However, where it really comes to life is the mid range. “One of its singular characteristics is that it’s almost perfectly transparent—it doesn’t sound like anything, which isn’t usually how you want a top to respond.”, Examples: Fender T-Bucket 400 CE; Rayco Squareneck Resonator. A layered or laminated tonewood is one in which several thin sheets of wood are glued together to form a material that’s inexpensive and durable to work with. When it comes to back and sides of the guitar, we start seeing somewhat different tonewood being the standard. Clearly not, as we’ll find out. Ebony, the traditional fingerboard material found on violins, classical guitars, and high-end steel strings, has the lowest velocity of sound of all the woods commonly used in lutherie and has definite damping characteristics. Martin actually used to cut Honduran rosewood logs for Musser, a premier maker of marimbas. An instrument whose sonic spectrum is cluttered is more difficult to record than one with a comparably direct sound. Torrefaction  A process in which the soundboard is thermally cured in an oxygen-free environment to alter the cellular structure of the wood in a manner that replicates an aged tone. This light tonewood is found in acoustic guitars at Breedlove Guitars. The reason for this is the fact that cedar brings a whole lot of warmth to the tone. The combination of mahogany back and sides with a spruce top is common as this partnership is one of great balance and versatility. 300 Series: Sapele or Tasmanian blackwood back/sides, Sitka spruce (Sapele back/sides) or mahogany top (Tasmanian blackwood back/sides). A couple of other variables that impact a guitar’s sound are its setup—an instrument with overly low action tends to have an anemic tone even if it’s made from the most optimally resonant tonewoods—and even its scale length. The ones we did mention are what you will most commonly see on the market. August 10, 2020 at 8:07 am. The guitar has scalloped X-bracing, a 14-fret neck joint, and a solid peghead. With that said, let’s take a look at different types of woods used for the top, and then we will check out what usually works best for back and sides. But overall, sapele is known for warm resonance and good projection. Sitka spruce is the world’s most popular topwood, for a reason. Someone who has been playing acoustic guitars for decades will easily recognize and appreciate quality tonewood. Belize used to be a British colony. The GS Mini has a solid Sitka Spruce top; The GS Mini Mahogany has a solid Tropical Mahogany top; That’s it! For the most part, Adirondack spruce can be found on select high-end instruments. It was widely used on pre-war and vintage instruments. The British exported a lot of mahogany from Belize throughout history and during the 19th century they used the rivers of Belize as their main source of transportation. I was looking at getting a Martin Gpcpa3 guitar acoustic and it costs $1699 at guitar center. But as the steel-string guitar has evolved, luthiers and players alike have become more attuned to the sonic characteristics inherent to different tonewoods. $549.00. So, in the studio, mahogany backs and sides can be preferable to rosewood. The top or soundboard, as the name suggests, bears more influence on the way a guitar sounds than any other component, though the back also is a key component. Sapele has a mellower tone than spruce. Sapele. Examples: Larrivee L-03 Walnut Acoustic Guitar; Gibson 2016 SJ-100 Walnut Jumbo. That’s why it’s used in the vast majority of new rosewood guitars. Would appreciate your opinion. Let’s take a look at the things that are the same just to illustrate how similar these guitars are besides their top. I've heard Indian rosewood is better for back and sides and that it lasts longer than sapele. Fundamental vs. Overtones  To test velocity of sound, a luthier will hold a piece of wood at a nodal point and tap it to listen for the response. Thanks. A fully-realized instrument of solid tonewoods in a smaller dreadnought body. This maple is supplied by Pacific Rim Tonewoods, a company with thoughtful practices when it comes to sourcing and preparing woods for musical instruments. Brazilian rosewood fretboards and their denser rainforest counterparts add sparkle and ring, and Indian rosewood fretboards can help fatten up the midrange. Indian rosewood is a versatile tonewood, equally good for flatpicking and fingerpicking, with scooped mids, a deep low-end, and bright high end. Examples: Taylor 714; Cordoba C9 Luthier Series; Seagull Guitars Coastline S12. On the other hand, supplies of premium tonewoods have been diminishing due to increased demand, land development, and poor forest management. The San Francisco-based Blackbird Guitars, for example, has even created a highly resonant, proprietary plant-based synthetic called Ekoa. https://musicvilla.com It falls tonally between Spruce and Cedar, leaning toward a warm Spruce top in sound and stiffness. The Things that Are the Same. I’m not really fond of walnut, although it sometimes pleasantly surprises me,” Boak says. Sapele is a fast growing and highly sustainable African wood which is protected from over harvesting making it a fabulous choice for the environmentally aware. When it comes to acoustic guitars, the type of wood used will still make a significant difference. The material was kiln-dried in Belize, but has been re-stickered to give the piles air flow to allow them to air dry even more. I’ve played vintage guitars that still sounded stiff because they were left in the case and never played and I’ve played guitars that are less than a year old that sounded awesome.”, Examples: Gibson Hummingbird Vintage; Martin CEO-7; Blueridge BR-163A Top Craftsman Series. Free shipping. is sapele a good wood for guitar back and sides? By the time we are done, you should have a pretty clear understanding of this topic. In addition, tonewoods respond differently in the hands of different makers. Wenge, a dense, dark-colored African hardwood unrelated to the rosewoods, has tonal properties remarkably similar to those of Brazilian rosewood. Rosewood, which takes the name from its characteristic floral scent, is an ideal tonewood for backs and sides. That is what I like. The Music Zoo is always impressed by the quality Martin Guitars brings to the table, and the Martin D-10E is no exception. This is even truer if they’ve used quality rosewood. An Engelmann top typically has less headroom than one made from Sitka, and its sound can suffer a little when played loudly. Many luthiers feel that it enhances the tone and sustain of spruce. If you find yourself in this position, this tonewood primer should help steer you in the right direction to realize your musical vision. The newly updated DJr-10 features satin finished sapele back and sides in a rich cherry hue, an option of satin finished Sitka spruce or Sapele top, and a hand-rubbed neck with a high-performance taper. However, where it really comes to life is the mid range. While Brazilian rosewood has been offered in fancy instruments since then, both by guitar companies and independent luthiers, it has become even trickier to obtain. Due to the age of these logs, all this material would have been old-growth timber. “Differences between woods can be as mysterious and complex as differences between people,” Maine luthier and, Slabs of tonewood from an ancient mahogany trunk known iconically as The Tree are among the most coveted tonewoods—even Slash of Guns N’ Roses had a custom acoustic built from The Tree (read about it in the March 2016 issue of. It looks something like genuine mahogany, but sapele has a higher density and often produces a … Slabs of tonewood from an ancient mahogany trunk known iconically as The Tree are among the most coveted tonewoods—even Slash of Guns N’ Roses had a custom acoustic built from The Tree (read about it in the March 2016 issue of AG). “Honduran is my personal favorite,” Boak says. Excerpted from the 1994 Acoustic Guitar article “Tapping Tonewoods.”, The back and sides contribute far less than the soundboard to a guitar’s sound, but their composition is nonetheless important. Stringed instruments, for the entirety of their existence, have been dependent on the type of tonewood used to make them. For more info on Taylor Guitars please go here - http://www.andertons.co.uk/brands/bid14362/taylor.asp#1449746114623page-1 Mics are the … $600.00. Our demo guitar had the optional sunburst top finish, giving it a vintage appearance. Bearclaw Siika spruce has a shallow, cross-grain curl that seems to increase cross-grain stiffness in acoustic guitars. While spruce and Sapele are usually the wood of choice for steel string acoustic guitars, cedar is more often found in classical models. Especially if you are looking for the best performance and tone. From the October 2016 issue of Acoustic Guitar | BY ADAM PERLMUTTER, Fundamental vs. Overtones  A fundamental tone is the initial sound heard when you pick or pluck a note (and which decays at varying rates depending on the sustain); the overtones are complex harmonic layers that can make the note swell after the fundamental is initiated. Tradition casts such a strong spell in the guitar world, especially among high-end instruments, that it is difficult for a “new wood” to gain any sort of status recognition. Because of this, in 1969, Martin started using Indian rosewood instead of Brazilian. Not all builders find maple to be a suitable top material, though. “In general terms, the top seems to affect the guitar’s responsiveness, the quickness of its attack, its sustain, some of its overtone coloration, and the strength and quality of each note’s fundamental tone,” Bourgeois notes. You will get a bigger projection but I can’t assume that’s what you want. Koa is native to Hawaii and is used commonly on ukuleles, but less so on guitars. It’s a relatively heavy and stiff wood, having strong fundamentals, but a greater overtone content than Sitka, and it tends to be the loudest and liveliest of spruces as well. Regarded as one of the world’s finest tropical woods, cocobolo grew increasingly popular after the 1912 opening of the Panama Canal made its transport easier. or Best Offer. When it comes to tonewood and acoustic guitars, different kind of wood is going to be used for different parts of the instrument. Sapele and ovangkol. It’s a lighter and less stiff variety than Sitka, and it has stronger overtones and weaker fundamentals. The tone it offers is pretty bright with enough kick in the higher portions of the frequency range. The ebony market has long been plagued with irresponsible and wasteful forestry, compounded by corruption, and Taylor is working to operate cleanly in a way that ensures ebony’s survival. This African relative of rosewood shares many of its tonal properties, and it is sometimes known as African rosewood. $799.00. “This is material from the bottom of Belizean rivers. For these reasons, a cedar-topped guitar is a good choice for a fingerpicker (it’s common on classical nylon-string guitars), but not necessarily a strummer with a heavy attack. This presents an interesting conundrum for the acoustic guitarist—what are the perfect woods for your sound? It’s prized for its rich golden coloring, curly figuring, and agreeable sound. “Frankly,” he says, “the outlook for exotic, especially tropical, wood sources grows more and more bleak every year and we are not seeing a newcomer emerge that will fill in for fading species and heroically save the day. The Martin Road Series D-10E adds New Fishman Electronics and Mother-of-Pearl Inlays for 2019! . Maple necks can impart a bright, poppy tone that can do much to reinforce the top end of a large-bodied guitar, while mahogany necks help push the overall palette into a warmer, more woody tonal range. The future, in my opinion, will not rest on new woods defining the value of a guitar so much as a fresh appreciation of tonal nuance and power—along with an increased capacity to communicate effectively about it—and for the artistry and execution of fine woodworking and ornamentation on the guitar.”. “I wouldn’t typically recommend maple as soundboard tonewood,” says Andy Powers, Taylor Guitars’ master luthier. The information we’ve presented you with today should allow you to make the best possible decision. Adirondack Red Spruce. Sign up free! A guitarist flush with cash might opt for an instrument with a spruce top and rosewood back and sides, while one with lesser means would go for plain mahogany back and sides, and a player with even less cash, or a beginner, might choose an unadorned all-mahogany instrument. 200 Deluxe Series: The 200 Series with the addition of ES2 electronics, small diamond fretboard inlays, and hard shell case. The texture has been sculpted by the river and is very pleasing to the eye.”. An African tone wood closely related to Mahogany, Sapele is similar in both look and sound. Lively materials—those with a high velocity of sound, or low internal damping—best facilitate the transmission of vibrational energy (sound waves oscillating from the bridge). Yes, I would ask for a spruce top with Maple, but it is all personal preference. These woods are low in overtones and sound very direct, with impressive mids. Maple is celebrated both for its range of figuring patterns—from curly or flamed to quilt to birdesye, which add beauty to an instrument—and for its transparency of sound, which reflects the sound of the top but doesn’t so much color it. The Dreadnought Junior is designed for players looking for big Dreadnought sound in a slightly smaller body. But more important are its brilliant overtones, deep resonance, and impressive sustain, its penetrating basses and crystalline trebles. Acoustic Guitars - This tonewood works best with a light touch and lighter strings. They can also take on different characteristics when used in different models of guitars—even those built by the same maker. While some laminate guitars do sound decent, solid wood is what you generally want to have on your guitar. If you like a dark, grainy wood look on your guitar, perhaps the Sapele version is your choice. I’ve always felt maple is a great-sounding wood. One thing to consider is that these are lower models and the variation in sound can likely be much greater between individuals within both the spruce top and sapele top categories. Sinker wood—logs that long ago fell to the bottoms of rivers or lakes when being transported for milling purposes—is another source that precludes the harvesting of new tress. This article originally appeared in the October 2016 issue of Acoustic Guitar magazine. You would rarely find a Maple top guitar because it is known as being more optimal for sides and back and softer woods are more often used as soundboard or top tone woods. The top of the guitar is usually going to define its tone while the back and sides have a significant impact on the resonance as well as the volume of the guitar. “Great stiffness gives the wood greater resonance, all other things being equal, and allows the luthier greater leeway to alter the tone and response of the top by changing the thickness.”. 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