Effect of Wood

Effect of Neck Joint

I thought this was interesting. If you don't want to read the articles, they basically say that the type of wood and the neck joint do not affect the tone of an amplified solid body enough to be noticed by a human ear.

These results make sense to me. If pickups are electromagnets that pick up the signal of a metal string vibrating in its magnetic field, only components that directly impact this magnetic field and the string vibrations would influence the tone and sustain. The frets, nut, and bridge are all in contact with the strings, so it makes sense that they would have the biggest influence on the tone.
But empirical evidence suggests that the type and density of wood matters. A Les Paul sounds different than an SG with the same PUs same scale, same bridge, same nut, same stop tailpiece. A 335 sounds different that either of the others with the same hardware. They each resonate and will feedback at different notes or in different ways. Wood, shape, weight, density, and hardware all affect tone somewhat.

If the guy wants to make a point he will have to do better than hold a guitar against his belly.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
Last edited by Cajundaddy at Jun 10, 2014,
I didnt waste my eyes reading the articles... they weren't done by a fella called Scott Grove were they???
Few horses have been flogged quite so far past death. So many people claim to have "proven" it one way or the other. Basic logic and the experience of hundreds of people who know more about the topic than I do would suggest that, yes, resonance is affected by material.
Last edited by K33nbl4d3 at Jun 10, 2014,
Oh boy here we go again.
These people clearly don't understand how it works, or what wood does to the tone. It doesn't give a different tone per say, but rather it effects the way the tone reacts, the way it decays etc. The density of the wood effects the way the strings react (soft woods like mahogany have more pull than say maple, therefore producing a softer tone) , therefore impacting the EQ of the sound slightly. It requires a very well developed ear and years of experience with different guitars and tone woods. One thing I've noticed is that all these people who claim tonewood doesn't make a difference seem to be fairly old (*cough cough* SCOTT GROVE *cough* cough*), which doesn't really help their point as when you get older you are unable to pick out more frequencies. It's not something that can be recorded by a computer, it's something that the player hears and feels for themselves.
I can't wait for the inevitable ****** to post "Pickups are magnetic, wood isn't".
I'm sorry I have to mention that in the first link, it actually uses a Scott Grove video as an example. I'm not even going to bother reading the rest of it.
I have two les pauls, one maple top one not, same pickups, there is a discernible difference between the two, noticeable by even my brother who I wouldn't call the most adverse when it comes to tone. The maple top is LOADS brighter sounding.
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The neck wood and joint are the most important factors to good sustain and 'even' sounding notes across the whole fretboard. A neck that vibrates too much can vibrate 'against' the string with certain notes causing artificial decay and usually leaves just a nasty harmonic in it's place when using high enough gain. No way to fix that other than a new neck on a bolt on or weight added to the headstock but my success with that method is marginal and usually just moves the dead note.

The tone or brightness/darkness is more subjective and does change with the wood choice (more so in the neck than body) BUT tone can be compensated for easily with different pickups or amp settings.
2002 Gibson Les Paul Studio
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