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Tonal characteristics of a pine body?

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Reif, Jun 14, 2010.

  1. Reif

    Reif TDPRI Member

    Jul 3, 2009
    Can anyone shed some light on how a Tele body made of (some species of) pine affects the tone of the guitar? As compared to using ash or alder of course.

  2. chipbutty24

    chipbutty24 Friend of Leo's

    Oct 16, 2008
    Ontario, Canada
    It doesn't, not that you would notice anyway. Your only concern might be that it'd be more easily dented.

  3. robt57

    robt57 Telefied Ad Free Member

    Feb 29, 2004
    Portland, OR
    I made several out of one stok of 45 year old reclaimed pine. They all sound excellent, and seem to exhibit extra honk and pop than Alder in my imgination, er.. opinion I mean...

  4. Hollmanp90

    Hollmanp90 Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 10, 2009
    Hamilton County
    I'll choose pine just about everytime.

    The only way to truely no "IF" there is a differeance is to play them for yourself.

  5. caytele

    caytele Tele-Meister

    May 26, 2008
    Grand Cayman,Cayman Islds
    ...if you get a good one..
    more "attitude":twisted:...raucous n' rowdy are the terms that come to mind...BUT remember, a favourable outcome is only possible IF the guitar gods smile on your efforts, and EVERYTHING comes TOGETHER in HARMONY ...such is the universe of the guitar....:eek:

  6. Telemach_1

    Telemach_1 Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 2, 2009
    Somewhere in the woods of
    Google for Arlo West. He plays a bunch of Pinecasters. There are tracks you can listen to. NBot exactly what you're probably lookin for, no A/B comparo, but quite an impression what Arlo can make it sound.
    I personally have never heard one,...except of Arlo's tracks

  7. Hollmanp90

    Hollmanp90 Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 10, 2009
    Hamilton County

  8. toddoutloud

    toddoutloud TDPRI Member

    May 22, 2010
    Pensacola, FL
    I've owned alder, ash, and mahogany Teles in the past and now I have a pine one. I can't really describe the sonic differences because I can't A/B/C/D them together and every one of them was so different. If I had to choose which Tele the pine sounds closest to, I'd say ash.

  9. robt57

    robt57 Telefied Ad Free Member

    Feb 29, 2004
    Portland, OR

    But light ash, like a 3-4 lb swamp body IMO.

  10. Hollmanp90

    Hollmanp90 Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 10, 2009
    Hamilton County
    Very simular to Swmp Ash......but a bit rounder sounding.Not as much top end/treble....but it does ring out really nice.

    And there is a feel thing you don't get with Ash.

  11. Reif

    Reif TDPRI Member

    Jul 3, 2009
    What kind of pine are you using for those bodies? Is it the stuff they have at the lumber yards or is it something more special?

  12. '56Teleman

    '56Teleman Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 25, 2006
    Lindenhurst, IL
    Northern, or sugar pine is most common and seems to weigh less.

  13. Hollmanp90

    Hollmanp90 Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 10, 2009
    Hamilton County
    Sugar pine for the newer growth pine...I prefer 2 piece and under 4.5 pounds.....ol'barn wood beams if'n I can get my hands on it.

  14. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member

    I suggest the Northern and Western species, or rather, stay away from "southern yellow pine" like longleaf, slash, loblolly and so forth. Very unstable and not suitable in almost all instances.

    If I had access to a lot of the right kind of pine, I'd go for it. All the really old, seriously dry pine I have is very heavy and rock hard.

  15. D_Schief

    D_Schief Tele-Holic

    Apr 23, 2005
    Richmond, VA
    Maybe it's a once-in-a-lifetime fluke. Maybe it's self-delusion. All I know if that I love my Mark Jenny slightly reliced pine body and how the other parts all came together. I have a love-hate relationship with Bardens, but on "ole Pine Boy" the pine seems to tame the Barden's high end, yet produces a wonderfully "open" sound. (I play almost wholly clean or "clean with a touch of hair.") Which is how you could describe my head as well....

    YMMV, y'all.


    Attached Files:

  16. Duffy

    Duffy Tele-Holic


    The White Pine is a beautiful pine and can have a beautiful straight grain with a very nice texture and density.

    Old barn wood, pine planks might be obtainable, as well as other old barn wood planks that are not cracked, various species. These might have some awesome grain patterns and aged wood tones. Finding old aged planks and having them properly selected and milled would take some time. But it might be worth it.

    Fresh, properly kiln dried, white pine, with a nice grain and texture, already milled and smoothly planed would definitely be a quicker and easier way to get a beautiful pine body.

    Red pine is also available in some great straight grained pieces.

  17. Mark Davis

    Mark Davis Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 2, 2003
    Bakersfield Ca.
    All the CV50's are Pine.

    Mine doesnt sound any better or worse than any other Tele Ive owned

  18. Arlo

    Arlo Friend of Leo's

    Jul 22, 2006
    Upta Camp
    Mark, I know the CV is made in China or somewhere over yonder. Has anyone ever found out what species of Pine they are using? Is it a native species etc?

    Reif, if you want to hear a song recorded with ALL Pine guitars listen to this one.

    Arlo West - "Even Cowgirls Get The Blues"

    Guitar's used:

    Ol Piney [dirty leads] <---Eastern Pine, Lawrence Keystone Esquire set up.
    Dikkers Sparkle Pinecaster [clean leads] <----Eastern Pine, Fralin Esquire set up.
    Digger Pine Baritone <----Gray Pine (Pinus sabineana) Budzz Esquire set up.
    Kirn 51 Digger Pine Bass <----Gray Pine (Pinus sabineana) Duncan 51??
    Taylor 314-CE Spruce a Pine relative.;)

    I personally like to think Pine makes a difference in the tone of my guitars. However, the varied parameters of any guitar make it virtually impossible to know the exact science of "Why and How" it sounds better or worse.

    Now throw in the fact it's electric. If it were acoustic you might be able to measure the difference. I kinda doubt it. Some spruce acoustics sound great some well, eh.

    It's interesting when a thread pops up asking "How does Pine effect tone?" It always seems someone will inevitably say Pine dents easily. And I mean no disrespect to those who offer this bit of wisdom.

    I still haven't figured out what that has to do with tone. I often read it as a "Red Flag Warning" a cautious fact of the risk of using Pine. I agree it does dent easily but come to think of it..........

    So does Rock Maple, Mahogany, Ash I mean aren't we talking about wood? Some woods are more easily dented or damaged but that doesn't change the tone or sound unless I am mistaken? :cool:

    Aluminum dents easier than steel, but If I had the choice of wearing a steel guitar around my neck v. aluminum I think I know which I would choose.

    Take a look at my Rock Maple strat:


    I bought it new in 1979:


    This guitar is ridiculously heavy! Take cinder block and put a strap on it and wear it for 3 hours. Maybe the weight of this guitar slung around my neck for 30+ years is a bigger factor as to why I am a Pine user. Souther Yellow is at least as heavy as this.

    This much is certain: Some Pine is light, resonant and beautiful.

    What other reason do you need to use a wood species for at least one build?

    It's typical for someone to escalate once they do. I have a few Pine's and I love most of them but not all. Some are dogs like any guitar or wood species. Is it the wood though? The neck? The pickups,electronics, bridge metal, saddles etc.etc....... If it sounds or plays like crap move on to the next one.

    It's a quest and were all on the hunt constantly seeking that sound, look and the satisfaction a really good guitar gives you when you pick it up and plug it in.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2010

  19. robt57

    robt57 Telefied Ad Free Member

    Feb 29, 2004
    Portland, OR
    Hey Arlo, long time... ;) Hope all is well.

    This body I Craig's list procured is CV pine body. My pine bodies are in the 3-3.3 lb range, all out of the same 45 year old stock and 1-1/2" thick.

    This CV body was retired and replaced with a hand made pine body because it weighs 5.8 lb. So I do not know what kind of pine it is, bit it is a honker, but not necessarily honky ;) . That said, it is one of the best Teles I have made from scratch, built from parts, or played at any time. The mids are scooped a bit as compared to my pine gits made from the 45 year old stock. It may well be other reasons for this, or adding/subtracting to/from it, but the build [assemblage?] is different in a few ways that certainly all effect the finished product as far as how it sounds.

    Main diffs. baseball 'fat' neck, titanium saddles, no normal tone circuit, but rather a varitone in the tone pot place, the lowest resistance Tele PUPS I have ever installed 5.8n / 6.1b, and small diameter A5 poles. Plastic where a normal Tele has metal to keep the weight down, final weight 7.8 lb. Note amp knobs, plexi control cover, light tuners, etc.. It also has SS frets for what ever that may contribute to the tone of the finished git. This is the one every one nags at me to steal from me after I pry it out of their hands after 30 minutes. Does not help my guitar making ego much. ;) Sometime the quick throw together parts casters just work. I did have to finish the new neck, so not strictly a throw together. ;)

    So some data points there I thought I would interject into the thread.

    Attached Files:

  20. robt57

    robt57 Telefied Ad Free Member

    Feb 29, 2004
    Portland, OR
    Even Cowgirls Get The Blues ???

    Sometimes?? If they would only get away for cowboys, maybe then 'only' it would be sometimes. :D:D

    Hey, I like your pewter Strat turned shoreline nicotine relic there bro! ;)

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