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post #1 of 51 (permalink) Old 02-18-2004, 12:52 PM Thread Starter
 
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Guitar Wood?

Could anyone elaborate on how guitar wood for the body, neck, etc affects the sound of a solid body electric guitar?
the wood in a solid body electric guitar from what i've read is not suppose to vibrate and only the strings are suppose to vibrate, so why not just have 1 type of wood which resist vibration?

also, what other factors affect guitar tone aside from the guitar wood and the pick ups?
like, most RGs are made of basswood, but why are some more expensive than the other if both are made of BASSWOOD?(i'm not talking about 1 is prestige and the other is not. for the sake of discusson, let's say the guiatars are all prestige). Changing the pickups of the Cheaper RG to the more expensive RGs pickup still does not justify the margin in price.

forgive my ignorance.
please enlighten me.
Hope the people here can help me out so that i can be a more informed.
tnx a lot. =)
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post #2 of 51 (permalink) Old 02-18-2004, 01:00 PM
 
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I don't think it's possible for you to be more misinformed. Of course the woods that a guitar is made out of have an effect on the overall tone of the instrument. If a guitar was made of a material that resisted vibration, you'd be stuck with a dead-sounding piece of crap.

If there were no differences in woods, then every company would be making every guitar from the cheapest plywood available. Think about it.
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post #3 of 51 (permalink) Old 02-18-2004, 01:08 PM Thread Starter
 
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just want to be clear that the topic is about SOLID BODY ELECTRIC GUITARS.

did i mention that it was suppose to resist vibration, my bad if i did.
the wood is not meant to vibrate, it is meant to make the strings vibrate.

also, i never said it did not affect the tone....
i was asking how it affected the tone...

also, i never said that there was no difference in wood.

i know i am ignorant and all but.......
from what i've read....
the wood is not suppose to vibrate so that all the vibrations is suppose to retain in the strings....
pls check out the PDF from this site http://www.gibson.com/pure/exchange/buying/

i know that this forum is about the Jem guitar which is an ibanez, but if you think the people in Gibson are mistaken about how the wood is suppose to lessen the vibration on the wood itself on a solid body electric, then.... i guess Ibanez should make a Soild Body Electric Guitar 101 to convince Ibanez followers.

btw, i'm not pro Gibson or anything. i'm por GUITAR.

thank u.
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post #4 of 51 (permalink) Old 02-18-2004, 01:19 PM
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post #5 of 51 (permalink) Old 02-18-2004, 01:22 PM
 
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Your words: " from what i've read is not suppose to vibrate and only the strings are suppose to vibrate, so why not just have 1 type of wood which resist vibration?"

Have YOU read the Gibson PDF? It gives some examples of how body woods affect tone.

Saying that the wood isn't meant to vibrate is ridiculous. The best electric guitars also have good resonance acoustically. How would an acoustic guitar sound if the woods it was made of resisted vibration? The foremost benfit of a solid-body guitar is that it resists feedback when amplified. Everything else is a "bonus".

Try doing some research on the Warmoth site for info on properties of some of the most common woods: http://www.warmoth.com/common/frames/guitarbodies.htm
http://www.warmoth.com/common/frames/guitarneck.htm
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post #6 of 51 (permalink) Old 02-18-2004, 01:28 PM Thread Starter
 
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the links were great.
it's already an establsihed fact that different wood affect the tone of the guitar. i get that.
what i don't get is how.

with an acoustic, the top wood of the guitars body vibrates from the string to produce the sound which is anplified by the sides and the back wood...

but in a solid body electric wherein the wood is suppose to minimize the vibration it gets so that the string does not lose the vibration to the wood, how would the tone affect the tone exactly? can someone point me to a site that shows the science to this... or can someone explain it scientificially or to some scientific degree.
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post #7 of 51 (permalink) Old 02-18-2004, 01:32 PM Thread Starter
 
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i never said that an acoustic guitars wood is not suppose to vibrate.
in an acoustic, it is meant to vibrate. that is why i mentioned in my original post, SOLID BODY ELECTRICS.


if you check out the PDF, Rule 5, paragraph 4, it mentions that a solid body is suppose to MINIMIZE VIBRATION to the body, so the string sustains..... it mentions that this wood which is more dense, thus minimizes vibration more produces this sound.

plsssss, i never mentioned that the wood makes no difference.
all i was asking was how it made the difference
i really don't want to get into an argument.
i am just someone who wants to more informed.
thanks.



Quote:
Originally Posted by vaijem777
Your words: " from what i've read is not suppose to vibrate and only the strings are suppose to vibrate, so why not just have 1 type of wood which resist vibration?"

Have YOU read the Gibson PDF? It gives some examples of how body woods affect tone.

Saying that the wood isn't meant to vibrate is ridiculous. The best electric guitars also have good resonance acoustically. How would an acoustic guitar sound if the woods it was made of resisted vibration? The foremost benfit of a solid-body guitar is that it resists feedback when amplified. Everything else is a "bonus".

Try doing some research on the Warmoth site for info on properties of some of the most common woods: http://www.warmoth.com/common/frames/guitarbodies.htm
http://www.warmoth.com/common/frames/guitarneck.htm
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post #8 of 51 (permalink) Old 02-18-2004, 01:38 PM
 
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Where are you getting that the wood is supposed to minimize the vibration? That completely defeats the purpose of having good tone woods in the first place.

Different woods vibrate differently depending on their density, etc. Compare a solid maple guitar to one of solid mahogany and you'll hear pretty major differences. The tone of a solid-body guitar is the product of the wood, pickups and strings. Obviously the body wood isn't as much a factor as it is with an acoustic instrument, but it's still very important. Of course, I guess it depends on the guitar. On a guitar like the JEM7VWH (or any other JEM) where you're removing chunks o' wood for the grip and the trem cavity, you're probably losing some of the tonal importance of the wood itself. But, an alder VWH still sounds different from a basswood FP, etc.

Opinions vary, but the fact remains that the body wood IS important on a solid-body guitar. If you want to be better-informed, you should find all the info you need at the links provided. If you're looking for a scientific explanation of how wood vibrates, contact your local physicist

And as for Gibson's "rules"...they're just that: GIBSON'S rules. There are no rules when it comes to tone, etc. and I'm sure that other manufacturers have different views and opinions. If it sounds good, it is good. That's all that really matters.
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post #9 of 51 (permalink) Old 02-18-2004, 01:43 PM Thread Starter
 
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just to answer your question.
this is an exact quote from rule no 5 of the PDF.

"Solidbody guitars minimize the vibration of the top/body in order to maximize sustain and reduce feedback. The strength and density of the wood still makes a
subtle difference in tone."

Peace.
Quote:
Originally Posted by vaijem777
Where are you getting that the wood is supposed to
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post #10 of 51 (permalink) Old 02-18-2004, 01:49 PM
 
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I think that you need to take what Gibson is saying in context.

That is comparing a solid-body guitar to a NON-solid-body guitar. Of course it's going to reduce vibration- it's SOLID. I guess that they take for granted that most people will realize this.
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post #11 of 51 (permalink) Old 02-18-2004, 02:03 PM Thread Starter
 
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oh ok. tnx. i guess i'm really just stupid not to realize this.

uhm, any site that shows the science behind this,
i would really appreciate it.
or if anyone can explain the science behind this, i would br grateful.

pick ups are magnets. everyone knows the connection between magnets(pickups) and metal(strings).
i don't know if my science is rusty, but is there any other way that the woods vibration affects the tone aside from it's direct connection to the strings?

i really want to know the science behind this. again, i would really appreciate it.
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post #12 of 51 (permalink) Old 02-18-2004, 02:13 PM
 
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NOBODY is saying that you're stupid. Your questions are 100% valid, and there is nothing at all wrong with asking them.

I'm no physicist, so I can't really diagram the properties of string/wood vibration. I don't want to add any misinformation to the confusion. However, I'm sure that somebody here can either explain it in greater detail or direct you to somewhere that can do so.

All I know is that strings+wood= resonance which is transformed by the pickups into sound.
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post #13 of 51 (permalink) Old 02-18-2004, 02:25 PM
 
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The reason why different woods affect the tone is because of their density and resonance characteristics.

Let's start with a string vibrating in the air. The sound from that string is as harmonically pure as you're going to get. All the overtones are present, and it will sustain for a very long time. But it's not very loud, because it's not moving much air.

Once you anchor that string to any object, some of the string's vibration energy is transferred to the object, and it will resonate sympathetically with the string's fundamental frequency and overtones.

Acoustic stringed instruments work by transferring that vibration energy to a hollow box, which vibrates a greater volume of air, which vibrates our eardrums more. Solidbody guitars still resonate (some more than others) but the majority of the amplification is done electronically rather than mechanically.

The tone of an acoustic instrument can be shaped by the physical shape of the sound box (the body), the materials used, bracing patterns, etc. The tone of an electric guitar is shaped to a lesser degree by the materials and construction methods, but it's still a factor along with the pickups and other tone-shaping electronics.

Harder, denser materials resonate at higher frequencies, and softer materials will resonate at lower frequencies. Resonance will therefore reinforce particular overtones in the vibrating string, while cancelling out others. Woods are not uniformly dense, so each has a complex sonic "signature" of resonant frequencies.

Guitars made of synthetic materials, like Steinbergers, have great sustain because they don't resonate a lot, which can rob the string of its energy. They have a bright, clear tone, which some people feel is "cold" sounding.

Wooden guitars are preferred by most players because they have "warmth" and character that is more pleasing to the human ear than the full sonic frequency range of the pure vibrating string. This "warmth" comes from a subtle rolling-off of some of the harsher high frequencies and the emphasis of lower-midrange.
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post #14 of 51 (permalink) Old 02-18-2004, 02:30 PM
 
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Yeah....what he said
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post #15 of 51 (permalink) Old 02-18-2004, 02:41 PM Thread Starter
 
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thank you to both of you.
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