# Why would a 335 sound different than a Les Paul?

#### sinecrafter

##### TDPRI Member
Have you been spatchcocked?

I always spatchcock my turkeys. They cook faster and more evenly.

#### Strat Jacket

##### Tele-Holic
Because it's a semi hollowbody and the LP is a solid slab of wood.
Ask Larry Carlton and Justin Hayward.

#### sinecrafter

##### TDPRI Member
The "environment" surrounding the pickup has NO BEARING on its sound produced. You could install it in a block of steel the size of a car and you would NOT notice a difference from its sound in a "hollow body" guitar.

What a ridiculous statement. For one thing, steel is magnetic, and will *drastically* alter the magnetic field around the pickups. There's a reason why PAFs were originally designed with a nickel silver pickup cover.

#### Swirling Snow

##### Tele-Afflicted
Ok, interesting-- what about finish on the neck then? Hard and thin finish for that too?
From the Physics side of things, here's a quick equation to determine the relative influence of two resonant materials - compare the masses. Once that mass of wood gets moving, a skinny coat of paint ain't gonna change its mind. Now, if someone comes along and uses a paint that requires a catalyst, things might change.

Speaking of tensile strength, this mass thing applies to the strings, too. You've all held a guitar string; they weigh nothing, right? So how is that wimpy little string going to move a 8.5 lb. solid body guitar and make it vibrate? There's something else going on.

Steel has some of the highest tensile strengths on record. When you move a string to the side with your pick, that string does not stretch. Still, you move it to the side, away from the straight line it made at rest. So the string forms a tringle with the base being the line where it was. But Geometry taught us that if the sides of a triangle stay the same, and the apex angle increases, the length of the base must decrease.

This is where the steel wins. It can't stretch, so it pulls the neck of the guitar closer to the bridge. When your release the string, TWANG!! Like a hunting bow... but without stabilisers... and you can bet your privates and corporals, too, that miserable, pathic wimpy little string does what that big chunk of wood tells it to!

#### HandCarver

##### TDPRI Member
To me it really depends on the amp/trim pot volume. If you've ever played live, or seen anyone play raucous blues or rock with a hollow-body like a 335, it becomes immediately apparent - at least to my ears. There's a different set of or 'halo' of harmonics that feedback early and it is enhanced by volume and playing style. I'd check out Gary Clark Jr. At relevant levels, it's as different as comparing a Hiwatt amp with Fane speakers to a traditional AC/30 TB with British Bulldog speakers. But, at level 1 or 2 hearing the differences might not be as easy.

Also on your point of the wood block running thru the middle of a 335, that's far less mass than a whole Les Paul body of Mahogany with a solid Maple top, especially if it's a hard Maple vs Soft Maple top. Same goes for the Mahogany. Even when both pieces are American Mahogany, one can be more dense than the other. It all comes down to vibration.

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#### sinecrafter

##### TDPRI Member
Steel has some of the highest tensile strengths on record. When you move a string to the side with your pick, that string does not stretch.

Tensile strength is resistance to breakage, not resistance to stretching. Steel strings absolutely do stretch under tension, and are easily broken by too much tension. Steel is elastic.

#### aging_rocker

##### Poster Extraordinaire

I'm far more interested in the music someone's making with an instrument than analysing the small (but real, probably) differences of whatever it's played on. The Clapton clip posted above is probably my favourite bit of Clapton - I couldn't care less what he's playing it on.

Here's another favourite 335 clip of mine, from the wonderful Steve Marriott. Would it sound different if he was playing a LP? Probably, but I don't care.

Enjoy the music...

#### backporchmusic

##### Poster Extraordinaire
Things I've learned from youtube videos:

All amps sound the same. Who's that guy who says "now I'm not an engineer, but I know what things sound like" or some such. According to his science, if you simply knob twiddle, all amps sound the same. A JCM 800 and a JC 120, same. No pedals needed, they simply all sound the same.

This guy who mounts pickups to a table. No matter what the wood or metal or anything--the body construction of a guitar has no affect on its sound, because "all the sound is the pickups" or some such. So a tele bridge pickup mounted in semi-solidified gelatin sounds just like one set in concrete or a Super 400 hollow body.

Wood makes no difference. So mount that pickup in thick balsa or a fully hollow mahogany, it'll sound the same.

Yet every single one of us knows this isn't true. Or should exit the discussion. If you can't tell the difference between a Strat played through a Marshall and an ES-175 played through a JC 120, then you really should just walk away from the keyboard when these discussions arise.

This sad game played on youtube continuously victimizes people who click on nonsense garbage 'science' as unwitting pawns in the youtube purveyors pay-per-click income, and are also the same who would likely be offended if anyone was making money on their time--like maybe with ads on a forum site like this.

Seriously.

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#### Tele-Meister

##### Tele-Meister
The Clapton clip posted above is probably my favourite bit of Clapton -
Me too! That whole "From The Cradle" album is incredible. Really. Like I'm blown away every time I listen to it. I want the vinyl! Even the recent album (came out on Amazon as a CD in 2022) "Nothing But the Blues (Live at the Fillmore, San Francisco, 1994)" is awesome too, same vibe, same sounds-- It Hurts Me Too is played so well, so raunchy too.

Would it sound different if he was playing a LP? Probably, but I don't care....
...I'm far more interested in the music someone's making with an instrument than analysing the small (but real, probably) differences of whatever it's played on....
Glad to hear this, opinions are nice to have. Obviously though, just while you may not care, some people find engineering interesting-- or just simply *what* does what, *why* this does that. Nothing wrong with that. Not that I'm saying you think there's something wrong with it. I just don't get the point of these comments other than you expressing your feelings on the matter-- which once again, is not wrong at all!

#### Tele-Meister

##### Tele-Meister
If the difference in sound between a semi-hollow, a hollow, and a solid, or the difference between mahogany, maple, ash, alder, basswood, spruce, cedar, rosewood, koa, bubinga, pau ferro, and ebony, is imperceptible to you, why is it so important to you to be "right" when other people say, "not only do I hear a difference, but here are all the scientific reasons why that difference exists"?
In the OPs defense, he or she never really said this specifically. All they said was that it seems logical to them that a Les Paul and a 335 are identical sounding under the condition that the pickups are the exact same--- and I think we did a pretty good job explaining why it's not necessarily a logical assumption... But in a general context, you are absolutely right though! If it's imperceptible to you, doesn't mean it doesn't exist! We shouldn't be arrogant like that, it's plain silly: we don't govern the universe, it governs us. Well, we're just here to observe, come up with theories, and enjoy the ride in the end. Passengers always, never captains.

#### psykobilly

##### Tele-Meister
That’s why a Super 400 with 57 classics sound just like an SG with the same pups. Those crazy jazz guys been totin them stupid big ol boxes around for nothin.

#### DugT

##### Tele-Afflicted
I went to Stuyvesant. Scored 720 on the Physics ACH test. I then went to Carnegie-Mellon, where I studied Physics of Music and Sound Design. I've been in pro audio for over 35 years.

There. Is. A. Very. Big. Difference.
We were wondering where you went to high school. (Please forgive me for this cheap shot but I'm enough of a moron that It was just too much fun.)

With your knowledge and experience, I would think you could present data or audio that demonstrates "There. Is. A. Very. Big. Difference". On the other hand, oscilloscope readings may not correlate well to what is discernible to the human ear. You could probably give a week long lecture on that.

You have spent 35 years studying sound so your ability to notice sound differences might be exponentially better than most of us. It is also possible that your eyes tell you what you can expect to hear and that influences your hearing. I think the placebo affect highly influences what people think they hear. However, I may be projecting because I am very visual.

Apparently some people hear a big difference and some none and there are some tweeners too and we all live together on this forum. How fun!

Those who like the Guitar Tone test video in the OP, might like this Amp Tone video by the same guy. I like the Amp Tone video even more.

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#### backporchmusic

##### Poster Extraordinaire
If you can't tell--your hearing sucks.

No crime, no worry, it just isn't as good as other people's. Just like some people wear glasses because their vision isn't acute, your ears work well enough to hear, but not well enough to hear really well.

Would you, without your glasses on, argue that someone else couldn't possibly see the road sign up ahead that you can't read? Of course not, that would be arrogant idiocy. Some people simply have better vision than you do. No harm, no foul.

So don't feel bad if you can't tell a difference--but don't tell those of us who can hear it, that we can't.

#### backporchmusic

##### Poster Extraordinaire
Therefore, I would think you should be able to present data or audio that demonstrates "There. Is. A. Very. Big. Difference".

You have spent 35 years studying sound so your ability to notice sound differences might be exponentially better than most of us. It is also possible that your eyes tell you what you can expect to hear and that influences your hearing. I think the placebo affect highly influences what people think they hear. However, I may be projecting because I am very visual.

Apparently some people hear a big difference and some none and there are some tweener too.

Those who like the Guitar Tone test video in the OP, might like this Amp Tone video by the same guy. I like the Amp Tone video even more.

Alright then. Let's put this 'science' issue to rest. Youtubers are not scientists. What they do is not even close to a peer-reviewed rigorous experiment or theory. So. Here we go.

Let's start with how sound works, for those that seem to be disregarding the science in favor of what they 'hear' and what they think in the absence of science:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sound

Now lets move to ELECTRIC guitar specifically. Remember, a peer reviewed scientific article is universally known to be better evidence for proving a point than a youtube video, since that's how science works.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8465587/

Here's a bit from that paper's abstract: "The use of ash wood for the solid body of the instrument due to coupling effect resulted in a beneficial reduction in the vibration damping of the neck of the guitar. The positive effect of the low damping of the solid body of the electric guitar made of ash wood was also confirmed in the vibration of the open strings. In the specific case of free-free vibration mode, the decay time was longer for higher harmonics of the E2, A2 and D3 strings."

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8465587/#B1-materials-14-05281

Here's something from the above that I didn't know: "The damping on the walnut body was statistically significantly greater than that of a guitar with the body of ash wood."

Here's a nice bit of data from it too:

This is a fun one:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24815284/

Here's a view of some results:

Let's not leave out electric basses:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8465587/#B4-materials-14-05281

How about body shape and its role in sound:

https://asa.scitation.org/doi/abs/10.1121/1.4780761

RSVP. Is that enough 'empirical evidence' or do I need more to change minds here?

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#### aging_rocker

##### Poster Extraordinaire
...Glad to hear this, opinions are nice to have. Obviously though, just while you may not care, some people find engineering interesting-- or just simply *what* does what, *why* this does that. Nothing wrong with that. Not that I'm saying you think there's something wrong with it. I just don't get the point of these comments other than you expressing your feelings on the matter-- which once again, is not wrong at all!
Thanks for understanding my viewpoint.

I'm just expressing my opinion, and that's exactly all that it is.

I totally understand that folks get deep down into the why's & how's of tone, feel and all that, and that's absolutely fine.

And yep, guitars, amps, pedals all sound different. Why wouldn't they?

#### Tele-Meister

##### Tele-Meister
Thanks for understanding my viewpoint.

I'm just expressing my opinion, and that's exactly all that it is.

I totally understand that folks get deep down into the why's & how's of tone, feel and all that, and that's absolutely fine.

And yep, guitars, amps, pedals all sound different. Why wouldn't they?
Thank you! And you did have a point too though, when it comes to tone and guitars, it's all fun and games thinking about the theory behind them... but sometimes, usually when it applies to your own gear and sound (gets personal), we tend to get obsessed. We have to remember that the reason why we are here, in the guitar/music scene, is for the music. Such a thought could save us from making a purchase to be regretted...

#### Tele-Meister

##### Tele-Meister
Alright then. Let's put this 'science' issue to rest. Youtubers are not scientists. What they do is not even close to a peer-reviewed rigorous experiment or theory. So. Here we go.

Let's start with how sound works, for those that seem to be disregarding the science in favor of what they 'hear' and what they think in the absence of science:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sound

Now lets move to ELECTRIC guitar specifically. Remember, a peer reviewed scientific article is universally known to be better evidence for proving a point than a youtube video, since that's how science works.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8465587/

Here's a bit from that paper's abstract: "The use of ash wood for the solid body of the instrument due to coupling effect resulted in a beneficial reduction in the vibration damping of the neck of the guitar. The positive effect of the low damping of the solid body of the electric guitar made of ash wood was also confirmed in the vibration of the open strings. In the specific case of free-free vibration mode, the decay time was longer for higher harmonics of the E2, A2 and D3 strings."

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8465587/#B1-materials-14-05281

Here's something from the above that I didn't know: "The damping on the walnut body was statistically significantly greater than that of a guitar with the body of ash wood."

Here's a nice bit of data from it too:

View attachment 1078955

This is a fun one:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24815284/

Here's a view of some results:

View attachment 1078956

Let's not leave out electric basses:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8465587/#B4-materials-14-05281

How about body shape and its role in sound:

https://asa.scitation.org/doi/abs/10.1121/1.4780761

RSVP. Is that enough 'empirical evidence' or do I need more to change minds here?

This... is legendary. Thank you for going out of your way to not only find these links (or maybe you're like me and have them handy, but still), but also quote them, to drive your point more clearly across. It's hard to argue this, unless you're an acoustic engineer and have conflicting legitimized data. Of course in the data here, the differences between Ash and Walnut seem to be small-- but if you are focusing on that, you're missing the point. A difference. is a difference. It's as simple as that.

So when someone says: "does the wood of electric guitars affect the sound?" and you say no? Well you got a coupla bunch of scientists and legit data to fight against. Now you can always respond "yeah there's a difference, but not much"-- of course, you don't know that either-- unless, once again, you have the data or the logical theoretical explanation.

But one thing that will always be true is that not everyone hears the same. So that's what makes this tone wood debate even more silly at times. Just know that the construction of a guitar does affect the sound, respect the system as a whole please. not only the darn pickups! That's it, you don't have to go further than that.

#### Donny Osmond fan

##### Tele-Afflicted
From both a logical perspective and from my listening and playing experience, I don't believe these guitars have just about any tonal differences when plugged in, assuming the same pickups are used. A 335 after all has a big solid block of wood running down the middle. So even if there's a reason why hollow body guitars with pickups should sound different than solid bodies, a 335 isn't even hollow.

I mean, if strings stretched across two tables can sound like a telecaster, why wouldn't a 335 sound like a Les Paul?
See

If anyone believes that this is incorrect, can you please either record clips of you playing exactly the same with the same electronics, same settings, same pickups, on the two separate guitars and show how it sounds different? Or explain to me in a logical sense how having hollow wings tagged onto the side of a guitar could possibly impact the amplified sound. I mean it, I'm not trying to be a "prove me wrong" provocateur here. I genuinely want to know if there's something I'm missing for how hollow wings could affect the sound, and if I hear convincing audio or logical evidence, I will change my mind.

People hear different things.

^^^ this.

#### GPoint

##### TDPRI Member
From both a logical perspective and from my listening and playing experience, I don't believe these guitars have just about any tonal differences when plugged in, assuming the same pickups are used. A 335 after all has a big solid block of wood running down the middle. So even if there's a reason why hollow body guitars with pickups should sound different than solid bodies, a 335 isn't even hollow.

I mean, if strings stretched across two tables can sound like a telecaster, why wouldn't a 335 sound like a Les Paul?
See

If anyone believes that this is incorrect, can you please either record clips of you playing exactly the same with the same electronics, same settings, same pickups, on the two separate guitars and show how it sounds different? Or explain to me in a logical sense how having hollow wings tagged onto the side of a guitar could possibly impact the amplified sound. I mean it, I'm not trying to be a "prove me wrong" provocateur here. I genuinely want to know if there's something I'm missing for how hollow wings could affect the sound, and if I hear convincing audio or logical evidence, I will change my mind.

Even LPs in between are sounding different, 335s the same. So many different parameters and combinations of them.

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