It is, therefore, a great choice for live performance because it will cut through competing sounds, every note is clearly defined and feedback issues are unlikely. In the last lecture, we talked about body styles, and that knowledge will help you to grasp this one, as we’re going to be talking about the different types of wood used for guitars and their effect. An Engelmann top typically has less headroom than one made from Sitka, and its sound can suffer a little when played loudly. Belize used to be a British colony. Fundamentals of Guitar Anatomy: Wood Types, the Fundamentals of Guitar Anatomy series here, Acoustic Versions of Your Electronic Songs Are Rad. Sign up and watch the first video here. “Brazilian rosewood is so rich and ring-y, and it has such a big range of workability, that no matter how it’s used it yields pleasing musical results,” Bourgeois says. Occasional course announcements and special offers Overtones [are] the harmonic sequence above the fundamental. A guitar's wood is one of the last steps to creating that ideal tone you've been looking for. However, maple offers better sustainability. Yes, pickups, electronics, and amplifiers greatly shape your tone.

The following are the most commonly used species for the soundboards. The back and sides of the guitar are important tonally and … This Mexican wood, like koa, is usually reserved for custom builds and limited editions and features bold stripes, swirls, fiery red hues and striking yellows. The way it’s cut, for instance, will affect both its workability for a guitar maker and its sonic performance. Not all builders find maple to be a suitable top material, though. Various species are used including Sitka (the most common), Engelmann and Adirondack with all species being light and strong, qualities which result in a high velocity of sound. The Top (Soundboard). Sonic variables exist not only between woods, but, in subtler degrees, between different guitars made from the “same” wood. Like Bubinga, Wenge is a pretty wood that looks great unfinished. However, in most cases, an “off the rack” guitar will feature a pairing of different woods chosen by the manufacturer to bring out the best in the instrument.

Tonewoods are simply the woods used to build your instrument. The type of wood used to construct a guitar has much to do with the tone, but the end result is going to be a combination of all the elements of the guitar’s construction — including its body style and pickups (coming up next!). The tone differences are subtle, but seasoned players will notice the variances in each type of spruce. Receive news and offers from our other brands? “Honduran is my personal favorite,” Boak says. Hopefully you now have a better understanding of the available options and are starting to get an idea of which tone woods would suit your playing style. Many restrictions lifted last year, but this wood may still be pricier and take much longer to produce. Guitars Don’t Live By Tonewood Alone. Spruce is a tonewood used most often in acoustic guitar tops. Body woods also boast an inherent visual appeal that can be deeply inspiring, with characteristics that differentiate a guitar and showcase each as a truly unique instrument. Hard Maple is tough on factory tools so it's generally used for slimmer guitars. On a well-made guitar, basswood can yield good dynamics and definition with enough grind to give the sound some oomph. While guitar necks are traditionally made using maple, there are many types of woods found in this portion of your instrument. In time, the wood develops grains that continuously deepen and change. “In my estimation koa splits the difference nicely between rosewood and mahogany,” Boak says. It’s stain, heat, and scratch-resistant. Velocity of Sound The speed at which a material transmits received energy. Maple is most often used for fretboards, and as laminate tops for other types of wood bodies, as it is very heavy. It’s very warm. The tight, nearly filtered bass is harmonic and you can vary pick attacks. Some manufacturers simply can’t afford to import korina.

Body wood, or the types of wood used to create the back and sides of a guitar, does more than look pretty. White limba—as used by Gibson and Hamer—has a light appearance in its natural state, and black limba has a more pronounced grain. 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. Varieties include Sitka Spruce, Adirondack Spruce, and Engelmann Spruce. Nonetheless, some U.S. guitar makers have Brazilian rosewood that pre-dates the ban and it’s still used on costly reissue and boutique guitars. Because it is in lesser supply than Sitka, Engelmann often costs more. As with ash, it’s impossible to discuss alder without making reference to Fender, which first used alder prominently in the late ’50s and early ’60s.

You’ll also want to consider the physical weight of the instrument, as some woods are much heavier than others. Like rosewood, Bubinga is a tropical wood.