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#1
So how on earth does the wood affect the tone of the guitar? Does the wood vibrate and vibrate the pickups and this affects the tone? Can someone give some explanation?


So, so how on earth would different fretboards make the guitar sound different? does the fretboard vibrate and this... affects the pickups somehow?
#3
i think if im not mistaken which i could be that different types of wood are more porous and/or have more resin in them or less making the sound either resonate longer or with more lows and vice versa with more highs.
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#4
It affects the way the strings resonate. Different resonance from the wood transfers to the strings. Also why set neck guitars sustain. The energy given to the strings is held in the wood for longer rather than being lost at the neck joint.

Easy example of how what is on your guitar affects tone, play a note which has roughly the same resonant frequency as the trem springs, you get a slight spring reverb effect.
#5
different woods used in the body like maple ash or basswood etc absorb different frequencies in different amounts, therefor you do not hear these frequencies. on an acoustic they are not projected from the soundhole and on an electric th pickups do not pick them up. oh, i dont think the fretboard wood changes the tone, just the bodywood.
#6
Quote by ljohn


Easy example of how what is on your guitar affects tone, play a note which has roughly the same resonant frequency as the trem springs, you get a slight spring reverb effect.


What? Make sense!
#7
get a dictionnary
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#8
Fretboard wood changes the tone the same way the neck or body does, more or less as explained by these guys, but it's a less prominent effect because there's less of it. I think the only reason it's noticeable is because it's touching the strings.
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#9

origianlly posted by nutcase1028

i dont think the fretboard wood changes the tone, just the bodywood

the fretboard wood does change the tone you can hear a difference between different woods and finished and unfinished necks
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#10
I can 100% say that fretboard woods do greatly affect the tone. I had two Squier Standard Strat. One with a rosewood fretboard and one with a maple. I put Fender Hot Noiseless Pickups in the guitar with the rosewood fretboard and thought it sounded really good. Then one day I decided to switch the necks and the sound from that guitar was so ice picky that it was unplayable. I switched the necks back and all is well. The wood does affect the tone of the guitar.
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#11
1. Strings are attached to guitar body.
2. When strings vibrate, they make body vibrate.
3. Each different wood will vibrate differently as they have a different density, porosity etc
4. Pickups are attached to the body.
5. When body vibrates, the pickups vibrate.
6. The combination of the vibration of the strings and the fluctuation in the magnetic field created by the pickups (pickups are vibrating differently from strings duh) creates a unique waveform.
#12
Quote by ljohn
It affects the way the strings resonate. Different resonance from the wood transfers to the strings. Also why set neck guitars sustain. The energy given to the strings is held in the wood for longer rather than being lost at the neck joint.



Actually im pretty sure that the type of neck joint has very little affect on the sustain. The only reason why guitars with set necks sustain more is because they're generally found on guitars like les pauls which have thick bodies which sustain a lot anyway. There was a thread on it a while back.
#13
Quote by three10
Actually im pretty sure that the type of neck joint has very little affect on the sustain. The only reason why guitars with set necks sustain more is because they're generally found on guitars like les pauls which have thick bodies which sustain a lot anyway. There was a thread on it a while back.


There was a website by some guy who researched it (there was a thread on it a while ago) and he found that bolt ons have more sustain that set necks because in a bolt on there's direct contact between the woods whereas in a set neck there's glue (which soaks up a lot of the energy).
#14
yeh, but the difference in sustain wasnt really noticable, i think.
#15
Shouldn't a neck-thru have the most sustain then, given the bridge, strings, and neck are all on the same plank of wood?
#16
Quote by CJRocker
Shouldn't a neck-thru have the most sustain then, given the bridge, strings, and neck are all on the same plank of wood?

Yes, I think so. There is glue between the neck-thru wood and the rest of the body wood, though.
#17
Quote by UncleCthulhu
1. Strings are attached to guitar body.
2. When strings vibrate, they make body vibrate.
3. Each different wood will vibrate differently as they have a different density, porosity etc
4. Pickups are attached to the body.
5. When body vibrates, the pickups vibrate.
6. The combination of the vibration of the strings and the fluctuation in the magnetic field created by the pickups (pickups are vibrating differently from strings duh) creates a unique waveform.

Actually, the strings disrupt the pickup's magnetic field to create our tones.
#19
Quote by psychodelic
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#20
Quote by forsaknazrael
Actually, the strings disrupt the pickup's magnetic field to create our tones.

yep but surely the pickups would move slightly which would move the magnetic field which would make the waveform different for each wood, as the pickups would move differently in wood.

I think the biggest effect it has is that it's what the bridge is mounted one which is directly in contact with the strings.

therefore the bodywood would effect how the strings vibrate.
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#21
Quote by forsaknazrael
Actually, the strings disrupt the pickup's magnetic field to create our tones.


The strings are a current carrying conductor cutting through a magnetic field. As lines of flux are cut by the current carrying conductor (steel strings), a current is induced. This is what causes an output to be developed from the guitar. Wee for college physics.

Anyways, the question has already been answered.

As for fret boards, it does have a difference. Maple fretboards tend to be brighter sounding, something which I really like. Rosewood are darker and I think ebony are darker still.
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#22
Quote by rizo299
I remember reading a study which essentially showed that on an electric guitar, the tone wood has absolutely no effect on the tone of the guitar when amplified.


Who did the study? Deaf people?
#23
mahogany is more bottomy and bassy due to its density, alder is more toppy and trebley.

higher quality woods help shape the character of your tone.
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#24
Quote by MAYNARD
Who did the study? Deaf people?

They used a frequency analyser and used a computer to match the frequency charts of the two wood types.

They used guitars of identical size, model, pick ups, through the same amp on the same settings, with the lead, hardware etc, the only difference being the wood of the body .

The analysis of the charts showed no discernible difference between the tone of two guitars other than that which would be cause by chance differences in the strength of strumming, and microscopic differences in the guitars.

I've been looking for it, it was posted on here somewhere.

Also, try harder to be funny next time.
Last edited by rizo299 at Aug 28, 2008,
#25
Magic.
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#26
Quote by rizo299
They used a frequency analyser and used a computer to match the frequency charts of the two wood types.

They used guitars of identical size, model, pick ups, through the same amp on the same settings, with the lead, hardware etc, the only difference being the wood of the body .

The analysis of the charts showed no discernible difference between the tone of two guitars other than that which would be cause by chance differences in the strength of strumming, and microscopic differences in the guitars.

I've been looking for it, it was posted on here somewhere.

Also, try harder to be funny next time.

I've read that. They didn't test it through guitar amps, if I recall correctly.

Besides, EVERY Tele and Gibson LP guitar owner will tell you their two guitars sound very different.
#27
Quote by forsaknazrael
I've read that. They didn't test it through guitar amps, if I recall correctly.

Besides, EVERY Tele and Gibson LP guitar owner will tell you their two guitars sound very different.



thats because they are completely different guitars

pickups
shape
wood
neck joint

its not just because of the wood
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#29
Ah really though. It's a minute difference. Most people would not be able to tell the difference.
#30
its mostly a marketing ploy i guess so companies can charge more for "better" woods i guess, there is a difference but its mostly due to the pups and amp.
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#31
Quote by rizo299
They used a frequency analyser and used a computer to match the frequency charts of the two wood types.

They used guitars of identical size, model, pick ups, through the same amp on the same settings, with the lead, hardware etc, the only difference being the wood of the body .

The analysis of the charts showed no discernible difference between the tone of two guitars other than that which would be cause by chance differences in the strength of strumming, and microscopic differences in the guitars.

I've been looking for it, it was posted on here somewhere.

Also, try harder to be funny next time.


I wasn't tryin to be funny. Deaf people are the only people that could actually believe that.

I don't really care what a frequency analysis says. There are anomalies in soundwaves that science can't explain, so there is no way a computer could.


edit: maybe they do produce the same frequencies, but I think just about every guitarist can testify that identical guitars sound different. Why do guitars sound "better" as they get older?
Last edited by MAYNARD at Aug 28, 2008,
#32
Quote by mrbungle50221
its mostly a marketing ploy i guess so companies can charge more for "better" woods i guess, there is a difference but its mostly due to the pups and amp.

I don't think so. Different pickups sounds different in different kinds of woods. Where I might recommend an SH-11 for a alder Strat, I wouldn't recommend it for a mahogany (with maple top) Les Paul.

The wood makes a difference.
#33
Quote by forsaknazrael
I don't think so. Different pickups sounds different in different kinds of woods. Where I might recommend an SH-11 for a alder Strat, I wouldn't recommend it for a mahogany (with maple top) Les Paul.

The wood makes a difference.



yes i know that i was just saying tone is mostly down to the pups and the amp.

changing pups has a bigger effect on tone than if you change the wood (i know its not possible you get the meaning)
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#34
Quote by MAYNARD
I wasn't tryin to be funny. Deaf people are the only people that could actually believe that.

I don't really care what a frequency analysis says. There are anomalies in soundwaves that science can't explain, so there is no way a computer could.


edit: maybe they do produce the same frequencies, but I think just about every guitarist can testify that identical guitars sound different. Why do guitars sound "better" as they get older?



Yeah you believe that.

Magical sound wave anomalies unexplainable via science?

Of course guitars will sound different, differences in wiring, the pick ups, the quality of the build, the gauge of the strings, the type of hardware, it all cumulatively effects the sound. What this experiment showed however was that, all things being equal, the wood of the body has no discernible effect on the tone of an amplified guitar. It is obviously largely important to the sound of an acoustic guitar, and there is also an audible and chartable difference in the sounds between two woods when an electric is played unplugged.

But, all things being equal, the wood of the body was shown in this experiment to have no discernible effect on the tone through an amp.

This experiment doesn't speculate on why or how a guitar supposedly sounds better as it gets older. The term "better" is a subjective term anyway, it could be simply that a player grows used to his guitar as he ages with it.

What the experiment did show however is that there is no discernible difference between two otherwise identical guitars due to the wood of the body.

Obviously, multiple experiments should be conducted to test reliability and validity of the experiment, but having read it myself I don't see any obvious flaws in the experimental method.
#35
It's really simple. Your strings make sound, everything reflects sound differently. So yes your fretboard also effects sound, because it will also be reflecting the sound.
#36
Quote by rizo299


Yeah you believe that.

Magical sound wave anomalies unexplainable via science?

Of course guitars will sound different, differences in wiring, the pick ups, the quality of the build, the gauge of the strings, the type of hardware, it all cumulatively effects the sound. What this experiment showed however was that, all things being equal, the wood of the body has no discernible effect on the tone of an amplified guitar. It is obviously largely important to the sound of an acoustic guitar, and there is also an audible and chartable difference in the sounds between two woods when an electric is played unplugged.

But, all things being equal, the wood of the body was shown in this experiment to have no discernible effect on the tone through an amp.

This experiment doesn't speculate on why or how a guitar supposedly sounds better as it gets older. The term "better" is a subjective term anyway, it could be simply that a player grows used to his guitar as he ages with it.

What the experiment did show however is that there is no discernible difference between two otherwise identical guitars due to the wood of the body.

Obviously, multiple experiments should be conducted to test reliability and validity of the experiment, but having read it myself I don't see any obvious flaws in the experimental method.

Do you recall what amp was used? Like I said, I remember that they weren't using a proper guitar amp.
#37
If I have a strat with a body made out of high quality southern swamp ash, and compare it to an otherwise identical strat with a body made out of plywood, are they going to sound the same? Very doubtful...

If guitar wood didn't matter, don't you think companies would simply make guitars out of plywood to cut costs and still consider them flagship models? If it all sounds the same very few people would care right?


This study was probably the same one that said GM's quality was comparable to Honda and Toyota's.
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#38
I dunno if it really does affect tone, but after trying many guitars, it seems that what is said about their body woods is pretty much always true, in my experience.

Besides, if the wood made no difference whatsoever, why did manufacturers continue to use huge reserves of exotic woods for the past 50 years? Surely in that time someone could have conducted an experiment.
#39
Quote by Sublime Stylee
If I have a strat with a body made out of high quality southern swamp ash, and compare it to an otherwise identical strat with a body made out of plywood, are they going to sound the same? Very doubtful...

If guitar wood didn't matter, don't you think companies would simply make guitars out of plywood to cut costs and still consider them flagship models? If it all sounds the same very few people would care right?


This study was probably the same one that said GM's quality was comparable to Honda and Toyota's.


Pff. I have a guitar made out of plywood. Its so badass especially with the nice ripple effect the paint job has because they didn't fill the sides where the different layers meet. Also the frets cut my hands because they didn't file the metal down. I consider that a feature so nobody else will ever play my guitar.
#40
Quote by Tarzan_man
Ah really though. It's a minute difference. Most people would not be able to tell the difference.



Maaan, I saw a guy blaze the **** out of a SQUIER at a club one night. Some of the younger guys looked at him like he borrowed Jesus' hands. They looked disappointed when they found out he was using a Squier. Even going so far as to say "Oh, it's just a Squier."


I agree with you 100%
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