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Woodin the construction of a guitar


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#1 cdemw

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Posted 08 December 2004 - 09:53 AM

This is in reference to electric guitars. How crucial is the wood that the guitar is made of? How much does it effect tone? Does this mean that the shape of the guitar has an impact on the sound? Just wondering, does this mean that you can only upgrade a guitar so much? Also, what constitutes good wood?

Lots of questions, sorry. Cheers...

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#2 dc197

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Posted 08 December 2004 - 10:03 AM

Cheapo ones are made of plywood or chipboard.
These don't add any richness to the tone, so they do not sound as good.

Your les pauls and your strats etc don't want too much vibration of the body, unlike a semi-acoustic (e.g the ES335) or an acoustic. This means they have better true (unamplified) sustain, but less warmth in the tone.

However you might not want all that warmth/colour in the tone, you might be looking for a particular sound, and the extra tone of the hollow body is not for you.


I don't think the shape has much affect on the sound of a solid body electric - could you tell the difference between a regular guitar and one that has had a chunk of wood removed from the body? I don't think I could.

Edited by dc197, 08 December 2004 - 10:05 AM.


#3 adds

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Posted 08 December 2004 - 10:12 AM

They say that woods like ply and that dont sound to good but you can blow that out the water when you consider Brian Mays guitar is made of block board.

At the end of the day different woods give different sounds siple as that.Some good some not so good.A good pice of wood would have a nice figure and be quarter sawn.

#4 cdemw

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Posted 08 December 2004 - 12:15 PM

QUOTE (adds @ Dec 8 2004, 06:12 PM)
They say that woods like ply and that dont sound to good but you can blow that out the water when you consider Brian Mays guitar is made of block board.

At the end of the day different woods give different sounds siple as that.Some good some not so good.A good pice of wood would have a nice figure and be quarter sawn.


cheers guys.
sorry to be a tard adds, but what's 'quarter sawn'?

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#5 quigs

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Posted 08 December 2004 - 12:23 PM

To be completely honest with you, the quality of the wood has more of an asthetic effect that a tonal effect on the guitar. Most of the tone that you get comes from the pickups (not so much the pickup itself, but where and how they are mounted), and the fretboard.
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#6 faasie

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Posted 08 December 2004 - 02:25 PM

I've got a plywood stratocaster. When trying it out I didnt know cause it sounded so rich and full and all so I thought well plywood can't be like that so it'll probably be solid.

Some time later I unscrewed the scratchplate and to my astonishment it was plywood. But I feel the whole thing vibrating when playing and the sustain is with the right amp and settings good, sure my ES copy has a far better sustain, but thats a semi hollow. And the tone aah its so well nice.

For some reason I still feel like solid is better but I guess its only because expensive guitars use solid and on the more expensive guitar the finishing and workmanship is better. On the cheaper guitars its plywood and not so good workmanship and stuff so you can connect the two. Plus, a lot of people say plywood is bad and all, well I just learned in reality it isnt so bad after all.

#7 misterhat

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Posted 08 December 2004 - 02:55 PM

I was reading something not too long ago, probably Harmony Central, where somebody was in Korea and bought an Epiphone Les Paul copy, presumably made in Korea. But something happened and the neck broke out of the body. It turned out that the body was made out of pressed cardboard.

#8 cdemw

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Posted 08 December 2004 - 02:59 PM

QUOTE (misterhat @ Dec 8 2004, 10:55 PM)
I was reading something not too long ago, probably Harmony Central, where somebody was in Korea and bought an Epiphone Les Paul copy, presumably made in Korea.  But something happened and the neck broke out of the body.  It turned out that the body was made out of pressed cardboard.


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#9 adds

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Posted 08 December 2004 - 03:07 PM

QUOTE (cdemw @ Dec 8 2004, 08:15 PM)
QUOTE (adds @ Dec 8 2004, 06:12 PM)
They say that woods like ply and that dont sound to good but you can blow that out the water when you consider Brian Mays guitar is made of block board.

At the end of the day different woods give different sounds siple as that.Some good some not so good.A good pice of wood would have a nice figure and be quarter sawn.


cheers guys.
sorry to be a tard adds, but what's 'quarter sawn'?

The wood you buy from your average timber yard is what thay call slab sawn.So its cut in slabs from the top of the log to the bottom.This mean the woods grain is not straight.Now if you imagen looking a a log from the end it has what they call growth rings.These are more noticeable in trees that grow in conditions when you have extreem seasonal changes because the tree has different growth spirts rather than a more constant one with exotic wood.Anyway not wanting to get to into the way it grows and all that bollox but when you look at it it will have rings starting from the centre of the trunk and the rings will just work themselves out to the sapwood and then to the bark.Now if you imagen cutting the log like a cake into qarters rather than slabs it means that all the grain will be straight and that makes the wood stronger.But its more expencive to saw woods this way so its not widely done and you pay extra for that.

So looking at the end of a good quarter sawn neck black for example the gran should be like this.

||||||||| <---Quartersawn

Id try and draw some slab sawn but cant think of a way laugh.gif .

Its good to know about woods though.It will improve your ability to pick out a well made guitar rather than just for its sound.Sound is important but its also nice to know its well made and is going to last.

Anyway i probly aint explained that as good as i could have but hopefully you understood that.

#10 cdemw

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Posted 08 December 2004 - 03:15 PM

I know what you mean - thanks.
I've been tinkering with guitars a bit now for about 6 months and was wondering about the wood. i'm really tempted to try and make a guitar, not in the short-term, but I was just trying to gather info. I'm sure I've heard people go on about AA+ wood and stuff like that, but it meant nothing to me.

Have you built any guitars? I know you've talked about acoustic buildings and stuff...

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#11 adds

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Posted 08 December 2004 - 03:22 PM

QUOTE (cdemw @ Dec 8 2004, 11:15 PM)
I know what you mean - thanks.
  I've been tinkering with guitars a bit now for about 6 months and was wondering about the wood.  i'm really tempted to try and make a guitar, not in the short-term, but I was just trying to gather info.  I'm sure I've heard people go on about AA+ wood and stuff like that, but it meant nothing to me.

  Have you built any guitars?  I know you've talked about acoustic buildings and stuff...
Yes ive been doing a course in luthery for the last two yeas.I did a year part time one day a week then decided to qut the job i had at the time and go full time.So i did last year 3 days a week and the same this year until july.By then ill have my proper certificate and all that bollox.I only really know about acoustics though as we dont cover electrics where i am other than a little talk by a clever man useing big words that are right over my head laugh.gif .So any work ive done on electrics is with other people there i know who have worked with them saying solder that wire there and that one there laugh.gif .If i can help it id rather not work on the things.I love building acoustics and thats my passion really.I will do repairs and stuff but i prefer the building side of things.

Edited by adds, 08 December 2004 - 03:26 PM.


#12 cdemw

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Posted 09 December 2004 - 03:18 AM

Yes ive been doing a course in luthery for the last two yeas.I did a year part time one day a week then decided to qut the job i had at the time and go full time.So i did last year 3 days a week and the same this year until july.By then ill have my proper certificate and all that bollox.I only really know about acoustics though as we dont cover electrics where i am other than a little talk by a clever man useing big words that are right over my head laugh.gif .So any work ive done on electrics is with other people there i know who have worked with them saying solder that wire there and that one there laugh.gif .If i can help it id rather not work on the things.I love building acoustics and thats my passion really.I will do repairs and stuff but i prefer the building side of things.

[/quote]

well, when you get some done - get some pics up smile.gif

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