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Are plywood bodies only good for the garbage?

bionic
February 2nd, 2009, 10:15 PM
I have all the parts left over to build a crappy back up tele but the body is made out of plywood. I don't really want to invest too much into the guitar so would it be useable with a plywood body or should I bite the bullet, shell out the money and get an ash body?

PaisleyIsGod
February 2nd, 2009, 10:28 PM
For what it's worth, I have a cheap tele copy with a plywood body and after changing out the pups the thing is one of my best sounding guitars.

You can definitely do better with a body wood, but that's just my experience with plywood.

bionic
February 2nd, 2009, 10:36 PM
This guitar would have a fair amount of gain happening as well so I think I may be safe. Just have to paint it up and put it together

WoodyTone
February 2nd, 2009, 10:39 PM
My son has a plywood Koren Squier Tele and it sounds great. Seriously. Probably hit or miss, but don't burn it!

Stuco
February 2nd, 2009, 10:45 PM
I had a plywood strat that sounded better than the solid wood strat from the same manufacturer.

zosofan
February 2nd, 2009, 11:07 PM
My son has a plywood Koren Squier Tele and it sounds great. Seriously. Probably hit or miss, but don't burn it!

lol! My daughter has a plywood Strat and it sounds, well , very "stratty"
Pretty good strat tones believe it or not.
Eric

Tim Armstrong
February 2nd, 2009, 11:11 PM
I used to have a plywood body MIK Squier Tele that was a REALLY nice sounding and playing guitar!

Tim

mellecaster
February 2nd, 2009, 11:37 PM
Plywood used in Guitar bodies is a much higher grade than what you think of at Home Depot...think Cabinet Grade...I worked on quite a few Guitars & Basses w/ Laminated Bodies that were Great Instruments.

TheDev01dOne
February 2nd, 2009, 11:53 PM
Yeah my first major part build/mod has a plywood body but it sounds great to my ears. Was a charvel-alike that I refinished and stuck an EMG 81 in there for metal stuff and it sounds exactly how I wanted, very lively and defined. And it weighs bugger all, easily the lightest guitar I've owned.

mralmostpopular
February 3rd, 2009, 12:02 AM
Why not just do it anyways? If you don't like it, no harm done, then you know you'll need a different body. If you just have to paint it and put it together, then it really wouldn't be that much work.

GuitarJonz
February 3rd, 2009, 12:03 AM
Like Tim, I also bought an MIK Tele (used), since it played & sounded great in the shop. I was surprised to find that the body was ply, but what the heck, my ears didn't seem to mind at all!

bionic
February 3rd, 2009, 01:56 AM
It's supposed to be a mid eighties Schecter so I guess the quality of plywood must be slightly better than what they have at Home Depot. I'll be painting it come spring

Ronkirn
February 3rd, 2009, 09:42 AM
if ya give a plywood bodied Tele to . .. say Scotty Anderson, and let him loose on it... every one will be wanting a plywood Tele... it aint the gear, it's never been the gear, it's never gonna be the gear... or what it's made of either.

Ron Kirn

sneakyjapan
February 3rd, 2009, 10:32 AM
only for the garbage?...well no, theres always the fireplace.

Jack Wells
February 3rd, 2009, 10:40 AM
if ya give a plywood bodied Tele to . .. say Scotty Anderson, and let him loose on it... every one will be wanting a plywood Tele... it aint the gear, it's never been the gear, it's never gonna be the gear... or what it's made of either.

Ron Kirn

Well said Ron .............http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v208/jwells393/Animations/ThumbsUp.gif

refin
February 3rd, 2009, 11:00 AM
I had an old plywood strat body by a company called Lincoln.....lotsa ply.I put one of the old Charvel vintage strat copy necks on it and some pups out of a Lead II,and my friend and I (both with original '60s strats) went "Whoa!" Warm twang is all I can say,if that makes sense.
Luck of the draw,I guess.

gtech
February 3rd, 2009, 11:11 AM
I had a guitar that sounded good... as long as I didn't know it was plywood...

When I decided to sand it to the wood and repaint it, I started to find it didn't sound so good after all...

MaxCaster
February 3rd, 2009, 01:14 PM
http://www.fictioninferno.com/photos/Frankencaster.jpg

This one is plywood. Got Rio Muy Grandes and a brass pickguard. It sounds pretty good to me.

jwsamuel
February 3rd, 2009, 01:35 PM
only for the garbage?...well no, theres always the fireplace.


No, non, nyet, nein, no!

A plywood guitar body should never be used in a fireplace. The glues used to hold the plies of wood together can be toxic when burned.

Jim

Sollophonic
February 3rd, 2009, 06:26 PM
Plywood guitars can sound good or bad, just like ash/alder ones can sound good or bad.

Mind you I did have a Tele copy which had an MDF body, which sounded awful and weighed a ton. I liked the neck and made a new beech body for it.

Someone post that Tele made of USB board, please

stevieboy
February 3rd, 2009, 06:57 PM
A plywood guitar will sound much better if you start referring to it as a "laminate."

Tim73
February 3rd, 2009, 06:59 PM
A decent bridge, good saddles, a well cut nut & a proper set up can make pretty much any guitar sing. I wouldn't be put off at all

Rhomco Guitars
February 3rd, 2009, 07:52 PM
Call it "pancake" construction. :grin:

Blazer
February 3rd, 2009, 08:28 PM
http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e22/guitarman91/100_0927.jpg
My Epiphone Firebird has a plywood but and it also has a set neck. It sounds really good though, fat sustain and all.

http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e22/guitarman91/My%20musical%20instruments/Strat.jpg
My 1989 strat "The Veteran" has a plywood body but is one of the best sounding guitars I own

My opinion on Plywood as a body wood is one of "if it works for Alembic, it works for me."
Because let's be honest, what exactly makes the Alembic "Hippy sandwhich" of layer upon layer of wood any different from plywood which also is layer on layer of wood on top of each other. True, the woods they use are expensive and ornate but it's basically a plywood instrument.
http://www3.alembic.com/img/inst/13736_sandwichL.jpg
A Close up of the body sculpt of an Alembic guitar showing the layers of wood. The fact that these instruments also have neck through body construction also makes for a very spiked, sustained sound but they almost have no acoustic sound at all.

And let's not forget that Gibson's ES series consists of guitars with plywood bodies, nobody complains about those either.

sneakyjapan
February 3rd, 2009, 09:20 PM
No, non, nyet, nein, no!

A plywood guitar body should never be used in a fireplace. The glues used to hold the plies of wood together can be toxic when burned.

Jim

thank you. I was kidding.

squierkid
February 3rd, 2009, 09:48 PM
There is bad news on plywood tough. The bolts hold like crap, so if the guitar has a tremolo, you must not mess with the springs holding it( tightening them). I found it was best for the body i fixed to make it hardtailed. Plywood isnt that bad, the guitar im talking about is a Spirit strat copy. I would build that guitar if i had the parts laying around but a cheap real wood body would be better just to be honest.:grin:

Cam
February 3rd, 2009, 10:19 PM
plywood is perfect for a stratacaster.......

Wayne Alexander
February 3rd, 2009, 10:42 PM
Gibson ES-335s are made of plywood.

evol04gt
February 3rd, 2009, 11:09 PM
usually solid masses dont resonate..... resonance is vibration.... my gibson lespaul has zero acoustic capabilities- plugged in is great...

guitar tone is from a solid neck, butter playability (frets weight and shape} action prefferences and decent pups matched with a good ear for knob settings.

a solid bodies wood effects tone as much as your strap does! a slippery nylon strap holds diff that a leather strap..


fit and finish of neck and tuning stability are what seperates your good from bad tone as a player. the rest is hogwas or mojo ... mojo is real.. its spiritual.

jclark
February 3rd, 2009, 11:18 PM
Why not just do it anyways? If you don't like it, no harm done, then you know you'll need a different body. If you just have to paint it and put it together, then it really wouldn't be that much work.

+1 to that. If it works, it works and if it doesn't, it doesn't. At least you'll know, and will also have a chance to do something fun.

garyd5158
March 2nd, 2009, 09:23 AM
Hmmm... sounds like an advertisement. "Plywood...the other guitar wood."

My Aria Pro II guitar is a plywood body and its got plenty of sustain, tone has held up well over the years.

Muddslide
March 2nd, 2009, 12:03 PM
Plywood guitars can sound good or bad, just like ash/alder ones can sound good or bad.

This.

I used to have a Series 10 (by Bentley) tele copy and it sounded really good.

I realize different woods do affect tone, sustain, etc., but IMO, it's pretty negligible.

If we're talking acoustic instruments, that's a different matter. But with electrics, unless you are playing ultra-clean straight into an amp, in my experience it is hard to pin down woods based on sound.

And as soon as you put anything in the signal chain between guitar and amp, even more perceived differences go right out the window.

These days, with so many effects pedals and amp modelers, etc. being so prevalent, you can really make a plywood guitar set up like a tele sound like a Les Paul, or anything else you want it to.

As long as it's comfortable to play and has decent component parts, plywood instruments can be great.

Dan German
March 2nd, 2009, 05:12 PM
My Epiphone Firebird has a plywood but.

:shock:

plywood is perfect for a stratacaster.......

Stratacaster. I get it. FAIL!!

I think Ron Kirn said it best (again). My semi-hollow is ply, and it sounds great. It even sounds OK when I play it. A solid body? Why not?

TELE_BLUES
March 2nd, 2009, 05:31 PM
You're just gonna have to try it.If you don't like it off it for what you can get and buy an alder or ash body.But remeber there is no guarantee that the specific ash or alder body you get will be the holy grail of tone either.

Sollophonic
March 2nd, 2009, 05:52 PM
Ive just thrown together a plywood bodied "esquire" which will reside at my workplace. I wont be precious abot students borrowing it, colleagues playing it, or it getting bumped or bashed.

Just a thought. Many wood bodied resonators are made using laminates, even the high end ones.

My old EKO Ranger acoustic had a plywood top on it, and it sounded huge!

BigD
March 2nd, 2009, 09:40 PM
There was mention earlier in the thread that ES 335's were made of plywood. Ed Roman has some serious rants about that, but then you read reviews of his Pearlcasters and ...well they're not good.

jefrs
March 2nd, 2009, 09:52 PM
I had a plywood solid body that sounded great until the neck pocket de-laminated...

Not the same at all as the laminate / plywood tops and backs of a semi or jazzboz.

jakatone
June 21st, 2009, 07:00 AM
A plywood guitar will sound much better if you start referring to it as a "laminate."


hahha, yessss....a simple matter of psychology:mrgreen:

TG
June 21st, 2009, 07:35 AM
My guess is that, as with solid wood, it depends on the actual bit of plywood it's made from. Some 'laminates' may be superior to some 'real' woods.
There's only one way to answer this....make the guitar.

If you don't like it then buy a new body and reassemble it (and then use the plywood body as a stool seat.)

Octave Doctor
June 21st, 2009, 01:36 PM
I also have an Aria Pro II with a ply body and it's a great guitar (especially for $50.00). I've worked on other guitars with laminated bodies that weren't very good, but you won't know for sure until you put it together and try it.

JasonRobert
June 21st, 2009, 01:42 PM
apart from they are little heavier than what I would like, overall they can sound as good as any wood.

Hellbilly Mike
June 21st, 2009, 02:38 PM
My Winchester has a plywood stock. And its loud. :roll: Seriously, I bought many budget guitars in the 80's, most of these were laminates. The biggest problem with them was the guy playing them. For a second guitar, put it together, give it some sort of personal touch and or Mojo, and enjoy what you have created.

ole AZ
June 21st, 2009, 02:56 PM
Obviously there are many more pieces involved, but in my opinion it wouldn't be much different than a standard Fender multi-piece body. I think it should be fine, though maybe a bit heavy.

TG
June 21st, 2009, 04:04 PM
Just noticed this thread was resurrected.

I wonder how it turned out?

Wardpike
June 21st, 2009, 04:10 PM
Didn't Danelectro have models made of chipboard and masonite? Like kitchen cupboard and countertop material? So, there's probably not much wrong with a lot of plywood, er, laminated layered body guitars. My first electric was a plywood "El Dégas" Telecaster clone. It sounded like crap, but many other plywood guitars sound something like guitars!

So give it a shot. You can always replace the body later. :-)

musicalmartin
June 21st, 2009, 04:15 PM
You call it ply .I call it tone layering .:lol::twisted:

mijstrat72
June 21st, 2009, 05:22 PM
Well, laminated guitars were good enough for the Beatles Epiphone Dots, you shouldn't have a problem.

My buddies Gibson 335 is laminate, so is my Epiphone Dot...both sound like a million bucks. I have a cheapo shredder kramer that melts faces and it's laminated as well.

And if you really want to get technical about it, all guitars a laminates, just go cut down a tree...see the rings? Those are natural laminates.

Laminates make wood strong, and adds rigidty...regardless if it's natural or glue. Take a piece of pine and a piece of balsa. The pine will be more rigid because it will have a closer grain pattern i.e. more laminates, the balsa, even though it has laminates as well, just not as many, will pretty much snap in half with little pressure.

Some people say they can hear a difference, well, I have very good hearing, confirmed by a recent physical hearing test, and I hear no difference whatsoever. There usually is a weight difference, but depending on the glue and number of Lam's, it really is a draw on tonal quality.

Some folks just think their skills superceed a laminated guitar...don't believe the hype. There are some extremely expensive guitars (EVH's Wolfgang) that utilize some sort of lamination process.

I have a feeling as the worlds supply of wood begins to diminish, we'll see ALOT more laminated bodies.