Very much this. Les Paul was quite unhappy with how much the tone woods chosen by Gibson resonated after they aged some more. He went back to them in the end of the '60s and gave them hints on how to make a guitar have a "pure" tone. Pancake bodies, 3 piece necks, maple necks, heavier hardware.... all those "Norlin" transgressions had Lester's blessing..
Remember solid body guitars were designed to not resonate so they did not feed back at high gain.
It doesn't hurt a bit. A guitar (ANY guitar) that sounds pleasing when unplugged can be made to sound good plugged in with good electronics. While just about any solid body will sound ok with good electronics, an unpleasing sounding unplugged guitar can NOT be made to sound exceptional with any fancy electronics.Does a telecaster have to resonate when played acoustically to be good? If one resonates more than another is the more resonant one better?
Yeh, I just have to blow the whistle on this fake science.
First of all, @TimTam, that is not a proper cite. Which book by which Zollner?
And you keep referring to energy being "lost" from the strings like it's a bad thing. You may have missed I was making fun of Les Paul. For starters, it's shared, not lost. But the big thing here is a freely vibrating string makes a sine wave. Every time. By law.
And that also applies to the violin, cello, piano, zither, banjo and pedal steel. Wouldn't it be boring if they all sounded the same all the time?
Now, this next bit is politically incorrect on an FMI biased forum, I may be banned, but "tone woods" are exactly those woods that dampen frequencies in a pleasing manner and return vibrations through mutual resonance that delight the ear. Leo eschewed those woods in favor of furniture grade woods. Leo was a radio fixer guy, not an instrument maker. The fact that ash makes a lot less resonance than mahogany has led many to believe the wood doesn't matter, and some here give the impression that resonating ash is unpleasant.
Nevertheless, it is the wood that gives our steel strings and pickups character.
I have a Les Paul that has so much resonance it sounds like the amp's reverb is on, and it sustains forever. It wasn't always like that. In fact, for the first twenty years, it was sorta disappointing. You can claim the metal changed if you want; I'm saying it was the wood.Re "it is the wood that gives our steel strings and pickups character", there is no evidence to support that assertion. Only subjective misinterpretation of heard experience - that is, falsely attributing common sonic differences between (even same-model) guitars to the body wood. We are now in the "scientific age" of electric guitars. We now know that there are many things that can affect the sonic palette of electric guitars. The body wood does not really make that list. Some things always matter sonically, some matter sometimes but not always, and some never matter.
I am still 80% caveman and base my understanding solely on what I can feel, touch, taste, smell, and hear.
The telecasters that sound the loudest unplugged in my arsenal have all been made from a single blank of wood. Doesn't seem to matter what the species of that wood is, but the fact that it is a single slab of wood seems to make the most difference. My first partscaster is from a solid piece of alder and it damn near could be used as an acoustic in studio recordings. None of the multi-piece telecasters match that resonance.
Does that mean that my solid alder is the best sounding guitar when plugged in? Not really, it is my number 3 in the rotation, but still a lively sound, just that once you factor in the magnetics of the pickups, the amp, and the speaker....any inherent benefits to the body resonance is out the window.
I remain partial to building with a single slab though when possible.