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How Does Timber Choice Affect Electric Guitar Output?

Aug 25, 2008
So you've wanted to be a rock star since before you could walk, but to really be a rock star you need to learn how to play the electric guitar. After all, the guitar players are always the ones at the front of the stage aren't they?

Problem is it's not easy to learn to play the electric guitar, it can take years and some say you're never finished learning. So I've written a series of articles about some of the basics of electric guitars, and in this one I'll have a look at how the timber you choose for your guitar changes the result you get from your guitar, or at least changes the sound.

Now of course the actual sound of the guitar isn't produced by the timber in the guitar, it's produced by the strings and it's taken by the pickups and converted into an electronic signal for the amplifier to use to amplify the sound. So how can the timber which is used to make the guitar change the sound?

The reason is that the timber which makes the guitar affects how the strings vibrate, and so it thus affects their sound because the way the string vibrate affects the sound. And it's not just the timber used in the guitar which affects the sound either, it's the complete package. It's the timber used, the shape of the guitar, the type of guitar, for instance whether it's a solid or hollow body, and it's the way it's constructed.

And it's the way that the pickup or pickups moves as well.

Lets have a look at some different timbers and how they are used in electric guitar construction.

Mahogany is a hardwood used in many of the parts of an electric guitar that utilize timber. It isn't the hardest of hardwoods and it emphasised midrange sounds well and resonates well. It is a lovely brown color and looks great.

Ash is used mainly in the bodies of solid body guitars. It is a hardwood and produces a fine resonant sound with a sustained ring and good midrange.

Rosewood is a beatifully looking timber that is used particularly for the fretboards of guitars. It is very hard and looks great and has a wide range of colors.

Maple is often used for guitar necks and is a very dense hardwood with good tonal characteristics. It's tonal characteristics help with trebles in the sound of the particular guitar.

Alder is similar to Ash but is cheaper so is more common in some of the cheap electric guitars that you can find, but is a good timber even so.

There are more exotic timbers used in electric guitar constructions too. However for the beginner who aspires to a basic level of competence at the electric guitar it is sufficient to understand that the timber you choose in your electric guitar affects the sound it produces. Gradually as you learn more about both playing the electric guitar as well as how they are constructed you can narrow down exactly what guitar it is you want to play, and eventually when you get good enough you can buy the right guitar for your style.

However at first it's a matter of learning how to play and learning about the different types of guitar. Because it will be some years before you'er good enough to justify spending up big on a great electric guitar that will do everything you want it to.

That's the point where you need to know enough about them to know exactly which electric guitar is right for you.
About the Author
For a website totally dedicated to cheap electric guitars visit Peter's Website Cheap Electric Guitar Deals and find out about
href="http://cheapelectricguitardeals.com/Acoustic-Electric/Ovation">cheap Ovation electric guitars
and more, including cheap Takamine electric guitars.
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