Do You Think Tonewoods Are a Myth

Discussion in 'Standard Guitars' started by bulb, Jan 25, 2020.

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  1. bulb

    bulb SS.org Regular

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    Or do you think that tonewoods make a difference, in your opinion?
     

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  2. DickyTripleD

    DickyTripleD SS.org Regular

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    I'm of the opinion that they're part of an equation. The real question is how big that aspect is. I'm going with 15-25%. Not insignificant, but less than pickups.
     
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  3. Wuuthrad

    Wuuthrad Member

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    It's not a myth at all. There's no formula that works 100 percent of the time, but overall there are tonal differences between different woods. It's perhaps a bit easier to hear acoustically than electrically, but it's there.
     
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  4. Vyn

    Vyn Not a Sparkly Vampire

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    I think the percentage is much less than that, more like 5% max. The amp and pickups dictate most of the character.

    It’s also worth noting that the speaker and/or speaker and microphone combination/position are arguably more important than anything else.
     
  5. Metal Mortician

    Metal Mortician Ninja Lurker

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    Tone is in the hands... Ten Nugent plugged into EVH’s rig and admitted he sounded like Ted Nugent. I feel like I sound the same no matter what gear I plug into. Sometimes you get the feel of the instrument/amp that inspires you to play/write/practice more. All my subjective.02 of course.
     
  6. Spicypickles

    Spicypickles Sweeps & Mops

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    I think some species of woods do take up a mostly specific sonic space, but not exclusively. For example - maple is usually known as being bright but there can be all maple guitars that are dark and Mahogany is usually a warm sounding wood but I’ve got an EC400AT that is the brightest guitar I own, and I mostly own alder/maple superstrats.

    I tend to judge each guitar independently, without ever thinking that guitar x will be y sound, etc.
     
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  7. xzacx

    xzacx SS.org Regular

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    I think it's conceivable that it plays a part, but it's one of so many parts that it doesn't matter enough to pay attention to wood outside of aesthetic purposes. I've had seven or eight all-Korina guitars and none of them sounded the same despite all but one or two having very similar specs/construction/pickups. I also had a Les Paul that was overly bright, and have played muddy Strats. I even had a solid-maple San Dimas with a maple neck that sounded...100% normal and not bright at all (was heavy as hell though).

    If someone really wants to believe that "that little extra bit of bite" is attributable to a maple fretboard when the signal is going through a particular set of pickups, through a series of pots and caps, into a cable, and then an amp or modeler with its own series complexities...that's fine by me, but I sure don't waste my time worrying about things like that. To me, a guitar either sounds good or it doesn't, and it's an exercise in futility to try to pin it down to single elements that can't be tested in isolation.
     
  8. c7spheres

    c7spheres GuitArtist

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    What are you doing? Are you drunk and going on a trolling mission! You're just askin for a shit storm aren't you : )
    - I think it matters but only in general. I think it has more to do with the density of a specific piece of wood rather than the type, but certain woods do tend to have certain qualities generally, but not always. It's why you can have two identical guitars and they sound totally different.
    - I gave an example in another tonewood thread where I had two rg7620's and two rg-2027xvv's . Both are rg 7 strings but one model is mahogany and one is basswood. One rg-7620 and rg-2027xvv sounded more like each other than their identical counterparts (unplugged/ acoustically) the other set also sounded more like eachother. The ones that were closer weighed about the same as the other did also. Compared to their identical counter parts there was about 1.5lbs difference between the same models. The oppostie models that sounded closer to each other were almost identical in weight. All the necks of all the guitars were all about the same (about 1.5lbs stripped bare). Weird stuff.
     
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  9. DickyTripleD

    DickyTripleD SS.org Regular

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    In the signal chain, absolutely. I was only talking about in the guitar itself.
     
  10. Promit

    Promit SS.org Regular

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    I don't think they're a myth, but I have given up trying to convince anyone else to change their mind one way or the other. I like to have guitars made of certain woods and I don't like certain others. Maybe I'm imagining it. Maybe it's Maybelline.
     
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  11. efiltsohg

    efiltsohg SS.org Regular

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    Huge difference, guitars can either be mahogany or bad
     
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  12. c7spheres

    c7spheres GuitArtist

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    ^
    I think I may be the only one who usually prefers basswood, maple,, limba, korina over mahogany. Mahogany is great but it's gotta be a heavy piece, like on old Gibsons, not this light weight brittle stuff they seem to use a lot now. I think the good stuff is that banned Brazlian stuff from back in the day. It sounds better because of all the death that came with it.
     
  13. TedintheShed

    TedintheShed Retired bassist pretending to play guitar

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    This really depends on the situation. When the signal chain travels from the fingers and out of the speaker of the amp, each player stresses a different part or parts of that signal chain (some stress technique, some the amp/guitar combo, some just the guitar and effects, some just plug their guitar into their modeler and could not care less about the back line amp, etc). So many variables, where the wood could be important or have very little importance at all.
     
  14. Bearitone

    Bearitone SS.org Regular

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    It’s all BS.
    Give me something light weight and rigid/hard and I’m happy. If the whole guitar (except for frets and hardware) could be cast from a porous aluminum, that would be cool in my book.

    The softer or heavier the wood (or material), the worse. Imo.
     
  15. Russian Robot

    Russian Robot Arbiter of Cheeses

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    I don't think that any of the online tonewood experiments I've seen implemented a control in their experiment. Whoops
     
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  16. narad

    narad Progressive metal and politics

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    Yea, surprisingly not a lot of overlap between the people with access to a woodshop + a bunch of luthiery skills, and the people with science / experimental design backgrounds.
     
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  17. Damagedjustice

    Damagedjustice SS.org Regular

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    Woods affects tone - in my opinion especially in the neck - stiff and well built necks make great tonal improvement and i believe the most you get from a guitar is from the neck
     
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  18. slapnutz

    slapnutz SS.org Regular

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    2c...
    In my very non-professional opinion, 'tone' woods on amplified electric guitars have minimal influence.

    Personally I hate the term 'tone' being associated with it. All this debate be avoided if it was instead referred to as 'dynamics wood'. As in, IMO I believe the woods play a much larger part in influencing the dynamics of the sounds instead of its 'tone'. i.e things such as Sustain, decay, resonance, etc..etc.

    ^ However to once again confuse that again, I believe the guitars joint construction, hardware types and mounts..etc..etc... will affect the 'dynamics' of the sound much more than just what type of wood it has.

    The only thing I look for in wood is simply its weight and looks when deciding say between two equal spec guitars with different woods.
     
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  19. Ulvhedin

    Ulvhedin Phrygianist

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    Idk. Show me two identical guitars that sounds identical, and I'll play along.
     
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  20. Rotatous

    Rotatous SS.org Regular

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    I like to think of it like this.

    A guitar made of styrofoam would sound different than a guitar made of concrete, right? Obviously. They're basically on opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of density. All "tonewoods" have different densities as well, for instance an all maple guitar is probably going to sound brighter than an all ash, mahogany, or basswood guitar with the same pickups/setup/strings/etc. generally speaking. All of them much closer to the middle of the spectrum but you get my point. It's going to make a difference. Will pickups make more of a difference in tone? Sure, but I think saying "its 100% in the pickups" is probably a wrong assessment to make too.

    My opinion of course, its like religion in these parts :2c:
     
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