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How does wood grain effect tone?

ezyrydr

Member
Messages
953
or does it?

I was looking at a couple teles. They have nitro finish and you can see the grain very clearly. These guitars are on the internet so I can't go play them.

The wood grain on some of them is straight and the lines are close together.
Others the grain flares out and is there is more space between the grains.

Which is "better" tonally? Will one resonate more than the other?

How does weight factor in to this? Will a light guitar always resonate better than a heavier one or does the grain of the wood on either one make a significant difference in tone?

Thanks!
 

Polynitro

Member
Messages
23,616
there's no better. If you can see through the finish then they are ash, if not alder. Both sound good. I would think ash would almost have to sound different than alder being that ash grain is very open, lots of little holes and canals everywhere where alder is much tighter.

THey used ash on see through finishes simply because they look good, alder for solid colors simply because the grain wasn't as open and didn't need to be filled. Its faster and cheaper to just color a guitar rather than fill the grain and then color.
 

pcovers

Member
Messages
1,227
Since you are asking about grain and not necessarily different woods, I can say that I have had lots of guitar of all kinds of grain patters within a species of wood(ash, mahogany, maple, etc) and I have never noticed any particular tonal attribute to the fact that one piece of ash was different in grain pattern from another. There may be all kinds of theoretical suppositions related to grain, but I would wager a weeks pay that a person could not identify a predictable and reliable tone attribute to one grain pattern of ash compared to another.

So, nope, I don't hold to any notion that grain pattern is reliable predictor to a guitars tone, sustain, etc. I currently have a poplar strat type SSH guitar that has all electrified resonance and sustain of my quite heavy ash tele.
 

ezyrydr

Member
Messages
953
I kinda figured it wouldn't really matter. I didn't know if a tighter grain pattern meant a denser/less resonant wood. I think there are probably too many other variables to take into account for it to matter.
 

dazco

Member
Messages
14,819
There are builders that do consider and describe the differences in grain patterns in the same species of wood. Acoustic builders especially have thier beliefs. Can't recall anything i read tho.
 

DANOCASTER

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,285
I cant say I have found a BIG difference but a lot of vintage guys feel that broader grain patterns are slightly more resonant and usually lighter than their tighter grain counterparts

I've also posted pics of my own guitars ( both orig and replicas ) and I've had people say " that LOOKS heavy" ( because of the grain pattern )
 

stormin1155

Member
Messages
2,636
Most traditional luthiers have believed that grain patterns do influence the sound of acoustic guitars, which is why quarter-sawn, tight grain patterned spruce or cedar has always been preferred for soundboards. In recent years however some luthiers have demonstrated that very fine sounding instruments can be made from wood that had previously been considered sub-grade. While I have no emperical evidence, my experience tells me that other wood variables such as density and moisture play greater roles in tone than do grain patterns, especially in electric guitars. And while one could argue that everything effects tone, something like grain patterns would be pratically insignificant.
 

Michael T

Member
Messages
491
Aren't there people here that think oxidation on a pickup cover effects tone?

Wood grain should make a MEGA difference......
 




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