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> Guitar Body Woods, A discussion of different types
Farmer Joe
post Apr 2 2009, 02:16 AM
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Hey guys! First I'd like to say that I did try the search feature to find threads on this topic, but we all know how good that works, especially when it involves the word "guitar" laugh.gif

I wanted to know more about different woods for guitar bodies. I don't know too much, just a few different types, such as alder, mahogany, and maple. But I want to know, from your experiences, what are the special qualities of different woods and other such information involving guitar bodies and their sound. I'm planning on purchasing a guitar, not too soon, but a year or so usually passes by pretty quick and I would like to be well informed when I make my purchase smile.gif

My first guitar, the one in my sig, is made of basswood, at least that's what I think I read it was on the ESP website a while back. I'm assuming it's not the greatest of woods, I wouldn't expect it seeing as the guitar is not an expensive one. Does anyone have experience with basswood bodies? And if so, what are their typical qualities? I really wouldn't know how to compare yet seeing as this is the only guitar I've played, and I'm pretty much a beginner to guitar in general unsure.gif

Any advice and ideas would be truly appreciated smile.gif



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JamesT
post Apr 2 2009, 05:19 AM
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There's a good article on body woods here...

Body Woods at Warmoth

Lots of other god info on guitar construction at this site too. wink.gif


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29a
post Apr 2 2009, 07:46 AM
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http://www.jemsite.com/jem/wood.htm is also a good link.

Basswood is quite light and soft. As the name almost implies it's quite bass heavy. Especially cheaper basswood seems to lack brightness and clarity. The Ibanez JEM for example is a more expensive guitar made out of basswood.

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sted
post Apr 2 2009, 12:53 PM
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Woods! Where to start! Well, probably the most famous combination is mahogany and maple top for the Les Paul, of course this results in a heavy guitar but with superb resonance and sustain, ideal for rock etc.
Basswood does tend to be used in modern guitars a lot these days although very good it does compromise sustain for weight and ease of manufacture.
Some of the more upmarket brands are using Korina more and more which is an African wood said to have many of the qualities of mahogany but is a lot lighter and has a very close grain, this was used by furniture makers a lot in the past too.
I have even seen a british guitar maker using spalted maple, which is basically diseased wood, to get a superb effect for their guitars!
Also flaxwood is a new composite material that may interest you if you have concerns over the evironment, it is basically wood fibers mixed with a setting compound that can be moulded into any shape, so no trees are being cut down for manufacturing, the end result is meant be extremely toneful and very stable too, but the traditionalists will gasp with horror at the mere thought!
You also need to consider the material used for the fretboard too, my prefernce is rosewood but theyre are a lof people who swear by maple for feel and tone.
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Farmer Joe
post Apr 2 2009, 01:03 PM
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Thanks for the links guys smile.gif Ill check them out later today when I get out of work.
And 29a, thanks for the info on basswood. I kind of figured that the name implied the tone. At least I know now that it wasn't just in my head when I noticed that my tone doesn't have a nice sounding high end smile.gif


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MickeM
post Apr 2 2009, 03:25 PM
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QUOTE (Farmer Joe @ Apr 2 2009, 02:03 PM) *
Thanks for the links guys smile.gif Ill check them out later today when I get out of work.
And 29a, thanks for the info on basswood. I kind of figured that the name implied the tone. At least I know now that it wasn't just in my head when I noticed that my tone doesn't have a nice sounding high end smile.gif

About basswood, it's _not_ bassy. The name comes of tree from the basswood tree. It's very midsy and rather weak on the low frequencies really.
Mahogany is also midsy but is a higher density wood and more lows woth that.
Alder is in the other end of the scale, bright.


P.S. Steve Vai's JEM is made our of Adler, the other cheaper JEM's are basswood I think.


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Joruus
post Apr 2 2009, 03:55 PM
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QUOTE (MickeM @ Apr 2 2009, 04:25 PM) *
P.S. Steve Vai's JEM is made our of Adler, the other cheaper JEM's are basswood I think.

Yes almost all Jems are 'American Basswood', but Jem 7 VWH is Alder
(not only Vai's but the ones we can buy aswell, not sure if you meant that)


For fretboard i've only tried Rosewood and Ebony but i like Ebony much more for feeling and look, i can't really hear the tone difference yet
(it should sound a bit darker then rosewood i think)


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kaznie_NL
post Apr 2 2009, 04:04 PM
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QUOTE (JamesT @ Apr 2 2009, 06:19 AM) *
There's a good article on body woods here...

Body Woods at Warmoth

Lots of other god info on guitar construction at this site too. wink.gif

Nice one!


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MickeM
post Apr 2 2009, 06:22 PM
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QUOTE (Joruus @ Apr 2 2009, 04:55 PM) *
Yes almost all Jems are 'American Basswood', but Jem 7 VWH is Alder
(not only Vai's but the ones we can buy aswell, not sure if you meant that)

Yeah, I meant the model smile.gif


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29a
post Apr 2 2009, 06:51 PM
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QUOTE (MickeM @ Apr 2 2009, 04:25 PM) *
About basswood, it's _not_ bassy. The name comes of tree from the basswood tree. It's very midsy and rather weak on the low frequencies really.
My B-2 stealth sounds very bassy and it is out of basswood. Could be the pickups though. The other thing is hard and dense wood tends to be trebly, right? So soft and light woods should sound more bassy (because they cancel out more of he upper frequencies). Anyway that's just theory. I guess you're right. wink.gif

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Artemus
post Apr 2 2009, 06:58 PM
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Just been working on mine (the one I posted on here); doing some major surgery on the bridge (reroute and substitute new block for trem posts). Anyhow, my body is made of Padauk, which turns out to be fairly weighty and very, very ORANGE! Nice sustain though..


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Sensible Jones
post Apr 4 2009, 04:51 PM
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Another popular Body Wood is Swamp Ash. Not too heavy but having good sustain qualities. Don't ignore the fact that the Pickups have almost an equal part in the sound of a Guitar. The sound created can be affected by whether they are mounted on a Pickguard, in Mounting Rings or directly onto the body!!!



QUOTE (Artemus @ Apr 2 2009, 06:58 PM) *
Just been working on mine (the one I posted on here); doing some major surgery on the bridge (reroute and substitute new block for trem posts). Anyhow, my body is made of Padauk, which turns out to be fairly weighty and very, very ORANGE! Nice sustain though..

There's a Washburn Nuno N2 available in Padauk, I think it's a wonderful colour!!!!
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