Music Gear News
Choosing Your Guitar's Tonewood
An acoustic guitar can be made from solid sheets of wood on the top, back and sides. These are often the most expensive guitars. The top panel is the one that carries the most vibrations from the strings, so you'll often find guitars with a solid top but laminate back and sides. Solid wood has an uninterrupted grain pattern which makes it vibrate better than laminate, which will have a thin top layer of wood.
Electric guitars can either have a solidbody, a block of shaped solid wood or a hollowbody, which produces a smooth tone with a greater acoustic amplification, which is why they're sometimes called 'semi-acoustic'. Semi-hollowbody guitars have space where the sound can resonate, either by adding blocks of wood to a hollowbody or creating chambers in a solidbody model.
The quality of the wood can make all the difference if you're struggling to narrow your choice down. Go for a guitar that uses high-quality wood - one that's not likely to have 'dead' spots or areas where the sound will be dampened.
Type of Wood
There are many types of tonewoods used, we'll run through some of the most popular. If you can't physically try the guitar before you buy, this guide can help you to make an informed decision.
Maple is commonly used on necks because it's resistant to humidity variations that can warp the wood of your electric guitar. Loud projection and very bright, maple-bodied guitars are ideal for Jazz styles.
Mahogany has a warm sound that improves with time, great for players who desire plenty of sustain. Found on the bodies of many Gibson and PRS Guitars and also produces a warm sound when used as the neck tonewood.
Basswood, similar to Mahogany but just a touch brighter.
Koa, a little less brighter than maple, becomes warmer as it's played. Koa originates from Hawaii and is therefore highly sought-after. Taylor have a series of acoustic guitars that feature this tonewood.
Bubinga is sometimes called African rosewood because of its similarity to rosewood, although it's less porous. Often overlooked, it's one of the best value tonewoods around.
Ash is bright-sounding and relatively light, typical with Fender Telecaster models.
Alder is light with a warm and bright tone. Its tonal distribution tends to be more even than Ash. Popular on many Fender Stratocaster models.
Walnut is a hard wood which sounds similar to Koa, it's a fairly new wood in relation to maple or mahogany but carries characteristics of both, its sound is inbetween.
Spruce can be a great all-rounder but especially the thing for fingerpickers. Spruce tops come in a few origins - Sitka and Engelmann are the most common, capable of a variety of tones.
Rosewood is like spruce, it's great for all playing styles and has a classic tone that will work for years to come. Seen on many fretboards and a few acoustics, rosewood is very rarely found in solidbody electric guitars.
Sapele is another all-purpose tonewood, a real mahogany doppelganger in both sound and look.
Cedar is a softwood usually found on classical guitars, it responds sensitively to delicate playing, and can pick up nuances well.
Posted on 11 Jul 2013 12:29 to category : Tips and advice
Related Music News
Update available to improve performance and fix bugs.
Shure recently discussed how guitarists can achieve great results when recording at home or in a small project studio. We took a look and picked out our favourite points.
Recreate the Brazilian carnival atmosphere at your World Cup party with our Samba instruments.
Many parents want to encourage their child to take up an instrument early on in life. Music can be a fun and rewarding activity for children but knowing where to start can be tricky. Here are our top picks for ideal starter instruments for children under 7.
You've spent ages perfecting your sound and now it's time to let others hear it too. Read our 8 Tips for Putting on a Great Live Show.
When you're shopping for a loudspeaker, often the specifications can seem a bit confusing! Use this guide to help you demystify common terms and find the right speaker for your needs.
Recent Music News
A master of manipulation, Earthquaker Devices Data Corrupter takes your guitar right to the limits of your imagination and into the realms of downright madness.
Roland VP-03, TR-09 and TB-03 boutiques now up for grabs. Perform an original composition for 60 seconds and be in with a chance to win a model of your choice.
The third piece of software from Toontrack's run of Superior Drummer products, Superior Drummer 3 offers a whole range of brand new and enhanced features.
Alesis' II Mesh Electronic Drum Kit is a kit geared specifically towards advanced drummers looking to explore a variety of different timbres and sounds.
Celebrating 50 years since his iconic performance at Monterey pop festival, Fender's Jimi Hendrix Monterey Stratocaster recreates the sound of a cultural icon.
Building upon the already established fan favourite DJ-808 DJ Controller, Roland have now announced the launch of the portable and compact DJ-202 DJ Controller.