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How does Fender distinguish Alder from Select Alder?


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Generally, it means they hand-pick the wood with good weight and appearance. But, it isn't a regulated term, so I wouldn't put too much stock in it. You could find just as good of wood on a American Series if you look aorund, but will probably find more consistancy with the American Deluxe.

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Select is a term used in the lumber trade to describe wood that is free from defects and that has consistent and pleasing grain throughout the board. It is the top grade, until you get into figured wood. Furniture (or, presumably, guitars) can be made with select boards, or with boards that are free from defects on one side, but not the other, or wood that may have defects on both sides - depending on if the piece will have paint or a transparent finish, and what the builder wants.

 

Further, even defect free boards may have inconsistent grain like a swirl or dog-leg that makes it less desireable, versus nice straight even grain.

 

So all this really means is they are using better boards in the deluxe models, which should look better, on average, with a transparent finish or a sunburst - and if you are worried about how the wood affects tone, probably select will be better given the grain is more consistent.

 

As Wyatt said, the term does not have a precise meaning, so you can only read so much into it. Kindof like the word "deluxe" or "premium".

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Originally posted by sonnyg84

So do you think a Deluxe Strat that has a transparent finish has a better quality/sound that a Deluxe Strat that is painted (black for example)?

 

No.

 

It is very common, but not an absolute, to use the better-looking pieces of wood for transparent finishes and worse-looking wood for opaque finishes. So, with a transparent finish, you get to see the nice grain, which is aesthetic (sp??) pleasing to many of us.

 

But sound is completely indepenent. Every single plank of wood has a different tone. That's why I play as many guitars as possible when shopping for one.

 

Buy the finish you like the best, and if picking between AmSeries or AmDeluxe, by the one with the features you like.

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  • 13 years later...
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In the past whenever guitar was advertised as having a "Select Hardwood" body meant it was plywood. Yes, made from Hardwood like Mahogany, Alder, or Maple. But, none the less layered killing the tonal quality of the wood. Probably best to check with the manufacturer to determine what exactly they mean. Could be a very nice piece of Alder plywood. In the meat department "select" is not the same quality of "choice".   

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