Tone wood! Body and neck woods are important  for your tone!!

Wood, or lets call it tone wood, is very important for your guitars sound! Tone wood will color your guitar sound!

The type of wood which is used in body and neck and fretboard (also called fingerboard) can be very different. 

By pulling the strings of your guitar you are sending vibrations from the string through the fretboard, neck and the body of the guitar. From there your pickups will send it to your amplifier.

The wood "transports" the vibrations of the strings. The type of wood will affect the tonal characteristics. Thats why a guitar can sound so different with another type of wood.


tone wood: the body

The most common kinds of body woods are:

  • Maple
  • Mahogany
  • Maple-mahogany
  • Alder
  • Ash
  • Basswood
  • Korina

Maple is a hard kind of wood from US and Canada. A maple body will give a great clarity, bright and tight sound. Most of the time you find maple together withe another type of wood. Maple tops are often seen on les Pauls and semi hollow guitars. A body only made of maple will be pretty heavy but you can find it.

Mahogany has a warm sound. It gives a thick tone. Some call it a round sound. It has a strong midrange.

Maple-mahogany is a combination of wood! Populair by Gibson (Les Paul Standard for example) and many other guitar brands.

Maple will give a bite to the sound, cause it is bright and tight. Mahogany adds warmth to it. Together it is blended into a specific sound that many guitarists like.

Alder has a clear sound with lower mids that cuts great through the mix. The lows are tight and the highs are smooth. It is the sound of Fender Stratocasters at the end of the 60's. 

Ash is the sound of the Fender Telecaster and some early Stratocasters (1950). When the ash comes from trees growing in wetlands in southern US it is called "Swamp Ash"!

Swamp ash gives a specific sound to a guitar. It is open with highs that give a "twang". It has a little less mid and the lows are huge.

Normal ash from trees growing on dry lands in the north is heavier and gives a bright tone with more treble. It is great for distorted guitar styles.


Basswood is great tone wood. It is cheaper than alder or ash. The wood is light and soft. It has a great midrange and it gives a fat tone with a growl in it. You can find it in Suhr guitars.

Korina is wood from Africa. It is related to Mahogany and the original name for it is limba. This wood is used for the first Gibson Flying V and Explorer guitars. Made from 1958 till 1960 (reissues are made of mahogany).

Korina has great resonance is warm and sweet sounding. Lots of sustain!


Neck and fretboard (fingerboard) tone wood

The neck and fretboard influence your tone. The neck wood more than the fretboard wood though. They are made of different kinds of wood. I give you the most common:

Necks are often made of:

  • maple
  • mahogany

Populair fretboard woods are:

  • maple
  • indian rosewood
  • ebony
  • Pao Ferro

Maple is used for neck and fretboard. Fender Telecaster became famous with it. Neck's made of one piece maple give a snap and brightness to the sound of the guitar.

Maple used as fretboard on a mahogany neck gives more tightness and cutting power to the tone. Maple needs finish on it!

Mahogany is used for necks to. It gives warmth and midrange presence to the tone. It is not used for fretboards.

Ebony fretboard adds lows and snappy highs to the guitars tone. It has a smooth feel. No finish needed.

Indian Rosewood has a warm and round tone. It is a very populair fretboard wood. It is oily so no need to use a finish on it.

Pao ferro is an American hardwood. Very populair for fretboards because it offers the smooth feal of ebony mixed with the warmth of rosewood. It gives complex highs, strong lower mids and great lows to the tone.


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