Guitar Tone Wood

Guitar Tone Wood

Guitar tone wood. Now that can spark a debate that can get ugly with a quickness. We have a big ol’ feud going on youtube at the moment with some pretty nasty comments going back and forth. I have my own ideas about the subject. In case you are unfamiliar with the subject let me give a brief explanation. Guitars are made of primarily wood. Many different types and species of woods are used. And there are several specific types that fall into a category known as “tone woods” (cocabola, rosewood, koa, flame maple, spruce, sitka etc). The idea here being that these woods have some affect on the tone the guitar produces. Many manufacturers may use more than one type on a single guitar to presumably achieve a desired tone. Many manufacturers use this as a sales tool and it can even affect the end price of a guitar. Now it seems we have two viewpoints on the subject: 1. tone wood makes a difference in the tone and  2. it has no affect at all. But I have to say that there is a  3rd viewpoint on this subject as well.
First let me state that yes there are controlled experiments that render measurable returns. These are done in a variety of ways but always include the use of oscilloscopes, meters, tuners and a lot of other equipment. I’m not refuting the results of most of these tests. But you see there are many people that claim to be able to hear a difference with nothing more than their ears. I believe the scientific evidence to be valid when the results are repeatable. However I also feel that if a guitarist that’s been playing for any appreciable amount of time and says he (or she) can hear the difference in tone woods, then who’s to say they’re wrong? I’m also sure there are some that only hear a difference because they want to hear it. Of course there are also those that say there is no difference and they will never hear a difference even if it’s real because their minds are closed to it. If you hear it then for you the case is closed. You know what you are hearing. If you don’t hear it then the case is closed for you as well. And besides all of that, if a dude hears it and likes what he hears then he may be inspired to play more and enjoy it more as well. and there ain’t a damn thing wrong with that!

stunning guitars
Consider this:
It’s kind of like ghosts. I can tell you without any doubt in my mind that they exist because I’ve been face to face with one at a distance of less than 24″ for about 5 seconds (doesn’t sound like a long time but I’m here to tell you it sure felt like an eternity to me). But there are skeptics that will say I’m wrong and that they don’t exist. Fuck em’. I know what I saw and they can say I’m wrong till they’re blue in the face and it doesn’t change what I saw. I firmly believe that we are so conditioned that ghosts do not exist that when we see something our minds automatically rationalize it as something else.. Unless you are open minded you may never see one. I was closed minded until I had my experience which forced my mind to open. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t talk, all I could do was stare wide eyed while it stared back at me and try like hell not to pee on myself. On this subject there is no debate for me. It is what it is and that’s that.


Bottom line on tone wood:
There are so many variables that affect your guitars tone that a difinitive answer is elusive. And for me I stand right smack in the middle although I kinda lean to the “it’s real” crowd. I hear the difference between guitars. My Les Paul Studio and my Dean Soltero look very similar and share some of the specs but the difference is night and day. The dean is heavier since it isn’t chambered and the sustain is incredible. It has a 3/4″ maple cap over the mahogany body and it’s got a brighter tone. Of course the pickups are way different and some of the hardware is as well so the variables are too many to say it’s the wood. But it could be, I just don’t know. That’s all I’m going to say about it because my head is starting to hurt. This subject can go quite deep if you let it. I’m going to stop thinking about it and just grab my guitar, plug it in, turn it up, and play.




Dean Leslie West Peace Sign Signature Soltero, Dean Leslie West Flame Maple Tobacco Burst Signature Soltero, Gibson Les Paul Studio, Hamer Studio,, Epiphone Les Paul (Korean), Ovation Celebrity, Laney Cub 12R, Blackstar, HT-1R, Jet City JCA20H, Jet City JCA22H, Orange OR15, and a lot of dirt pedals, some store bought some DIY.

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