Re: Why is Basswood considered low end wood when it is on great ibanez guitars???
Now let me chime in on the tonewood debate.
First off let me say I do not agree or disagree with either side of the argument as of yet (in terms of electric solid body guitars) because there is very little true scientific data to support either side. I go by if it sounds good to my ears it works for me no matter what it's made of. The one thing I do agree with is that wood type DOES affect the sustain of a guitar to a degree. Many factors contribute to sustain and wood is one of them. In terms of wood it deals with the density and ability to sustain string vibration. Denser species will will contribute to longer sustain because the denser the wood the better it's ability to sustain sonic vibrations, and this has been proven.
This whole tonewood debate all started as a marketing gimic perpetrated by guitar manafacturers so they could sell their products at a highere price. They made these tonewood claims with no facts to back up what they were saying and the public bought into it without question. "If gibson, fender, etc said it it has to be true." Not many botherted asking to see their proof. Those who disputed the claims never bothered to do any true testing of their own either. Thus the debate was born with neither side offering any real proof one way or the other.
As far as affecting the actual tone of the wood, that's still up in the air because there is hardly any true scientific data available. In fact I only know of one real experiment done by a grad student at a university. I forget which university it came from but I do remember it was a reputable one. The basics of the experiment was that 2 guitar bodies were made each using a different woods made to the exact same shape and dimensions. All other parts such as neck, electronics, hardware, even the same screws and strings were used on both bodies; meaning the exact same parts were swapped from one body to the other. Both guitars sonic properties were measured in a sound lab using specialized eqipment and setup of the monitoring devices were kept exactly the same meaning microphones and such reamined the same distance away, guitars were placed in the same spot in the same room etc. etc. The only factor that changed in the experiment was the guitar body wood. The end results were that acoustically tonal differences were seen but when plugged in there were no tonal differences. Good science was used in this experiment to obtain these results. And like a true scientist the author of the paper stated that the experiment and results were only preliminary and the experiment did not 100% prove or disprove the tonewood theory/debate and further testing would be needed.
Unfortuantely, proponents on this debate one way or the other have never done any kind of experiment like this. All you see is internet trolls (Mr. Groove, Mr. Chapman) spouting off at the mouth strumming two completely different guitars going "can't you hear/not heat a difference" thus further adding to all the mis-information out there. Well guess what, the human ear is no where close to a scientific instrument. On top of that because of the psychology of our brains if you're expecting to hear a certian result your brain will trick you into thinking you did hear that result weather it's there or not. It's along the same lines as the placibo effect or hearing demonic messages when you play your ABBA records backwards. So as of now all we really have to go on is a bunch of patheticly flawed psuedo-science experiments and extremely flawed and bias results.
We'll never have any hard facts or evidence either way until someone gets around to doing some real science and gets a full on experiment up and running. Until then I say this to all of you (especially those who like to go spouting off at the mouth, you know who you are), Have your opinions, if you wish to discuss them do it calmly & rationally and keep an open mind to the other side of the argument. Don't go off all half ****ed and start name calling and putting down others just because their opinion differs from yours. Remember nothing is proven at this point. I'll also add let's all go with what works for some doesn't work for others. Tonewood or not if it sounds good to you then it sounds good.