Guitar Making Woods

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TONEWOOD OPTIONS Of the two common tonewoods used for guitar bodies, rosewood and mahogany, which one generally produces better balance, sustain, and clarity?

If everything else in a guitar is equal, guitar builders generally agree that rosewood provides more sustain and bass than mahogany. Mahogany is usually credited with yielding better clarity and separation of notes. Which wood offers better balance in a small guitar is largely a personal call; players who prefer more bass will probably choose rosewood, and those who like more treble or brightness may choose mahogany. A rosewood Brand X might have more clarity and separation than a mahogany Brand Y, while delivering more bass and sustain as well. Yet some guitarists may have a playing style that makes Brand Y the better-sounding guitar. Factors like interior bracing and wood thickness have more to do with a guitarís sound than the species chosen for the back and sides. Then thereís the fact that wood of the same species varies from one tree to another and even within the same log. Solution? Go play lots of guitars, trust your ears, and donít pay too much attention to the preferences of others.

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