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Does Wood Really Make A Difference In Tone? Or Tw1

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Hi Everybody!

My two favorite sites to visit are here and Talkbass.com. Over there, the general consensus seems to be that "tonewood" is a myth and that the tone of your instrument comes from constuction style/quality and electronics. As a matter of fact they have had multiple "Tone Wars" over there about it, thus the TW1 in the thread title.

What's your take? Have you played two instruments that are identical except for the woods used and noticed a difference that you could discern in a blind A/B test?

Does the wood you use in your guitars really affect the tone they produce or is it just aesthetics, so long as they are structurally sound and well put together?

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In the five years you´ve been a member, I´m sure there´s been a ton of discussions on this particular subject. Probably along with "what tools do I need?", "where do I place my bridge?", and my personal favorite was one discussing whether the shape actually influenced the tone...

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Do a search for "voodoo" and you'll likely find a few threads on this old chestnut. Yes they make a difference, but as to whether there is a "perfect" combination of tonewoods or not gets into the realms of whether the glue you use in a set neck affects tone, or whether side dots affect tone, or whether your neighbours's dentist's hairy ass affects tone. It comes down to the fact that whilst everything in connection with the guitar as a system has an affect, whether that difference is measurable or repeatable is very much the source of many unhappy arguing users who can't settle on whether these minutae are in fact of practical value.

I think as far as wood is concerned, the axiom Carl Thompson lives by is the best and more affective one of them all; "use good wood". That there will have the greatest effect on tone, stability, adjustability, predictability and long term longevity of an instrument.

That said, Brian May's Red Special was made from constructional blockboard (towards the bottom of the page, "block boards") with a Mahogany veneer cover, an Oak bridge infill and a very old-growth piece of Mahogany. That's probably the furthest aspects of the material spectrum as you can get in one instrument without adding MDF into the equation!

All in all - it's not a good discussion as it always turns people into blathering voodoo botherers.

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Voodoo.... Don't follow me cause I got "Voodoo".

Say you don't know me, you'll burn

you can refuse, but you'll lose, it's by me

Say you don't want me, you'll learn

nothin you do will be new, 'cause I'm through


You should ask about Glue while you are at it!!!

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Ah, but there is an affect of chambers on tone. Size in general, depth, connectivity, etc. all will play a roll. Can I tell you EXACTLY what they'll do to a tone, no. But I can make some decent guesses.

That said, most assuredly wood makes a difference. Play a solid maple guitar, then go play a solid mahogany guitar. There's no doubt.


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On a solidbody, chambered or not, the answer is "yes and No" As for the body, NO

Helmet on everybody, let the flame war begin...

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On a solidbody, chambered or not, the answer is "yes and No" As for the body, NO, why, pick-ups and piezos are potted and sealed these days to a point that the vibration in the body can no longer effect the coils, and being the main carrier of the wave to electronic transmission, the body plays little consequence, electronics and hardware have a much greater effect. As for Necks, it is a distinct YES, as the interplay between the neck wood, fretboard, and frets or lack there of (fretless) directly effect the string by being a direct contact surface, allowing the contact point to be the wood, thus directly influencing the vibration of the string by the dampening effect of the material. Specifically.

As for ToneWood, ...

Man no you didn't... dude seriously. i know you are new here and all but ...

Helmet on everybody, let the flame war begin...

Getting the Aria out. I think I will need the body armor and the leathers as well. Kneedraggers unite! I think a mob is in order....

*puts on asbestos pants and sunglasses*


Bear with me a few minutes whilst I quickly re-learn the Monty Python argument sketch. Talk amongst yourself whilst I do this. In the meantime, I'll start with "no it isn't".

Man: I'd like to have an argument please.

Receptionist: Certainly, sir. Have you been here before...?

Man: No, this is my first time.

Receptionis: I see. Do you want to have the full argument, or were you thinking of taking a course?

Man : Well, what would be the cost?

Receptionist: Yes, it's one pound for a five-minute argument, but only eight pounds for a course of ten.

Man : Well, I think it's probably best if I start with the one and see how it goes from there. OK?

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In the meantime, I'll start with "no it isn't".

Pardon me, I completely missed the cue.

"Yes it is".


No it isn't. B)

Don't give me that, you snotty-faced heap of parrot droppings! :D

OH, oh I'm sorry, but this is abuse. :D

Ah yes, you want room 12A, Just along the corridor.

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The best wood for guitar necks is balsa...it really helps your vibrato...

For bodies I always use charcoal briquettes glued together with hot hide glue(for tone) because I once heard that satriani prefers his pork chops smoked with kingsford...

They call that pork chop tone and I really dig it...

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Musiclogic.... we really don't care about this conversation because we've all had it about 50 times this year already. Do a look through this section and you're sure to come up with a thread without trying hard at all.

Now back to the argument.

I'm sorry but I'm not allowed to go on arguing unless you've payed.

But that wasn't a full 5 minute argument just now!

Edited by avengers63
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