Alder vs Swamp Ash vs Mahogany - Guitar Body Wood Tone Test

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by LGOberean, Dec 30, 2018.

  1. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    66
    Posts:
    11,106
    Joined:
    May 31, 2008
    Location:
    Corpus Christi, Texas
    I’m not looking to start another skirmish in the Tonewood Wars, but this video popped up on YouTube yesterday, and it intrigued me. I’ve watched it several times now. It captured my attention in no small part because I have 3 teles that are made with those specific tonewoods: mahogany, alder and swamp ash.

    I’m not saying I could recreate that video to the letter. My teles were not purchased at the same time, or with the idea that I would try to eliminate as many specification variables as possible. So mine don’t have bodies that weigh exactly the same, mine don’t have the exact same pickups, hardware, neck, etc. Still, I found the results interesting, and familiar. That’s all I’ll say about the video for now. I’ll let you judge for yourselves.

     
  2. rigatele

    rigatele Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,461
    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2014
    Location:
    Canada
    Really want to judge for yourself? Try listening the first time with your eyes closed. ;)

    "Scientific discovery is never easy"... well LOL it gets easier if you actually design a valid experiment.

    Randomized? No.
    Blind? No.
    Double Blind? No.
    Sample Size? Completely inadequate.
     
  3. notmyusualuserid

    notmyusualuserid Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,167
    Joined:
    May 3, 2016
    Location:
    In the South
    Oh gawd, not again. :(
     
    igor5, Greenmachine and AAT65 like this.
  4. bftfender

    bftfender Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,761
    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2017
    Location:
    York PA
    in the room is way more noticeable vs recorded...every guitar is unique on its own..when you find your keeper...keep it !! i have dif guitars very on purpose for what is needed for the songs we do..and as time rolls on..i'm going back and back, to what has already worked way long time ago...great guitar into a great amp with the least amount of gimmicks and what you do with your hands is "your" tone...cant buy it....but sure can practice your rear off to become anything you want to be..that being said..mahogany all day long for me but not a fender
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2018
  5. wadeeinkauf

    wadeeinkauf Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    851
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2010
    Location:
    Monterey CA
    You can definitely tell there is a difference. Thanks for posting.
     
    JeffBlue and LGOberean like this.
  6. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    20,518
    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    Pickup > amp > speaker.

    That's what you hear.

    More than any of that ?

    Player.

    Test :

    YOU and Jeff Beck are handed the same stock Strat with its pickup selector locked in the bridge-only position. As usual, no tone control on bridge pickup.

    Preset amp (you can't adjust).

    Beck will not only get a wider array of tones out of the guitar, he will also get lower frequencies than YOU get out of it.


    Drops mic - on a Pergo floor. (sounds great actually - nice and thunk-y !)
     
  7. Milspec

    Milspec Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    4,680
    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2016
    Location:
    Nebraska
    Exactly, with my eyes closed I never noticed any changes in sound. Eyes open, I thought I noticed a slight difference which just goes to show the power of suggestion. No difference.
     
  8. Rjelecaster

    Rjelecaster Tele-Meister

    Age:
    46
    Posts:
    230
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2018
    Location:
    Southeast Asia
    should be simple enough to prepare an ABX test from the audio of this video, then at least the first two issues have been eliminated.
     
    LGOberean likes this.
  9. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    9,395
    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2013
    Location:
    Horn Lake, MS
    They did the right thing by using the same neck, electronics and hardware for each body. Problem is the variables in the wood and playing come into place.
    This is why I've mentioned before that each type of wood would have to tested over 50 to 100 bodies of each type of wood to get a generalized influence of each type of wood on the sound of guitars. Then there is the player to consider, he can't do the exact thing over and over with the exact quality of playing. A robotic arm would most likely need to be used.
    Recording of such a test would need to be top notch in a good studio setting with good equipment.

    The results of such a test could be minimal or very noticeable in a studio setting, but on a stage it probably wouldn't matter much unless the audience is there to analyse the equipment. I have personally noticed a difference in 2 guitars that a guitarist used in a stage performance before, but you never know what pickups are used and what effects are being used at a given time.

    We all hear things somewhat differently as well due to variables in our organic makeup and life experiences that can change them. Some can pick out the slightest difference while others hear the same thing over and over.

    The sound results from such tests would most likely only matter in a studio setting or at home setting. If you are happy with what you are using, that is what matters. If your audience(if you have one) is happy, that is what matters.
     
  10. Papa Joe

    Papa Joe Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    90
    Posts:
    4,216
    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2007
    Location:
    Swanton Ohio
    horse%20manure.jpg
     
  11. RedHills

    RedHills Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    132
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2018
    Location:
    Fl
    Read a good article somewhere that insists "tone wood" differences are heard with the eyes......
     
    awasson and Milspec like this.
  12. RodeoTex

    RodeoTex Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    9,569
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2005
    Location:
    Nueces Strip
    The samples are pretty much undiscernable.
    Any slight tweak of any knob in the chain throws any set notion out the window.
     
    Steve Ouimette likes this.
  13. soulgeezer

    soulgeezer Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    8,030
    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2006
    Location:
    Sinatra's World
    Alien vs Swamp Thing vs Monster Zero?

    Ash Williams, of course!
     
  14. jhundt

    jhundt Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    65
    Posts:
    11,926
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2003
    Location:
    Netherlands
    it always comes back to Man and Science vs. Nature and Chance.

    A guitar builder can try to be totally rational and scientific, and determine in advance exactly what he must use to build the perfect guitar. And when he builds it, he is quite likely to be disappointed.

    A manufacturer can determine exactly which woods will be affordable, workable, and suitable. He will build 1000 guitars. Most buyers will be very happy. A measurable minority will not be.

    If everything could be predicted perfectly, there wouldn't be much magic left in this world.
     
  15. Fred.T

    Fred.T Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    374
    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2009
    Location:
    Zagreb, Croatia
    Same here ---
    Audio only, good headphones (AudioTechnica ATH M30x), never noticed any difference, or at least not any 'preferable' characteristics in sound - until I watched again, this time video+audio
    Not that I am an expert in any case, but ...
    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
     
    Milspec likes this.
  16. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,340
    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2011
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    One example of each tells use nothing. Every body blank is unique, even within the same wood species. An average of the physical qualities of certain woods must be established, and that is probably best done by using an absolutely gigantic sample size...and even then, who is to say that the wood harvested 10 years from now will fall in line with the characteristics of the wood tested today? Then you have variations in string sets, one to the next, so you need to find a way to average that. Again, huge sample size required. Then you need a machine that plays the guitars exactly the same each time. Then you need to establish objective and measurable criteria for what constitutes "tone" and "feel," that can be quantified by machine, not by human. This is all assuming same exact neck, pickup adjustment, body dimensions, etc., etc., etc. Really, just an impossible test to set up.

    Such testing is WELL beyond the scope of anyone in the guitar world, and in fact, it is more profitable for everyone if we do NOT know, so there is no incentive to find out for sure. It will never be done properly. In short, we'll never really know. So, just buy guitars that sound good.
     
  17. Bones

    Bones Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    22,141
    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2005
    Location:
    Luddite Island, NY
    Everything sounds the same on you tube.
     
  18. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    20,518
    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    Especially SBD’s...
     
  19. Steve Ouimette

    Steve Ouimette Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    956
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2012
    Location:
    Scottsdale, AZ
    I watched the video and was going to post it here as well. To me it was the most honest and thorough testing I've seen on YouTube and as a recording musician it pretty much told me what I wanted to know. Any difference is slight enough that you'd never know the difference in a mix.

    Again, a good riff could be played on a cardboard box and we'd love it. I'll keep working on the riffs!
     
    LGOberean and Bones like this.
  20. Count

    Count Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,953
    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2009
    Location:
    Tenterfield, Australia
    My ears couldnot distinguish any diference between Ash and Alder but I thought there might have been, emphasis might, a slightly warmer tone from the Mahogany. Interesting clip but all it really proved to me is that my amp and guitar tone setings are probably more important to me than the timber the guitar is made from.
     
    pontiacfan46 and LGOberean like this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.