Tips for Optimizing the Sound of Your Guitar

Guitar players seem to gravitate toward certain guitars based on their sound, which often has to do with the kind of tonewood used by the guitar maker.

The bodies of guitars can be made using different types of wood, each bringing out a certain kind of sound from the instrument.

Alder, a medium-weight wood, is known for making a strong, full-bodied sound with excellent mid and low tones and a fine amount of sustain.

Ash, particularly swamp ash, gives guitars a twangy, airy sound.

Basswood is typically found in budget guitars. As a light, soft wood with minimal grain, basswood offers good dynamics and tonality.

Korina, aka limba, is a wood from Africa with a fine grain producing great clarity and sustain with a certain warmth and resonance. Mahogany, which also comes from Africa, is a dense wood offering great depth to the guitar’s sound.

Maple is another dense wood, typically sourced from the U.S. and Canada, and it’s often partnered with a lighter wood to make the guitar body sound bright and precise with tight lows. Maple and mahogany can typically be found together as the most popular laminated body type for guitars.

Poplar wood is used in some guitars though experts tend to consider the sound to be bland and without character.

Walnut’s a dense and heavy wood noted for its warm and full sound.

Besides these woods, there are the “exotics” such as wenge, bubinga, cedar and spruce.

When you are looking for the finest Sitka spruce for your soundboard, Alaska Specialty Woods is where to get it. Sitka spruce combines strength and elasticity, working well for everything from strumming to fingerpicking. With a broad dynamic range, it’s no wonder that the majority of Taylor brand guitars feature Sitka spruce tonewood.

If you’re interested in Sitka spruce, contact [email protected].



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