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Tonewood is BULLS*T!!!!

FractalAudio

Administrator
Fractal Audio Systems
Moderator
Wood makes a difference when you're playing loud. All materials have resonances, formants if you will. When you play loud the amplifier-to-guitar coupling excites these formants. Different woods have different formants.

The problem with this "test" was the performance was done at low volume.

When I was gigging I could clearly hear the difference between my two main axes even though they were supposedly identical. Same woods, same pickups, everything. One of them was much heavier than the other though. The lighter one had more sustain and would go into feedback easier. Sounded fuller and more lively. So not only does the type of wood matter, the density of the particular sample is also important.
 

GreatGreen

Power User
I don't see how anyone who has played a lot of guitars could say wood doesn't matter.

I ordered an EVH Wolfgang about a year ago from an online store and loved everything about it EXCEPT how it resonated in my hands unplugged. The neck was fantastic, strings stayed in tune, the pickups even sounded great. But unplugged, hitting notes and chords, even with new strings, the guitar had this knocky hollowness to it that I can't really explain other than to say it sounded like the whole thing was made of cheap, hollow plastic. If I'd only played just this one Wolfgang, I would have assumed it was the relatively small body size/shape and floyd routing being the cause of that sound, but I've played other Wolfgangs that sound great and resonate really well, so it's not that. I ended up returning it actually, which really was too bad. It was a nice guitar in every other way but I just couldn't get past how it resonated like that.
 

Justincase

Experienced
I don't see how anyone who has played a lot of guitars could say wood doesn't matter.

I ordered an EVH Wolfgang about a year ago from an online store and loved everything about it EXCEPT how it resonated in my hands unplugged. The neck was fantastic, strings stayed in tune, the pickups even sounded great. But unplugged, hitting notes and chords, even with new strings, the guitar had this knocky hollowness to it that I can't really explain other than to say it sounded like the whole thing was made of cheap, hollow plastic. If I'd only played just this one Wolfgang, I would have assumed it was the relatively small body size/shape and floyd routing being the cause of that sound, but I've played other Wolfgangs that sound great and resonate really well, so it's not that. I ended up returning it actually, which really was too bad. It was a nice guitar in every other way but I just couldn't get past how it resonated like that.
Some guitars have mojo....and some do not.
 
I don't see how anyone who has played a lot of guitars could say wood doesn't matter.

I ordered an EVH Wolfgang about a year ago from an online store and loved everything about it EXCEPT how it resonated in my hands unplugged. The neck was fantastic, strings stayed in tune, the pickups even sounded great. But unplugged, hitting notes and chords, even with new strings, the guitar had this knocky hollowness to it that I can't really explain other than to say it sounded like the whole thing was made of cheap, hollow plastic. If I'd only played just this one Wolfgang, I would have assumed it was the relatively small body size/shape and floyd routing being the cause of that sound, but I've played other Wolfgangs that sound great and resonate really well, so it's not that. I ended up returning it actually, which really was too bad. It was a nice guitar in every other way but I just couldn't get past how it resonated like that.
Wood matters in many ways, including as you and Cliff have described. The criticism is of less than ethical folk promoting ideas of "tonewood" that don't apply to solid body, magnetic pickup equipped instruments in the ways they claim, and which prey upon assumptions and emotions. Wood matters, yes. Especially where acoustic pumps and coupling are in play. And I'm sure the OP is appreciating seeing folks go back and forth on it.
 

Justincase

Experienced
ancient pagan cultures such as the Celts believed that spirits and gods resided in trees... coincidence?
Maybe I should sacrifice a chicken on my next build 😂
 

zosofeather

Member
of course the wood types matter just as the pickups,strings,frets,bridge,amps...everything contributes. the type of woods and the response you feel as a player will also influence how you pick, strum, and play your axe just as why you play different ones for different tones and sounds. i think thats why most players have the mahogany,maple,ash, etc preferences..you just feel it
 

H3O2

Experienced
I don't see how anyone who has played a lot of guitars could say wood doesn't matter.

I ordered an EVH Wolfgang about a year ago from an online store and loved everything about it EXCEPT how it resonated in my hands unplugged. The neck was fantastic, strings stayed in tune, the pickups even sounded great. But unplugged, hitting notes and chords, even with new strings, the guitar had this knocky hollowness to it that I can't really explain other than to say it sounded like the whole thing was made of cheap, hollow plastic. If I'd only played just this one Wolfgang, I would have assumed it was the relatively small body size/shape and floyd routing being the cause of that sound, but I've played other Wolfgangs that sound great and resonate really well, so it's not that. I ended up returning it actually, which really was too bad. It was a nice guitar in every other way but I just couldn't get past how it resonated like that.
I know the deal. Recently picked up an very cool config'd Suhr Modern Dakota Red/Antique that resonated oddly in my hands and returned it. All of my other Suhrs I have are perfect, tho.

But I do have a Charvel USA 4th Batch Purple Tele I picked up new from notorious Ed Roman's when I was in Vegas back in 2009ish. Similar over resonate/knocky uplugged/acoustic spikey sound on the 4th string. Never took it apart tho. Trying to figure out how to 'fix' the overly resonate tone and feeling. Maybe shim the neck? I don't know. Kept it for nostalgia.

Bought but returned 2 nice looking Les Pauls last year for similar loud 'knocky' sound unplugged. Gave up on Gibson. Had a new Paul in '78 but sold like a dummy in '82 for $350 🤦‍♂️ to a nice kid at least.
 

skunc

Experienced
Take this idea in a different direction...acoustic guitars.

Here some general statements that I've heard about 3 acoustic guitar manufacturing companies.


1. It doesn't matter what model you play- they all sound similar.

2. If you play 20 of the same model- they all sound different.

3. If you play 20 of the same model-they all sound very consistent.

Can you guess the popular manufacturers? Have you experienced any of these personally? If you played two identical guitars and one played/felt better and the other sounded slightly better which would you prefer? If you had 20 like guitars to choose from how would you decide?



I am curious about the variances and consistencies of these statements especially 2 & 3. I know for a fact that wood samples of the same species can "sound" very different, so #2 doesn't surprise me. If #2 is even slightly true how can #3 be true? Is #3 building to suppressing tonal variances and is #2 actually letting the wood speak? Does #1 build everything more consistent than #2 & #3? Is #2 an inconsistent build and #1 and #3 are more consistent?

Many top session players have given up or passed on instruments because they thought it didn't sound or play well enough only to have another session player pick up the same instrument and have that instrument become the their top instrument. Sometimes these instruments are thousands of dollars and sometimes they are old student level instruments.

I wonder why anyone would want to make instruments for musicians? What a fussy lot.

As the technology level increases in wood composition analysis, guitar manufacturers are going to be able to offer some pretty tall promises to consumers. Matching the wood from iconic instruments with a certain % is on the horizon.
Will it matter?
 
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HoovHead

Member
A few years ago I picked up a used PRS SC/HBII--my first hollowbody. When I play this guitar near the sound source (PA or FRFR) I can feel the guitar vibrate in my hands. I'm sure this is a unique characteristic of most hollowbody guitars.

This is the wood responding to the sound waves, which adds an additional dimension to the playing experience. I wonder how a similar guitar made of plywood or aircraft aluminum would perform in the same situation?

So if construction material doesn't matter, why do guitars FEEL so different?

IMG_3832.png
 

JDR3009

Inspired
I also never take guitar advice from someone who can barely play the guitar.
This is my main thing with Fricker tbh. The faux rage where you can see him looking at himself in the camera to double check he has an appropriately-angry expression is one thing, but he very clearly can’t play worth a damn yet insists on doing the majority of the playing in his own videos. You don’t have to be a virtuoso musician to know what you’re talking about, obviously, but if you can‘t even keep time, just get someone else to do it for you.
 
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