When you think of acoustic guitars, wood probably doesn’t spring to mind but it should. Wood is one of the main materials used in the construction of guitars. Not only that, but the type of wood used can have a profound impact on a guitar’s overall sound. Interested in learning more? Read on to discover the most popular types of guitar woods and find out which one is right for your particular sound!
First things first, there are wood guitars and then there are laminate wood guitars. There are a few key differences between the two, primarily quality and price. While either type of guitar is perfectly suitable for a variety of musical needs from guitar lessons to at-home jam sessions and professional concerts, you’ll find that laminate guitars are less expensive, but do not resonate as well as solid wood guitars. The reason for this is that solid wood guitars are made with pure sheets of high-quality wood whereas a laminate wood guitar is made from layers of thin processed wood. It should be no surprise then that solid wood guitars are generally more durable than laminate wood guitars and have a longer shelf life. But fear not, there’s no wrong choice when it comes to guitars! Instead, it all boils down to preference and need.
Once you’ve decided on a solid wood guitar versus a laminate wood guitar, the next choice you’ll need to make is the type of guitar wood you want. While a guitar can be made from any number of woods, below is a list of some of the most popular choices.
Types of Guitar Wood
Spruce is by far the most common type of wood used for guitars, especially for the tops of guitars. Its popularity is due to the fact that it suits almost every guitarist’s musical style. It produces a very consistent sound with an overall smooth and classic tone. Compared to other types of guitar wood, spruce is known to be milder in sound, but versatile enough for most guitar players.
Maple is another standard choice among guitarists. Unlike spruce, maple wood guitars have a brighter, crisper sound. Because of this, they work well when plugged into amplifiers, making them a good choice for guitar players who frequently perform at large venues. Maple is also known for being a sturdy wood which is why it is commonly used for necks and fretboards rather than the main body of a guitar.
A gorgeous golden brown in color, cedarwood makes for a visually appealing—and sounding—material for guitars. In comparison to spruce and maple, cedar has a slightly heavier, more mellow tone. It’s most often used only for the tops of guitars.
Mahogany, on the other hand, is generally used for guitar backs and sides. It’s dark in color, making it one of the most recognizable woods. It’s also very dense which contributes to its warm, rich tones.
It’s important to note that the list above is not an extensive list of guitar woods; there are many other types of woods used in guitar building, such as rosewood, alder, walnut, basswood, etc. To determine which guitar wood material is right for you, you’ll need to test out a few. Stop by a local guitar shop in Phoenix or Scottsdale to experiment with various guitars to find the one that suits you best.
Once you’ve settled on a guitar, don’t forget to sign up for guitar lessons at Scottsdale Music Academy to put your shiny new instrument to use!