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Does Wood Type Matter For Electric Guitars?

When you're deciding which electric guitar to buy, you may look at the different types of wood that electric guitars are built from and wonder, "Does wood type matter for electric guitars?"

It's Not All About Pickups

Why would you even ask that question? Because you know, as we do, that the power and depth of an electric guitar's sound is determined by the pickups, not the material that makes up the body, neck, and fretwork. It's logical to assume, then, that the type of material doesn't matter.

But that's not quite true. You see, if you're looking to buy your own electric guitar, you need to think about more than just sound. You need to think about how the guitar feels in your hands, how sturdy it is, and how long it will hold up under wear and tear.

Let's say we do take sound into account, as well. Different types of wood bodies, both solid and hollow, produce different tones. The right type of wood can help sustain your notes and enrich the music you're playing.

All these factors are where the type of wood comes into play (no pun intended).

Types Of Wood For Electric Guitars And Their Advantages

There are a few kinds of wood out there that you will typically see in an electric guitar on the market. Each has its own set of advantages that make it useful for the different parts of the guitar: the body, the neck, and the fingerboard.

Woods For Electric Guitar Bodies

For electric guitar bodies, here are the types of wood you're likely to find:

  1. African Mahogany

  2. American or Canadian Maple

  3. Asian or South Pacific Agathis

  4. South American Alder

  5. American Ash

African mahogany is the most popular for solid electric guitar bodies. It's weighty and feels good and solid to hold, and it also produces a rich tone. If you choose an electric guitar made of this wood, you probably prefer a heavier body.

Maple, agathis, alder, and ash are all lighter than mahogany. Maple and ash, like mahogany, are considered hardwoods, while agathis and alder are softwood. If you enjoy a heftier weight and sturdier construction for your guitar body, go for the hardwoods. But the softwoods, typically used for hollow body guitars, will produce more resonance and be easier to handle.

Woods For Electric Guitar Necks

The wood that's used for electric guitar necks should be tough enough to hold up against years of play. Yet it should also be comfortable to hold. You'll find that a good electric guitar neck is usually made out of a slightly softer hardwood than pure mahogany, such as American or Canadian maple.

Woods For Electric Guitar Fingerboards

Your fingerboard is going to get the most use and abuse over the years, so it's important that the wood it's constructed out of can stand the test of time. Strong woods suitable for electric guitar fingerboards include:

  1. Palisander

  2. American and Canadian Maple

  3. African and Southeast Asian Ebony

  4. Walnut

Conclusion: It's All A Matter Of Taste

In the end, the choice of materials your electric guitar should be made of comes down to a matter of taste: your taste.

Sure, there are certain types of wood that are considered superior for the body, neck, and fingerboard. But all that matters, really, is that the guitar feels good in your hands and lasts for many years, and that you enjoy playing it. That's all any electric guitar player and enthusiast could wish for.

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