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Old 18th April 2009 , 02:29 PM
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Arrow Give me Wood!!!

Just spotted some interesting discussion in the previous post about whether or not wood has an impact on the sound of electric guitars.

Sure it does!

I get to test loads of guitars and there is definitely a big difference in tone between guitars made with different woods.

Magnets pick up the vibration of the strings, I know, but the strings are directly attached to the body and the neck. It's been a while since I did science in school, but I still know that all materials share resonant frequencies and that these sympathetic harmonics will have an immediate and definite effect on the tone and sustain of the vibrating strings.
Which in turn will effect how the pickups reproduce the sound.

That's my logic anyway.
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Old 18th April 2009 , 02:38 PM
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Default just my opinion, but...

I would say the neck wood has a much bigger bearing on the tone than the body, at least in my experience.

The pickups are going to be the primary influence on tone though (notwithstanding your amp/effects chain!)

It's very hard to really know though, isn't it? Because every guitar is the sum of it's parts and comparing guitar A with guitar B is impossible because no two pieces of wood are alike anyway and you get tonal variation between three of what should be allegedly the exact same guitar. If you guys have any Fender Baja Telecasters in stock these are the classic modern example of how wood variation can make or break an instrument. If you have a couple, weigh 'em. You're likely to see weight variations of up to 3 lbs, even though they're all cut from the same species of ash (I'm told).

The weight argument will come into effect now, too! Do heavier instruments really = better sustain? Many players prefer lighter instruments due to the fact that they're simply, well, lighter and easier on the shoulder. Is there a massive tonal difference? Maybe, maybe not. Again, individual model and sample variation are more important.

We could also get into a long, boring, virtually pointless argument about the difference between finishes too - nitro vs. poly vs. "fullerplast" vs god-knows-what. Some say nitro finishes allow the wood to "breathe" better over time therefore making it more resonant. I'm not sure this is the case based on vintage instruments that I HAVE heard, but I don't think I've owned a nitro-finished guitar long enough to be able to tell. I have two now, and I think cosmetic ageing is the only realistic meaningful difference. Nitro checking looks lovely! Poly instruments will not age!

Anyway, that's my 2p.

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Old 18th April 2009 , 09:02 PM
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I could watch that scene a 1000 times and still love it when Nigel (Christopher Guest) stops chewing, thinks, and then does the "goes up to 11" line! Somehow, you just can't argue with his logic.

Certainly the wood makes a difference in a solid electric guitar, both in the body and in neck construction. Even the fingerboard makes a difference. Rosewood fingerboards overlaid on maple necks (such as they did to Strats from 1960 or so) have a warmer tone than a solid maple neck. As to the neck itself, PRS use solid Brazilian rosewood necks on some of their guitars for reasons of tone, although of course some like the feel of such a neck.

I have a Tele I bought in 1972 that appears to sound fuller than many I have heard. I had it refretted a couple of years back by a good pro and he said that its solid sound is due to the fact that it was one of the heaviest Tele's he had come across.
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electric, guitar, sustain, tone, wood

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