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What makes a good sounding piece of wood?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by ash, Feb 23, 2009.

  1. ash

    ash Member

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    When having a guitar built, how can I make sure to pick the right pieces for a good sounding guitar?
    I was told that swamp ash bodies should be as light as possible to assure they sound good. But how heavy should a good sounding strat body be? Does the same theory apply to all kinds of wood (alder, mahogany etc) ?

    What about the neck? How can I pick a good sounding neck (maple, rosewood)?
     
  2. tbone666

    tbone666 Member

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  3. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Supporting Member

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  4. ash

    ash Member

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    interesting.

    In my case: I'm planning on having a 50s Strat built, so good to me would be a traditional 50s Strat sound, not too harsh/sharp, good sustain and direct attack.
     
  5. old crow

    old crow Member

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    My experience has proven old wood is your best bet. I'm not saying newer ones can't sound good, it's just more difficult to end up with a good sounding one.
    Old wood is also available in other countries, i.e. Japan.
    As for necks. I know vintage necks make a difference, but I'm not sure what your budget is and 50's Strat neck are expensive.
     
  6. K-Line

    K-Line Vendor

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    Ash needs to be light to sound good? Tell that to my 9.25 lbs ash Tele! It is a boat anchor and I would not trade it for a sissy 6lber anyday. Only if the 6lber sounded better, really. Weight does not effect tone positive or negative as far as F style guitars go. I could build up many of many different weights and woods and people would have about a 50% chance of saying which is which. It is the overall build that matters, setup is at least 50% of the equation. I have taken a dead guitar and brought it back to life with a great setup. Great guitar=sum on all things, not one thing.
     
  7. slowhand66

    slowhand66 Member

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    I agree, Northwestern (hard) ash is heavy as hell, and usually has good resonance. However, swamp ash from the South is much lighter and warmer in tone. Also, "purists" believe that the tonal qualties of the wood improves with age--i.e., better tone as the wood dries out. I know a luthier who seeks out old (100+ year old) wood for guitar projects based on this assumption.
     

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