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Thread: does thickness of body affect tone

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    JustAskinologist cream123's Avatar
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    Default does thickness of body affect tone

    if so, in what way? i'm using a walnut body, mahagony neck, and rosewood fretboard. i was thinking sg thickness maybe strat, probably not though. i'd also like to know what this guitar would sound like. since i'm not a guitar wood guy.
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    Tone Member Devil Tiger's Avatar
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    Default Re: does thickness of body affect tone

    More mass I would think effects it. I mean, if you press the headstock of your guitar against the wall without it plugged in and play and take it away from the wall there's a definite difference in sound.
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    JustAskinologist cream123's Avatar
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    Default Re: does thickness of body affect tone

    yes but in what way, like if i had an sg thickness how would it differ from a strat or lp thickness of the same wood
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    Default Re: does thickness of body affect tone

    From my understanding, thinner bodies have less lows and mids, but mahogany bodies could possibly make up for the mids. Something around Les Paul thickness will have a much beefier, fatter tone to it, compared to a body thats thinner. I don't know much about wood species, so I can't help ya there.
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    Default Re: does thickness of body affect tone

    Quote Originally Posted by Corbic
    From my understanding, thinner bodies have less lows and mids, but mahogany bodies could possibly make up for the mids. Something around Les Paul thickness will have a much beefier, fatter tone to it, compared to a body thats thinner. I don't know much about wood species, so I can't help ya there.
    That's why I love mahogany! You can cut it thin and it'll still have balls! In my experience lows and mids have more to do with the wood/pickups/amp/etc. To my ears (I've owned Strats, Teles, EBs, SGs, and LP-types), the thickness of the body seems to correlate to thickness in tone. Body wood does play a role here too though.

    I'm not sure walnut would be a good choice for a thin body. I know they made walnut SGs in the 70's, but they are seemingly not very popular. I like a dark sounding wood in a thin bodied guitar.

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    Default Re: does thickness of body affect tone

    Walnut is a heavy wood, about like maple. If you go very thick it will weigh way too much. Walnut is also rather bright sounding wood, but your using the warmer neck woods. This will probably off set the brightness of the body some, imparting more warmth. I am finding more and more ,that the neck woods have as much to do with, and maybe more, with tone, as do the body woods and thickness. I don't think you need go overly thick on the body in such a case.

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    Default Re: does thickness of body affect tone

    A walnut SG is going to be a bright guitar, perhaps overly so.

    I think that a mahogany body with a walnut cap would be a friendlier guitar.
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    Mojo's Minions Sludgenutz's Avatar
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    Default Re: does thickness of body affect tone

    I get a lttle freaked about the "walnut body" guitars.

    Why? Walnut is sooo precious/beautiful/strong, yet easy to work (compared to ash/oak/hickory). The fact is, walnut is THE MOST PERFECT WOOD for firearms gunstocks. This has been true for centuries! Recoil is absorbed by walnut like no other wood or material known to mankind. From .22 rimfire to "elephant guns", walnut is the wood!

    Walnut aborbs energy. A maple gunstock in high a power weapon would kick like a mule!

    I guess I should answer the question! Yes, the thickness affects the tone. Between my mahogany solidibodes, the Epi SG body is thinner and has less bass. What it does have, is a concentrated low-mid, like that of a large mammal/human roar. The larger 335-S sounds like a mellow Les Paul.
    Last edited by Sludgenutz; 01-24-2006 at 06:58 PM.

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    Default Re: does thickness of body affect tone

    Quote Originally Posted by Sludgenutz
    I get a lttle freaked about the "walnut body" guitars.

    Why? Walnut is sooo precious/beautiful/strong, yet easy to work (compared to ash/oak/hickory). The fact is, walnut is THE MOST PERFECT WOOD for firearms gunstocks. This has been true for centuries! Recoil is absorbed by walnut like no other wood or material known to mankind. From .22 rimfire to "elephant guns", walnut is the wood!

    Walnut aborbs energy. A maple gunstock in high a power weapon would kick like a mule!
    .
    Walnut is an intriguing subject, because in theory it sounds like an ideal wood for guitars, yet it's rarely used. I've even heard an old vintage Ludwig Walnut drumkit that sounded huge. However, it never shows up on guitars, except for a few that never sold well. I'm wondering what's the deal?

    As far as thickness........Thin guitars sound thin. PRS makes the Custom 22 and McCarty. The McCarty is thicker and sounds thicker. That's the best comparison model I can think of.
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    Default Re: does thickness of body affect tone

    Will the body thickness change the tone: Definitely

    HOW will it change the tone: Believe it or not, this depends more on the body shape than the amount of wood being removed
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    Default Re: does thickness of body affect tone

    Quote Originally Posted by Sludgenutz
    Walnut is sooo precious/beautiful/strong, yet easy to work (compared to ash/oak/hickory). The fact is, walnut is THE MOST PERFECT WOOD for firearms gunstocks. This has been true for centuries! Recoil is absorbed by walnut like no other wood or material known to mankind. From .22 rimfire to "elephant guns", walnut is the wood!

    Walnut aborbs energy. A maple gunstock in high a power weapon would kick like a mule!
    I think you may have just answered the question about why walnut is not used often in guitars. If it absorbs recoil in a gunstock, what is it going to do to sound vibrations from some itty bitty steel strings? The idea of a rock maple gunstock terrifies me Maple transmits energy very well - maybe that's why it's so good for guitar necks and is usually used for the "sustain block" in semi-hollow guitars.

    Actually, IIRC spruce transmits vibrations better and faster than almost any other species, and that's why it is used for acoustic guitar tops & braces. Maybe walnut is toward the other end of the spectrum...

    These aren't "facts", just brainstorming based on limited knowledge.

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    Default Re: does thickness of body affect tone

    Im guessing it can also be the cut of wood used, like if you got screwed with a bad cut of mohogany or something it wouldn't sound so great.
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    Default Re: does thickness of body affect tone

    I guess walnut must be a terrible wood to use on a guitar, if it absorbs energy.
    It's a hardwood, so it's surprising. You'd think it would react like maple.
    If you play guitar chest-high, you play from your heart.

    If you play guitar waist-high, you play from your guts.

    If you play guitar low, you play from your huevos.

  14. #14
    Lewguitar
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    Default Re: does thickness of body affect tone

    The thickness, weight and resonance of the body makes a big diff.

    But also: one cutaway or two makes a huge diff.

    A single cutaway Les Paul will usually sound deeper and fuller compared to a double cutaway. The neck is a lot stiffer and better supported in a single cutaway.

    That's one reason why single cutaway Les Pauls sound so good!

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