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Mahogany vs.Rosewood vs. Sapele vs. Ovangkol

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  • Mahogany vs.Rosewood vs. Sapele vs. Ovangkol

    I know that the tone woods can even vary within their own same type (as in no two Rosewood bodies will sound the exact same), but I was trying to understand the major differences in these woods. I have a DN3, so its a sapele body, and I could definitely hear a difference next to a D-18 (Mahogany I believe). However, I don't know the real differences or benefits of each. And I know almost nothing about ovangkol, which is Taylor's rosewood I guess. Obviously I am mainly comparing Taylors and Martins, but any input would be appreciated.

    On a similar note, for the top wood, I noticed the majority are spruce but a few have cedar, like the Taylor GS5 and the Seagull S6. What is the major benefits of that?

    Also, this is a really stupid question, but I forget what (000) and (00) mean for martins... It denotes the body size right? My friend's dad has a 000-18 from the 1940s, so we were discussing it and I couldn't recall if that meant it was smaller than a dreadnought or not. I didn't want to look like a moron, so I didn't say anything then, but I would like to know now.
    <div class="signaturecontainer"><font size="1">Own:<br />
    2010 000-15M &quot;Sapphire&quot;<br />
    On order: Custom 00-15M &quot;Emerald&quot;<br />
    <br />
    Want:<br />
    Custom 000-15M<br />
    Santa Cruz 00 1929</font></div>

  • #2
    If you've ever played a Rainsong, it could add to the confusion, as there's no wood at all (sorry Viagra). I think a lot of the discussion is not necessarily better or worse, but apples, oranges and bananas. The top wood seems to be the most critical.

    As I understand it, the Martin models numbers indicate size/style with the first part - 00's and 000's being smaller "parlor" models and D being dreadnoughts. Gibson uses "J" for their jumbos. The second number for Martins is a quality standard, the higher the number, the more precious the tonewoods and ornamentation.

    So, a D18 is kind of the original base model big guitar, and the 000-18 is a smaller bodied model with similar woods. The D-28 is probably the most sought after model, but the D-35 and 45 are more expensive when new.
    ....................

    "This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in."

    Theodore Roosevelt

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    • #3
      Follow this link for a little detail covering the various timbers used.

      http://www.taylorguitars.com/guitars/features/woods/
      <div class="signaturecontainer"><b><div align="center">IF IT AINT BROKE, DON'T FIX IT.</div></b></div>

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      • #4
        I cringe every time I see a A vs B, post. Take women for example: Blondes, Brunettes, and Redheads. It's not a case of "vs" but in preferences.
        Or take dessert: A Banana Split, Chocolate Sundae, or Pecan Pie. It's not a "vs" thing either.

        Tonewoods are like flavors, as are guitars. Let your preference be your guide.

        Now, this made me hungry...

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        • #5
          I know that the tone woods can even vary within their own same type (as in no two Rosewood bodies will sound the exact same), but I was trying to understand the major differences in these woods. I have a DN3, so its a sapele body, and I could definitely hear a difference next to a D-18 (Mahogany I believe). However, I don't know the real differences or benefits of each. And I know almost nothing about ovangkol, which is Taylor's rosewood I guess. Obviously I am mainly comparing Taylors and Martins, but any input would be appreciated.

          On a similar note, for the top wood, I noticed the majority are spruce but a few have cedar, like the Taylor GS5 and the Seagull S6. What is the major benefits of that?

          Also, this is a really stupid question, but I forget what (000) and (00) mean for martins... It denotes the body size right? My friend's dad has a 000-18 from the 1940s, so we were discussing it and I couldn't recall if that meant it was smaller than a dreadnought or not. I didn't want to look like a moron, so I didn't say anything then, but I would like to know now.


          Hi, and Welcome to HCAG.

          Looks like you've gotten some good answers here, so far, so I'll just add this:

          Cedar has its pros and cons. It's biggest pro is its warm, woody sound. The most notable con is that it's a soft wood, so is easily dinged and/or scratched than spruce.

          Some guitars also have mahogany tops, which is tougher than cedar, but imparts a very deep, woody, mellow tone.

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          • #6
            Welcome to the forum !

            A few months ago, someone (maybe Frets99?) posted a video of a guy from a guitar shop comparing three tonewoods---rosewood, sapele, and mahogany, I believe. It was actually a pretty interesting video because you could actually hear the tonal differences quite clearly. Unfortunately, I don't remember the URL of the post or of the video .
            <div class="signaturecontainer"><font size="1"><div align="left"><font face="Arial Black">Guitars:</font> Seagull S6+CW, Epiphone LP Standard, Ovation CU247, Gretsch G5120, Seagull S12 (w/ JJB Prestige 330), Martin GPCPA3</div> <div align="left"><font face="Arial Black">Mandolins:</font> Mid-Missouri M-2, WWII-era Octave Mandolin</div><div align="left"><font face="Arial Black">Amps:</font> Fender Princeton Chorus, Marshall AVT50H/AVT412, Crate VC120H</div><div align="left"><font face="Arial Black">Effects:</font> EBow &gt; AKG Wireless &gt; Boss TU-2 &gt; Boss PH-3 &gt; EHX Doctor Q &gt; Dunlop 535 Wah &gt; Boss OS-2 &gt; Boss EQ-20 &gt; Boss CH-1 &gt; Boss NS-2 &gt; Boss RV-3</div></font><br />
            <font size="1"><font face="Arial Black"><a href="http://acapella.harmony-central.com/showthread.php?2716641-The-Left-Handed-Guitar-Caper-an-000-for-Kristy" target="_blank">LHGCC</a> Participant ~ </font></font><font size="1"><font face="Arial Black"><a href="http://acapella.harmony-central.com/showthread.php?2771728-Jimmy-Caper" target="_blank">Jimmy Caper</a></font></font></div>

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            • #7
              I cringe every time I see a A vs B, post. Take women for example: Blondes, Brunettes, and Redheads. It's not a case of "vs" but in preferences.
              Or take dessert: A Banana Split, Chocolate Sundae, or Pecan Pie. It's not a "vs" thing either.

              Tonewoods are like flavors, as are guitars. Let your preference be your guide.

              Now, this made me hungry...

              0 = Parlor
              00 is a little bigger
              000 bigger yet, just about the same size as an OM.
              0000 next up in size
              Dreadnought is the biggest, ordinarily, although about the same size as a Jumbo, but the Jumbo has a tighter waist.
              (And I'll take the redhead and a slice of Pecan Pie)

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