Getting Down To Basics with Guitars

An Alphabetic Guide to Popular Guitar Tonewoods

If you’re a guitarist, new or experienced, you should have an idea of what different guitar woods mean for an instrument’s sound. Popular woods are all utilized for particular reasons. As you continue reading this guide, you’ll see an alphabetical listing of common kinds of guitar tonewoods and why they’re used. It does bear noting that there are differences between guitar body woods and neck woods. The guitar tonewoods that are detailed here are body woods.

1. Ash wood first became popular in the 1950s when it was used by an incredibly popular brand of guitar. Swamp ash, which is derived from the lower sections of wetland trees that grow their roots beneath the surface of the water, is the best option for crafting guitar bodies. This kind of ash wood is famed for having a twangy, sweet edge that was the hallmark of early rock and roll and remains the cornerstone of country even still.

2. Basswood is a widely available sort of wood and is, as a result, commonly called upon when budget guitars are being produced. If you’re a brand new guitarist who didn’t want to spend a lot of money on his or her first instrument, the odds are good that it’s made out of basswood. Basswood has a well-balanced sound and the wood itself is light in color, with very little grain.
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3. Mahogany is an extremely common guitar wood. Not only does this richly colored wood provide a gorgeous aesthetic, but a deep, pleasant sound. Some of the most popular guitars in history have been crafted using mahogany tonewood.
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4. The maple/mahogany combination is extremely popular on laminated body guitars. These guitars have a unique sound, thanks to the combination of mahogany’s deep tones and maple’s sharp clarity.

5. Rosewood, a pricey option, is seen as a neck wood much more often than it is a body wood. There was an important exception that was sold by a globally famed brand in the first part of the 1970s. This specific guitar even traveled with one of the most storied bands to ever grace the globe.

6. There are some people who seek out walnut as a guitar wood, more because they like how it looks than how it sounds. There is nothing wrong with the tonality of walnut wood, but it’s dark appearance is very appealing to some.

7. Exotic woods aren’t usually used to produce mass-manufactured guitars, but they are worth mentioning because they’re often part of custom guitar makers’ daily lives. Professional guitarists tend to own at least one or two exotic wood instruments. Particularly popular are bubinga, wenge, and muira piranga. You can also choose from a wide selection of other options.