guitar woodThe wood that goes into making a guitar, whether it’s an acoustic or electric, is a very important thing to consider. The major features of guitars that are made from wood are the body, which is the largest part of the guitar, where the sound emanates from, and the neck and fingerboard, where the frets are located. The types of woods that are used in these parts of the guitar affect sound, weight, tone, and the overall look of the guitar, making it a very significant part of the guitar-making (and playing) process. Our course on fundamental woodworking will teach you how to select woods for different projects, like guitar making.

Wood Characteristics

When selecting a wood to make a guitar out of, it’s important to know how it will affect the various characteristics of the guitar when finished. These properties of wood vary by species and each affect the guitar in its own way.

This is the most widely noticed of a guitar’s characteristics. While sound and tone may be most important, because it is a musical instrument, after all, the looks of the guitar are what everyone will notice, even when the guitar isn’t plugged in. Even though you can expect a specific type of wood to look and sound a certain way, there are minor nuances that can change, depending on the the environment in which the tree grew, like grain pattern, color, shade, weight, and density.

These two characteristics affect the sound of the guitar the most and are very important to the musician as well as the luthier (guitar maker). With electric guitars, the heavier the wood, the brighter and more articulate the instrument will sound, which makes for a good bass guitar. The lightest woods, while easy on the back, have a tendency to sound muddy. Woods that fall somewhere in the middle tend to be the most popular for electric guitars, giving them a fat, rich tone with good sustain. Sometimes heavier woods will be carved out, giving them the brighter sound but lighter weight.

The wood for acoustic guitars is chosen differently than electrics. Different woods are used for the the backs and sides, the top of the guitar, and the bracing, each influencing the sound of the instrument.

Going along with appearance, how a wood looks when oiled and finished will affect a guitar’s physical appearance, which may have a bit of influence on its selling price. Perhaps not as important as its sound, the luthier and possibly the musician still want the instrument to be beautiful.

Electric Guitars

As mentioned above, the criteria for choosing a wood for an electric guitar is much different than that of an acoustic guitar, so they will be discussed in their respective sections.

Body

Neck and Fingerboard

The type of wood used in the neck of the guitar is more about looks and weight, but also has a bit on influence on the overall tone of the guitar. Already know what a fretboard looks like, but would rather hear it in action? This course will familiarize you with the fretboard so you can play jazz guitar.

Acoustic Guitars

A completely different beast than electric guitars, the acoustic guitar may be made from solid wood or wood laminate. While laminate is a cheaper, high quality alternative to wood, we will only be discussing solid woods used for acoustic guitars.

Body

While the average music appreciator probably won’t notice the slight sonic differences between the different woods used in guitars, musicians as well as listeners with a trained ear notice worlds of differences between them. Like the grape that ends up becoming a wine, how and where a wood is grown and how it’s used in the guitar greatly affect the sound and tone, making each guitar a one-of-a-kind. Go by your local music shop and play guitars made from different materials and hear the difference for yourself, and if you want to learn to play, this course on guitar basics will get you started playing in no time.

Guitar students also learn

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