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Old October 21st, 2012, 08:57 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Body Tone?

Hi TDPRI

I'm trying to elevate my listening and get a feel for the impact of a guitar's body tone.

I've read so much about the effect of wood and finish on the guitar's musical output but its still mysterious to me.

Any thoughts?

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Old October 21st, 2012, 09:06 PM   #2 (permalink)
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my belief is that in an electric guitar,the wood absolutely does not matter. none. in an acoustic it makes all the difference. and of course jmho and ymmv.
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Old October 21st, 2012, 09:17 PM   #3 (permalink)
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agreed

Brandon,

This is my impression as well but I tried to pose my question in an open minded way since I see people talking about it so often.

I tend to think its a lot to do with aesthetic.

This makes me think of the all too common arguments about top-loading
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Old October 21st, 2012, 09:19 PM   #4 (permalink)
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That's really hard to do. You just can't isolate one part of the guitar like that - you always hear the combination of all the parts.
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Old October 21st, 2012, 09:31 PM   #5 (permalink)
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This is a common subject but even on an electric guitar the bridge is attached to the body and on a Tele it's quite a broad contact area. A Resonate piece of wood would most likely have an effect on the tone.

As far as finish, a thick plastic like layer of paint between the bridge and body would have an effect also.

Most will disagree or say the affect is so minimal you will not notice but I think you would. I may be challenged to the blind listening test and whatnot for my opinion but whatever.

All those who say it doesn't matter if faced with buying a non resonate piece of wood versus a resonate Tele body would take the more resonate body.

There are many factors and pickups and playing skills are probably close to the top of the list.

Also tone is very subjective. Some may like a less resonate body for more snappy like tones. Or whatnot
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Old October 21st, 2012, 09:43 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandon mac View Post
my belief is that in an electric guitar,the wood absolutely does not matter. none. in an acoustic it makes all the difference. and of course jmho and ymmv.
I totally agree.
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Old October 21st, 2012, 09:47 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Well, this site is very anti these days on the sound of wood, If you just want to get in the game, try the body wood descriptions at warmoth custom, it`ll tell ya what people USED to think, and you can explore from there. Tony at Mutt guitars has alot to say about the sound of real woods.

If I may expand on Ricky D`s post a little:
Certainly, the pickups are measuring the sting`s vibrations. If they`re microphonic enough, other vibes can come into play. Other parts are vibrating too. Some of those vibrations interact, amplifying and attenuating each other. Like an acoustic guitar inside out.

Did Ibanez change everyone over to luthite? What about the original injection molded plastic reverends? NOw they`re wood. So there is alot of love for wood out there.

Maybe the only way to really know is with your own builds -two guitars identical except the woods, and keep it scientific with your ears.
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Old October 21st, 2012, 09:48 PM   #8 (permalink)
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The body is just there to hold the pickups which is what makes a solidbody guitars tone.

Pickups pots caps strings and the neck makes more difference in sound than the body does.
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Old October 21st, 2012, 09:52 PM   #9 (permalink)
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If wood didn't matter in an electric guitar, then try putting the same prewired pickguard...including the same pickups into two seperate strats. You won't have the same sound.....even if the wood is the same type.
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Old October 21st, 2012, 10:14 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Try reading this interview with Eddie Van Halen, particularly the part about his "luthier" experiments. Real world unscientific experiments that support the idea that everything matters to some extent.

http://www.vhlinks.com/pages/interviews/evh/gp0480.php
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Old October 21st, 2012, 10:19 PM   #11 (permalink)
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The scratch built pinecaster(which is really fir) I just completed sounds open and brighter than any other Tele I own, unplugged that is. You can hold the back of the guitar to your ear and pluck a string and it will ring longer than a mim standard to the point that it's almost a joke. I did this test before it had pups and control installed. Just neck, body, and strings. When you plug it in I don't think the fir makes a big difference in what you hear at all. If you stuck a mic in front of it and played it acoustic compared to the mim there would be a bit of a difference. But would the difference even matter. These are ment to be plugged in.

Thing I always think about is this. 98% of us are not gonna plug straight into our amp and be happy with a dry uneffected signal of any kind therefore most of us don't even know what our guitar really sounds like and if we do know we don't like it and start turning knobs, pressing buttons, and stomping boxes. . We just know how we like it to sound or what we want it to sound like. Saw one built from a MFD block on here once, OSB, and concrete as well.

I wanted to add that I witnessed the most impressive tone once from a drunk playing a borrowed plywood copy of a pointy headed pawn shop something plugged into a home stereo system because his wife left him just before band pratice and ran over his LP and amp. This guy could play every Allman Bros. song note for note. . That proved to me that his tone was in his hands and his playing style. My buddy picked up the rig later and it sounded like crap..........

I think anything that's a part of the guitar would effect it's acoustic sound a bit and maybe even it's electric sound just a tick, but someone like me couldn't really notice it once it's plugged in. Process the signal and it's just another electric for the most part.

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Old October 22nd, 2012, 05:33 AM   #12 (permalink)
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hmm let me think..there wouldn't be any possiblity of changing someones mind would there Sum of the parts.. wood matters ...that is all..
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Old October 22nd, 2012, 07:22 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Everyone is very polite today....
Electric guitar-any type of material will do
The important point to remember is that everything has an effect on sound ( tone?) but not in a predictable way. That incredible resonant guitar unplugged may not sound so great plugged into an amp and vice-versa.
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Old October 22nd, 2012, 07:47 AM   #14 (permalink)
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The color of the guitar matters just as much. But I'm a sucker for tone woods...

You can't escape knowing what you are playing and that could greatly affect which notes you play and how you play them. Beyond that, it's aesthetics and quality components/construction.
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Old October 22nd, 2012, 07:54 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Having built a lot of electric guitars, imo, wood matters.
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Old October 22nd, 2012, 08:11 AM   #16 (permalink)
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So was Jimmy Page playing a Les Paul or a Tele on Stairway to Heaven? You have almost every guitar design issue encapsulated right there. Rosewood/maple fingerboard. Single coil/humbucker pickups. Set net/bolt on. And body wood - mahogany with maple cap/swamp ash. At the time, most people thought they were hearing a LP until they found out it was a Tele. Go figure.
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Old October 22nd, 2012, 08:20 AM   #17 (permalink)
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For those that believe wood has no impact on the tone of electric guitars, do you feel the same about hollow-bodies (when plugged in)?
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Old October 22nd, 2012, 08:22 AM   #18 (permalink)
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In order of importance :

1.) Pickup

2.) Amp

3.) Speaker
.
.
.
.
36) Body Material


Quote:
So was Jimmy Page playing a Les Paul or a Tele on Stairway to Heaven? You have almost every guitar design issue encapsulated right there. Rosewood/maple fingerboard. Single coil/humbucker pickups. Set net/bolt on. And body wood - mahogany with maple cap/swamp ash. At the time, most people thought they were hearing a LP until they found out it was a Tele. Go figure.

Jimmy also played a LP Custom early on before it was stolen. Black, 3 pickups, Bigsby, all mahogany - no maple cap.

There are those who swear they can tell the difference between a Custom and a Standard (which does have the cap).

Put the body wood connoisseurs in a row, blindfold them, and put them to the test.

They'll score 50% at best
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Old October 22nd, 2012, 08:24 AM   #19 (permalink)
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It may have the merest effect when you're playing alone, desperately trying to hear a difference between body materials (though I doubt it). But introduce a drummer, bass player, bunch of other folks, 2nd guitar - and the only things that are going to matter are the pickups, the solidity of the construction, and whether it stays in tune.
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Old October 22nd, 2012, 09:37 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Does the amount of wood in the body make a difference?

Does wood matter with a lap steel?



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