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Acoustic Guitar Tonewoods
What is your favorite tonewood?
Acoustic Guitar Tonewoods
The tonewood on an acoustic guitar is simply the type of wood used to make the guitar. There is a wide variety of woods that can be used to make an acoustic guitar. The most commonly used tonewoods are described below.
Spruce. Spruce is the most common wood used for acoustic guitar tops. Spruce is used because it has a nice crisp sound suited for many styles of music. Spruce also has the best strength-to-weight ratio in the world as far as woods go. Spruce comes in many different varieties, including Sitka, Engelmann, and Adirondack.
Cedar. Cedar is the second most common wood used for the top of a guitar. Cedar wood produces a more mellow sound than spruce, by blending the notes together more. Cedar is used on most classical guitars.
Back and Sides
Mahogany. Genuine mahogany comes from South America. Mahogany is lighter than rosewood and koa, but is still very stable. Mahogany has a strong, loud tone that has a quick response. It emphasises on warm, full, and round midranges, smooth, tight bass response, and bright, clean highs.
Quilted Mahogany. Quilted mahogany is simply a rare variety of genuine mahogany that is found in just a small portion of mohogany trees. It shares the same tonal qualities as your regular mahogany.
Brazilian Rosewood. Brazilian rosewood is actually an endangered wood, making it harder to obtain and also making it more expensive. It is used on many special edition guitars due to its limited quantities. The tone recieved from rosewood is extremely rich sounding. It has a very clear, crisp sound to it making it a highly sought after sound. All rosewoods have a very tight low end to their sound, resulting in a very clean sound overall.
East Indian Rosewood. Brazilian Rosewood and East Indian Rosewood do have a few visual differences, however the differences in sound are very subtle.
Koa. Koa is a uniquely figured wood that comes from Hawaii. It has a golden brown color with dark brown streaks in it. The bass response is slightly less than rosewood, and the trebble is a little bit less than what mohogany delivers. This creates a well balanced tone that is very even and smooth.
European Flamed Maple. This maple comes from Germany and has a hard and soft rippling effect to it. The rippling effect is where we get the name for "flamed" maple. The sound of this wood is very hard, loud and projective with great mids and trebles.
Western Hard Rock Maple. This variety comes from North America, and is still very similar to the European maples. Canada produces a special "birdseye" maple that is very cool looking. The tone of the hard rock maple is very close to the European maple.
Well I hope you enjoyed reading this article. I hope you learned a lot about the different tonewoods used to make acoustic guitars.