Does Electric Guitar Tonewood Really Matter?

When shopping for electric guitars, you will notice the different wood used to construct the body, neck and fretboard. Many guitarists argue that the tonewood of electric guitar has noticeable impact to tone of electric guitars while others believe the tonewwood has nothing to do with electric guitar sound.

If we are talking about the impact of tonewood to an acoustic guitar sound, I bet all of us will agree that the tonewood of acoustic guitars especially the wood material of acoustic guitar top contribute most to the final sound quality of acoustic guitars. As to electric guitars, things become different. Theoretically, sound of electric guitar is generated by vibrating of strings, collected by pickups and transmitted thru cables to amps. So every chain in the above process will have some extent impact on the final sound of electric guitar. But how the tonewood influence the electric guitar tone? The only possibility is that the vibrating of strings will be transmitted to the body, neck and fretboard thru bridge and nut, the vibrating of body, neck and fretboard will feedback to the strings. Some think they can tell the difference of tonewood by ear. I don’t know if they still can tell the difference when guitars are played by different players, use different strings, pickups cables and amps. In reality, the final electric guitar tone is determined by all these variables. You can say you like one tone and dislike another but you hardly can say this tone is from maple body and that tone is from ash body.

The tone of guitar is very subjective and depends on the personal preference. It is meaningless to argue about some tonewood is better than others especially for beginners. In other words, who really care the wood that electric guitar is made of when listening to a piece of guitar music. We just enjoy the happiness that music bring to us, that’s enough. BTW, the only big difference between two tonewood maybe the price. The rarity of some wood causes the high price.