Tonewood and Electric Guitars


tonewood

Mahogany

 

 

If you have done any reading about electric guitars on the interwebs in the past…oh…decade or so, you might be aware that on certain forums and youtube channels there is and has been a debate raging between the Tonewood Believers and the Tonewood Deniers.  Those in the first camp subscribe to the notion that the species of wood from which an electric instrument is constructed is an important and audible factor in the tone of the instrument.  Those in the second camp disagree, pointing out that electric guitar tone is a product of strings vibrating over pickups to create an electric signal that is processed by an amplifier.  Both sides have made arguments and have attempted to conduct experiments, which have varied widely in sophistication – sometimes resulting in pretty good comedy for those of us with even a rudimentary understanding of the scientific method (my undergraduate degree is in biochemistry).  But for the most part, like so many disagreements we encounter in our lives, this one hasn’t involved a ton of logic, but it has inspired an almost religious level of devotion from adherents of one side of the debate or the other.  Given that reality, I don’t want to wade into the argument – really – I’d like to build you an instrument whether you think tonewoods matter to tone or not!!

tonewood

Swamp Ash

 

But I will say this:  unless you have the most finely-tuned of ears, I’m willing to bet that you’ll be able to dial in a tone you like using the knobs on your guitar and your amp whether your guitar is made from mahogany or ash or alder or korina.  And ultimately – whether the wood affects the tone or not – the pickups you choose are likely to matter even more to your ear.  But if you are one of those who can hear the difference between rosewood and ebony on a fretboard when all other things are equal, then you are one of those who should probably spec out a custom instrument.  Get in touch and let us build you something special!