13 Nov guitar wood guide
You get mahogany’s smooth, appealing lows with good sustain, as well as the extra clarity, definition, and bite added by the dense maple cap. It is important to realize that wood is a natural resource, and when thousands of guitars are created every year it can cause a tremendous drain on that resource.
Whether in the form of a solid, one-piece neck with integral fretboard, or a neck with an added fretboard of a second type of wood (usually rosewood), maple is easily the most common type of neck wood used in solidbody guitars.
Spruce tops can require playing in for months or even years before they reach their true potential whereas a cedar top will produce rich harmonics and a warm tone even when new.
This presents an interesting conundrum for the acoustic guitarist—what are the perfect woods for your sound? Finally, think about the appearance of your instrument. Because rosewood is naturally oily, stray overtones are quickly absorbed into the wood’s pores and the sound comes out much richer than maple. Some electric guitars and basses have been made from walnut over the years, and they look great with clear finishes. Ash is one of the most common tonewoods for electric guitar bodies. Furthermore, these components can be of single- or multi-wood construction. Rosewood is also used in the backs and sides of acoustic guitars.
He has had the pleasure of contributing music and production to some of his favorite artists, and graced stages the world over. Solid wood is another popular approach.
Martin actually used to cut Honduran rosewood logs for Musser, a premier maker of marimbas. For this reason, many guitar companies are starting to experiment with alternative tonewoods for their high-end guitars.
Khaya, another mahogany substitute, is also known for its brightness.
Mahogany tops acquire character as they age with more prominent overtones and have traditionally been favoured by those playing the blues although the punchy nature of the sound is finding favour with a variety of musicians. A rare find, koa is a flowering tree related to the pea family that’s native to Hawaii. It also stimulates the weaker end of the instrument. The way it’s cut, for instance, will affect both its workability for a guitar maker and its sonic performance. “Great stiffness gives the wood greater resonance, all other things being equal, and allows the luthier greater leeway to alter the tone and response of the top by changing the thickness.”.
According to Pacific Rim Tonewoods, it grows naturally in a relatively small area in Central British Columbia and the Alaskan panhandle. However, the open grain wood does require more work during production to fill the open pores and finish the guitar. Combine a koa neck with an ebony fingerboard for the best warm sound.
This article originally appeared in the October 2016 issue of Acoustic Guitar magazine. “One of its singular characteristics is that it’s almost perfectly transparent—it doesn’t sound like anything, which isn’t usually how you want a top to respond.”, Examples: Fender T-Bucket 400 CE; Rayco Squareneck Resonator.
Environmental conditions, genetics, the age of the tree, annular growth patterns, grain orientation, curing conditions, and so on all have an effect on the tonal properties in a piece of wood.
Welcome back to Fundamentals of Guitar Anatomy, my multi-part series examining the ins and outs of your electric guitar. While rosewoods might sound amazing, a guitar made from this species, with its complex overtones and sustain, can present headaches for a recording engineer. Some of the material is even figured. The boards have a brittle grain that requires the skill of a professional to hand fret the guitar. Maple’s tone is highly reflective and bright, with more energy pushing toward the body wood. However, rosewood is a very hard wood that’s much harder than maple, and the porous nature allows the tone to become warmer. On the other hand, supplies of premium tonewoods have been diminishing due to increased demand, land development, and poor forest management. The following video from Collings Guitars provides some great insight into the properties of spruce. It’s one of the most expensive and heaviest woods in guitar creation today. Tough to go wrong with a guitar made from alder. A type of black hardwood, wenge is stiff and strong. The higher [you] go up the series, the looser the direct relationship with the fundamental.”. The wood pieces used to create an acoustic guitar are typically thin enough to manipulate into any design shape. Richlite is more expensive to produce, but the results are much superior than any organic wood. Indeed, tonewood options are expansive.
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