Acoustic Guitar Wood Types (DIY Project Download)

The quality of an acoustic guitar is defined by its tonewood. If you’ve ever wondered what the different types of tonewood do for your guitar tone, then read on. Also, woods of the same species cut from different trees (or grown in different regions) will sound slightly different, and have different weights, different densities, and so on. The properties of woods used in acoustic guitars will be tackled in another issue. Acoustic guitars are defined by the wood that makes them up.

acoustic guitar wood types 2Search for your next Martin Guitar by starting with your favorite choice of wood. Choices include a number of rosewoods, FSC certified, sustainable woods, and more. Learn about the types of wood used in Takamine Guitars. This is frequently used as an acoustic guitar soundboard – especially on nylong string guitars – and has a warm, soft, open sound with beautiful overtones. The type of wood, along with how it is treated in the factory, will determine what a guitar looks, sounds, and plays like.

Tonewood refers to specific wood varieties that luthiers and musicians believe possess tonal properties that make them good choices for use in stringed instruments. It is also frequently seen in acoustic guitars and mandolins. Most Fender electric guitars feature maple necks (it is one of the hardest and most stable tonewoods, so it is often used in the neck because of its ability to withstand high tension). Tonewood choices vary greatly among different instrument types. Guitar makers generally favor quartersawn wood because it provides added stiffness and dimensional stability. Our guide to the most common acoustic top tone woods including Spruce, Cedar, Mahogany and Maple. The thickness of the wood used, and the manner in which it is braced will effect the tone too, but most guitar luthiers will agree that each different type of tone wood has it’s own signature sound, and that this acts as a natural starting point from which the tone can be manipulated. I build my guitars out of solid wood. Any given species of wood has specific qualities and characteristics that distinguish it from another species, but these can vary greatly from one tree to another.

Guitar Wood Types

acoustic guitar wood types 3Both types of wood will improve over time but a cedar will sound closer to its mature sound at the beginning while the spruce will sound more raw and have a more dramatic improvement over time. The tone of an acoustic guitar is significantly influenced by the woods used. This applies particularly to the sound board, the sides and the back. So, in the selection of your guitar you might wish to do so by way of these elements, if you have experience of the tonal qualities of the various wood types. Select from the woods below to see the full variety of Acoustic Guitar Wood Supplies. Every luthier set sold by OregonWildWood is visually unique and distinctive – even sets within the same species vary greatly in color, contrast and figuring. You’ll find the largest online selection of guitar woods available – all special within their own right. Adirondack Spruce is the classic spruce species for the flat-top acoustic guitar. Also known as Red Spruce, this tone wood was used in the most collectable vintage acoustic guitars of all time. From guide: Guitar Wood Types and Tones (Body, Body top, Neck, Fretboard) Chapter 1.Guitar Body Woods Basswood:Basswood is a soft wood with tight grains. Its relatively inexpensive of all the usual guitar. I’d like to say a few words about tone woods for acoustic guitars. Here’s a generalization based on our observations at Gryphon, where we see lots of new instruments from large manufacturers where top thickness and other factors are very consistent: IF ALL OTHER THINGS ARE EQUAL, that is, if we’re talking about guitars of the same model, size and detail of construction, by the same maker, with the same neck angle, bridge height, top thickness, species of top wood, age, then it appears: A wide grain top will tend to produce stronger bass response: That’s because there are fewer stiff grain lines so the top is more flexible.


The sonic properties of wood vary dramatically between species, weight and density. Supplied quartersawn, this is the same wood used for acoustic guitar tops. Lapacho is one of the species that Bow River Woods recently acquired from Panama. Reclaimed from the lake flooded to make the Panama Canal, this is not only a great tonewood choice, it is an environmentally responsible choice. The different types of materials used do affect their tonal qualities. Tone wood is a term synonymous with wood that is noted for its acoustic qualities.