Posts Tagged ‘tone’

Does Guitar Tonewood Matter?

Tuesday, September 26th, 2017

A new tonewood video is making it’s rounds and this is a topic that everyone has an opinion on.  There are clearly two separate camps that get rabid with each other almost to the point of flat earthers vs round earthers. (Except for the clear visual evidence of the round earth)  There was that one scientific study that one time that said there is virtually no sonic difference see HERE!!!!   And then there are bunches of not as scientific studies.  That’s what I like!

People spend a ton of money chasing that “tone” i’m mainly going to focus on electric guitar as acoustic (IMO) is an instrument more critical of it’s construction and materials.  And being that’s it’s acoustic it really only has a few things to shape it’s sound.  Unlike the electric that has the “electric” components that are changing the the way the instrument sounds which can create many variables.

For me personally I don’t spend a lot of time researching tone woods for my guitars.  I look more into finish I am trying to achieve, as well as neck and fret board.  I’m personally a firm believer that if you want to significantly change the guitar sound the easiest and most drastic way to do that is with a pickup swap.  Being that pickups are voiced to accomplish different types of sounds that seems to be the component that would make the most sense.  Next of course being the amp you’re playing with.  For me, my guitars of choice are usually Ibanez RG 550 or similar style, many of my guitars have the electronics attached to the pick guard not even touching the wood directly which to some degree lessens the wood argument.  There have also been various acrylic guitar that sound basically indiscernible from their earthy counterparts.  With all these things considered is it worth your money to go out of your way with a bunch of wood combinations?  Well, no answers here.  But my opinion…..  No.

While I do agree that different woods make sonic differences I believe they’re subtle.  And those subtle differences are going to become less noticeable once time comes to dial your desired tone in with your amp or your choice in pickups.

 

But, here is an interesting demonstration of difference in woods.  While this video is gaining popularity, I do wish this was done in a bit more controlled situation.   Maybe with equipment better than an iPhone and maybe with a mic on a speaker to give some consistency.  But meh, it’s a solid enough indicator of wood impacting tone.