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Yep...It matters....not that it should be a suprise

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  • Yep...It matters....not that it should be a suprise

    I'm sure someone will be here soon to say "the difference doesn't matter" or "he may have picked slightly differently each time!" or some other nonsense excuse to deny the difference.

    Fact is...there IS a difference. If you can't hear's you.

    Now...if you think the difference doesn't matter TO YOU, (different from "THE difference doesn't matter") then fine....But there is obviously a difference. Clean, distorted, whatever...the same differences come through loud and clear.

    Sorry....Guitar sound is NOT just a product of your pickups and electronics and scale length alone. Body material matters.

  • #2

    "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."
    - George Carlin

    "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."
    - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

    "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."
    - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter


    • #3
      Nice to see some scientific method brought to the subject! Differences were pretty obvious, and about what I would have expected for maple vs mahogany.


      • soundcreation
        soundcreation commented
        Editing a comment
        I know! It's almost like all those electric guitar builders out there know what their talking about! lol

    • #4

      You don't get to tell me that all them woods make any difference, cause I know more about gitarres than all y'all combined! It's all in the pickups! I put a set of Seymour Dimarzios in a Affinity Telecaster, and it sounded like Gawd came through my Johnson speakers!


      • GAS Man
        GAS Man commented
        Editing a comment
        Yeah, I found it surprising that that tool posted one of those vids. Not like I'm his fan, but I would have thought that with his collection and playing abilities he wouldn't have been on that page too.

      • Preacher
        Preacher commented
        Editing a comment
        Heh, dig that Iceman, though.

    • #5
      Freeman Keller?


      I have decades of steel-string acoustic guitar experience. And I know there are still questions about how and IF woods even affect an acoustic guitar's tone. So I'm flummoxed here.

      Anyway, the most interesting parts to me were:

      a. The knuckle tapping on the 3 boards. (I suspect this is important.)
      b. The unplugged tone of strings strummed on each board.
      c. How well the Epi tuners stayed in tune on each board. (Impressive)

      As for tone differences? Dunno. I'd like to see some objective categories
      and measurements. I don't know much about how solid-body electric guitars with magnetic pick-ups actually operate.

      Maybe wood does have an effect. Gibson swears it does. So did
      Les Paul. I just don't understand how it works.

      Also, how is each piece of wood here representative?
      Does that Maple board accurately represent all Maple boards?
      Why? Ditto for the other two. How do we know?

      There are objective criteria for tone. This is a digital age. We saw no
      wave forms - not even analogue oscilloscope readings.

      1. I'd want to see what we heard broken down into categories.
      2. I'd want to hear cleaner amplified tone.
      3. I'd want to know the density, moisture content, inter alia
      of each of these 3 boards.

      How accurately does each of his boards represent ALL
      boards of that variety? That's a big question.
      Last edited by Etienne Rambert; 09-15-2017, 11:15 AM.
      He has escaped! Youtube , ​Murika , France


      • #6
        I hear a difference unplugged, much less plugged in. I'm with Etienne. I'd want a comparison involving some kind of strumming machine for consistent input and then a spectrum analysis of the result.
        Official HCAG “Theory-Challenged Hack”
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        • DeepEnd
          DeepEnd commented
          Editing a comment
          I wasn't remotely ''gobsmacked'' but yes, I heard a difference. Though as I said, primarily unplugged, much more subtle plugged in. Way too many factors involved IMHO. Heck, one of the examples had the neck attached off center. Who knows what effect that could have had?
          Last edited by DeepEnd; 09-15-2017, 12:26 AM.

        • soundcreation
          soundcreation commented
          Editing a comment
          Which example had the neck attached "off center"? If you watch the end of the video he shows the construction and the maple and mahogany boards having identical dimensions with identical placements of all the hardware.

        • DeepEnd
          DeepEnd commented
          Editing a comment
          Kidding but go to about 2:15 and it looks like the mahogany and one of the other boards have the neck off center. I also notice he's not necessarily holding the ''guitar'' in the same position each time but we'll let it go. I guess it matters if you think it does.

      • #7
        One of the Youtube commenters actually pointed out you don't hear the difference if you listen to the video rather than watch. I heard a distinct difference in the Fir, but the Mahogany vs Maple wasn't nearly as pronounced.

        I don't argue that wood doesn't affect tone, but I will say the player matters more than the wood. Last night, I couldn't sleep and watched Brian May's rig rundown, and his guitar tech made it blatantly obvious that there are so many factors to his sound beyond the Red Special guitar. Everything from the metal coins he uses to pick, his delicate touch, the Vox amps, treble boosters, Burns pickups... The list goes on. And if you give that same guitar rig to Clapton, Beck, or Blackmore, they're not going to sound like Brian May.

        I am interested in what string brand, gauge, humbucker, and even the hardware (I assume its from the Epi Special) he used.


        • #8
          unplugged yes. plugged in no, once you plug into effects and everything else it doesn't matter.
          Last edited by sammyreynolds01; 09-14-2017, 06:29 PM.


          • #9
            in the first amped example, the second guitar sounds as if it's played differently; more first harmonic like you get when you pick half way between the fret and bridge. Indicates that every component is part of a filter system. Also seems in these comparisons, the player will lube the example that "rocks better".

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            • #10
              Yes it does matter. It just doesn't matter to you. guys are making those excuses again.

              I would say if you can't hear a difference then you don't have very good ears. Sorry if that offends, but whatever...the differences are pretty clear in every single clip he played.

              I know people will get all bothered and take that personally but it's really not a big deal. Some people just haven't trained themselves to hear tonal differences. I'm not the best at it. My wife is amazing. As a highly trained vocal teacher she hears very minute differences in tone in voice and instrument.

              And making the point that "other things matter more".....well of course. That's not the point though. The point is debunking the myth that wood doesn't have an effect on tone of the guitar. It does. It's as good a test of one variable as your going to find. If you want him to tell you the kind of pickup etc...just comment on his vid. He's very good about responding.

              As for needing a "spectrum analysis" or a "strum machine"...I don't think either are necessary for a few reasons.

              First off...there have been other spectrum analysis of different wood bodies that do show different peaks and valleys. Of course they are very close, which leads to the argument that "they're so small they don't matter". (as this study does)


              To which the counter argument I make is that the human ear is absolutely incredible at discerning the difference between very very minute differences in frequencies. So that slightly higher peak or valley in the analysis does matter, and people can easily detect it.


              A point that never seems to get a counter argument from the "wood doesn't matter" crowd.

              Plus the fact that the spectrum analysis of woods DO show a difference. And again...the common response is "Yeah...but it doesn't's so small." lol.....for people demanding science they are certainly quick to write off what the science

              And finally the strum machine......yep...I'll agree that would make it "more controlled". And I think you'd hear the exact same thing. But I think people underestimate the ability of a good guitarist (and he is) to control their dynamic range to repeat the same strum pattern. I guarantee you I can strum multiple times at pretty much the exact same dynamic level.

              How do I know this? For one, I'm a drummer. I play edrums. They measure velocity strokes as you're playing. A range from 1 to 127. If I play a multiple strokes with my right hand on the drum at one dynamic level I can repeat the number multiple times very easily. So for example I'll hit something like 80, 80, 80, 80, 81, 80, 79, 80....

              Guitar is even easier to be consistent. And anyway there is no way the strum dynamics are changing the fundamental tone shape that you're hearing from the guitar. Bright is bright and warm is warm...whether it's strummed hard or soft, those differences don't change. I's consistent through every single lick he plays in that video.

              If you'd like...I'd be willing to set up a blind experiment where I play multiple strums on a guitar and post them vs a clip where I copy and paste one strum, and do this multiple times. And we can see if you can figure out which ones are copied and which ones are actual multiple strums. I'll put my money down right now that nobody will be able to consistently tell which clip is which.

              A couple of further points on Etienne's argument.

              "representing" a specific wood, isn't the point. The point is if different wood makes a difference. It clearly does.

              That's not too say the question of wood species being similar in tone properties isn't valid. It's just not the question being answered here.

              And he mentions the densities of the mahogany and maple are almost identical. I'm sure if you comment on the vid he will respond with an actual number.
              Last edited by soundcreation; 09-14-2017, 09:42 PM.


              • bluesmann
                bluesmann commented
                Editing a comment
                The argument? its simple, some people just don't have the ears to hear. They've got their own religion and we? the truth. LOL! a strum machine? scopes, Freq. analyzers . I saw that eq pedal in the back ground lol!.

            • #11
              I would say if you can't hear a difference then you don't have very good ears. Sorry if that offends, but whatever...the differences are pretty clear in every single clip he played.
              Yeah, you're definitely coming off as the typical obnoxious elitist you generally are. Sorry if that offends.

              I don't disagree that there's a tonal difference, but I have better things to do than listen to pieces of wood all day. Some people develop their taste for wine and can tell you there're hints of oak, vanilla, and a cow's buttcrack in a 1998 California Pinot Noir, but most people are just trying to get drunk. Most audiophiles I've met look like librarians. The best guitarists I know don't obsess over their tone, either.

              Lighten up.


              • Bucksstudent
                Bucksstudent commented
                Editing a comment
                Do you have something against librarians?

              • Phil O'Keefe
                Phil O'Keefe commented
                Editing a comment
                Buck, first of all, he didn't direct his comment at anyone specifically, but you did... you went straight to the personal attacks, calling him obnoxious and elitist... if you can't discuss things civilly, then maybe you should find someplace else to post...

              • Phil O'Keefe
                Phil O'Keefe commented
                Editing a comment
                And Soundcreation, when there's an issue, you're supposed to flag the post and let the mods know about it (we can't read each and every post as soon as it goes up), NOT take matters into your own hands and tell them to 'f off'.

            • #12
              I've posted this before, and I'll post it again, but it's kind of basically a simple matter that

              A) a pickup is a "transducer". In other words, it converts mechanical energy to electrical energy. The substrate to which the vibrating strings are anchored will impart nuances to the vibration of the strings, and the transducer picks that up and converts it to a detailed electrical signal.

              For me personally, I never had any doubts due to my collection of guitars, but most pointedly I bought 2 Fender Stratocater Deluxes around the same time. Both with the exact same electronics and hardware.
              One with a maple fb & alder body FENDER 50TH ANNIVERSARY (2004) DELUXE STRATOCASTER
              Other with an ebony fb and a fairly dense ash body. FENDER STRATOCASTER DELUXE BAD BOY BLUE 2005

              On those two I wouldn't want to speculate how much difference comes from the fretboards, even though ebony is generally regarded as being a bit bright than maple, but I would say that the body wood made a huge difference.

              The difference is so great that when I played the Bad Boy Blue, I was always reaching to engage the S-1 Switching to pair up the pickups to warm its tone, but with the Alder bodied 50th Anniversary, I'm quite comfy with its single coil tones. But the Bad Boy Blue is very sharp sounding in the single coil mode and it probably deserves a home with a country-style chickin pickin player. Now if its ash body had been a more resonant lighter weight swamp ash body, then the difference would have been less discernible. For example, I have a '52 Tele RI with a nice Swamp Ash body, and it possibly has one of the deeper rounder tones of all my teles.

              Or I've often said, build a guitar out of concrete cinder blocks and another out of ballistic gelatin and then tell me they sound the same if the same hardware and p'ups are installed in both. Plus one would also have to believe that the quality of the woods and carvings from Stradivarius to historic Gibsons was all nothing but centuries of marketing hoaxes. But differences do diminish for the uber high gain players who'd rather twist their pedal and amp knobs.

              Thanks for posting that vid!
              A '57 Classic, MIJ from USA parts.
              HCEG Existentialism: I buy guitars, therefore, I am.
              Well Dick, it's got a good beat, and I could dance to it, so I give it a 10!
              I have opinions of my own,strong opinions but I don't always agree with them.


              • soundcreation
                soundcreation commented
                Editing a comment
                There is a cinder block youtube video that the "wood doesn't matter" crowd often used as their "proof". Funny thing pretty much proved them wrong. It sounded like you were playing nothing but the pickups.

              • GAS Man
                GAS Man commented
                Editing a comment
                LOL, interesting, I did not know that existed. But you'd think an extreme concept as such a widely varied substrate would make the end result intuitive even without an actual demo. Heck, I was in gigging neighborhood band that included someone on a thump bucket, so I got to hear the differences between metal and plastic buckets. LOL And yes, the thump bucket had a transducer pickup attached to it as well. But man did I get tired of playing Down On The Corner. :-)
                Last edited by GAS Man; 09-15-2017, 08:02 AM.

              • hellion_213
                hellion_213 commented
                Editing a comment
                The thing about the cinder block video is they use a piezo pickup, which I really don't know much about, except the principle is different, and they work with phosphor-bronze strings.

            • #13
              i could clearly hear the difference, both acoustic and electric versions

              for me, it's like when there are shootouts between digital and analogue summing... some people say they can't hear a difference and i think "are we listening to the same thing?"... as it's very obvious to me


              • #14
                Youtube google have been pushing this video on me via their "profiling" software for some time. I bet it was the same with you.
                I resist them because letting them choose your videos distorts your profile further from you and closer to what they think you should be.


                • #15
                  Originally posted by Chordite View Post
                  Youtube google have been pushing this video on me via their "profiling" software for some time. I bet it was the same with you.
                  I resist them because letting them choose your videos distorts your profile further from you and closer to what they think you should be.
                  No...actually I subscribe to his channel. He's got some pretty amazing videos. You should check it out.

                  I'm pretty immune to the effects of marketing and profiling, (along with nationalism, patriotism, and various other forms of propaganda) Chomsky taught me well enough how to see through BS like that and get to the truth.

                  Having said that....sometimes a suggested video is exactly what you wanted to see. If you resist it simply because it was suggested to you and you don't happen to like the "thing" giving the suggestion.....well..then you're denying your very self. Isn't that a "distortion" further away from you, as well?

                  I don't know. I guess I just feel like once you understand "the medium is the message" it then becomes much easier to bypass the medium's effect on your thinking (because you've already learned to be critical of it) and just concentrate on the content.


                  • Chordite
                    Chordite commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Classic case today. Yesterday I was looking for a spare bulb for my projector. Today I am inundated with ads for projectors. Hey stupids, I already HAVE a projector.

                  • soundcreation
                    soundcreation commented
                    Editing a comment
          's no different here or whatever. We are a product, being sold to a market. Same with TV. Shows are just the filler for delivering the product (the viewer) to the market (advertisers). Threads like this are just the filler to provide ....who is it at this very moment...let me have a look.....I'm getting Philips, Cerwin Vega and gibson of course...with a market.

                    I suppose soon enough they'll have an algorithm that will get you the bulb