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 read over the rest of this guide, you’ll see information about several common guitar tonewoods, in alphabetical order. It does bear noting that there are differences between guitar body woods and neck woods. The guitar tonewoods that you’ll see featured here are body woods.
1. Ash wood initially enjoyed its rise to popularity in the 1950s when an immensely popular guitar company started using it. Swamp ash, which is cut from the lower sections of wetland trees that have underwater roots, makes the very best ash guitar bodies. This type of ash wood produces a twangy, sweet sound that was popular in early rock and roll and modern country music.
2. Basswood is among the most prevalent forms of wood and is, thus, frequently used by budget guitar manufacturers. 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 typically offers a well-balanced tonality and the wood is a light color, with hardly any grain.
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3. Mahogany is an extremely common guitar wood. This richly hued wood is not only pleasing to the eye, but offers a deep, pleasant tone. Some of the best selling guitars in the world are made out of mahogany tonewood.
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4. The maple/mahogany combination is extremely popular on laminated body guitars. These guitars have a sound all their own, due to the mixture of mahogany’s deep tones and maple’s sharp clarity.
5. Rosewood, which is rather expensive, tends to be used as a neck wood far more frequently than it is as a body wood. There is one exception that was produced by a popular brand in the early 1970s. This particular guitar was even used by one of the world’s most famous bands.
6. Walnut is a sought after guitar wood by some, more for it’s appearance than it’s sound. There is nothing wrong with the tonality of walnut wood, but it’s dark appearance is very appealing to some.
7. Exotic woods generally aren’t used in the manufacture of off-the-rack guitars, but custom guitar makers use them on a regular basis, so they’re worth learning about. Professional guitarists often choose to invest in an instrument or two that is crafted from exotic wood. Bubinga, wenge, and muira piranga are especially popular. You can also choose from a wide selection of other options.