Different Kinds of Wood for Acoustic Guitars

Written by michael black
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Different Kinds of Wood for Acoustic Guitars
Many types of wood are used to make acoustic guitars. (Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

The kind of wood used to make an acoustic guitar has a major affect on the tone of the instrument. Because of this, guitar makers have experimented with many types of wood when building guitars. Most guitars, though, are made out of a handful of time-tested woods.

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Maple

Maple is used in the creation of acoustic guitar bodies and acoustic guitar necks. Maple necks tend to give a guitar a bright, snappy sound, while maple bodies tend to bring out the tonal characteristic of the top wood, which is used for the face of the acoustic guitar.

Different Kinds of Wood for Acoustic Guitars
Maple acoustic guitar body (Polka Dot RF/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

Mahogany

Mahogany is used as an acoustic guitar top, body wood and neck wood. As a top, mahogany accentuates higher end frequencies while producing a fairly even tone. Mahogany as back or side wood generally emphasises the highs and the lows. As a neck, mahogany helps to create a warm, smooth tone.

Different Kinds of Wood for Acoustic Guitars
Mahogany guitar body (Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

Rosewood

The two major types of rosewood used to build guitars are Brazilian rosewood and Indian rosewood. Brazilian rosewood guitar bodies are known to have excellent clarity and strong highs and lows. Brazilian rosewood necks help to strengthen midrange frequencies. Indian rosewood is similar to Brazilian rosewood except, when used as body wood, it has a darker tonal quality and emphasises the midrange more than the lows.

Different Kinds of Wood for Acoustic Guitars
The neck of acoustic guitars are often made of Brazilian rosewood. (Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Koa

Koa wood is a time-tested wood that emphasises upper midrange and high end frequencies. Because of these characteristics, guitars made out of Koa wood are well-suited for rhythm guitar playing. Koa wood is used primarily as a body wood.

Different Kinds of Wood for Acoustic Guitars
Taylor Swift with a Koa wood guitar. (Jemal Countess/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images)

Spruce

Spruce guitar bodies are very common. Sitka spruce is a stiff wood that amplifies the guitar's sound extremely well. Sitka gives a guitar a well-rounded tone that sounds best when the guitar is played with a heavy hand. Red spruce is similar to Sitka spruce except it is louder and even more tonally complex. Red spruce is one of the best materials used to make any part of a guitar body.

Different Kinds of Wood for Acoustic Guitars
Acoustic guitars are commonly made of spruce. (Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

Alder and Basswood

Although slightly more common in electric instruments and basses, alder and basswood are sometimes used in the creation of acoustic guitar bodies. These types of wood tend to emphasise lower-end tones as opposed to the higher tones emphasised by many other woods.

Different Kinds of Wood for Acoustic Guitars
Electric guitars are often made of alder. (Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Ebony

Ebony is used to create the fretboard of some acoustic guitars. Ebony is usually used to dampen the sound of an instrument, which, when used in combination with a loud, extremely resonant guitar body wood, can help to round out a guitar's tone.

Different Kinds of Wood for Acoustic Guitars
Ebony is used to create the fretboard of some acoustic guitars. (Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images)

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