#1
Title explains. Which one is better if body is mahogany, and playing mostly Metallica, Guns n' Roses, Ac/Dc, etc?

Oh, and how does an alder body compare to mahogany?
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Last edited by sensfan151911 at Nov 10, 2008,
#2
Well, mahogany is red, and maple is white... same goes for mahogany vs. alder.

So whats your favourite colour?

People might get hung up on tone, but if you build it well, with good parts, it really doesn't matter.
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#3
mahogany is a little warmer if your using stainless ateal frets and a jb. mahogany. if your using normal frets and all mahogany body and a warm pup then maple is for you.
#4
I can't notice a difference in tone, but they kinda have a different feel to them...

my opinion: maple necks are to mahogany necks as bolt ons are to set necks.
#5
no tonal difference in stainless steel, dont start that again i already owned the topic.

slight tonal difference, the mahogany generates some warmer tones, but hardly noticeable, if you need mahogany for your body let me know, ive got one piece blanks for half of stewmacs prices.
#6
^ Owns the tones.

So is it safe to say that in a quality instrument, it really is the electronics that determine what kind of music it is best for?
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#7
Quote by Øttər
^ Owns the tones.

So is it safe to say that in a quality instrument, it really is the electronics that determine what kind of music it is best for?
Not completely. Don't let anyone tell you that wood type doesn't have noticeable effect on the way the guitar sounds.
#8
to an extent. its mostly your amp though, you can put emgs and run them through a single channel class a tube amp and get a good blues crunch, i can put retro pickusp and run them through a mesa triple rect. and get a metal tone.
#9
Quote by whiteraven119
Not completely. Don't let anyone tell you that wood type doesn't have noticeable effect on the way the guitar sounds.



what about that lab test that everyone seems to forget where they declared wood as irrelevant to an electric guitars tone? everyone loves to chase their dreams i guess. even i look at the cold hard facts and i dont believe it.
#10
Quote by LP Addict
what about that lab test that everyone seems to forget where they declared wood as irrelevant to an electric guitars tone? everyone loves to chase their dreams i guess. even i look at the cold hard facts and i dont believe it.


so there WAS a test?!

I am one to not believe in tonal characteristics in woods for electric guitars. I don't believe there is much more than like...10% sound difference, which isn't enough to notice in my holy opinion.

So wood doesn't matter.
#11
^ Hahaha. LP you rock.

It doesn't make sense that the density of the wood or anything like that would change the way the string vibrates between two pieces of non-wood material, or how magnets convert that vibration into electrical energy.

Whatever though...

EDIT:

Quote by ohspyro89
So wood doesn't matter.
Not as much as the way you use it .
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#12
I defy anyone to build two SGs - one all mahogany and the other all maple, with the exact same electronics, hardware, strings, ect... - and tell me that they don't sound different.
#13
You're on.

Send me $10 000 and I'll get started right away....
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#14
Well, the guitarists for all of the band's you listed use Mahogany necks, Slash and Angus at least, not too sure about Metallica cause they use a bunch of different guitars, while Slash sticks to Les Pauls, and Angus uses only SG's, both have Mahogany necks
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#15
ive already done it at the shop i used to work at, sorry bro. except we made one out of mahogany, and one out of ash. ash which is also a bright "tone" wood. on acoustics, the sound of the woods is significantly different.

tone lies in your neck joint about 400% more than the wood its made out of. thats why mahogany has a wrap of making things warm sounding ,its actually just the muddiness of a glued in neck interfering with the transmission of sound waves.
#16
Maple necks are brighter and have more clarity. My ibby s is much preferred to my mahogany necked guitar because of this as my amp is dark voiced.
#17
What pickups are in you mahogany necked guitar, and what kind of neck joint does it have?
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#18
Quote by SomeoneYouKnew
"If I said you had a beautiful body, would you hold it against me?"
Last edited by C/ruel at Nov 10, 2008,
#19
That is certainly interesting to read. It confirms all my thoughts.

Questions:

Does scale length affect tone?

If finish doesn't affect tone, why don't we use enamel?
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#20
Quote by Øttər
That is certainly interesting to read. It confirms all my thoughts.

Questions:

Does scale length affect tone?

If finish doesn't affect tone, why don't we use enamel?

because, well, it doesn't look nice,and also doesn't work well by spray gun.
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Quote by Anonden
You CAN play anything with anything....but some guitars sound right for some things, and not for others. Single coils sound retarded for metal, though those who are apeshit about harpsichord probably beg to differ.
#21
It doesn't look nice... as in the clear coat won't buff to a good shine?

(I don't have a spray gun, I use rattle cans 'cause I'm poor like that.)
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#22
Quote by Øttər
That is certainly interesting to read. It confirms all my thoughts.

Questions:

Does scale length affect tone?

If finish doesn't affect tone, why don't we use enamel?


Just picked up a magazine w/ an article on that. Haven't read it yet, so I can't say what their view is other than that I believe that the mag essentially says yes.
#23
Quote by Øttər
It doesn't look nice... as in the clear coat won't buff to a good shine?

(I don't have a spray gun, I use rattle cans 'cause I'm poor like that.)



Can you define what you mean by Enamel?

Urethane Enamel?
Acrylic Enamel?
Vitreous Enamel?
#24
Wood perhaps doesn't affect tone much, but I'd rather have korina than agathis, y'know?
It'll sound different in my HEAD. Some of us are like that.
To answer your question, longer scale length means more string tension means, basically, better tone. It's music, so it's all subjective, but short scale lengths might wind up getting muddy - why do you think shredders generally favour 25.5 scales? Not because it's any easier to play, that's for sure.
We use those different finishes for look and feel, and for how well it will age.
#25
Acrylic enamel, the kind that comes in rattle cans from home depot.

Like Tremclad, or Krylon, or Rustoleum.

Thanks for answering my questions.
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#26
Quote by Øttər
That is certainly interesting to read. It confirms all my thoughts.

Questions:

Does scale length affect tone?

If finish doesn't affect tone, why don't we use enamel?


scale length affects tone..251/2 gives a darker bassier twangier sound lp scale warm and thicker. consider bass guitars.

some finishes affect tone others like Nitro less. I always prefer just oil/wax/satin guitars they have a more open sound. The PRS SC 251/2 scale no paint really gives the best in both worlds IMO
#27
25'' scale length gives the best of both worlds, and for a really full acoustic sounds, leave your guitar bare, oil it, but you will notice no difference in tone through an amp with different finishes. it all comes down to strings vibrating with a magnet under it.
#28
finishes, especially lacquers, play a huge role in this but eh
heres a rough scope- mahogany handles good n clean, with just enough drag that's really useful for things like bar codes and solos and riffs that stick close to one position on the neck.
maple is sliiiick more often than not. so if your pulling malmsteen-becker type stuff off with this, or play bottle slide, or just like to move around a ton, then these are great.
my two main guitars, a PRS custom 22 and a fender USA strat each have a different neck, because i like to convince myself i play different styles :P haha.
I can't stand watching people waste their money on horrible gear.
#29
Quote by C/ruel



Those test conclusions would be convincing other than the fact that there was as much as a 10-15 decibel difference in the wave forms of the ash vs alder data over large spans of frequency right there in the pickup spectrums. Granted, the difference wasn't as much as the 35dB or so seen in the un-amplified instrument. However, the differences were greatest right in the middle of the note's life, and sometimes there were large decibel discrepancies right from the outset of the signal, as seen in the B and high E string spectrums especially; I don't understand, how do you ( or anyone else, like you LP Addict, although I greatly admire and submit to your guitar knowledge on all points other than the fact that I'm questioning your logic on this one ) draw those conclusions from those spectrums? Their own data empirically indicates that wood species choice DOES make a noticeable and substantial difference, as large as 10-15 dB in multiple places throughout a notes life, in an amplified guitar signal. According to physicist Tom Henderson ( yes I googled this ) that is the difference between a library whisper and a full strength conversation volume. That's pretty substantial.



I'm not trying to be sarcastic or smart here, I am honestly more willing (on an intuitive level, mind you) to believe that wood doesn't make a difference, as, after all, electric guitars are driven by wobbling strings disturbing a magnetic field, not wood grains, right?

But on the other (and more logical) hand, if the string is attached to a certain type of material, wouldn't it stand to reason that the amount of energy that material is capable of rapidly absorbing will affect the vibrations of the strings? What if you had a random guitar string on a 1'x1'x4' steel block and one on a 1'x1'x4' piece of balsa wood, but they were still stretched to the same tension. Balsa wood absorbs waaaay more contact force than steel, as steel would elastically transfer mechanical energy supplied by contact forces rather than absorbing them. Wouldn't the strings vibrate differently based on the different properties of steel and balsa? Would they vibrate the same?

I'm tempted to say it would vibrate differently, but I'm not sure. Even those test results say that it would vibrate differently, but still....it's just magnets and junk....

Please, anyone weigh in on this if you know anything about physics in regards to standing wave character! I'm only in the middle of college level physics, so I'm not sure...
#30
just try it, i have, no difference. i am going to build a mahogany body and a maple body here one of these days and just swap hardware/neck around just for my own personal knowledge, like i said, i dont believe the facts, or i dont want to believe them, but from my experience wood has barely any control over your tone, there are too many other factors. and nickle/silver is hardly any different than steel, you reach a threshold.
#31
Quote by LP Addict
just try it, i have, no difference. i am going to build a mahogany body and a maple body here one of these days and just swap hardware/neck around just for my own personal knowledge, like i said, i dont believe the facts, or i dont want to believe them, but from my experience wood has barely any control over your tone, there are too many other factors. and nickle/silver is hardly any different than steel, you reach a threshold.


My point was that the "facts" presented by that test were that there was a 10-15dB difference between woods, which would mean you could go right along believing them
#32
Well mostly here is what I think:

If you build a guitar out of any kind of wood, be it hard, soft, or semi-erect (I can't not make pee/vagee jokes when I'm talking about wood), if you make it well, and use proper hardware it will be the electronics that determine how good it is for a specific kind of music.

You can not truthfully tell me that an all maple guitar and an all mahogany guitar would not both be just fine for shredding if they both had the same high output humbuckers and went through the same high quality tube amp. The exact same way, you can't tell me they wouldn't be good for blues if they had single coils in the neck position.

You can make a guitar of mother****ing cheddar cheese if you want, in the end, it is the electronics that determine what you hear most.

EDIT: And now, I present to you:

Quotable sections of this post:

I can't not make pee/vagee jokes when I'm talking about wood


You can make a guitar of mother****ing cheddar cheese if you want


That concludes this public service announcement.
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Quote by Scowmoo
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Last edited by Øttər at Nov 11, 2008,
#33
I think LP said after my post that he did the tests himself. I just googled "wood diffrence in tone for guitar" or something to that effect and like three articles came up. The other two were a joke.

The graphs were a little bit shady. I had just assumed that they didnt bother to show the graphs for multiple repetitions of the test.

I don't think that the question is whether there's any difference in between the specific wave "properties"/tone colorings/timbre that a string would exhibit based on what materials its connected to on each end. I think the question is whether or not a magnet an eighth of an inch away from the string can pick up a subtly that small. Then after that the question becomes whether a subtly that small can pass through all the circuitry and tone changes your amp throws into the mix shaping the signal and still get properly reproduced by a speaker to such a point where the difference in wood would become audible.

It just doesn't seem very likely to me. If there would be any difference after the signal went through all that stuff, then I can honestly tell you it would be extremely easy to eq out.
Quote by SomeoneYouKnew
"If I said you had a beautiful body, would you hold it against me?"
#34
I actually wrote a large post giving my thoughts on this. After all, Ive done the tests, both via ears over many years, via clients feedback, via testing THOUSANDS of guitars (my business services 40+ guitars a week) and in a sound lab with professors and scientists, at considerable expense.

Then I reviewed the members that are making claims about what wood does and doesn't do. If those members feel that way, I ain't going to argue that they are wrong (or right!).

Lumberjack

Regards,
Perry Ormsby

Pevious builds:
HERE!
#35
Quote by ormsby guitars
I actually wrote a large post giving my thoughts on this. After all, Ive done the tests, both via ears over many years, via clients feedback, via testing THOUSANDS of guitars (my business services 40+ guitars a week) and in a sound lab with professors and scientists, at considerable expense.

Then I reviewed the members that are making claims about what wood does and doesn't do. If those members feel that way, I ain't going to argue that they are wrong (or right!).

Lumberjack

Could you PM me a quick summary of what difference wood makes to tone and sustain?
I'd be interested to hear your opinion, I'm leaning towards it does make a difference, but I won't mind being persuaded the other way.
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#36
Quote by WH15P3R
Could you PM me a quick summary of what difference wood makes to tone and sustain?
I'd be interested to hear your opinion, I'm leaning towards it does make a difference, but I won't mind being persuaded the other way.

I would like this PM also please.
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#37
I wanna see that test done with a Les Paul or SG, as the big metal bridge in a Telecaster is bound to make the tone more similar when played through the pickup.

EDIT: The test was done with Swamp Ash and Alder. Sapele and Maple would be a much better comparison. And throw basswood in there for the hell of it to get the whole spectrum
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Last edited by Shinozoku at Nov 12, 2008,
#39
Quote by ormsby guitars
I actually wrote a large post giving my thoughts on this. After all, Ive done the tests, both via ears over many years, via clients feedback, via testing THOUSANDS of guitars (my business services 40+ guitars a week) and in a sound lab with professors and scientists, at considerable expense.

Then I reviewed the members that are making claims about what wood does and doesn't do. If those members feel that way, I ain't going to argue that they are wrong (or right!).

Lumberjack



I got a from Perry !! I can die now! That's definitely going in the sig.

Also, if you guys wanna find Perry's postings on wood and tone coloration, just look at his "All posts by ormsby guitars" section under his profile and root around for threads related to the topic. He's obviously a busy guy, and doesn't have all the time to re-re-repost his opinions like the rest of us...with a bit of time investment you should be able to track 'em down.

Back on topic:

Quote by C/ruel
I don't think that the question is whether there's any difference in between the specific wave "properties"/tone colorings/timbre that a string would exhibit based on what materials its connected to on each end. I think the question is whether or not a magnet an eighth of an inch away from the string can pick up a subtly that small. Then after that the question becomes whether a subtly that small can pass through all the circuitry and tone changes your amp throws into the mix shaping the signal and still get properly reproduced by a speaker to such a point where the difference in wood would become audible.


According to those tests, the difference was as much as 10-15dB, which is not exactly a subtly.

Going back to my hypothetical steel block and balsa block "guitars" example; now lets pretend they are supported by a material that absorbs a fixed and known amount ( or better yet, none ) of energy, so that is no longer a variable. This could mean having the same person wear the guitar while playing, but it's better to think of it as the guitar just floating in space. In this case, the steel guitar will have much longer sustain than the balsa guitar, because the the steel will absorb almost no energy. But the energy supplied by the strum has to work itself into equilibrium with it's environment SOMEhow, so it is dissipated in the "creation" of noise through the string vibration, and maybe a tiny bit of heat. That will take much longer than the balsa wood note decay, since the balsa wood will quickly absorb a ton of that strum-power right away. Therefor, the steel block with have tons more sustain, and also it will have much more brightness than the balsa wood.

If the string is so drastically effected in it's sustain by the material it is attached to, why could it not then also affect the character, i.e. tone, of the strings vibration (enough for the pickup to "notice"), and not just it's duration? I think we can all agree that the sound of the steel guitar will be WAY brighter, and the balsa guitar would sound much more muddy and muted due to rapid energy dissipation.... is it such a stretch to believe that the string would be vibrating differently in the generation of such different sounds? The only variable in this instance is the guitar material, so that's got to be the thing making the difference. Of course, it will be more obvious acoustically than when it is amplified.

Also, I totally agree with your statement about the difference being "undone" by effects and EQ. However, all I'm really wondering is if the noticable difference is really THERE. Granted I don't think it's an enormous one, and is definitely one that you could EQ out or in, but it's there none the less and can help you to get a desired tone "faster", or with less EQ adjustment.

Along those lines, wood species would be a point of interest to a guitar player who uses very little effects, or very little EQ. Players playing guitar-cable-amp would be the ones this difference matters to, is what I'm saying.

Now, WAY back on topic; the difference in the neck won't matter a whole lot tonaly. It might be a little tiny bit 'warmer', but again, that difference could be EQ'ed out incredibly easily, much more so than the small difference in body woods even.