Page 1 of 2
#1
What are the tonal differences between northern ash and maple? Like in comparison to each other e.g. maple is brighter than ash or something.
#3
that is a tough call. When I'm in doubt I use warmoth tone charts.
http://www.warmoth.com/Guitar/Bodies/Options/BodyWoodOptions.aspx

maple is brighter and heavier as a body wood. George Lynch of Dokken has an all maple guitar and it weighs a ton. Ash bodies Fender used and it's starting to get noticed again by guys like Jeff Loomis to certain models by this or that company I'm too tired to remember.
#5
I think I'll wait a bit before getting into that "tonewood" debate and see where this thread goes. I sense conflict.
Yes I am guitarded also, nice to meet you.
#7
Unless you're using either if these for anything on an acoistic, you really won't hear a bit of difference. For electric guitars really the last thing to think about when deciding on woods is the tone
#8
I'd suggest watching at least one YouTube video on the tonewood debate (if type of wood makes any difference in tone from electric guitar pickups), which I expect reinforce what has been said above, to not make tone a big part of the thought process in selecting a wood. I like this video as being a short overview of the debate:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZAOSiwXitM

Ken
Bernie Sanders for President!
#9
I have an acrylic electric guitar. I think for the simple fact that it exists proves "tonewoods" in electric guitars are a fallacy. Acoustics however, thats a totally different matter.
#10
Quote by Ben2k9
I have an acrylic electric guitar. I think for the simple fact that it exists proves "tonewoods" in electric guitars are a fallacy.

That's not what that means. That's like saying that your clear guitar proves that "guitar colors" are a fallacy. Different materials sound different; "tonewood" doesn't mean that guitars can only be made of wood, it means that some woods sound different than others. It's a silly term for electrics but it describes what is obviously a real phenomenon.

Anyone who has ever played a hollowbody electric knows that the body makes some difference. Anyone who's played a number of SGs and Les Pauls, which have the same hardware and electronics and differ only in construction and wood type, knows that the body makes some difference. Whether or not the difference is large is another story, and whether or not we should care is another one still, but the body wood makes a difference. I can't believe we have people who ostensibly play the guitar still arguing that point.
#11
Quote by Roc8995
That's not what that means. That's like saying that your clear guitar proves that "guitar colors" are a fallacy. Different materials sound different; "tonewood" doesn't mean that guitars can only be made of wood, it means that some woods sound different than others. It's a silly term for electrics but it describes what is obviously a real phenomenon.

Anyone who has ever played a hollowbody electric knows that the body makes some difference. Anyone who's played a number of SGs and Les Pauls, which have the same hardware and electronics and differ only in construction and wood type, knows that the body makes some difference. Whether or not the difference is large is another story, and whether or not we should care is another one still, but the body wood makes a difference. I can't believe we have people who ostensibly play the guitar still arguing that point.


gives us somethig to do. i'm a tone wood makes a diffeence guy myself. played enough guitars to show me that it's true at leest to some degree.

anyways. had an all maple strat style guitar and let me tell you Les Paul players were like "damn dude that guitar weighs a ton". currently have a maple neck thru and that isn't exactly light either.
#12
Quote by Roc8995
That's not what that means. That's like saying that metal boats prove that it doesn't matter what kind of wood you make a wooden boat out of. Different materials sound different; "tonewood" doesn't mean that guitars can only be made of wood, it means that some woods sound different than others. It's a silly term for electrics but it describes what is obviously a real phenomenon.

Anyone who has ever played a hollowbody electric knows that the body makes some difference. Anyone who's played a number of SGs and Les Pauls, which have the same hardware and electronics and differ only in construction and wood type, knows that the body makes some difference. Whether or not the difference is large is another story, and whether or not we should care is another one still, but the body wood makes a difference. I can't believe we have people who ostensibly play the guitar still arguing that point.


Well of course for hollowbody guitars it will make a difference, as soon as you put a cavity in a guitar the resonance will change due to the density of the wood. Solid wood bodies though, I firmly believe its a placebo effect, I can get good clean bright tones from my acrylic, which obviously has nothing to do with the fact that acrylic is a dense material. That was the point I was trying to make, you're running the pickups and the pots and all the electrics through an amp of some kind, the simple fact that it is electrically driven means the construction material has no effect on tone, unless there is some form of cavity within the guitar. Ive seen guitars made out of SNES's, or rifles, or, well, anything, sure, if the electrics are crap then the guitar will sound crap but that's a given really. It's been proven time and time again that you can take any old hunk of shit Strat, chuck some decent hardware in there and guitar nuts wont notice the difference in a blind test.
#13
You're arguing that the body has no influence on electrics...until it does? How does that make sense? If that were true a hollowbody electric would sound no different than a solidbody. Either the body matters or it doesn't. What magical change do you propose occurs that a hollowbody's resonance matters but a solidbody's does not, because it's "electrically driven?" Hollowbody electrics are also "electrically driven" and yet sound different. Again, I can accept that it matters more on some instruments, but that is not what you are arguing. You're making arbitrary distinctions.

Guitars made of other materials don't prove that those things don't sound different.

Again, I'm fine with the "it doesn't matter that much" argument, but saying the body makes no difference is completely and demonstrably false, unless you're trying to tell me a 335 and a LP and an SG all sound exactly the same. Again, you can agree that the electronics mostly make the body resonance irrelevant, but the body must have some factor (see: hollowbody) and so I see no reason why the wood cannot also make a difference, however small.

Arguing that you don't care is one thing, arguing that somehow physics makes it impossible is another, and is totally wrong.
#14
RE: Hollowbodies: I was more talking about the fact they can give off feedback more due the cavity etc, plus they CAN be played unplugged for a different sound if needs be.

Until someone somehow guts a guitar and uses the same hardware, neck, strings and amp with the exact same settings, same pick, hell even the same air humidity but with different bodies to conclusively prove that body construction materials change the tone then I can't really be convinced otherwise. I'll keep referring back to my acrylic, if body wood really is that important, why is it made out of plastic??
#15
Not sure how the ability of hollowbodies to be played unplugged has any relevance here.

Feedback, again not part of the discussion. My point is that the body makes a difference - if you admit that a 335 sounds not exactly like a Les Paul, your point is forfeit. Gibson makes a 335, Les Paul, and SG model with exactly the same hardware and pickups. Please explain to me why they have consistently identifiable tonal differences between those guitars. Anyone with a ride to a decently sized guitar store and a couple of hours can hear this firsthand. Try it sometime.

Quote by Ben2k9
I'll keep referring back to my acrylic, if body wood really is that important, why is it made out of plastic??

A terrible argument against a point never made. Acrylic also resonates - it is a viable body material just as much as Agathis is. It's just not a body wood - which is, if you've been following this discussion, not the crucial point. Plus, nobody said it's "that important," that's your strawman. Nobody has said it's critical, or even a large factor. Merely that it is one. Does the existence of composite acoustic guitars mean that wood doesn't matter there either? Of course not. It simply means that they've found another material that works differently but is still serviceable.

All I am saying is that your acrylic body probably sounds slightly different than, say, a 12-pound Korina guitar, which sounds slightly different from an alder one. You are saying that's impossible; I'm saying you should play some more guitars, talk to some luthiers, and stop arguing against claims nobody made.
#16
Quote by monwobobbo

anyways. had an all maple strat style guitar and let me tell you Les Paul players were like "damn dude that guitar weighs a ton". currently have a maple neck thru and that isn't exactly light either.


thats because a lot of the weight of a les paul is actually from the maple cap (and given a les paul is usually over 65mm thick)

I have an all maple guitar and it is one of the fattest sound guitars I've ever heard
#17
I knew this thread would get to the "tonewood" issue eventually. I am not a "tonewood" believer. The Ampeg Dan Armstrong guitar I had in the 70's didn't sound significantly different to any other guitar except the electronics were different and the tone was altered by changing the easily inserted pickups with different bobbin winds that changed the guitars tone. While I think there is a strong argument in favor of wood having an effect on sustain that is not the same as "tone". The vibrating metal string over a magnetic pickup will determine the tone. Les Paul's original solid body "Log" was a 4X4 piece of pine with pickups. Les said that the best sound he ever got was when he put a guitar string across a piece of railroad track with a pickup under the string. The debate goes on.

Don't get me wrong I love how a guitar looks and feels with different woods. But the idea that it changes the tone? I don't think so. (Of course acoustic guitars, semi hollow electrics or hollow body electrics are a different story.) It's a debate with no end and it's all just an opinion.
Attachments:
les paul log.jpg
Yes I am guitarded also, nice to meet you.
Last edited by Rickholly74 at Jun 8, 2015,
#18
thanks Ricky.

And also,

Feedback, again not part of the discussion. My point is that the body makes a difference - if you admit that a 335 sounds not exactly like a Les Paul, your point is forfeit. Gibson makes a 335, Les Paul, and SG model with exactly the same hardware and pickups. Please explain to me why they have consistently identifiable tonal differences between those guitars. Anyone with a ride to a decently sized guitar store and a couple of hours can hear this firsthand. Try it sometime.


Yes, all 3 guitars have a distinctive sound of their own, but tell me, have ever seen anyone actually play all 3 models with the EXACT same hardware back to back on the same amp? No, I dont think so. Sure, Ive seen lots of comparisons on DIFFERENT amps, different electrics, but never a conclusive test on the same amp with the same hardware.

Also, I have other guitars than my acrylic.
Last edited by Ben2k9 at Apr 29, 2015,
#19
Quote by Ben2k9
Yes, all 3 guitars have a distinctive sound of their own

So all three have a distinctive sound - where does that come from? If you say that an SG has a distinct voice from a Les Paul, that cannot be from the electronics alone. Gibson pulls pickups from a big barrel and throws one in a Les Paul and one in an SG. Those individual pickups get assigned randomly, so across the product line it's pretty obvious that the SG's looser neck tone or the Les Paul's bite in the bridge pickup cannot be from the electronics alone. It would be impossible for every SG to get lucky and get a darker neck pickup, or for every LP to get lucky and get a brighter bridge pickup.

I don't understand how you can say that an SG sounds different than a Les Paul but claim that it's down to the pickups and hardware, when those pickups and hardware are the same on each. Again, your argument that each guitar has slightly different electronics makes no sense here, because taken as a whole those guitars have unique sounds. If you play 10 Les Pauls and 10 SGs, there will be some obvious traits that they share as a category. Since the hardware and electronics are assigned randomly from the same source (depending on model, but you can do it with a large enough supply of guitars), it's a beautifully useful way of testing the inherent properties of each model. If your hypothesis were correct, we'd hear differences between every individual guitar Gibson makes but we wouldn't be able to recognize similarities among the models. I think you can agree that's not a correct statement. Actually, you already did agree that it's not a correct statement, so I don't know why you're still arguing that it's exclusively about the hardware and pickups.

I've transplanted electronics and hardware between strats, traded pickups between an SG and a Les Paul, changed necks on a loaded body, routed a strat body while it was still plugged in - that was a cool experiment. Used a big brass weight on a headstock, played a guitar in a vice, messed with body damping in all sorts of fun ways. All of this is available if you choose to explore it.

I think a lot of people have a reaction to the very real snobbery of different materials and kneejerk in the opposite direction with claims about "you can't hear this or that." In some ways that's true, and I would be the first one to tell you that I couldn't tell an alder from an agathis strat in a blind youtube test. But I can also tell you that I've played hundreds of Les Pauls and dozens of SGs and I think if you play that many guitars and still think that it's all down to the pickups you've either got a tin ear or you're not paying much attention. The fact that some people care too much about the difference does not mean that the difference does not exist.

I can't taste the difference between Pepsi or Coke but I'm not claiming that everyone with a preference is wrong, or that the ingredients in a soda don't make a difference to its taste because it's carbonated or in a can or whatever.
#20
Quote by krm27
I'd suggest watching at least one YouTube video on the tonewood debate (if type of wood makes any difference in tone from electric guitar pickups), which I expect reinforce what has been said above, to not make tone a big part of the thought process in selecting a wood. I like this video as being a short overview of the debate:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZAOSiwXitM

Ken



I have been building/modifying guitars for over 25 yrs. and must say I agree with this almost entirely. Honestly IMO wood does affect the tone, but not enough to usually be noticed when you factor in the electronics following it in it's chain of command to our ears. Different woods definitely affect sustain, hence why we don't see too many neck wood options vs. body/fretboard. Our blinders/allegiances I feel keep objectivity hard to keep in many cases. Easier to deny than face we might have been misled over the years an look foolish.
#21
This is a difficult argument to win, because the ability to measure the differences using laboratory techniques is almost impossible. This is primarily because the guitar 'tone' is very much determined by the transient response of the guitar and therefore depends far too much on difficult-to-reproduce events like picking speed and deflection, picking location, string variations, in addition to humidity and air temperature consistency.

The three solidbody guitars that I have built used different woods and I very much hear the influence of them on the sound. I also purchased a Fender Stratocaster pickup for one of them and I can confirm that it does not sound much like a Stratocaster (in Strats you also hear the resonance of the plastic pickguard, whereas on mine it is mounted in a humbucker frame).

Of course wood is not the only determinant and possibly not always the most influential one (string gauge and age, amplifier type and speaker, tone settings, and even the cord length will have an effect).

To say blindly that the body wood makes *no* difference is completely untrue, however to prove this using any scientific approach is not a simple (or, IMHO possible) task.

The debate will never be settled.
Last edited by Blademaster2 at May 21, 2015,
#22
wood does make a slight difference. I think the bridge, nut, pickups, pots and caps make an even bigger difference.
#23
I have never noticed a lot of influence from the bridge or nut itself (maybe I never realized it).

The pickups and amplifier are huge determinants for tone, as are the strings themselves, and in my experience the body and neck wood come next. Pots and caps might, but I have not experimented enough with them to be convinced yet - however the wiring design can be done in a few different ways and I *have* heard the difference there.
#24
I haven't ever installed a nut and thought "that sounds bad." I think a good nut is way more about proper shape/slotting, lubrication, and longevity than about how it sounds. I'm sure there's some difference, especially with metal or locking nuts, but the standard plastic/bone/synthetic offerings all sound 'close enough' in my book.

The bridge is pretty darn noticeable, especially since you can swap a TOM bridge in five seconds if you're already changing the strings. Fender trems are more involved but going from the undersized Squier zinc block to a full sized brass or steel one can be a real change. Same with adding a Bigsby - not surprisingly, bolting a big chunk of metal to your strings can alter how they vibrate!

Pots are always fun because a lot of people have only ever played on the cheap OEM stuff, so it can be really pleasant surprise showing them a quality aftermarket pot. It's not a huge difference but it can be a nice bump in quality and usually they last a lot longer anyway. Caps are more subtle, some people insist they don't make any difference but they're cheap so I think it's worth experimenting. Certainly the cap value is worthy of consideration.
#25
Species of wood literally makes zero difference on the tone of an amplified electric solid body guitar. There are many videos on YouTube you can watch that go into the physics behind it all to prove this.

Tests between "tonewood" guitar bodies and one made out of chipboard analyzed through graphical EQ's that show zero difference.
#26
All I've seen on YouTube are a bunch of people with poorly designed “tests" pretending that they're dropping truth bombs by getting inconclusive results and asking the wrong questions. I am a physicist by trade and I have not seen a single competent argument despite a lot of claims that "physics proves that it doesn't matter."

This comparison is neat, and worth a listen.
http://www.petelacis.com/2010/07/08/alder-vs-swamp-ash-maple-vs-rosewood-and-a-neck-swap-the-definitive-comparison-with-audio-clips/
#27
Well the results are pretty conclusive in DKGCustoms' video to me, unless you would care to explain why they aren't? ( please note this is not a snidey comment, genuinely curious here).

We also have WillsEasyGuitar explaining how pretty much none of of the string's vibrations actually pass into the wood anyway, most are absorbed or reflected back onto the string by the bridge and nut/fret. He also states how any and all vibrations passing into the body will be the exact same frequencies as when they went in.

I checked out the page you linked and there is a flaw with his tests, he uses different electronics in each guitar. Even though the pickups are the same model, it is impossible for them to have the exact same number of windings and gauss strength in each magnet between the guitars, this would effect the resonant peak of each pickup in the different guitars he uses and thus, the tone. Also due to the variance tolerance of potentiometers of 10%, the pots in the guitars could range from 225k to 275k this would have an influence on the tone of the guitars, therefore any changes in tone cannot be attributed purely to wood.

The basis for any scientific experiment to prove a hypothesis is to keep everything else constant and only change your variable, in this case the wood, everything else must remain constant.
Last edited by N1ghtmar3C1n3ma at Jun 13, 2015,
#28
That would be true except that he did combinations that included different necks on the same body. So yes, the body wood was not isolated and tested, but the neck was. That's a good start, and I don't know why the neck would matter but not the body if the claim is that only the nut and bridge transfer or transform vibrations - a claim, by the way, easily falsified by touching a vibrating instrument to the body of another, plugged in but not vibrating.

I am on a phone right now so I can't address individual videos, but the usual arguments about vibrations are unfounded speculation, or sometimes completely incorrect. Simply stating that "pretty much no vibration" is transferred is not a physics argument. It appears to be, but it's classic hand-woven. No proof or measurements are provided, and as usual it's just an opinion masquerading as hard evidence: what is "pretty much zero"? How do we define that, and what does it mean? The most common argument I see is a strawman: I am the first to agree that the wood doesn't make a large difference, and that it's overemphasized frequently, but there is a massive difference between claiming that it's a tiny difference not worth obsessing over (reasonable!) and claiming that it is physically impossible for the body wood to make an audible difference, which is the distinction I take issue with.

When CDs first came out, we heard all these arguments almost verbatim from people eager to discredit the crazy old-fashioned luddites who said they heard a sonic difference between tape or vinyl and CDs. Graphs and charts and miles of condescending literature was trotted out to show that the instruments couldn't tell the difference, which naturally meant that humans could not either, unless they were deluded or crazy. None of this was true, of course, and today it's rather well established that there is a difference, but somehow we have the hubris to pretend that we completely understand human hearing and psychoacoustics.

Anyway, music is not a double blind exercise. Obviously it's a great idea to use good science to prod our understanding and improve our tools, but I think this is an example of poor, biased and emotionally charged pseudoscience being used to quash the valid experiences of people making reasonable claims in good faith.
#29
As I said before, this argument will never be settled.

I have heard the difference myself - same pickups in a different body creating a subtly different tone.

No pseudo-science and/or poorly-understood experimental results will convince me otherwise. I am an engineer with a graduate degree in electronics, and I have looked at lab results many times and observed that the subtleties in what you hear with your ears are not observable on test equipment.

But hey, if there are people out there who claim that they hear no difference, and will never believe those who do, then that is fine. Not all of us listen for the same things. Just *do not* try to convince technically-trained people like myself that I am not smart enough if I do not believe their "scientific" claims. I could provide a good, long argument from the science and technical perspective telling them why their measurements prove nothing. Above all of that, I can hear it for myself.
Last edited by Blademaster2 at Jun 16, 2015,
#30
Well said.

I don't mind people who merely say that they don't hear (or don't care about) the difference. That's totally valid. What I do mind is how violently some people insist on there being some tonewood snob conspiracy and cling to garbage pseudo-scientific "evidence" to enable their anger/bias. It goes beyond disagreement and becomes something very ugly and emotional, and it makes actual discussion/debate very difficult.
#31
Agreed.

One more thing, ROC8995, that adds to the point that you and I are making is the known and audible tone heard on a doubleneck solidbody guitar when playing one neck that is turned off and listening to the pickups on the other neck. It is quieter, of course, but you can easily hear what is played on the "turned-off" neck coming from the "turned-on" neck's pickups. That is purely due to vibrations passing through the guitar body wood. To me, it is hard to argue that the body wood plays no role when the sound from it can be demonstrated so clearly. I can also prove that it is not the strings' magnetic field being detected from the other picks from the distance because I have tried used a tuning fork near the "turned-off" neck pickups and it creates no signal in the other pickups.

That is the kind of experiment that is relevant here.
#32
You will not notice any difference unless it's a (semi-)hollow one and the bridge is not a piece of wire

See mentioned DKGCustoms and WillsEasyGuitar and this one
http://www.stormriders.com/guitar/telecaster/guitar_wood.pdf

That altogether has convinced me enough.
Misha

Music Man Axis Super Sport
Diezel Einstein 100, Sparrow's Sons 2X12
Last edited by terribleguitar at Jul 8, 2015,
#33
There's absolutely no analysis in that 'paper.' Just a bunch of graphs with no explanation. You can also quite clearly see upwards of 10dB differences at some frequencies - 10dB is double perceived volume. While it's obvious that differences are lesser when amplified through pickups, there are still visible differences in the graph.

Then there's also the massive flaw of microphone vs direct to sound card recording. The microphone will pick up how the sound interacts with the room. In a listening environment, the room itself is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle, and can cause huge colouration. It's a pisspoor 'study', frankly.
#34
Quote by Deliriumbassist
Then there's also the massive flaw of microphone vs direct to sound card recording. The microphone will pick up how the sound interacts with the room. In a listening environment, the room itself is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle, and can cause huge colouration. It's a pisspoor 'study', frankly.

If I remember correctly, the microphone was placed close to 12th fret of the guitar so minimal amount of "room" is recorded. Plus, I guess there is not much sound to interact with the room if you are playing a solid-body electric, unplugged.
And there is analysis in this paper. It is right before the graphs, I recall.
Misha

Music Man Axis Super Sport
Diezel Einstein 100, Sparrow's Sons 2X12
#35
Quote by Roc8995
All I've seen on YouTube are a bunch of people with poorly designed “tests" pretending that they're dropping truth bombs by getting inconclusive results and asking the wrong questions. I am a physicist by trade and I have not seen a single competent argument despite a lot of claims that "physics proves that it doesn't matter."

This comparison is neat, and worth a listen.
http://www.petelacis.com/2010/07/08/alder-vs-swamp-ash-maple-vs-rosewood-and-a-neck-swap-the-definitive-comparison-with-audio-clips/

They all sounded pretty similar. There were some differences in some clips, but in other clips there were no differences (in some clips the rosewood fretboard sounded more distorted than the maple fretboard one, but in others they sounded exactly the same). I guess that has to do with the "human factor" - you can't play exactly the same thing twice. The playing dynamics change and also your picking hand position changes a bit. And that does affect the sound (and that was the reason why Chappers's and Captain's "proof - tonewood matters" video was a fail). Can't really say anything based on those clips, other than that the difference is not huge if there is any difference. They all sounded very similar (but as I said, there were more clear differences in certain clips than in others).

I suggest watching Paul Graham's tonewood series.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rlj1kYjFN0&list=PL_VbYMtOnjFgujfamrtlXJg57QvcEFuYR

When I listened to the clips in the blind test, the results were the same - it was too inconsistent to tell any differences. Sometimes the acrylic and wooden bodies sounded exactly the same, sometimes there was a clear difference, sometimes there was a clear difference between two clips played on the same body.

Based on this, I would say the wood is not a huge factor, and what matters a lot more is your playing style.

At the moment Bourdeau Guitars is building two tonewood guitars (though I haven't seen any updates for a while). I'm expecting it to be better than any of the previous tests I have seen. He builds the guitars only to be able to test if tonewood makes a difference.


But yeah, I really don't care. When I'm buying a guitar, I don't look at what wood its made of. I try different guitars and buy the one that feels and sounds best. It doesn't matter if wood matters or not. That doesn't really change anything. Some people think (if tonewood didn't matter) it makes expensive guitars worthless, but the "tonewood" is not the only thing that makes an expensive guitar good. It doesn't really change anything.

I do find the topic interesting, though.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#37
Quote by terribleguitar
If I remember correctly, the microphone was placed close to 12th fret of the guitar so minimal amount of "room" is recorded. Plus, I guess there is not much sound to interact with the room if you are playing a solid-body electric, unplugged.
And there is analysis in this paper. It is right before the graphs, I recall.


There's a blurb, but it's hardly an analysis.
#38
Quote by Intralimpidus
What are the tonal differences between northern ash and maple? Like in comparison to each other e.g. maple is brighter than ash or something.


While I love watching these debates bloom regarding whether or not you can hear a difference in the woods (you can), the simple truth is that you can't necessarily predict what a guitar made of a certain wood will sound like.

I have several solid maple guitars (eg., a Carvin V220, Carvin DC-150, Moonstone Vulcan, Gibson L6-S, etc.), and the weights vary widely, the body shapes vary significantly and the sounds they produce don't match a pattern.

There are simply too many other factors (varying density of wood blanks, body size and shape, etc.) at play. Some of my guitars have bodies made of maple burl, which is *extremely* dense. At least one has a one-piece chunk of the stuff as a body. Others have at least part of the body made of spalted maple, which is often lighter weight than standard maple. Hard rock maple (no relation to the clubs) have different characteristics from western maple or chinese figured maple.

And then there's construction type. Most of my guitars are set neck or neck-through. Again, while you can hear differences, they're not consistent.

Most of my guitars are based around maple, mahogany and koa, with occasional forays into walnut, poplar, limba and elm (yup!). I have guitars with aluminum neck through construction, metal bodies, graphite necks and more. The best I can offer is that they do sound different from each other.

But I can't honestly say that one wood sounds a certain way and another a different way all the time.
#39
I agree fully with that statement. No blanket claims can be made about different woods, but some tendencies do exist and can be heard. No oscilloscope trace will show these differences to an observer, and even if it could it would require a very extensive set up to achieve the repeatability of other factors in the tone that should not vary if any comparison were attempted.

Guitar playing, and appreciation of it, is not a science and we should avoid trying to make it into that.
#40
Quote by Roc8995
You're arguing that the body has no influence on electrics...until it does? How does that make sense? If that were true a hollowbody electric would sound no different than a solidbody. Either the body matters or it doesn't. What magical change do you propose occurs that a hollowbody's resonance matters but a solidbody's does not, because it's "electrically driven?" Hollowbody electrics are also "electrically driven" and yet sound different. Again, I can accept that it matters more on some instruments, but that is not what you are arguing. You're making arbitrary distinctions.

Guitars made of other materials don't prove that those things don't sound different.

Again, I'm fine with the "it doesn't matter that much" argument, but saying the body makes no difference is completely and demonstrably false, unless you're trying to tell me a 335 and a LP and an SG all sound exactly the same. Again, you can agree that the electronics mostly make the body resonance irrelevant, but the body must have some factor (see: hollowbody) and so I see no reason why the wood cannot also make a difference, however small.

Arguing that you don't care is one thing, arguing that somehow physics makes it impossible is another, and is totally wrong.


A solid body is a thick piece of wood, with little give. A hollow body has a thin wooden body which reverberates from the strings on the bridge, and creates reverberations inside the body and those in turn revibrate the strings. If you play an acoustic, you can play just a few strings, and leave the others open, and without playing the open ones, they will vibrate from sympathetic resonance. It is the same principle.

So, definitely it will make a difference. Not something completely earth shattering, but it will definitely add some colour to the tone for sure.

A completely solid body, might do something a little bit like that, but I would imagine it would be basically imperceptible. As long as it is solid enough. If it is made of something flimsy the bridge will vibrate a lot and you will notice that. But one solid wood to another, that would be real tough to hear I would imagine.

i would care about a hollow body for tone, I would care about the wood for tone. I don't think I would care a single bit about what wood the body of a strat is made of. I dont' even really care if it isn't wood at all.

That's my impression. I haven't gone and measured electrics that way, and I haven't gone and played a bunch of hollow bodies with different woods to see exactly the difference. But hollow body vs non hollow body definitely makes a difference, and I can't imagine the woods you use wouldn't.

i have been surprised before also, so idk, maybe I would notice the difference between two identical strats save the wood choice, but I really doubt it.
Last edited by fingrpikingood at Jul 9, 2015,
Page 1 of 2