Which Body Wood is best?

Jupiter

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My opinion is Wood is Good.

Different body blanks of the same species can have radically different sonic characteristics, and it's also very difficult to predict what changes the blank will undergo as it's shaped into a body.

Couple that with the difficulty of predicting how the body and the neck will play together, and with the relatively small percentage of an electric guitar's sound that can be reasonably attributed to the wood, as opposed to the pick-ups, wiring, and the AMP, and I'm sort of left with the conclusion that I'm better off not worrying too much about what species of wood is the best for a tele.

All the woods that the OP listed at the beginning are good. :D
 

Tonetele

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The best Telecaster I built was for a friend. Swamp Ash body and Maple neck.
Lots of Fender parts and Tonerider Hot Classic Alnico 111 pickups ( sorry no photos soon coming).As for woods, Ash, Alder then Basswood ( Pine is also good), Maple neck as per Stewmac or Mighty Mite, same thing. JMHO.
P.S. That you can buy amomgst a plethora of pickups out there, IMHO, some Seymour Duncans or Texas Specials.JMHO
 

Ronkirn

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really, here's my take... If "you're" convinced any specific species of lumber has an advantage over another, you would be crazy NOT to choose that type wood... let some of us nuts convince ya otherwise, and you're gonna be nagged from the dark caverns of your brain for as long as ya have that guitar… the eventuality…. the guitar gets listed on CL

all, and I DO mean ALL these suggestions that some type wood, or some part, or whatever the part is made of having a significant contributing influence on tone, with “significant” being key, are comparable to the proverbial drop in a bucket…

Can they make a change, yes, most definitely, Will the change be overwhelmingly apparent? In reality, as in examining, before and after examples, in an acoustic lab, yeah, to some… but on stage, at 100 db.. you gotta be kidding…

what makes one guitar “sound” better than another is a very complex amalgam of many things coming together, not the least of which is the physical make-up being reenforced by your 
feelings” about the guitar.

More times than not any quirks in that physical make up can be covered by simple emotional involvement… ya know . . Love conceals many flaws…

So… what ever you THINK is good… is good, go for it, and don’t let someone, despite their reputation, convince you otherwise… unless, you’re just plain wrong, and your choices will result in problems… then listen, and if the reasons for suggesting an alternative to what ya want sound like Bull, it probably is, but if the logic can be supported with a sound reason.. ya may wanna take whoever’s advice to heart… but if ya don’t… remember, there’s always Craig’s list.

rk
 

Daverius

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I recently did a comparison - same neck, pickups, hardware, only 3 different standard strat bodies -1. plywood, 2. Alder, 3. Paulownia covered with 2,5 mm ash veneer on both sides. The winner as most lively rich and resonant was paulownia, alder was lauder and more compressed, plywood - dull and lifeless. Go figure.

Interesting. I'm not surprised at the plywood result, though. Laminates tend to dampen resonant vibrations.
 

OpenG Capo4

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My opinion is Wood is Good.
:

Screen%2Bshot%2B2011-04-20%2Bat%2B6.25.32%2BPM.png


But... not absolutely necessary. :twisted:

A lot of the iconic "tele" sounds associated with Keith Richards were recorded on his plastic bodied Dan Armstrong and other guitars. :lol:
 

arxxra

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Leo was a cheapskate and he could choose beech or birch for neck and oak or chestnut for the body for an example but he didn't and for a good for a reason despite the availability and low prices
 

eldarvox

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Thanks for the picture its a lovely looking guitar.

Can you tell me

Did you go for a 1 or 2 piece swamp ash body? How was the fit and finish? Did you have to sand the body?

Where did you buy the neck from?

Thanks
 

cormorant

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Thanks for the picture its a lovely looking guitar.

Can you tell me

Did you go for a 1 or 2 piece swamp ash body? How was the fit and finish? Did you have to sand the body?

Where did you buy the neck from?

Thanks

Hi,
That was a 1pc body, I chose it just because it was an attractive grain, not so much because it was 1pc. The fit was excellent, the neck was a bit too tight (i.e.squeaky tight) in the pocket so a tiny bit of sanding with fine sandpaper and a wooden block on the insides of the neck pocket was all that was needed. I had 2 necks and they were both the same fit. All other components fitted perfectly.
Swamp ash takes a fair bit of sanding and grain filling as it has lots of pores, which were filled using tru-oil slurry. Used £4 worth of tru-oil and that is maybe 30 thin coats.
Neck was Musikraft, bought from ebay but the seller no longer exists - just looked :(
I would use tru-oil again as it looks so good and is easy, though time consuming to do.
 

Ronkirn

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I like what someone here wrote once: the body wood is mainly there to keep your hardware from falling to the floor.

But as the Cap'n says, weight is always a consideration.

Hey!! I know that guy... :p and as to weight, yeah, I know... I'm trying to loose some....:D

r
 

Ronkirn

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here's the deal about which wood is best...the quandary is irrelevant unless YOU are building YOUR guitar... otherwise you are depending on the builder whom you have chosen to use HIS abilities to choose the wood for you.... or you are depending on some employee in some factory somewhere to have made the choice for you.. in either case, YOU are out of touch with them.. thus your preferences relative to wood are completely irrelevant..

You cannot walk into a retail outlet and request a guitar made of wood with a specific "tone".. Nope. ya pick em up, play a few "tunes" and move on to the next, repeating until ya found one that meets your approval..

If you DO find one that you like, then ask, "what kinda wood is it made of?" then if the reply is something other than what you think should give you the sound you just approved of, and then reject the guitar because it's the "wrong" wood, there's a word for dolts like that. Since it's a dolty thing for a dolt to do, there's only one proper word to describe the dolt... I just can't think of it now... I guess that makes me a dolt.. :p

Point being you DO NOT hear the wood when you play a guitar... you hear the composite of everything.... including the wood... in SOME cases that composite may contain dominant sonic overtones that are the product of the wood... but that's like noting the presence of Carolina Reapers in a bowl of Texas Bessemer Furnace Chill .. the peppers are only necessary if you WANT your tongue to feel like you just licked a welding torch .. However a very nice, tasty Chili can be made without seasoning that registers 2,000,000 on the Scoville scale...

wood doesn't matter, how you like the sound of your guitar does....

Crap like "The tone is warm and full with good sustain" .. is meaningless without a baseline, or at the very least a mention of the other major sonic contributors like the Bridge, Pickups, neck etc...

For instance, say ya want a nice Bird's eye Maple body.. Maple is supposed to be bright... but say ya want a pair of Charlie Christians in it... they tend to be a bit warm... so what do ya wind up with . a bright, warm sounding guitar, or a warm, bright sounding guitar..

Point being.. stop considering these things in a state of myopia... you are hearing everything.. and it's impossible to separate out any one facet, like the sound of the wood..

r
 

rdjones

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There is no such thing as "best" when it comes to wood, only different. o_O

Don't forget rosewood and walnut.
They run a bit heavier than some other options.
They look real nice though if you like darker woods.

Fender used both at some point for "special" guitars like the rosewood George Harrison model and the walnut Elite of the early '80s.
 
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Meteorman

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all, and I DO mean ALL these suggestions that some type wood, or some part, or whatever the part is made of having a significant contributing influence on tone, with “significant” being key, are comparable to the proverbial drop in a bucket…
Can they make a change, yes, most definitely, Will the change be overwhelmingly apparent? In reality, as in examining, before and after examples, in an acoustic lab, yeah, to some… but on stage, at 100 db.. you gotta be kidding…
what makes one guitar “sound” better than another is a very complex amalgam of many things coming together, not the least of which is the physical make-up being reenforced by your 
feelings” about the guitar.
More times than not any quirks in that physical make up can be covered by simple emotional involvement… ya know . . Love conceals many flaws…
rk

@Ronkirn - Ron how many times ya reckon you've made that argument, in one form or another, on this forum ?
If I had a dollar for every time ya did, I'd go out and buy me onea them 1952 Telecasters....
 

JeffBlue

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My preference in most of my builds is Black Korina. I have a chunk of cherry wood I need to try out. Cherry wood is supposedly an excellent tone wood.
 

dazzaman

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There is no such thing as "best" when it comes to wood, only different. o_O

Don't forget rosewood and walnut.
They run a bit heavier than some other options.
They look real nice though if you like darker woods.

Fender used both at some point for "special" guitars like the rosewood George Harrison model and the walnut Elite of the early '80s.

As many here know I have used walnut for bodies a fair bit over the years, though I have always done thinlines or chambered bodies with it, for the weight reason.

Part of the reason I did it was that I very much liked the walnut Elite instruments (both the Strat and the Tele) in the early 80s. I might have chosen different controls on the Elite Tele, but that is me and is not really relevant to the overall sound.

I am also very impressed by the looks of the Rickenbacker walnut series instruments.

And as Ron Kirn says - one can always change pickups to get a different sound if something slightly different is preferred. I think the pickups make quite a bit more difference than the body wood.
 

Jim_in_PA

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"Best wood" is always very subjective. For me my goal will continue to be to achieve the weight I want with the look I want, both at the same time. And, of course, the wood you actually have is a good choice, too. :)
 




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