Types of Guitar Neck Wood: A Pocket Guide
Making a Guitar is an art, you need to have the right skills and materials to build a masterpiece. Body, Bridge, and Fingerboards are important parts of any guitar. However, the importance of a guitar neck wood can't be neglected.
In this article, we are going to discuss the importance and various Types of Guitar Neck Wood. Moreover, we will look into the factors while selecting a guitar neck wood for your custom guitar.
A guitar neck wood is as much as important as a body and bridge which gives a guitar its tonality and playability of the fingerboard material.
A guitar maker needs to select the ideal material for the neck as it supports the tensions of the strings and selecting the wrong wood could make things worse.
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Factors in Selecting the Best Guitar Neck Wood
A guitar neck wood supports the fingerboards and the strings of a guitar and it holds everything, including the tensions of the strings.
So you need to select a strong type of guitar neck wood.
The size of the guitar neck wood affects the playability of a guitar. So it is wise to choose the right width of the neck wood.
People who prefer a small or narrow neck, are with smaller hands. And on the other hand, those who have bigger hands can select wider necks as it helps with fingerpicking.
Since the neck holds the fretboards, which is an integral part of the playability of a guitar, a guitar maker needs to identify the right types of guitar neck wood.
A guitar neck wood may not have a huge impact on the sound of a guitar. However, it plays a crucial supporting role in the tonality of the guitar.
How? The guitar neck wood should absorb little energy from the vibrations of the strings. And the larger energy must be transferred into the soundboard through the bridge.
So one needs to choose the types of guitar neck wood that is hard and dense that can be useful in transferring the energy into the soundboard, especially for an electric guitar neck wood. Softwoods may absorb more vibrative energy from the strings that can have an impact on the total tonality.
Guitar Neck Wood Types
- Hard Maple
Hard Maple wood is considered as the king of all Maple Species. This wood is the most commonly used guitar neck wood. Like the name, the wood is hard, strong and has a higher density. Hard Maple is also stable and helps in transferring the vibrative energy into the soundboard.
Hard Maple has a variant, which is an anomaly called Bird's Eye (tiny knots in the grain resembles a small bird’s eyes). This beautiful variant gives a unique look to the guitar neck woods.
Mahogany is another popular guitar neck wood. This exotic wood from Latin America has even density and its open pores make it a more responsive guitar neck than maple neck. However, the open pores need more works to fill the pores.
Also known as Honduran and Brazilian Mahogany, this neck wood absorbs little more string vibration than maple that helps to get warmer and fatter guitar tones.
- East Indian Rosewood
East Indian Rosewood is rare and very hard to come by. These Rosewood are ideal for guitar parts, especially as a fingerboard and as a guitar neck wood. Rosewood is strong and denser which are the ideal characteristics of an electric guitar neck wood.
Rosewood neck wood gives excellent sustain while smoothening out the highs. However, rosewood mutes high-frequency overtones that can produce the complexities of mid and low overtones.
Ebony is an African exotic wood that is higher in density and is heavier that can be ideal as a guitar neck wood type. It is a smooth tonewood.
This exotic wood has characteristics similar to Rosewood and Maple. This dark wood has a balance between fundamental tones because of its high porosity and has overtones because of its high density. Ebony also presents a powerful responsive bright with an even sustain.
Padauk is a unique colored African exotic Wood that is an ideal guitar neck wood. This wood is moderately heavy, strong, and stiff, with exceptional stability. These characteristics make them a suitable moderate cost substitute for guitar necks.
- Spanish Cedar
Spanish Cedar's are historically valued Latin American exotic wood. This wood is a good exotic variant for guitar neck wood. However, Spanish Cedar low density and are soft. Spanish Cedar's are now rare and hard to come by.
In this article, we have discussed the importance of guitar neck woods and various types of guitar neck wood. Moreover, we have gone through the factors in selecting the best guitar neck wood.