Guitar Tonewood Comparison: What is the Best Guitar Tonewood For You?

Guitar Tonewood Comparison: What is the Best Guitar Tonewood For You?

Choosing a tonewood for your guitar construction is a tedious process. Tonewood for a guitar body, neck, and fretboard comprises 90% of the construction of the guitar. This tonewood affects the overall tonality of the guitar. Each wood is unique and has different tonal characteristics and has a different sound and this is where guitar tonewood comparison comes in.

In this article, we will look into the guitar tonewood comparison. So what is a tonewood? They are special wood varieties with unique tonal qualities. These tonewoods can be used in the making of electric guitars and acoustic guitars.

The use of a variety of tonewoods in the guitar has changed in recent years because of the CITES permit and other restrictions. Indian Rosewood which was extensively used in guitars has restrictions for its use now. Moreover, Granadillo and Bubbing too face restrictions for use. This is where new non-traditional wood varieties come in.

Let us check the guitar tonewood comparison for acoustic guitar tonewoods.

An acoustic guitar has a large guitar body which consists of the top and the back and side. Usually, the same type of tonewood is used for both of the main parts for acoustic guitars.

Spruce Tonewood

Spruce is the most popular tonewood used for acoustic guitar tops, and it has a pale color. This tonewood produces a smooth and sweet sound that makes spruce an all-rounder. Moreover, spruce works well with any other tonewood to produce a good tone. Another thing to note is their good projection and volume to boot.

Spruce has several varieties in which Sitka Spruce is the most commonly used species. It is classified by clear fundamental harmonics.


Cedar is the second most popular tonewood top for guitar. It has a unique red-brown color. When comparing with Spruce, Cedar is less dense which makes it quieter and less bright. However, Cedar is much warmer and takes a shorter time to relinquish its full tonal potential.

Because of the above characteristics, Cedar is considered as the best tonewood for fingerstyle guitar.


Mahogany is generally used as a tonewood for guitar backs and sides. However, Mahogany is occasionally used as a top material. Mahogany has a denser wood, with a darkened surface, and close grain. Moreover, when comparing with Cedar and Spruce, it has a far warmer and darker tone.

Mahogany and Spruce is the most popular combination in an acoustic guitar construction as it offers a very balanced tone. While going through the details also check out some of the African Mahagony headplates


Maple is classified as the strongest and hardest tonewood. Maple is not a commonly used guitar tonewood, however, it has featured in some of the finest guitars ever made. Maple delivers a bright sounding tone beside great projection and superior note definition. Also, check the most popular birds eye maple guitar neck blanks.


Rosewood is one of the most commonly used tonewoods in musical instruments. Rosewood has now become rare, because of the CITES restrictions. This makes it very expensive among tonewood varieties. Moreover, it is very hard to come by.
Rosewood has a smooth warm tone with complicated harmonious overtones. Rosewood has a dark chocolate brown color and generally used in the back and side of the guitars.

A combination of rosewood and spruce forms an astonishingly stable and varied palette of tones.

Indian Rosewood is the commonly used species that produces warm, but singing harmonics. Brazillian Rosewood another rare species used.

Now we will jump into Electric Guitar Tonewood comparison. An electric guitar has a smaller body and thin necks compared with an acoustic guitar.


Basswood is the most commonly used electric guitar tonewood. This American wood is lighter and easily machines well. Because of its soft composition, it can't be used as fretboards and necks.

Tonally, Basswood gives mid-range energy with a great sustain. Moreover, basswood is perfect for versatility and balanced nature. Here you can purchase bassbody blanks.


Poplar is lightweight and easy to machine. These qualities make them a popular choice for entry-level electric guitars. Poplar has a great balanced tone which makes them more resonant than other tonewoods. Moreover, it is a great tonewood that can be used for a variety of styles. 


Each tonewood is unique and has different characteristics. It's up to the guitar maker to choose the tonewood that suits his needs. Exotic Wood Zone offers some of the best exotic and imported tonewoods. Buy great guitar tonewoods from the Exotic Wood Zone.