What are the top three factors that determine an electric guitar's tone?

Promit

Member
Messages
2,470
Other than pickups and their supporting electronics. What do you consider the three top contributing factors to the sound and fundamental tonality of a guitar? Is it the neck wood, fretboard, scale length, body wood, bridge style, weight, nut, frets, etc. Curious to see what everyone considers to be the key aspects of what make a particular guitar sound the way it does. :aok
 

Trea

Member
Messages
676
1. The player
2. Scale length
3. Pickup type

I know you said other than pickups but I don't see how you can ignore the type of pickup at least.
 

Promit

Member
Messages
2,470
I know you said other than pickups but I don't see how you can ignore the type of pickup at least.
Pickups is too obvious and too dramatic. It'd be on pretty much everybody's list and probably #1 so including it is pointless. For that matter I'm not sure player should count either...
 
M

Member 37136

This again? All the components and variables work together in ways you can't measure individually. What difference does it make, anyway?
 

vds5000

Member
Messages
2,221
1. Type of wood
2. Body shape/size
3. Scale length


4. Pickups (not so much brands, but type)
5. Hardware
 

Multicellular

Member
Messages
7,879
ya, other than Pickups, strings, and plectrum....none of the rest is saying much but..

scale length
neck wood (can I could fretboard and neck as 1?)
body wood (including if chambered, semi, etc.)
 

JPF

Member
Messages
8,783
1. How all the wood bits work together
2. How all the metal bits work together
3. How all the wood and bits work together

This determines how the instrument feels in my hands and how its tone sounds to me.
 

lost sailor

Senior Member
Messages
405
Decked vs. floating bridge (I get extra twang decked)
thickness of picks (fatter picks are thicker tone makers)
"how all the wood and bits work together"
 

gigs

Member
Messages
11,059
Amplifier
Amplifier
Speakers

... the stuff before that in the sound chain is in the noise.
 

Sweetwood

Member
Messages
1,177
having built around 600 guitars now:
wood
frets
fingerboard
pocketed fret slots (adds sustain)
tight neck joint
type of glue
air dried v kiln dried sounds different
truss rod
nut material
bridge saddle material
strings
type of finish (thin v. thick as well)
...outside of pickups
 

tweedfix

Member
Messages
1,075
What I ate for my last meal
How often I get to play with The Girls
mass/hardness of parts that couple vibrations to the chassis
 






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