What’s better– laminate or solid wood acoustic guitars? Interestingly, the most common building material is still solid wood, even though guitars can be made from carbon fiber, Ekoa, fiberglass and recycled metal.
Much like there are cheap cars and expensive ones, there are cheap guitars and expensive ones, too. You get what you pay for, right? With cheap guitars, they’re mostly made from pressed plywood. This is also known as laminate, and it’s a bunch of layers of thinly processed wood that has been pressed and bonded together. Solid wood is solid wood. Where laminate and solid wood differ is the sourcing– in other words, where does the wood come from? Has it been meticulously sought out for the best sound? Has it been harvested properly, with care and respect for its environment? Alaska Specialty Woods gets its wood from the forests of Alaska– it’s carefully chosen for its superior quality, making excellent tonewood.
Laminate tonewood isn’t as resonant as solid wood. Guitar players who truly care about the sound of their instrument– and its nuances– will seek out solid wood guitars. Beginners who want something to learn on, that doesn’t break the bank, often go with the cheap laminate choice. Also, some laminate guitars can be made to look more expensive in the way they’re stained, to show off color variations and grain patterns in the wood. So, some players like laminate.
Solid wood guitars use their natural resins and the guitar’s bracing for stability. They’re like a tender baby you want to treat well. It’s no wonder that serious musicians seek out solid wood guitars because they’re special compared to the plethora of laminates on the market. It doesn’t hurt that they offer superior tone, which is what can really sell a guitar to the discerning musician.
What do you want? A carefully crafted solid wood guitar with amazing tone quality or a cheap laminate “dime a dozen” guitar?