow down why similar guitars sound different.


FWIW, I swapped out a rosewood board for a maple board on one of my bolt on guitars. For me, the only difference is the feel of the board. YMMV
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#22
I swapped out a rosewood board for a maple board and noticed exactly the difference I expected from playing a bunch of MIM strats, since the only difference between them (beyond manufacturing tolerance) was the board. That's the thing, if you can play enough guitars of a similar type, I do feel like you can start to tease out some of the variables.

Whether or not you care is a totally reasonable personal decision, but I think most guitarists can hear a difference if you sit them down with a couple similar models and a decent amp.
#23
after plinking neck blanks I will say I agree with what Colin posted about neck woods and boards.

also the best way to tell is just like he said, sit down with a bunch of otherwise similarly built guitars and one good amp. once you have them set up the same the only difference should be the boards.

TS i would probably go with rosewood in your case. both for looks and attack tone.
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#24
Quote by Roc8995
I always have trouble with this. Sitting down with a bunch of guitars and a Twin Reverb, I can hear a difference, and it feels significant. Then later with just one of them and some OD and maybe a pedal in front, I never find myself going, "great, but I sure wish it had a maple board." Does that mean I should totally ignore the finer points I heard before? Obviously there are other factors but I have a hard time accepting that I should just ignore what my ears tell me when I'm at my most discerning.

So I'm stuck between knowing full well that there is a difference and that nuance is important, and realizing that at some point it stops being a worthwhile concern. I can certainly understand both approaches. The question, on the other hand, was "is there a difference" so I feel like it would be disingenuous to say no, even if it becomes trivial in certain circumstances.

There are enough great guitars out there that you can afford to be picky. Sweating the details is optional but to me it's fun and feels rewarding, even if it's not always an obvious advantage. If I can be picky about color, I can be picky about wood


The problem is that both 'sides' honestly believe what they believe for rational reasons, as you mentioned earlier.

I'd never say anyone couldn't hear the differences because I'm not in their head but I really wish i could justify funding a reasonably rigorous blind study to eliminate visual expectation bias.

What frustrates me most of all about this is that the question is answerable.
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
#25
What frustrates me most is that it's such a big topic. I genuinely prefer maple boards, aesthetically and tonally, but I actually don't have any maple board guitars because there's a long list of things that I care about more than that. And yet somehow I end up being the one defending the difference because the other end of the argument appears to be "it's totally irrelevant" and I don't think that's correct.

I think it should be more in the vein of color/finish, where if you think you like one, that's good enough and there's no point in arguing. Certainly it's best to try and look at all sorts of guitars because you might surprise yourself, but it's such a feeling and perception driven thing that (and I realize the silliness of this statement) the reality of the situation doesn't actually matter as much as how it makes you feel about the guitar. And I think that's ok. Music is about feeling and perception, and I don't have a problem with some of that bleeding over into the tools we use to create it.
#26
Well my argument wasn't that it's irrelevant if you're talking about me
Quote by zgr0826
My culture is worthless and absolutely inferior to the almighty Leaf.


Quote by JustRooster
I incurred the wrath of the Association of White Knights. Specifically the Parent's Basement branch of service.
#27
No, not at all. You made your point well, and I think it's very similar to what I think
#29
This is probably the most rational thread I've seen about it.

Well done folks!
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
#30
I don't understand how you can hear wood tone through an electrical signal.
#31
The electrical signal isn't just created out of thin air. It's the result of the pickups sensing changes in the movement of the strings. This isn't a synthesizer, it's a system of magnets and vibrations.
The strings also are not vibrating in thin air. They will vibrate differently based on the guitar they're connected to. The vibration characteristics of the guitar will change how the strings vibrate, which in turn changes what comes out of the pickups.

Granted, the system is not as sensitive as, say, a microphone in front of an acoustic guitar. There, there is so much more vibration and air movement that the changes are obvious. But nothing magically changes when you substitute a solid body and a magnetic pickup; you're still sensing vibrations, and those vibrations have characteristics unique to the thing that is vibrating.
#32
Personally I don't think those aluminium guitars sound very good, or those see through plastic abominations.

They sound alright but, not as good as guitar made from tree wood.
#33
I do believe there's a little difference, although I'm sure it's in the fingers of the player.

Whenever I pickup a non-lacquered maple-fretboard guitar I play much smoother than on a rosewood-fretboard, thus making me sound "better" and giving my playing a "different tone"..
A lacquered maple fretboard makes me play too sloppy, thus making my "tone" worse..

That's my experience though.
#35
Quote by Mephaphil
Personally I don't think those aluminium guitars sound very good, or those see through plastic abominations.

They sound alright but, not as good as guitar made from tree wood.


If you couldn't see the guitars, could you pick those out consistently from sound clips?

Are you certain of your answer?

Is there any other kind of wood...?
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
#36
Quote by Roc8995
I think that was a bit of misunderstanding. Dave said relics were more of a hot topic,


yeah that's what i meant

Quote by Ippon
I'm surprised Dave didn't chime in about the speakers earlier.


LOL
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
Last edited by Dave_Mc at Aug 4, 2013,
#37
Quote by Arby911
If you couldn't see the guitars, could you pick those out consistently from sound clips?

Are you certain of your answer?

Is there any other kind of wood...?


I've done blind tests and got a vast majority of them right.

I'm sure someone can show you a different kind of wood, but I'm not that kind of girl.
#38
Quote by Mephaphil
I've done blind tests and got a vast majority of them right.

I'm sure someone can show you a different kind of wood, but I'm not that kind of girl.

This reminded me of Rob Chappers who couldn't differentiate the feel and tone between a Squier and a CS Tele in a blind test.
#39
Rob Chappers would tell you he couldn't tell a cat from a dog if it would get him more hits on youtube.
#40
Quote by Ippon
This reminded me of Rob Chappers who couldn't differentiate the feel and tone between a Squier and a CS Tele in a blind test.


Yea I saw that. It was funny lol. I like their videos but he pretty ****ing annoying.

Quote by Roc8995
Rob Chappers would tell you he couldn't tell a cat from a dog if it would get him more hits on youtube.


This!
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