cost how much!? It's just a piece of wood with some metal things on
We will focus on
the electric guitar here but most of these facts and techniques can
be applied to the acoustic guitar as well. We start with the instrument
Assuming all other
things are equal (craftsmanship, quality of materials, hardware, etc.)
the type of materials (and not necessarily wood) used to construct an
instrument is the most important factor in determining itís playability,
tone, sustain, and durability.
I know many of
you will sight Antonio de Torres' who constructed a playable, good sounding
guitar with back and sides made from paper mache just to make his point
that the soundboard is the most important in tone production, or Bob
Taylor who built an acoustic using the wood from an old oak shipping
pallet, but the statement is true for our purposes.
As far as electric
guitar is concerned, the electronics, and in particular the pickups,
will determine the sound of the instrument to a far greater degree than
the type of wood from which it is built. However, the instrument will
derive it's basic tone and 'personality' from the materials used in
it's construction.. As far as that elusive 'tone' that we are all searching
for, that is in the hands of the player - literally. We will discuss
that later in the book.
For the body, the
most popular are the tone woods, Alder, Ash, Basswood, Cocobolo, Koa,
Korina, Mahogany, Maple, Poplar, and Rosewood.
Other woods used
include Birch, Blackwood, Bocote, Boxwood, Bubinga, Canarywood, Cedar,
Chechen, Cherry, Cocuswood, Dogwood, Ebony, Granadillo, Goncalvo, Kingwood,
Lacewood, Limba, Mesquite, Morado, Oak, Padouk, Pau Ferro, Purpleheart,
Redwood, Satinwood, Spruce, Tulipwood, Walnut, Wenge, and Zebrawood.
As you can see,
just about every type of hardwood has been used in the construction
of guitar bodies.
full and rich, with fat low-end, nice cutting mids, and good overall
warmth and sustain. Alder is generally considered to be one of the "traditional"
Stratocaster body woods. Alder is commonly used for bodies made of one
kind of wood. Strat type bodies may weigh 4.0-4.3 lbs. The wood is medium
weight and weighs 36.0 to 42.0 lbs/cb. ft. Being close grained, it can
be finished very easily.
a snappier or quicker tone with a bright edge, but with a warm bass
and long sustain. It is often considered as the other "traditional"
Stratocaster body wood.
Swamp Ash is a prized wood for many reasons. This is the wood many 50's
Fenders were made of. It is easily distinguishable from Northern Ash
by weight. A Strat body will be under 5 lbs. This is a very musical
wood offering a very nice balance of brightness and warmth with lots
of "pop". The grain is open and makes a nice choice for clear finishes.
Very hard and heavy. A Strat body will weigh from 5 lbs. and up.
it's density, the tone is very bright with a long sustain. Its
color is creamy, but also tends to have pink to brown tints. The grain
is open and takes lots
of finish to fill up. Hard Ash is popular for its bright, long sustain.