Types of Wood for Guitar Parts

Posted 28 Jun 2008 in Hardware

I was trying to choose between two guitars the other day, each constructed of different woods.  Apart from providing unique looks, the types of wood used in guitar construction produces different tonal qualities as well, which will ultimately affect the sound your instrument produces.  

Given the choice between a rosewood or maple, and I went for the vintage maple sunburst because of the brighter sound, and also for the striking finish!  Anyway, if you’re wondering what the difference is, this handy guide over at the Electric Guitar Customisation Blog describes the qualities of a few of the most common woods:

  • Alder: light weight, tan color, good clean tone, light wood grain.
  • Maple: bright tone, medium weight, good sustain, visible wood grain.
  • Mahogany: mellow, warm tone, medium weight, great sustain.
  • Rosewood: heavy, warm tone, less high end.
  • Walnut: generally warm tone, good sustain, nice looking finish.
  • Ebony: bright tone, good sustain, durable, black finish.

These types of woods can compliment certain guitars better than others. The color of them will obviously be important when considering what guitar to put them on, but the sound they produce should also be considered in relation to what your guitar already does.

Some further research yielded a few more resources as well, which go into the properties in detail.  What kinds of wood do you prefer, and which ones suit your playing style better?

1 Comment

  1. Ian Tan (28 Jun 2008, 19:04)

    I love rosewood! Just the look and smell of it. *sighs* Nowadays, only Indian rosewood is used commercially as Brazillian rosewood is classed as endangered by CITES.

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