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I need to know which wood would be better for a metal SG: Alder or Mahogany

Thanks in advance :D

Maybe mahogany, since most hard rock/metal guitarists usually use guitars made with either Basswood or Mahogany. Both which are considered "warm tone" woods. Alder on the other hand is more of a "Fender" wood that gives a more brighter sound, but overall is more balanced.

Here's a wood guide you can read about tonewoods and their tonal descriptions.


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Thanks for the help...I think I'll go with Mahogany. Thats what SG's are still made of right?

yeah, the original or high-grade SG's are made from mahogany. Though the budget-level SG's might be made from other types of woods. like alder or basswood. but anyway, go with mahogany :D

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Something to consider: most Jackson guitars (which have an indisputably metal history) are traditionally alder with maple necks, much like a Fender. I wouldn't consider Alder to be "bright" at all. I've played a lot of humbucker-equipped Alder guitars and they generally have great low-end and a nice smooth clarity in the upper frequencies; I just think it has the "bright" reputation because it's so frequently paired with single-coil pickups. Mahogany on its own (without a maple top) can be a pretty dark sounding wood. When you think of metal tone as you perceive metal to be, do you start out with a dark guitar or a full-frequency instrument?

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Megadeth/Metallica are similar but still different sounds. Hetfield plays mahoganny bodies, Hammet plays mostly alder or poplar with maple necks. Mustaine plays a variety, mahogany, korina, poplar, alder, depending which company is pimping him this year. Marty Friedman played Kelly's with Megadeth which is alder with a maple neck. Some are rosewood fretboards, some are ebony. So those two bands run the full gammit.

You can use any of those woods/combinations and get a great metal sound. EMG's and gain to 11 is not all there is to metal. Pickup choice is what will make or break your tone though. I love my mahogany body with maple neck and Seymour Duncan JB/Jazz pickups. In my amp it won't do Metallica though, I can get close to Megadeth. But the amp is what is holding me back on those. All mahogany can get muddy very quick with drop tunings, so pickups with tight bass are a must. Some pickups will be too bright in alder, but perfect for mahogany. Others that are great in alder will sound like mush in mahogany.

Check out the Seymour Duncan and Dimarzio and EMG sites, do some research and read the forums. Find out what works best in different guitars and what guys have good success with.

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