Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Electric Guitar Wood Myth Busted? -- ongoing research

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by BigDaddyLH, Apr 22, 2014.

  1. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Telefied Ad Free Member

    chemobrainkid likes this.

  2. metalicaster

    metalicaster Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 5, 2011
    I'm a wanderer...
    Obviously not done any research at all if he thinks this bit is right.
    "Compared to classical guitar musicians who tend to tinker with their instruments, it seems that most of the electric guitar research is done by manufacturers"

    A cursory glance of any guitar related forum would have revealed millions upon millions of posts of people bickering over which exact metal alloy in the pickup and type of finish sounds best.
    telestratpaul likes this.

  3. AndyLowry

    AndyLowry Friend of Leo's

    May 1, 2012
    Prescott AZ
    Somebody needs to tell him about tone and underpants.

  4. studio

    studio Poster Extraordinaire

    May 27, 2013
    Oh sure, make a guitar outa bacon then.
    Coolmody, eggman, String Tree and 2 others like this.

  5. BartS

    BartS Friend of Leo's

    Feb 18, 2013
    St. louis MO
    Figure if it took him longer than 5 seconds to strum a chord and listen. an hour to swap the pickups out of that guitar into a different guitar made out of a different type of wood and another 5 seconds to strum a chord on that one. Then I wouldn't listen to anything the guy has to say. That's about as long as that experiment should of lasted

    Wood is wood different types will sound a little different but as longs as its wood it will have a lot more to do with the quality of workman ship put into an instrument. I have heard plywood guitars that sound good.

    You also got to figure even the shape of the guitar makes a difference. Pop some strat pickups into a tele or vise versa. They sound different even if they are the same wood. Not better or worse just different.

    I can probably list about 20 different woods and there are probably about 5000 more that don't come to mind that sound great as a guitar body wood and about zero that I wouldn't play. The neck is a bit different it needs certain woods for stability but there is a lot of different woods that can be used for fret boards besides the standard rosewood, maple, ebony.

    So figure everything makes a difference. It's just body wood type will sound different but will never make or break an instrument if made right.
    Deneb likes this.

  6. shovelrider

    shovelrider Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 2, 2013
    Ok. You have my attention.:idea:
    studio and 5ofeight like this.

  7. fjblair

    fjblair Tele-Meister

    Dec 29, 2010
    Boone, NC
    Every piece of wood(guitar body) sounds different even among the same species. Too many variables with a finished product to make generalizations about tonal characteristics of the wood used. Just my opinion.
    bingy likes this.

  8. Nightatthehotel

    Nightatthehotel Tele-Holic

    Jun 11, 2012
    So if he put more than a few hours of effort into something he is dedicated to experimenting with then he obviously can't be trusted because he didn't do it the way YOU would have done it. Not to be a jerk, I'm just saying the guy studies acoustics, you can't be so quick to dismiss what he is doing. I mean the guy is testing an age old mystery to guitar players because he wants to see how true or untrue it is. There's absolutely no problem with that.
    5ofeight likes this.

  9. StoogeSurfer

    StoogeSurfer Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 26, 2011
    I frankly never understood how wood can have any effect on anything but sustain or feedback tone.
    BuckNekkid and RomanS like this.

  10. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Nov 5, 2006
    Iowa City, IA
    La Trobe University, in Australia, has one of the leading sound research centers in the world. The researcher in the article, though, is an undergrad student, not someone with tons of experience. However, he is surrounded by people that are experts in a number of different areas of sound research, so he should be getting good feedback and guidance.

    Many years ago, I saw a TV series on acoustics. One segment featured a researcher at Stanford (which also has a top-notch sound program), who believed that a carbon fibre violin could be built that equaled the sound-quality of a Strad. I don't know about that, myself. But people are looking at this stuff.

    Here's a naive question: does a note played on one guitar have exactly the same decay pattern as the same note on another guitar? (Non-electronically, just unplugged.) My fallible memory says no way.

  11. william tele

    william tele Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Nov 7, 2009
    Kansas City, MO
    I won't believe it till I see it on the internet...

    Round Bale and jackinjax like this.

  12. McGlamRock

    McGlamRock Friend of Leo's

    the most important quality of the wood in my electric guitar is their weight. Too heavy and it hurts my back, too light and the guitar feels top heavy... of course if they come out with magnetic wood that could change things :D
    BuckNekkid likes this.

  13. DonMI6

    DonMI6 Tele-Holic

    Jan 5, 2012
    Maitland, Australia
    It's an interesting question. Imagine each guitar having a audibly detectable 'fingerprint', like identifying a gun by the marks left by the firing pin!

  14. denny

    denny Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

    Jan 5, 2004
    North of Dallas, TX
    In the 80's I bought a Samick Strat copy with "Duncan Designed" pickups for my nephew's birthday. That guitar had better tone and sustain than most "real" Strats. What amazed me was when I opened the rear trem cavity, there was the most horrible piece of plywood I have ever seen... EVER. In the trem cavitiy alone, there were at least five knot voids the size of a quarter visible, and the wood in the plys was pathetic. I wondered how they got the edges of the guitar finished so smooth.

    The sweet Strat tone of that miserable piece of plywood changed my views on "tonewood" forever.


  15. PinewoodRo

    PinewoodRo Tele-Afflicted

    No. Not only that but the same note on the same guitar will have a different 'decay pattern' each time you play it - that's why it sounds like a real instrument rather than a sampler :)

  16. Boubou

    Boubou Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

    Jul 30, 2005
    Montreal, Quebec
    Maybe he goes commando and therefore has no tone

  17. kiwi blue

    kiwi blue Tele-Afflicted

    Where does it say that? In fact what he did was "He recorded every note individually on each guitar with the pickups carefully placed in exactly the same spot with the same distance beneath the strings."

    See the quote from the article above. Just popping Strat pickups into a Tele isn't the same as his methodolgy, which was to place the pickups in "exactly the same spot with the same distance beneath the strings." Also he used the same strings on each guitar.

    I suspect the reality isn't quite as simple as his preliminary results suggest, but lets at least not misrepresent his methodology when offering a contrary opinion.

    Note that these are preliminary results and the research is ongoing. There is plenty of anecdotal testimony that the same pickup can sound different when moved to another guitar of the same type (eg, a Tele), or that changing a neck changes the tone of a guitar. So there is plenty of scope for investigating these things scientifically, and I would like to see more proper research like this. For example, I'd like to see whether a Tele bridge plate really does affect how a pickup behaves.

    People can become very defensive when their cherished ideas are challenged. And let's not under-estimate the psychological factors at play in subjectively assessing tone. "I never would have seen [heard] it if I hadn't have believed it".

  18. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member

    And, by June of this year, this graduate student will have found a solution to all forms of human deafness.

    It is fast and easy, if you're a scientist.


    There can't be very many scientists you know. Otherwise, one of them would have figured this out decades ago. I wonder why no one every bothered to try and figure this out before. Ah; obscure subject - no one cares I suppose.


  19. jonrpick

    jonrpick Friend of Leo's

    Mar 17, 2014
    Marietta, GA
    This explains why all solid-bodied Gibsonss sound *exactly* alike.

    Newbcaster likes this.

  20. Jared Purdy

    Jared Purdy Friend of Leo's

    Jan 26, 2010
    Toronto, Ontario.
    What I take from this research is that wood type (or any kind of body) has the LEAST effect on the tone, and if that is what he is saying, I totally agree with him. Ash, alder, pine, metal (Trussart), plywood, rosewood, it's more about the electronics, and secondly, maybe the thickness of the neck. Sure if you put the same PUs on two different bodies, the guitar will sound different, but there are way to many variables to reduce it to the material in the body. Needless to say, his research will be shot full of holes.
    RomanS likes this.

IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.