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Theres nothing wrong with plywood bodies...

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Jadguitar, Aug 7, 2011.

  1. heffus

    heffus Tele-Holic

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    Whatever he did, he did it six years ago.
     
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  2. SoulstormTX

    SoulstormTX Tele-Meister

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    I believe that wood does play a hand in tone, however I don't think it's for the same reason many of you do. I think the DENSITY has a ton to do with how a guitar sounds. Not so much species. Now, different wood species have different densities, however if you take two different wood species with the same density, I would imagine that they would sound extremely similar.
     
  3. horax

    horax Tele-Afflicted

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    several years ago people said basswood was a crappy tonewood.
    Now EVH uses it religiously, and people found it was pretty good after all.

    People used to mock Alder, until they found it was a different species related to the Ash family.
    And USA guitars often use Alder exclusively.

    Long story short, I've tried bonding with strats and have never been able to.
    However, the two I've been closest to were both plywood, and they felt and sounded great.

    Isn't that the bottom line?
     
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  4. JeffBlue

    JeffBlue Tele-Afflicted

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    I've got a headless plywood guitar that is a Hondo The Sting that has been converted to a travel guitar. Bill Lawrence 500XL in the neck and a Seymour Duncan JB in the bridge. It sounds good and travels well.
     
  5. snarph

    snarph TDPRI Member

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    as previously pointed out " most guitars" that are constructed with what is referred to as Plywood is actually laminated hardwood

    but that is not a bad thing almost all semi and hollow bodies mad by virtually every manufacturer is laminated hardwood but but you dont get the cork sniffers reacting to that

    can you say 335 ? yup laminated
     
  6. qblue

    qblue Tele-Afflicted

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    My ES-347 is made of plywood like a BBKing, ES-355, ES-345, ES-335. Isn't laminate similar to plywood?
     
  7. SoulstormTX

    SoulstormTX Tele-Meister

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    Oh yea, you do get cork sniffers talking about that. Especially if you're looking into jazz boxes. The cork sniffers really push the solid wood vs laminate thing.
     
  8. Gary in Boston

    Gary in Boston Friend of Leo's

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    this reminds me of the ply vs solid wood shell drum debate

    I also play drums

    I've built sets, that is I order shells, cut the bearing edges, drill the mounting holes for lugs and assorted hardware then I wrap finished or painted them

    I've ordered six ply, eight ply and ten ply shells and I've ordered solid wood shells, as in they take a piece of 3/16" ish wood and steam bend it.

    99.9% of the recorded music we all cherish was played on ply drums.

    Long ago I had an Aria Tele copy that was this awful blue color. I decided to strip it. Low and behold it was a plywood body. Now I was too much of a newbie to claim it had any kind of magical ring to it. However, it sounded pretty much like a Telecaster. Was about the same weight as a 1967 Tele I owned the biggest differences were fit and finish, harsh edges on the bridge, flaky chrome on the knobs, tuners were coarse in their function, no skunk stripe on the neck. The real Tele was was a much better guitar but the plywood bodied Aria was a serviceable guitar that sounded.......... like a Tele............ possibly a testament to the wonderful design of a Tele or maybe it was the plywood?

    Just kidding

    Gary
     
  9. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Like this thread, vintage plywood is better than the junk they sell now.

    Same with drums, vintage is better, new stuff never sounds as good as old stuff.

    My strings don't quite have the right mojo until the windings wear through at the frets and they start to unwind.
    Maybe it's because the laminations delaminate letting the solid core ring true!

    I want bacon, time to feed the hogs!
     
  10. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Doctor of Teleocity

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    While I'm primarily a six string guitarist, I also enjoy doing four string bass gigs. I consider myself to be fairly traditional, in the mold of Duck Dunn, John Illsley, John McVie, Carol Kaye, guys like that. (sorry Carol) I use flatwound strings and lean toward Fender basses, although through the years I've owned and played many different brands and models, short and long scale. My all time favorite is a Korean made Fender Squier Precision, made of plywood. The only alteration I've made is changing the cheesy stock tuners to the big elephant ears type. (don't even know what brand) When I bought it in a pawnshop, I didn't know it was plywood (or "laminated hardwood") but I knew it was lightweight, had a great neck, and sounded like I want a bass to sound. Not sure if I've ever owned a plywood six string, but I would try to judge it on its merits, not by what it's made of.
     
  11. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Yeah I've laminated wood for various purposes as well as owned instruments with various laminated parts.
    Gibson does very high quality laminations on $3500 guitars, while Hondo did the cheapest laminations possible on $99 guitars.
    I actually like certain acoustic guitars with laminated rosewood back and sides but solid tops better than solid rosewood back and sides, seems like a tighter clearer more middy cutting tone.
    Never met a plywood solidbody electric I liked.
    I like AC fir plywood for guitar cabs just as well as solid pine, and better than cabinet birch ply.
    But current AC fir is full of voids and the sheets curl like potato chips.
    So yeah I was kind of serious about vintage plywood.
     
  12. jvin248

    jvin248 Doctor of Teleocity

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    The only thing I don't like about plywood bodies .... is the resale value. So many wave their hands that the world is ending if they find out they are within ten feet of a laminated guitar.

    .
     
  13. sockgtr

    sockgtr Tele-Meister

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    I've played and owned several plywood guitars, and I can always tell the difference.

    For solid body guitars, I prefer solid wood and no more than 3 pieces if possible. When it comes to semi's and hollows, I prefer laminate bodies over solid wood. There's a difference in the attack of a laminate hollow that I prefer.

    For flat tops, no question, solid woods all the way. Unless it's gypsy guitars, then laminate back and sides gives the tone that nasal, cutting gypsy sound.
     
  14. Steve Ouimette

    Steve Ouimette Tele-Holic

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    When I worked with Bill Bartonini in R&D back in the 80's he had a pickup test jig that was just a sheet of marine plywood with a neck bolted on. He could hot-swap pickups, and we could hear the varying changes with each one. One day he setup my guitar (a crap Ibanez RG series) with a plug and play pickup swap jig. My guitar sounded nearly identical to his plywood thingy, which made me reallize the value of a great pickup.
     
  15. harold h

    harold h Friend of Leo's

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    Did they do Hi-A pickups that used to advertise in GP magazine in
    the 70's?
     
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  16. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Ha ha ha ha ha hee hee hee those bartolini pickups can make every guitar sound exactly the same: flat cold and sterile.
    B- b- but they're higher quality and more sophisticated and better!
    Remarkable really, they sound almost like a lab techs idea of a guitar.
    I guess they would process well through huge racks though, since they have no personality of their own.

    Unlike me, who sounds snotty and rude, like George Thorogood reborn as a cork sniffing internet snob.
     
  17. wyclif

    wyclif Tele-Afflicted

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    I've become infamous for being of the school that says tone wood matters much less on electric guitars than it does on acoustics. I've yet to see any evidence that convinces me that the resonance factor of one type of wood versus another makes a perceptibly audible difference on electric guitars.

    Tone wood fetishizing on electric guitars is largely the result of the marketing departments of various manufacturers.

    Of course, acoustics are an entirely different story.

    I've seen and heard these plywood guitars and there's absolutely nothing wrong with them. All things being equal regarding to build quality, there's no reason why a plywood guitar can't sound as good as an ash body. I know that's heresy to some people around here, but again, I've seen no evidence that convinces me otherwise.

    What really counts on an electric is the quality of the neck carve, frets, nut, and bridge hardware. Also the strings. Those things are what's going to make an audible difference on an electric guitar.

    People try to overcomplicate things to serve their own purposes, but the beauty of a Fender Telecaster is in its simplicity. It's fundamentally a plank of wood with a neck bolted on and a couple of pickups.
     
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  18. Steve Ouimette

    Steve Ouimette Tele-Holic

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    They sure did. Bill and Pat sold the company around 5 years ago I believe. Great people and Bill is a true genius. I love them...they got me started on this whole lifelong tone quest starting back in high school.
     
  19. Ed P

    Ed P Friend of Leo's

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    TRUTH!!!!
     
  20. bettyseldest

    bettyseldest Friend of Leo's

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    Like Gary I bought a used guitar back in the mid 70's (Kasuga Strat), it was a very nice sunburst, but being the 70's I wanted a natural finsish, so a french polisher friend refinished for me. At the time I was so disappointed and hated it, but oer the years I have come to love it.

    IMGP7115 (Small).JPG
     
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