What is the Best Guitar Wood for Luthiers? - Exotic Wood Zone

What is the Best Guitar Wood for Luthiers?

They say no two guitars are the same! They may look alike in structure. But when it comes to the tunes generated, an expert can distinguish the difference of one from the other. A guitar is a beautiful combination of strings, hardware, paint, wood, etc in which the wood plays a vital role. The most important component to the core sound of a guitar is the wood.

The quality of the best guitar wood is determined based on certain factors such as,

  • Size of the wood
  • Cosmetic properties like the color, grain of the wood, etc
  • Tradition, Stability
  • How it is processed in the factory etc

Each wood has different tonal properties which are critical in setting a base for a guitar’s voice. Let’s have a look at some of the commonly used guitar woods that a luthier is interested to work with. Some of the major woods used for the body and neck of a guitar are Mahogany, Maple, Agathis, Ash, Alder, Poplar, Basswood, Spruce, Walnut, etc. Some of the woods are incorporated into modern acoustic and electric guitars that include exotic tonewoods like Rosewood, Lacewood, Wenge, Koa, Bubinga, Korina, Redwood, etc.

Now let’s talk about how to choose the best wood for a guitar :

  • Never choose wet woods or wood with cracks. 2. If the board is warped and is difficult to straighten, then it’s better to avoid such pieces.
  • Make sure to buy woods that are defect-free
  • Always choose a quarter-sawn wood over flat-sawn wood when it comes to the grain direction.
  • Avoid woods with dead tones as they tend to damage easily.

The best woods for Acoustic and Electric guitars handpicked by expert luthiers

  • Acoustic Guitars
  • Compared to electric guitar, wood has a more important role in acoustic guitar construction. Spruce is one of the most popular woods used for acoustic guitar tops. The sweet and smooth tone and pale color make it easily recognizable in the market. Spruce sounds good when combined with any other tonewood. In addition, it also has pretty good projection and volume to boot. Mahogany being a dense wood and close grain is another choice, although they are probably more commonly used as a tonewood for guitar backs and sides. The combination of mahogany and spruce is more popular due to the balanced tone, versatility, etc

    Easy Indian Rosewood is best suitable for the back and sides if you are looking for a guitar with more of a sharper tone. Bubinga, Zebrawood, etc are also great choices, and they all make good sounding guitars.

    Check out our Exotic collection for guitar woods: https://exoticwoodzone.com/collections/guitar-back-side-sets

  • Electric Guitars
  • The body of Electric guitars is mainly built with Alder, Ash, Maple, Rosewood. Alder is a commonly used lightweight wood that produces full sound and a clean tone. Whereas, rosewood provides a rich warmth that will compliment any instrument. The wood is also richly coated with natural oil due to which, its finishing, and softness are extreme and feels natural under the fingers. A drop-top guitar is one in which the top is shaped to allow the forearm to rest more comfortably, which is more seen in electric guitar segments. For such kind, Zebrawood, Bubinga, Padauk, and Maple are recommended.

    Also, look for best Rosewood here

    Now let’s check out the best woods suitable for Guitar necks and fretboards

    The rigidity of the neck with respect to the body of the guitar is one determinant of a good instrument. The ability of the neck to resist bending is very important to the guitar's ability to hold a constant pitch during tuning or when strings are fretted. The thickness, the shape, and build of the headstock, specific density, tendency to resound, etc, are factors that have an impact on the sound of the instrument. This is why the choice of wood with which the neck is made becomes important. Guitar necks need to be strong. Hence the best options to be considered are Mahogany, Sapele, Rosewood, and Maple.

    For Fretboards, good choices include Easy Indian Rosewood, Ebony, Bocote, Cocobolo, Bubinga, and Wenge.

    Check out for the best stock of Mahogany, Maple, Ebony here.