It’s one of the most divisive topics in the guitar community: tonewoods. For casual fans who may have never heard of the term, tonewood is used merely to refer to the kind of wood used in the construction of the guitar. Different types of wood are often used for different parts of the guitar, and the combination of all these create their own sound.
It’s highly likely that you’ll never have to run into this scenario unless you craft one of your own custom guitars, but it’s still an interesting topic to talk about. Here, we’ll discuss 3 of some of the woods that are commonly used to crafting guitars, and how does that affect the instrument’s sound.
Obviously, those who like playing acoustic guitars would agree that yes, definitely the kind of wood that you use for your guitar would have an impact on your sound. Different types of wood have different molecular structure, which is further differentiated by how they are grown, the environment they grew up with, and the way they were used to construct the guitar itself.
Adding to the fact that the majority of an acoustic guitar’s sound is generated via the interaction between the strings and the wood, and a case for timber correlating to sound quality is more comfortable to build.
Electric guitars are definitely a little more of a grey area since the majority of the sound is produced by vibrations in the string pickups. The reliance on circuits and electronics in the instrument makes the music less dependent on wood, but not separate from it entirely.
Since these strings still interact with the guitar’s wooden body – namely the nut, neck, and body – there’s still some effect of the wood on the instrument’s sound. If the structure of the guitar makes some difference in the vibrations, then there should be some effect with to the music as well.
With that in mind, here are a few kinds of wood that can be used for crafting guitars:
Again, if you’re a casual guitar player, this might just come down to pure preference rather than wood quality. More experienced players can hear the difference between different woods in guitars, and some veterans exclusively use only one kind of wood. These cases may not always apply to you.
It’ll depend on your journey as a guitar player to know what kind of wood you prefer based on your playing style and budget – but at the very least, choose one that sounds and feels right to you.
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