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It's come to my attention that... 
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Pendulous
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Post It's come to my attention that...
...guitarists lately all say wood doesn't affect the tone. Like that's the 'hip' opinion right now. That tonewoods are a hoax.


I think that's some bullshit.

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Wed Nov 12, 2014 1:09 am
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Magnitogorsk
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Post Re: It's come to my attention that...
I don't know what is hip, but i do think that it is more important how a specific piece of wood is structured/weighted than what specific type of wood it is.

You can have an 8.5lb Les Paul or a 15lb one. They will not sound the same. They will have a certain less pauliness to them, but that has more to do, imo with the way a les paul is built and outfitted(a huge slab of wood with a set neck and a pair of humbuckers with a solid chunk of bridge posted deeply and solidly into very nearly the center mass of the guitar).

Anyhow, you can have a widely spaced board with wobbly grain lines 1/2" apart and all kinds of resinous knots or heartwood, or you can have a supertight, superstraight grain totally clear of knots made of the best most solid section of the tree. They will not sound the same.

You can, as i have, totally get away with carefully choosing your wood to get for instance, a too-thin piece of pine from the cheapo hardware store, or a section of hemlock(not generally a guitar wood) to sound like a good telecaster.

Granted there are some oddball woods that are unique enough to be difficult to replicate with a different species. Ebony, for example is extremely dense and kind of i guess almost greasy. There aren't many alternative woods that do what it does.

IMO, most of the traditionally accepted "this wood sounds like _____" stem more from what kind of structure is more typical for a specific variety, rather than some inherent sound nature of the wood itself. Maple is generally hard and heavy with a tight grain and few knots. But it isn't always. Mahogany(the real stuff) is usually light and straight grained with a very consistent structure. But sometimes it is heavy or with a crazy wavy grain structure. Ash really varies an awful lot between the different types but some are almost like maple in weight and grain(but not in hardness) and some types are almost like pine in weight and grain(but not always, but sometimes, in hardness).

All trees are sort of unique though, depending on where they grew and what they experienced over the years. So it is totally, IMO possible to look at massive amount of wood from different types of trees and hand pick different species wood that will sound very similar to each other.

:idk:

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Wed Nov 12, 2014 8:36 am
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Simethicone
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Post Re: It's come to my attention that...
What Chris said, basically. It's about the structural properties of a given thing- density, hardness and whatnot. It's materials engineering.

That being said, given that different types of wood tend overall to have different structural properties in general compared to other woods and thus can and will sound different, saying wood doesn't affect the tone is, as Geoff put it, "some bullshit".

It's about things and their broad general properties. Tonewood is totally valid in the sense that things overall tend to have a set of characteristics consistent of a type.

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Wed Nov 12, 2014 11:33 am
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Pendulous
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Post Re: It's come to my attention that...
The position they are taking is apparently that the wood, be it its species or density or weight or whatever, is not an influence because the guitar's tone is coming out of the pickups. They don't believe there is any feedback between the structure of the guitar and the harmonics of the vibrating string.

Idiots! :mob:

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Wed Nov 12, 2014 1:22 pm
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Simethicone
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Post Re: It's come to my attention that...
They should put an EMG 81 in an acoustic and get back to us on that. :red:

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Wed Nov 12, 2014 2:16 pm
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Magnitogorsk
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Post Re: It's come to my attention that...
Unstrung wrote:
The position they are taking is apparently that the wood, be it its species or density or weight or whatever, is not an influence because the guitar's tone is coming out of the pickups. They don't believe there is any feedback between the structure of the guitar and the harmonics of the vibrating string.

Idiots! :mob:


Yeah, that, is just some sort of drug talk.

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Wed Nov 12, 2014 8:58 pm
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Simethicone
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Post Re: It's come to my attention that...
Not the cool kind of drugs either. :hypno:

I take it they have never played a hollowbody- or, for that matter, a Stratocaster. Or a Les Paul.

In fact, I would be willing to put their pickup du jour in all three of these to demonstrate their wrongheadedness were they willing to front the money for it. :red: I'll even put it in the bridge and play metal riffs through it.

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Thu Nov 13, 2014 9:53 am
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Best Supporting Actress
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Post Re: It's come to my attention that...
The pickup thing is wrong. I'll explain when I'm not on the phone but basically the wave energy travels down the the guitar strings to the bridge to the body the body vibrates which transfers energy to the strings which is picked up by the pickups. How that body vibrates is going to affect the tone. The guy built who built Taylor's Es-2 pickups did a great write up on it. But also what Chris said, what exact piece of wood is more important than what species of wood.

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Sun Nov 16, 2014 1:29 pm
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Pendulous
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Post Re: It's come to my attention that...
Devtron wrote:
The pickup thing is wrong. I'll explain when I'm not on the phone but basically the wave energy travels down the the guitar strings to the bridge to the body the body vibrates which transfers energy to the strings which is picked up by the pickups. How that body vibrates is going to affect the tone. The guy built who built Taylor's Es-2 pickups did a great write up on it. But also what Chris said, what exact piece of wood is more important than what species of wood.


Exactly. The harmonics in the string's vibration are directly influenced by how it is interacting with the body it is attached to.

I ended up getting caught in a discussion about this on Reddit today and I think I found the source of this recent groupthink:

http://www.stormriders.com/guitar/telec ... r_wood.pdf

A luthier with a two decades long track record and myself were the only ones to argue that yes, there is more to the sound of a guitar than its pickups.

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Tue Nov 18, 2014 8:07 pm
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Simethicone
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Post Re: It's come to my attention that...
His conclusions, from his own graphs, are faulty. Yes, they exhibit broadly similar curves on the pickup signal, but there are differences of around +/- 10dB at various points on the different bodies. These are not small gaps.

Never mind that his testing methodology and the equipment used would not pass muster here or anywhere else. A microphone of unknown make and specifications, plugged directly into a soundcard, placed solely to maximize volume without considerations of reflections or resonance from the body or other surfaces? The mic'd portion of the test is severely flawed right there.

The results actually aren't surprising re: similarity with the pickup, but the conclusions drawn from them are off-base. This is some questionable sciencing. :dukes: Those responses certainly aren't "matched". :lol:

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Tue Nov 18, 2014 9:45 pm
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