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Wood Choice For Strat

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I am going to build a strat here in the next couple of months and I am trying to decide on a body wood.

The guitar will be used in my cover band (REM --> Duran Duran --> INXS --> No Doubt --> Third Eye Blind --> Cake --> Led Zeppelin)


-Maple shaft

-Pau Ferro fretboard





-Top/flush mounted OFR


-Will have pickguard

Ash, Alder, Maple?

I want to finish it in a sunburst fashion like below, so that kinda throws mahogany out the window.

I'm mainly looking for what tonal characteristics I should expect from P90's in each wood.

Thanks :D


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I vote for a good solid piece of anything that will look the way you want. Tonally, Alder is very versatile, and it's cheap. After that, I would consider Ash, Maple, Canary, or Butternut. On the next tier I'd put Cherry, Basswood, Hickory, and Poplar. Then Oak. Then I'd look to woods like Pine and Spruce. But that's me.

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why rule out mahogany?

this was bleached first to get the mahogany light enough for a translucent burst


slightly different to the traditional gibson way of doing these bursts on mahogany, which was most likely a solidish colour with mahogany grain filler leaching through to show the grain

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I'm making one with a white limba body that will be getting a traditional sunburst. That'll give the mahogany-like tone and still get a good looking sunburst.

Even though it looks like a strat, yours will have P90s in it. So the question is: do you want it to sound closer to a Gibson or not? If Gibson, I suggest limba or mahogany. If something else, you need to define what type of tone you're looking for: round bottom end, growly mids, accentuated highs, balanced as possible, some combination of two tones, etc. Once that's established, we could give you a better answer.

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It sounds like you want to get the Gibson AND fender sounds out of the same ax. I'm sure it's not impossible, but it'd be a LOT easier to just make two different guitars and really dial in a specific sound for each one. It's not much of a hassle to switch out in-between songs.

That being said, a white limba body with a maple neck would sound pretty nice. It should have all of the round bottom you want with enough definition on the highs to bring them out.

Were I to make one for the strat sounds, I'd use ash for the body along with a walnut neck.

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Hey, I just like P90s anyway, so my suggestion to get achieve what you're trying to do is to add a third pickup in the middle, and add some switches or push/pull pots to allow for series/parallel configurations. If you go parallel in combination with the middle pickup, you'll get some strat-like sounds. If you want to get a thicker sound, go parallel.

If you want to maintain that same appearance, you could stealth a really hot, overwound strat pickup, like on an Esquire. Then I bet you could wire a 5 position superswitch with the following configuration:

1.) Bridge

2.) Bridge/Middle in series

3.) Bridge/Middle in parallel

4.) Neck/Bridge (in series?)

5.) Neck

Or something like that... Honestly, I think you ought to just buy a chunk of Alder and go with your plan. It's not like you'll never want another guitar again. Unfortunately, recent evidence points GAS being a chronic condition, and no amount of gear seems to cure it.

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How are you going to pull strat tones out of two P90s?

coil tap? :D

Or possibly


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