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pine as tonewood


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If you want to believe the wood makes it sound better, go for it. The guitar companies love you for that.

 

Me? I hear pickups more than anything, and I love P90s the best. But I use Duncan P-Rails, the P90 sound isn't quite as full as a soap bar, but there are times when the Rail or Humbucker sound is what I want, and I can get that out of one guitar. Then the FX pedal and amp color that sound. I don't care what kind of wood is on the guitar as long as it's hard and strong enough to be structurally sound. Next, I go for the looks.

 

And I still say, if you can't identify the kind of wood on a solo you don't know who or what it is being played on, then tonewood = schmonewood.

 

In sax forums, they do the same thing with lacquer on the sax.

 

Rather that obsess about what kind of wood, I'd rather just play lines that affect the audience. After all, they don't know the difference anyway. They care less about tone than they do about expression - guaranteed.

 

Insights and incites by Notes

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I know the topic comes up regularly, but it's entertaining to watch. Keep it going!

My main guitar is solid mahogany, my other ones is made out of plywood (ES335) and I'm building my first guitar out of Ponderosa pine.

Every guitar I play, my friend can play so much better you'd swear it's a different guitar. unfortunately buying wood is easier than to buy chops...

 

Regarding the pine, since this is my first build I didn't want to spend a chunk of change, and I do dig the "barncaster" look. I'll be topping it with Colorado Beetle Kill pine and will finish it in natural finish and fully expect dings and dent to add character. When I was researching pine for that build, The main issue for pine is its high sap content, it akes a long time for the sap to crystallize throughout the entire thickness of the wood.

 

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I believe it's valid. If the difference was in any way significant then I believe it would be relatively easy to do.

All guitars sound different, its not reasonable to ignore the hundreds of other variables and attribute any difference to the type of wood. Not in my view anyway.

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The biggest problem with pine IMO is that it's too soft...

 

 

Some species of pine is consistently harder than other species. Within each species of pine there will be different grades of hardness.

 

You can get really soft white pine or moderately hard white pine. Sugar pine is harder than any of the white pine species. Sugar pine can yield a lot of usable wood per tree if you find a good big tree because of all the core wood. However, I would never think of building a guitar body with a two-point vibrato system (Floyd-Rose, etc) from sugar pine. You might get one or two years of use from a vibrato'd sugar pine body before it would need to have re-anchoring work done. A simple design such as a sugar pine Telecaster body and a maple neck should meet anyone's specifications.

 

The hardest pine available is the so-called Kauri Pine, which is one of the various subspecies of Agathis that grows mostly in norther Australia. Kauri / Agathis has been a popular wood or Asian-made guitar bodies for decades.

 

 

 

...Cosmetically, it doesn't hold up well unless you leave it exposed and dig the "distressed" look. It dings really easily.

 

 

I often see basswood bodies finished with a tough finish such as polyurethane or polyester. It seems that the susceptibility to denting is reduced when a tough finish is applied as it slightly spreads out the concentrated force from a dinging impact.

 

 

 

 

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Depressing that personal attacks are predicted, and then immediately arise.

 

 

Well I wouldn't say fun (although someone did) but sometimes the trolling gives independent structural fiber to a thread. Nuff said in that regard.

 

On sensitivity ; I went through a brief period where music had taken over my emotions and imposed its unforgiving requirements on my personality. The sensitivity to give life to a few notes can become so important that intolerance and empirical arrogance rise to protect it. Suffice it to say that I turned back before anyone answered the door.

 

Anyway what I'm getting to is spirituality can have negative results too. You get too soft for life and withdraw into your "piousity".and morality. I see no personal attacks here; incongruous analogies / baiting, but no personal attacks. Not that I care. It's a forum and I'm like, "hey, I got 2cents for that" ...

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I think of this place like a pub, so I behave in a lad-ish manner and tease people a bit just like I would with my mates at the pub. Sometimes people get hurt feelings, but that's not my intention - just playful banter. I hope that people I've offended have stuck me on ignore and that there are still people other than mods (can't ignore me, haha) who can read this.

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Everybody's different and everybody has an opinion. Saying that tonewood has no function in producing a good sounding instrument just doesn't stand up to empirical evidence. If that were the case nobody would have to spend big bucks on a Gibson when buying an Epi and changing out the pickups would be all that was required to get Gibson tone. I mean why wouldn't you? Newer Epiphones play like a dream, less neck angle variance with generally better tuning stability in my experience. Yet, how many folks have run through that drill chasing the Gibson sound only to come to the realization that the Gibson still sounds better. And why shouldn't it? It was designed that way and using better quality timbers was a big part of the equation.

 

If I believed everything somebody with a music pedigree said around here I'd be in trouble. I mean humbuckers apparently pale in comparison to a good P90 or P-rail in the sound department I've been told. I've got a P90 guitar and it's totally over the top soundwise, big booming bass and piercing highs; truth is, it's only real function in my arsenal is in your face R&R (great for Thorogoodesque boogie lines and fuzzed out "Mountain" riffs). Sure you can use it for anything but in my collection I have better options. And I like my P90s - some I've tried have trouble in the higher register, string balance issues where the high E string sounds faint. In contrast, my humbucker guitars are a little more reserved and thus better sounding in the balance department for a better variety of good tone. I have two US Hamers and a Gibson and I've never felt like they had a "blanket" over them in the sound department compared to my Strats or P90. They are incredibly articulate sounding guitars, course I think it helps that they are one and two piece body construction and made from quality timbers.

 

And, I don't mean to sound like a snorkeldick in the guitar department either. There are some great sounding budget guitars out there built with quality woods, but it's a crapshoot IMO and you run a better chance of getting a great sounding guitar by spending the cash, particularly nowadays. Anyway that's my opinion.

 

PS I felt an obligation to kickstart this thread it's just sooo dead around here. I mean it's not NFL Football but at least it's mildly entertaining.

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FWIW guitar A was darker than guitar B in the first video. Going by common wisdom, mahogany then maple. I didn't watch to find out which. In the second video the time lapse obscured the comparison but the maple did sound more trebly.

 

Now the variable is you can rake the strings with varying pick orientations and get response ranging from distortion to pristine sparkle. Same everything else ; just holding the pick different. If he was doing that the dynamics would be obvious but you can still play with the treble on a clean sound by brushing the strings with different parts of the side of the pick.

 

The gaping flaw with this demo - and I'm not sure the exact effect but I'm guessing it would attenuate any major differences, and that is he played both guitars with their bodies coupled to the table.

 

Regardless of what his point was, I didn't watch to find out, there was a difference in the high end. One was distinctly brighter and my informed guess is that would be maple. At any rate and regardless of what species, it does indicate that wood has an audible effect on guitar tone.

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Not sure what the point is here. Dano has been making great sounding guitars for years from Masonite and poplar. Doesn't change the point of the original discussion as introducing an acoustic chamber changes the way that sound is produced and transmitted. Anyway most of the cigar boxes I've seen used for guitar building are made of Spanish cedar or some other wood material. Not sure, but I'd be willing to bet that the plastic and glass ones don't work as well as the wooden ones.

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He did a very thorough job. I feel it conclusively disproves that construction material does not meaningfully affect the sound of a solid-body electric guitar, but it really doesn't speak to whether a given species of wood reliably yields a tonal signature. I wouldn't be surprised if the conventional wisdom of the characteristics of various species of wood are way off. I got ahold of an all-maple Carvin neck-through, which I expected to be unreasonably bright. It was bright, but the brightness was exhibited in a honky to nasal range, which worked fine, as opposed to a shrill or icepicky manner. As another example, mahogany is considered a dark wood, but SGs and Vs are not particularly dark sounding guitars.

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