About Guitar Woods

You might have read some of the information about the guitars on this site and wondered about the different materials these guitars are made from. I’m going to give some basic explanations to help understand how the different woods of a guitar make it sound or play a certain way.

  • Adler Body: The Fender American Standard Stratocaster has a body made of a wood called alder. Guitars with alder bodies are fairly bright and articulate. Alder has been used in Fender guitars since the 50’s. If you are looking to get as close to a Fender sound as possible alder is probably your best chose for the body.
  • Ash Body: The Fender Special Edition Telecaster has a body made of a wood called ash. Guitars with ash bodies are, like alder bright and articulate. Ash has also been used in Fender guitars since the 50’s. Telecasters are probably the best known for having an ash body.
  • Basswood Body: The Squier by Fender Stratocaster has a body made from basswood. Basswood is a fairly soft wood and used in lots of guitars of all price ranges. It has an even sound and is a bit mellower than the alder or ash found in so many Fender guitars. One draw back of basswood is, being it’s soft, it’s easy to get little dents and nicks in it.
  • Mahogany Body: The Epiphone LP-100 Les Paul has a Mahogany body with a maple top. Mahogany has a warm sound and a clear tone without being harsh. Gibson used mahogany in Les Pauls since the very beginning. Countless other manufacturers also use mahogany as it has a great tone and nice looking grain. It has also been used in many acoustic guitars as well. It’s a good choice for just about any kind of music.
  • Spruce Top on Acoustic Guitars: Many acoustic guitars use a spruce top. Other woods, such as mahogany and cedar can be used but spruce is the most popular. The thing that spruce has going for it is that it is very strong, while at the same time, it’s fairly light. The strings on an acoustic guitar provide a great deal of force on the top so the top needs to be strong. However, the top also needs to vibrate and project the sound of the strings. Spruce has a great combination of strength and low weight making it a great wood for the top.
  • Rosewood vs. Maple fingerboard: Rosewood is known for being a little softer than maple when used for a fingerboard. I have never noticed much difference.