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Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by TeleBluesMan, Jun 24, 2021.
Saw this on another forum and thought it was interesting:
I think they really tried.
I still can’t tell much difference.
I like swamp ash best because it has interesting grain in the wood.
Anything past that can be remedied with knobs.
Pots 'n Caps are more important than wood in the tone department. Although many try to fix a bad pot tone with a lumber swap.
Like almost all guitar parts, listening to someone else playing reveals almost nothing. Even things that when in YOUR guitar in YOUR hands is nite and day. Tele saddles literally make or break a tele for me. But in a video i couldn't hear which is which with a gin to my head.
Almost impossible to eliminate all the variables for a true comparison, not that side by side comparisons are anything like as accurate as they're made out to be. Almost impossible to tell anything about tone from a YouTube video, though they aren't nearly as bad for guitars as for voices.
Yeah, no difference!
The best thing a person can ever do to optimize tone is practice. Never had a poor guitar player make one of my guitars sound good, and never had a good one make one sound bad.
Not that other things don't effect tones but outside of pups, pots, and caps the rest is fairly unpredictable.
Hmm, interesting. Thanks for sharing that video. It was a mixed bag. On some of the tests it was hard to hear a difference, while on some tests there was an obvious difference between all 3 bodies. The biggest differences I heard was on test number 5, the neck pickup distorted, where I heard a distinct difference between each of the 3 bodies. That makes sense too, seeing as the pickup is the closest to the center of the guitar where the strings oscillate the most. Also the bridge pickup is secured tightly in the metal bridge which might mean less of the sound and vibration of the wood comes through.
I come from the acoustic world where there is no question about different tone woods and what they sound like. I used the same words to describe what I was hearing - "complex" for rosewood, "woody" for mahogany, "neutral" for maple. You all know this, you've heard it a dozen times.
Then there were some double blind listening tests - the infamous Leonard Project, one published by the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. I've been part of blind test conducted that the Guild of American Lutherie convention.
Bottom line, when people can't see the guitar they hear very differently. They can't remember what they heard. They like dark woods more when they can see them, they like light woods when they can't. They can't tell if a sound port is open. And on and on and on
Can I hear difference between these guitars - maybe. Can I identify the woods, absolutely not.
Its a fairly well conducted test - psychoacoustic researchers would certainly refine the tests. One thing I thought was very interesting was that the player says that all the guitars were made exactly the same weight - 4.6 pounds I believe. That is a pretty good trick considering alder's average density is 28 lb/ft3, "swamp" ash is 30- 33.6 and mahogany is 37.
Anyway, interesting video, if some people feel that they want to make their choice of guitar bodies based on what they heard then Warmoth is very happy to sell that body. I don't hear it, I'll continue to chose tone woods as I have done in the past and I'll stay out of the argument.
They're *electric* guitars. IF the body wood affected "tone", we wouldn't be so eager to cover it with a plastic pickguard. E-L-E-C-T-R-I-C guitar. Does one *guitar* sound different than another "identical" guitar? Yes, yes it can. Because even the electric sound is a collection of factors--pots and pickups and speakers and wiring are manufactured with "tolerances". Those "tolerances" introduce variability. But "tone wood"? No, just no. The wood anchors materials--so long as the materials are stable, the wood won't affect the *electric* sound.
This guy does some interesting things with back to back tests. Different woods and different amounts of wood do appear to cause a difference in sound. Watch and listen for yourself:
It’s such a waste of time...”alder is brighter, mahogany is darker”...blah, blah, blah. It’s not an acoustic guitar. If you wanna talk bridges, nuts, pickups, we can talk, but it’s largely a big waste of time to talk about tone and wood when it comes to electric guitars.
So one time I did a back-to-back comparison like this:
1. Plugged a guitar in the amp set at fairly loud - strummed and recorded a sample.
2. Removed the pickups, plugged without changing any amp settings - strummed and recorded.
The difference was stunning.
Wow, not again.
So, a guy on youtube built a telecaster out of OSB (LIke $7 for a 4 x 8 sheet at Lowes, Home Depot, Menards, etc.)
Sounded great! Better than anything I could play. So, yeah, if wood makes a difference, it's not much and literally doesn't matter to 99.999999999% of us.
Changing your strings from one kind to another will change your tone more than just about anything
If you want a slightly darker tone a string change is easier than a body wood replacement.
Tonewood debates on forums are like cases of herpes. They always breakout when you least expect them. Okay, just so that I don’t dump and run, EVERYTHING MATTERS! The only question is to what degree and what other contributing factors there are and how they affect the resulting tone.
The notion that a mahogany body will sound warmer than a alder body is a lot of hooey. But, so is the notion that, because the pickups are electric, there’s no difference at all. Fact is, an electric guitar is much more than a body wood, or a pickup, or a fretboard, or a nut, etc. It’s the sum total of a lot of factors, and no one can tell me what it will sound like until I pick it up and play it myself. You sure as heck can’t tell from any YouTube video, no matter how “scientific” the process.
Now, what happened to that bowl of Chex Mix?
The changes are minor an may be important to the player. They are not "nom-existant" or zero. The questions are: does the change matter, is it in a direction you like and can it be heard in an important way.
The biggest problem here is people are making decisions base on youtube comparison videos. I'm sick of this culture. Seriously.
Yes, for solidbody electric, the choice of guitar woods for me is those 3. Neither one more than the other. But all 3 of those woods and probably no other woods for a solidbody electric guitar body for me. Listen to the test number 5 again and see if you can hear a difference. I definitely heard it in that test. The other examples, not sure.