GUITAR WOODS

Guitar Woods

BODY WOODS

Alder: Alder is used predominantly for bodies because it is readily available, light weight and has a full even tone. Alder's natural color is light reddish tan with little or no distinct grain lines. Its closed grain makes the wood easy to work with and finish. Alder has been one of the main woods for Fender bodies since the beginning. It was primarily used for solid color paints but was also used with three tone Sunburst or Tobacco burst finishes. Because of its proven tonal characteristics and lower price, Alder is one of our most popular woods.

Ash: We offer two different types of Ash, Northern Hard Ash and Southern Soft, or Swamp Ash. Northern Hard Ash: This is a very hard and heavy wood. A body will weigh 6 lbs and up. With its density, the tone is very bright. Its color is tan, but also tends to have heart wood of pink to brown tints. The grain is open, very much like Oak. This wood is also very difficult to finish because of its open grain. Swamp Ash or Southern Soft is a prized wood for many reasons. This is the wood many 50's and 60's Fenders were made of. It is easily distinguishable from Northern Ash by weight and in its lighter appearance. The weight of this wood varies greatly, but the lighter bodies are the most sought after, anywhere between 3 1/2 to 5 pounds per body. This wood sings, offering an even balance across the entire spectrum of brightness and warmth. The grain is open and also difficult to finish but well worth the trouble, a beautiful choice for clear finishes. Swamp Ash is our most popular wood.

Basswood: This is very light in weight, bodies usually weigh four pounds or less. The color is white, but often has green mineral streaks throughout. This is a closed-grain wood, but quite soft, it can absorb a lot of finish. This is not a durable wood and not used for clear finishes, but because of its dark warm tone is still a fine selection.

Mahogany: Honduran Mahogany, is the same wood used in many fine solid and hollow body guitars. This is an excellent wood with good musical properties, covering the gamut from Blues to Jazz, the tone is warm full and sweet with good sustain. Mahogany varies in body weight averaging 5 lbs or more for a solid body. The grain is open yet easy to fill. The wood varies in appearance from very plain to a beautiful array of ribbons, a good wood for clear finishes.

Maple: There are two types of Maple which we use, Northern Hard (Hard Rock Maple) and Western Soft (Big leaf Maple). Hard Maple is the same wood used for necks. It is very dense, and weighs quite a bit. The grain is closed and easy to finish. The sound of Maple is very bright with a lot of bite. It looks good in any style finish. Western Soft Maple is another wood like Alder that grows in and around in Washington State. It is usually much lighter and softer than Hard Maple, but is a little more towards reddish brown in color. Its sound is characterized by good bite and attack, bright, but not brittle like hard Maple. Our Fiddle back and quilted bodies are western Big leaf Maple.

Walnut: Walnut is not quite as heavy as Maple, it has a similar sound though not as bright. Walnut is very beautiful with open grain. Oil finishes can look wonderfully rich on this wood when applied properly.

Koa: This very beautiful wood indigenous to Hawaii. Weight varies somewhat from medium to heavy, a good wood for basses and in combination with other woods to create hollow body guitars. Koa has a warm sound similar to mahogany, but a little brighter. Like Walnut, this wood may be oiled or sprayed clear either way this wood is gorgeous.

Zebrawood: This wood is very heavy with a very distinctive look, open grained with light and dark brown stripes, it is becoming more and more common in the bass and guitar world. Its weight and sound are similar to Walnut depending on the application. It is difficult to find in thick pieces, but it is more commonly available for laminated bodies where it excels. This wood may be oiled or sprayed clear, either way this wood is also very beautiful.

Rosewood: This wood is our heaviest with bodies weighing in at over six pounds plus. We've used several different species, depending on availability, but our primary choice is Indian Rosewood. The sound is much warmer than Maple, the high end seems to lack a bit only because of the oily nature of the wood. Finishes are difficult to apply because of its oil content.

 

 

NECK WOODS

Maple: As our primary wood we use Northern Hard Rock Maple selected for clean clear grain and minimal run-out. This wood has a bright tone with excellent sustain.

Birdseye Maple: This is the same species tree as plain Maple, however, for some unexplainable reason it has a beautiful Birdseye figure, and therefore more expensive. There is a great deal of variation from board to board in the appearance and density of this figure. Because each one is unique your neck will have its own distinctive appearance. We have found no difference between plain Maple and Birdseye Maple.

Eastern Fiddle back Maple: A highly figured Maple known by its flamed beauty and sweet warm tone. Found in the north east, it is known for its use in violin construction.

Rosewood: We use Indian Rosewood for our fingerboards. This is a very stable hardwood, ranging in color from dark purple to various shades of yellow and orange. Its tone is warmer than Maple. Rosewood requires no finish, so you can play it without.

 

FINGERBOARD WOODS

Maple: Maple fingerboards maintain the same brightness and twangy tone of the standard Maple neck. Plain Maple necks have plain Maple fingerboards. Birdseye necks have plain Birdseye fingerboards. Because Maple necks are usually lacquered, their feel is that of the finish, not the wood.

Rosewood: Rosewood is an oily wood with open grain. It is also a bit softer than Maple. This feature attributes to Rosewood's warmer tone. Rosewood is the most popular fingerboard available. It ranges in color from very dark and almost black to purples, and orange, all darkening with use.

Ebony: Ebony is the hardest and smoothest feeling fingerboard wood. Ebony's tone is bright and clean. Its color is generally black, but frequently comes streaked with small chocolate-colored brown and gray lines. We prefer not to dye our ebony, leaving it to distinguish its own beauty and uniqueness naturally.



*Each piece of wood is unique and grain varies from piece to piece. We cannot guarantee a specific grain pattern, but we do our best to meet your needs. We use only the finest quality woods and we always deliver quality looking parts. 
(Images are for illustration purposes only, and do not represent the exact wood grain, as the grain varies.)

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