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  1. #1

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    I had an ash American Strat. Later I built an Alder Warmoth Strat. I was surprised how different they sounded. Ash one sounded warmer, more bass with mellower attack and was very scooped with ringing highs. Alder one had more mids and sounded more balanced. Due to the weaker bass, alder also sounded brighter than the ash one.

    I didn't know what was making the difference. I swapped the necks and electronics. The basic characteristics remained the same. The Alder one is chambered so I thought it must have been the hollowness of the body that caused the difference. Later I discovered that other alder and ash guitars I tried in stores also shared the respective characteristics.

    Here are alder vs ash comparison videos I found. In every one of them you can hear these characteristics. Tele or Strat, maple or rosewood fretboard, clean or distorted doesn't matter, the difference comes through even in a Youtube video. I don't know why there was ever a debate about that.









    Last edited by Tal_175; 05-26-2020 at 07:51 PM.

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  3. #2

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    What wood is not 'tonewood.'

  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by icr
    What wood is not 'tonewood.'
    Wikipedia article about tonewood is pretty good. Though I'm not really making a distinction between tonewood vs regular wood. More between different species of wood.
    Tonewood - Wikipedia

  5. #4
    Fender recently announced that they are discontinuing ash on the bodies of regular production guitars. They had to make that decision due to the infestation and various other environmental conditions that have limited the supply of instrument grade ash significantly.

    They'll use Alder and other alternatives from now on except the special reissues and custom orders etc.

    Fender to Discontinue Using Ash Bodies for Production-Line Guitars | GuitarPlayer
    Last edited by Tal_175; 05-26-2020 at 07:51 PM.

  6. #5

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    The good thing is that you have one of each so you can enjoy the characteristics of both of them. You will probably find that a particular song works best on one or the other simply because the tone suits it. I have an Alder clapton strat and a PRS swamp ash special. Different makers but exhibiting the same characteristics you mention. Both great.

  7. #6

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    This is an argument as old as water. As I have mentioned before, I have a 40th Anniversary (1994) Fender Stratocaster made with an all-aluminum body. Plugged into the same amp I use for any other guitar, its sound is indistinguishable from any of my wood-bodied guitars.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Just Fred
    This is an argument as old as water. As I have mentioned before, I have a 40th Anniversary (1994) Fender Stratocaster made with an all-aluminum body. Plugged into the same amp I use for any other guitar, its sound is indistinguishable from any of my wood-bodied guitars.
    Yeah, I have a lexan strat that sounds unmistakably like... a strat. Identical to any of my others? Maybe not, but a blind test would pick it out as a strat by anyone not hearing impaired.

    Tonewood matters for solid bodies-clear_strat_f-jpg

  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by GNAPPI
    Yeah, I have a lexan strat that sounds unmistakably like... a strat. Identical to any of my others? Maybe not, but a blind test would pick it out as a strat by anyone not hearing impaired.

    Tonewood matters for solid bodies-clear_strat_f-jpg
    Would you be able to pick out your lexan Strat from a wood strat if you play them blind-folded?

  10. #9

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    I 've always spent most of my practicing time with electrics at home playing unplugged, and the differences in acoustic sound, vibration, sensitivity, evenness, richness, overtones, etc, are impressive between similar styles of guitars. When you really get to know the acoustic sound of an electric guitar you realize that the only thing pickups do is carry that sound to an amp, colouring it according to their nature. But all the good and bad things about the guitar are there already, in the acoustic sound the woods and its construction create.

  11. #10

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    This WIKI below seems to indicate any wood used for a musical instrument is a "tonewood." Why not just say "wood" because "tonewood" = "wood"
    Even Balsa wood is used for guitars, and by those definitions would be "tonewood."

    Many woods used in musical instrument construction are chosen because of qualities remote from "tone." Such as availability, size, strength, grain pattern, ease of manufacture, acceptability to a finish, color, legality, durability, smell, freedom from parasites, water content, etc..

    Tonewood[edit]
    Spruce is the standard material used in soundboards for many musical instruments, including guitars, mandolins, cellos, violins, and the soundboard at the heart of a piano and the harp. Wood used for this purpose is referred to as tonewood.

  12. #11

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    Master violinists cannot tell the difference between modern builds and Strads, statistically. This is an acoustic instrument, perched immediately next to an ear, played blindfold by professional violinists with an average of 27 years of playing experience, supplied by people who had no idea which violin they were giving the musician.

    Swapping necks and playing the guitars oneself is a zero-blind "experiment" and therefore demonstrates nothing. Most everything in the signal chain influences tone -- including the wood, in a limited fashion, sure. And all bets are off once you go through a few gain stages. I'd want to see double-blind, single-variable studies before I buy the OP's claim.

    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, to paraphrase Sagan.

  13. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by icr
    This WIKI below seems to indicate any wood used for a musical instrument is a "tonewood." Why not just say "wood" because "tonewood" = "wood"
    Even Balsa wood is used for guitars, and by those definitions would be "tonewood."
    I mean not that this distinction matters for the purposes of this thread but tonewood is a terminology used by wood instrument makers. The emphasis in the meaning is not any wood that has ever been used in any instrument. It's more about certain properties (stiffness to weight ratio, flexibility vs brittleness, speed of sound etc) that are deemed desirable by instrument makers.
    The first sentence of the WIKI says just that:
    "Tonewood refers to specific wood varieties that possess tonal properties that make them good choices for use in woodwind or acoustic stringed instruments."

  14. #13

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    Supposedly the LP body was supposed to combine the soft warmth of mahogany with the hard brilliance of maple. But I always wondered if they just cancel each other out.

  15. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Thumpalumpacus
    Master violinists cannot tell the difference between modern builds and Strads, statistically. This is an acoustic instrument, perched immediately next to an ear, played blindfold by professional violinists with an average of 27 years of playing experience, supplied by people who had no idea which violin they were giving the musician.
    I think you misunderstand those studies. It's not that they cannot tell the difference between violins and they think all the violins sound the same. They just can't identify the maker consistently. There is a difference.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thumpalumpacus
    Swapping necks and playing the guitars oneself is a zero-blind "experiment" and therefore demonstrates nothing. Most everything in the signal chain influences tone -- including the wood, in a limited fashion, sure. And all bets are off once you go through a few gain stages. I'd want to see double-blind, single-variable studies before I buy the OP's claim.

    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, to paraphrase Sagan.
    I think it's pretty obvious in the videos I posted there are certain common qualities imparted consistently by the 2 types of woods. In some cases otherwise identical guitars. I would consider the extraordinary claim to be saying that "wood makes no difference, hence any difference heard in comparisons must be mostly product of other factors".

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by GNAPPI
    Yeah, I have a lexan strat that sounds unmistakably like... a strat. Identical to any of my others? Maybe not, but a blind test would pick it out as a strat by anyone not hearing impaired.
    Maybe the different woods *feel* differently vibrating against your body, but don't sound different through the pickups?

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175
    I think you misunderstand those studies. It's not that they cannot tell the difference between violins and they think all the violins sound the same. They just can't identify the maker consistently. There is a difference.
    Of course that's the finding. And you know what that means? The woods used by Stradivarius weren't identifiable , consistently, by trained professionals; and that they often confused those woods (which would presumably be drier, and therefore lighter) with newer woods. And that means they could not identify the difference between new wood and old beyond a statistically random success rate.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175
    I think it's pretty obvious in the videos I posted there are certain common qualities imparted consistently by the 2 types of woods. In some cases otherwise identical guitars. I would consider the extraordinary claim to be saying that "wood makes no difference, hence any difference heard in comparisons must be mostly product of other factors".
    Well, it's a good thing I didn't claim that, then. Indeed, since you obviously missed it, I'll reiterate what I wrote:

    Quote Originally Posted by Thumpalumpacus
    Most everything in the signal chain influences tone -- including the wood, in a limited fashion, sure.
    Now, living out in the country, I get my internet through the phone, and so cannot watch the video at this time due to data limitations. I don't know how they've got things set up, whether the pickups were dialed in identically when they were swapped, and so on. Ron Kirn, a noted builder of fine S- and T-style guitars, asserts that simply the act of removing a neck and reattaching it will change a guitar's sound. I don't know.

    What I do know is that a couple of youtube videos made under uncontrolled conditions aren't very rigorous, and therefore not very evidentiary, and certainly not explanatory.

    How would the wood species dramatically alter the interaction between pickups and strings? What mechanism would explain these differences? And do we see that mechanism at work in any experiments? Is it measurable?

  18. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Thumpalumpacus
    Of course that's the finding. And you know what that means? The woods used by Stradivarius weren't identifiable , consistently, by trained professionals; and that they often confused those woods (which would presumably be drier, and therefore lighter) with newer woods. And that means they could not identify the difference between new wood and old beyond a statistically random success rate.
    The discussion is not whether there is audible, consistent difference between aged vs new wood. It's difference between different species of wood.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thumpalumpacus
    Well, it's a good thing I didn't claim that, then. Indeed, since you obviously missed it, I'll reiterate what I wrote:



    Now, living out in the country, I get my internet through the phone, and so cannot watch the video at this time due to data limitations. I don't know how they've got things set up, whether the pickups were dialed in identically when they were swapped, and so on. Ron Kirn, a noted builder of fine S- and T-style guitars, asserts that simply the act of removing a neck and reattaching it will change a guitar's sound. I don't know.

    What I do know is that a couple of youtube videos made under uncontrolled conditions aren't very rigorous, and therefore not very evidentiary, and certainly not explanatory.

    How would the wood species dramatically alter the interaction between pickups and strings? What mechanism would explain these differences? And do we see that mechanism at work in any experiments? Is it measurable?
    May be after you see the videos (if you choose to) you'll have a better sense of the OP.

    Dramatic is not really the word I would choose. If you're asking about the mechanism, it is generally understood to be a substractive interaction. Acoustic resonance of the body changes vibration characteristics and attack on the strings. Bridge provides a complex feedback mechanism between the body and strings. Some frequencies are absorbed, some are cancelled out, some are even further amplified by the matching resonance.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175
    The discussion is not whether there is audible, consistent difference between aged vs new wood. It's difference between different species of wood.
    That's a distinction without a difference. This discussion is about the ability to audibly detect differing physical qualities in woods reliably. Whether or not the differences arise from species or age is irrelevant. If professionals cannot hear the difference between old, dry wood and newer, wetter wood, what makes you think some guy on youtube can hear the difference between species?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175
    May be after you see the videos (if you choose to) you'll have a better sense of the OP.

    Dramatic is not really the word I would choose. If you're asking about the mechanism, it is generally understood to be a substractive interaction. Acoustic resonance of the body changes vibration characteristics and attack on the strings. Bridge provides a complex feedback mechanism between the body and strings. Some frequencies are absorbed, some are cancelled out, some are even further amplified by the matching resonance.
    How does the wood type subtract some frequencies and not others? And why are you mentioning the bridge of a solid-body guitar at all? That's metal, not body-wood. As for acoustic resonance, how much energy would you guess a the E two octaves above middle-C imparts to 1 3/4" of solid wood, and what might be its amplitude as it propagates through the body? And why isn't the pickup picking up the string directly above it and thereby getting a full range of frequencies?

    Also, I'm not sure you understand "resonance" very well. Resonance is where the material substrate sympathetically vibrates. As such, it is not an energy amplifier, it is an energy sink; it absorbs energy.

    No offense intended, but this mechanism you propose is so vague as to be useless without some serious clarification.

  20. #19

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    I think a better explanation may be different wood types have certain characteristics. And even within the same species differences can occur from weight, etc.
    It also come's down to the neck and body liking each other. Ive had so many builds I stopped counting. Sometimes all the wrong things produced a spectacular sounding guitar. And other times all the right things sounded terrible!

  21. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Thumpalumpacus
    That's a distinction without a difference. This discussion is about the ability to audibly detect differing physical qualities in woods reliably. Whether or not the differences arise from species or age is irrelevant.



    How does the wood type subtract some frequencies and not others? And why are you mentioning the bridge of a solid-body guitar at all? That's metal, not body-wood.

    Also, I'm not sure you understand "resonance" very well. Resonance is where the material substrate sympathetically vibrates. As such, it is not an energy amplifier, it is an energy sink; it absorbs energy.

    No offense intended, but this mechanism you propose is so vague as to be useless without some serious clarification.
    Sorry but your questions are very basic and it would take a long time to get into all the details. Ampifiying a frequency is a relative effect in relation to other frequencies. It's a well known phenomenon called wolf tones:

    "A wolf tone, or simply a "wolf",[1] is a sustaining sympathetic artificial overtone that amplifies and expands the frequencies of a played musical note, and is produced when the original note matches the natural resonant frequency of the body of the musical instrument"
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolf_tone

  22. #21
    Simply put, when the body vibrates it takes energy from the strings. But the energy is not taken uniformly across the entire frequency spectrum available in the strings. Not all frequencies resonate the same in a given material, shape, construction etc. Different pieces of wood react to the strings differently hence basically sculpt the frequency spectrum of the overtones in the strings based on their acoustic properties.

    Pickups detect what's left on the strings. Hence the substractive effect.

    The bridge is the interface between the body and the strings. Providing a gateway to the interaction. The higher the acoustic impedance of the bridge, the less interaction would occur.

    None of these are my theories.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 05-27-2020 at 04:18 PM.

  23. #22

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    No wonder many here like Music Theory so much! LOL ,

  24. #23

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    Fools rush in where angels yada yada ...

    Elite Violinists Fail to Distinguish Legendary Violins From Modern Fiddles | Science | AAAS

    There may indeed be blind experiments in which violinists have been unable to distinguish one violin from another, but the one that is typically cited did not demonstrate that. Rather, it demonstrated that they COULD distinguish violins, could not guess correctly which were modern or old, and preferred the ones that turned out to be modern after the reveal. Many guessed that the ones they preferred had to be old because they preferred them, but these guesses turned out to be wrong.

    OK, on to alder vs ash. I accept as plausible that if you take two Strats that have identical body dimensions and shape, identical pups and controls, identical necks, identical hardware, identical set-ups, and identical signal chain, but one's body is ash and the other's is alder, there will be audible differences between the two. But I think you have to put an asterisk or air quotes or something around ash because the density of ash varies much more than alder (especially according to where it was grown).

    The first video above underscores that. The guy talks about his ash guitar being so heavy he can't play it any more (which jives with my experience of late 70s/early 80s Fenders). But ash can also be lighter than alder especially "swamp" ash (which is not a different species, but an indictor of where it was grown), or the same weight. Alder varies in density, too, but SFAIK not by as much. So I don't think these videos (or our experiences) are truly tests of one species versus another. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think there are blind tests that show that alder and ash of the same density consistently sound different.

    John

  25. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by John A.
    Fools rush in where angels yada yada ...
    Are you the fool or the angel?


    Quote Originally Posted by John A.
    Elite Violinists Fail to Distinguish Legendary Violins From Modern Fiddles | Science | AAAS

    There may indeed be blind experiments in which violinists have been unable to distinguish one violin from another, but the one that is typically cited did not demonstrate that. Rather, it demonstrated that they COULD distinguish violins, could not guess correctly which were modern or old, and preferred the ones that turned out to be modern after the reveal. Many guessed that the ones they preferred had to be old because they preferred them, but these guesses turned out to be wrong.

    OK, on to alder vs ash. I accept as plausible that if you take two Strats that have identical body dimensions and shape, identical pups and controls, identical necks, identical hardware, identical set-ups, and identical signal chain, but one's body is ash and the other's is alder, there will be audible differences between the two. But I think you have to put an asterisk or air quotes or something around ash because the density of ash varies much more than alder (especially according to where it was grown).

    The first video above underscores that. The guy talks about his ash guitar being so heavy he can't play it any more (which jives with my experience of late 70s/early 80s Fenders). But ash can also be lighter than alder especially "swamp" ash (which is not a different species, but an indictor of where it was grown), or the same weight. Alder varies in density, too, but SFAIK not by as much. So I don't think these videos (or our experiences) are truly tests of one species versus another. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think there are blind tests that show that alder and ash of the same density consistently sound different.

    John
    I generally agree with what you say here. But one has to understand that these are generalizations and not put the bar to impossibly high levels and take things too literally. Of course there are different types of ash (northern and southern swamp) and every piece of wood is different. You can have cases a where a piece of alder and ash have opposite properties. Same is true for even acoustic guitars. A rosewood guitar may sound more like a mahogany or vise versa. Doesn't mean generalizations do not have a point.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 05-27-2020 at 03:00 PM.

  26. #25

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    This guy is a bit annoying, but the experiment is pretty interesting:


  27. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by rlrhett
    This guy is a bit annoying, but the experiment is pretty interesting:
    Here is a follow up video of the same experiment recorded when he actually plays the guitars. You can hear differences even listening the youtube video from cheap computer speakers. How much difference does one need to recognize the effect of wood choice?

    He first says he thought there was no difference then he listened to them and heard the differences but it wasn't that important to him.

    Fine but that makes me laugh. He seems to be a guitar builder, next he should compare the difference between his guitars and cheap Squier's and explain why anyone should buy his guitars?

  28. #27

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    I have an Alder Fender Am Std and a Yamaha Pacifica 012 in Agathis. To some, Agathis is reviled, apparently.

    They don't sound the same, but they're pretty close. Add some processing and I don't know that I could tell them apart. I think the Fender sounds a little richer in the midrange but a little thinner in the upper range. You can probably buy 10 of the Yamaha used for the price of one of the Fenders (you'll have to spend a few bucks on better hardware for the Yamaha, so maybe it ends up being 7 to 1).

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Sound
    Supposedly the LP body was supposed to combine the soft warmth of mahogany with the hard brilliance of maple. But I always wondered if they just cancel each other out.
    IIRC, Ted McCarty said in an interview that the combination of Quarter-sawn mahogany and flat-sawn Hard Maple gave them the 22 seconds of sustain/decay that they were looking for. My maple-topped '68 Les Paul Custom had that, and probably more!
    Last edited by citizenk74; 05-28-2020 at 10:04 PM. Reason: addition

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175
    Are you the fool or the angel?




    I generally agree with what you say here. But one has to understand that these are generalizations and not put the bar to impossibly high levels and take things too literally. Of course there are different types of ash (northern and southern swamp) and every piece of wood is different. You can have cases a where a piece of alder and ash have opposite properties. Same is true for even acoustic guitars. A rosewood guitar may sound more like a mahogany or vise versa. Doesn't mean generalizations do not have a point.
    As long as we are talking about ash species, there are actually many species of ash, and at least 3 or 4 different species that are referred to as “swamp ash”. Those alone can span from parts of Canada to Florida. I’m guessing that one of these species is more common in guitars, but I wouldn’t have any idea which. I think black ash and green ash have been especially hard hit by boring insects, so maybe one or both of those. Growing us in Oklahoma, we had mostly green ash and that wood certainly looks like what I’ve seen on Fender guitars, but I’m guessing the woods may not look very dissimilar. Does anyone actually know?

  31. #30

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    I related this experiment recently in another thread, but it seems apropos here. At one time I had three PRS Custom 24s. Save for the material of the tops, they all had identical components. Locking tuners, Corian nuts, Brazialn rosewood fingerboards, floating trems, sweet switches, Honduran mahogany necks and bodies. The tops were two Red curly or flame Maple caps from different trees, and one Pacific Coast Hard Maple (quilted). I set up all three of the in identical fashion - identical string sizes and brands, the same 12th fret action, the same pickup heights, same number of trem springs, and the same identical trem float. Tuned to the same pitches, and strumming and then immediately damping the strings, each guitar had a characteristic over-ring. These were pitched at E, B, And G.

    All the non-wood parts were of identical materials. To what should we attribute the difference in over-ring, if not the woods involved?

  32. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175
    Are you the fool or the angel?
    The fool, always, and of course.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175
    I generally agree with what you say here. But one has to understand that these are generalizations and not put the bar to impossibly high levels and take things too literally. Of course there are different types of ash (northern and southern swamp) and every piece of wood is different. You can have cases a where a piece of alder and ash have opposite properties. Same is true for even acoustic guitars. A rosewood guitar may sound more like a mahogany or vise versa. Doesn't mean generalizations do not have a point.
    Well ... we are not talking about generalizations founded on representative samples of the guitar population and experiments that truly control for species. We're talking about subjective claims on youtube videos. We also have situations such as the bubbe meise that heavy guitars have more tone and sustain leading Fender to make guitars from heaviest ash they could find for a period of time, in turn leading some people to draw conclusions about ash that may really be more about density. So I take all of this with a grain of salt and compare entire guitars to entire guitars, not nominal specs to specs. Generalizations only have a point only to the extent they're largely true. I'm not saying this one is isn't. But it's too easy to find yabbuts in them to take them very seriously.

    John

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by citizenk74
    I related this experiment recently in another thread, but it seems apropos here. At one time I had three PRS Custom 24s. Save for the material of the tops, they all had identical components. Locking tuners, Corian nuts, Brazialn rosewood fingerboards, floating trems, sweet switches, Honduran mahogany necks and bodies. The tops were two Red curly or flame Maple caps from different trees, and one Pacific Coast Hard Maple (quilted). I set up all three of the in identical fashion - identical string sizes and brands, the same 12th fret action, the same pickup heights, same number of trem springs, and the same identical trem float. Tuned to the same pitches, and strumming and then immediately damping the strings, each guitar had a characteristic over-ring. These were pitched at E, B, And G.

    All the non-wood parts were of identical materials. To what should we attribute the difference in over-ring, if not the woods involved?
    The electronics (capacitors and resistor tolerances) and the pickup manufacturing variations (albeit slight but they add up) could account for quite a bit if you are hearing the difference amplified. If you are hearing the difference acoustically, then it is more likely the wood and the manufacturing variations (neck setting) and string batches. I believe that the wood makes a difference in the acoustic sound but not in a predictable and consistent way to be useful in choosing guitars without listening to them. The difference of body woods in the signals coming from the magnetic pickups can be seen in an oscilloscope tracing but is not distinguishable in a blind listening test. There are a few published experiments strongly suggesting this.

  34. #33

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    So Charlie Hoffman a boutique flat top guitar builder explained to me that people generally want the Tone heard on records they grew up with. Especially the famous records.
    So Alder, Swamp Ash, Maple ,Mahogany, are the primary tones in Solid Body builds. Leo and company got it right to begin with, and now it's pretty much about refinements.

    Anyway at some point it's more important to perseverate on your playing the instrument. Especially if the music involves more than 4 Cowboy Chords,lol!

  35. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by medblues
    The difference of body woods in the signals coming from the magnetic pickups can be seen in an oscilloscope tracing but is not distinguishable in a blind listening test. There are a few published experiments strongly suggesting this.
    Can you please provide a link to any one of these published studies you mention that shows body wood differences are not distinguishable in blind tests. Because I cannot find any.

  36. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by medblues
    The electronics (capacitors and resistor tolerances) and the pickup manufacturing variations (albeit slight but they add up) could account for quite a bit if you are hearing the difference amplified. If you are hearing the difference acoustically, then it is more likely the wood and the manufacturing variations (neck setting) and string batches. I believe that the wood makes a difference in the acoustic sound but not in a predictable and consistent way to be useful in choosing guitars without listening to them. The difference of body woods in the signals coming from the magnetic pickups can be seen in an oscilloscope tracing but is not distinguishable in a blind listening test. There are a few published experiments strongly suggesting this.
    The guitars were not amplified. The tonal, pitched response (checked with a strobe tuner) was audible. The guitars were resonating at those pitches sufficiently to make the trem springs vibrate audibly. The strings were all brand new, from the same box. As to manufacturing variations, you may not be familiar with PRS QC.

  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175
    Would you be able to pick out your lexan Strat from a wood strat if you play them blind-folded?
    I have a half dozen wood strats and the one I can for certain pick out is my "Showmaster Strat" if you can call it a strat. The rest are just more versions of stratiness :-)

  38. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by GNAPPI
    I have a half dozen wood strats and the one I can for certain pick out is my "Showmaster Strat" if you can call it a strat. The rest are just more versions of stratiness :-)
    That reminds me, I need to buy more strats. I'm down to one.

  39. #38
    Here is a neck test. I haven't watched it yet:

  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175
    Here is a neck test. I haven't watched it yet:
    I don't hear any differences. I tried listening without watching, and in some cases (where there was less of an obvious pause between guitars), I did not detect that he had changed. I'm imagine others will say they hear differences (witness the youtube comments). Could be they have more sensitive ears than I do. Could be they're fooling themselves.

    John

  41. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by John A.
    I don't hear any differences. I tried listening without watching, and in some cases (where there was less of an obvious pause between guitars), I did not detect that he had changed. I'm imagine others will say they hear differences (witness the youtube comments). Could be they have more sensitive ears than I do. Could be they're fooling themselves.

    John
    I also didn't hear a difference between the two maple necks (one with rosewood fretboard). I think I heard a subtle difference with the mahogany neck. But I agree with the guy who did the tests that differences with body woods were more significant. That was a separate test that I linked in the original post.

  42. #41
    To put things in context, the title of the thread should've been wood makes a difference in tone, whether it matters or not is debatable. When it comes to acoustic instruments, the tone you get from the construction is all you got. For example there aren't too many things one could do to make a very scooped guitar to sound balanced or fat.

    With electric guitars not only differences are more subtle but pickup choices, pedals, guitar and amp controls make it possible to shape the tone a lot more. So may be it's a moot point but in my experience you do get a base tone from the acoustic sound of the electric guitars. To me it makes sense to start out with a base tone that's closer to what one wants to achieve.

  43. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175
    Sorry but your questions are very basic and it would take a long time to get into all the details. Ampifiying a frequency is a relative effect in relation to other frequencies. It's a well known phenomenon called wolf tones:

    "A wolf tone, or simply a "wolf",[1] is a sustaining sympathetic artificial overtone that amplifies and expands the frequencies of a played musical note, and is produced when the original note matches the natural resonant frequency of the body of the musical instrument"
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolf_tone
    From that same article:



    The remedy, damping a string, implies that that is where the resonance is actually making the noise (i.e., enhancing the frequency).

    So if it's all subtractive, then can you identify how the frequencies are deleted? What qualities of wood attenuate which frequencies, and why?

    A resonant body absorbs energy, and vibrates in sympathy to the prevalent frequencies. We all know that. That is not the same as asserting that different frequencies are so attenuated by particular materials that the human ear can hear the difference, especially after being processed from pickup to speaker.

    I've seen too many people over at MyLesPaul fail KP's blind listening test to trust any claims like this without evidence.

  44. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by Thumpalumpacus
    From that same article:



    The remedy, damping a string, implies that that is where the resonance is actually making the noise (i.e., enhancing the frequency). This quote of yours doesn't demonstrate that harmonic resonances add energy to any frequencies, only that near-matches are annoying enough to prompt remedies.

    Where's the extra energy coming from to supply the amplification of a frequency as you say happens? There's no such thing as a free lunch. This is physics.
    Of course there is no energy added. There is no magic. As I explained that's in relation to the other frequencies, wolf note sound amplified. The article also uses the term "amplified" to describe the effect. Don't get too hung up on that term. Obviously it doesn't mean suspension of the laws of physics.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 05-28-2020 at 07:43 PM.

  45. #44
    Also note that amplify does not mean adding energy in the context of sound. Sound board of a piano or acoustic guitar amplifies the sound of the strings. That means strings are themselves very quiet, sound board translates the energy in the strings to the movement of the larger surface area of the sound board. Resulting in more air movement at once than strings themselves can achieve. No energy addition is implied but the sound is amplified.

  46. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175
    To put things in context, the title of the thread should've been wood makes a difference in tone, whether it matters or not is debatable. When it comes to acoustic instruments, the tone you get from the construction is all you got. For example there aren't too many things one could do to make a very scooped guitar to sound balanced or fat.

    With electric guitars not only differences are more subtle but pickup choices, pedals, guitar and amp controls make it possible to shape the tone a lot more. So may be it's a moot point but in my experience you do get a base tone from the acoustic sound of the electric guitars. To me it makes sense to start out with a base tone that's closer to what one wants to achieve.
    I've been making acoustic guitars for twenty years. Each one I make has its own character and voice. Admittedly, these are not electrics. That said, rarely do they align with my preconceived notions of what the wood is going to sound like. So many factors are at play.

    But let me stress that is NOT a bad thing. I love the fact that guitars have their own voice and personality. The first time I string up a new guitar is always magic. I have friends that make coffee tables or turn bowls in their spare time. When they are done, they have a bowl. I have this thing that speaks in its own voice. A silly as it sounds, it feels like it comes alive.

    It is hard to pick a guitar just from specs. They have a tendency of thumbing their nose at your preconceived notions. If they were predictable you could just order up the cheapest one that has the specs you want and be done with it. You have to play them, fall in love with them, give them a name, find a place for them on your wall/rack/studio, etc.

    Then, of course, you have to start your search for the next one.

  47. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175
    Can you please provide a link to any one of these published studies you mention that shows body wood differences are not distinguishable in blind tests. Because I cannot find any.
    This is what I had saved as a link, the various fora and youtube has a bunch of blind tests there are also published blind tests demonstrating psychoacoustic phenomena:

    http://faculty.tamuc.edu/cbertulani/...SelfThesis.pdf

  48. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by citizenk74
    The guitars were not amplified. The tonal, pitched response (checked with a strobe tuner) was audible. The guitars were resonating at those pitches sufficiently to make the trem springs vibrate audibly. The strings were all brand new, from the same box. As to manufacturing variations, you may not be familiar with PRS QC.
    Of course you are right, I agreed with you that body wood make a difference in acoustic sound. I still think without a strobe tuner and visual input, most people would have hard time discerning them in a blind test but we will never know the answer. I heard about QA/QC/QI of PRS but I doubt that they test for sonic (acoustic) consistency to the point that they discard guitars that look perfect and sound great but does not sound identical to a "standard" one.

  49. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by medblues
    This is what I had saved as a link, the various fora and youtube has a bunch of blind tests there are also published blind tests demonstrating psychoacoustic phenomena:

    http://faculty.tamuc.edu/cbertulani/...SelfThesis.pdf
    This is not a published research. It seems like an undergraduate project titled "Self study". Nevertheless conclusion of this thesis does not seem to suggest that it's a psychoacoustic phenomena. It says it found differences in tone, suggest further research to evaluate how well they could be heard (last sentence of the conclusion):


    "Even though this study did find differences in timbre, it would be useful to research whether or not one couldactually hear the difference. Such research is outside the scope of this study; however, measuringthe ability of one to perceive these differences is necessary to evaluate how different two timbresmust be before they can be perceived as different. "

  50. #49

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    There also needs to be a clear and unambiguous causal relationship between wood species and tone, or timbre if you prefer, in order to support the videos upthread.

  51. #50

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    Even as Crazy as I am,especially about chasing gear. This is past the Mark of any use. Especially since the guys who are so anal about this don't even gig !

    It reminds me of the old audiophiles who buy a record of a snare drum to show off their system,lol!