Electric Guitar Tonewood

There is a lot of chatter on the internet about electric guitar tonewood types. There seems to be many convictions asserting that the use of a certain wood will yield a certain tone, and the assertions vary wildly.

I'm not a luthier, but I fully understand that the type of wood used in an acoustic guitar can, and does, make a great deal of difference in the sound of the instrument. And to a lesser degree, types of tonewood may matter somewhat in a hollow body electric.

I've built twenty five solid body electric guitars, and own several hollow bodies, and I can't tell the difference. I've used bodies from ash, plastic, alder, and even laminated with no distinguishable difference. I've used necks made of maple, maple and rosewood, and maple and ebony, again with no noticeable difference.

The most drastic differences in tone I've been able to achieve is with the change of pickups. I'm not saying that there is no difference between tonewoods, and maybe some fine artists can tell. But for the average guitar player, the most dramatic difference will come from choosing different pickups.

The point is before you spend huge money on a body, or neck, for the type of wood used. Consider putting that money into a high quality set of pickups, or a few sets of pickups, so that you can compare. Just my two cents, JB



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