Electric guitar bodies make a difference in sound


pratterr
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pratterr
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07/19/2020 1:51 pm

I understand how pickups make a difference in the sound of your guitar. Humbucker, single coil or P 90s have different characteristics. How hot the pickups are changes how Distortion works on your guitar. But I don't understand how the body Style solid vs semi hollow vs hollow Changes the sound output of the guitar. If someone can explain this it would help. Thanks


# 1
ChristopherSchlegel
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ChristopherSchlegel
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07/19/2020 3:19 pm
Originally Posted by: pratterr

I understand how pickups make a difference in the sound of your guitar. Humbucker, single coil or P 90s have different characteristics. How hot the pickups are changes how Distortion works on your guitar. But I don't understand how the body Style solid vs semi hollow vs hollow Changes the sound output of the guitar. If someone can explain this it would help. Thanks

Hollowbody & semi hollowbody typically have a rounder more full sound with less high end, but solid body guitars have a brighter, sharper or more focus sound. And all of this can change depending on: effects, gain level, amp settings & use in track (how it sounds in context with other instruments).

You should check out some gear demo videos wo you can hear the difference for yourself.

For example.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rcuKF7h881Y

Hope that helps!


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# 2
pratterr
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pratterr
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07/19/2020 4:27 pm

Thanks for your response.

I believe that you are saying that the resonance of a semi or hollow body guitar changes the way the strings vibrate giving a Fuller more around sound Versus a solid body which has more sustain.


# 3
pratterr
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pratterr
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07/19/2020 7:25 pm

Thanks for your response.

I believe that you are saying that the resonance of a semi or hollow body guitar changes the way the strings vibrate giving a Fuller more around sound Versus a solid body which has more sustain.


# 4
matonanjin2
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matonanjin2
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07/19/2020 9:00 pm

This really doesn't address your issue of solid body vs semi-hollowbody in producing tone. But maybe this article, link below, from Guitar Player magazine on the different effects of wood on tone will prove interesting.

This is a topic I have been studying somewhat seriously lately as I am considering having a Custom Shop Strat built by Fender. I am also very sensitive to weight having had 3 spinal surgeries. I was first considering a swamp ash body as they are the lightest. But I'm not sure Fender will use swamp ash anymore and some guys in a forum started dissing, of course, swamp ash. Of course there was because there is always someone dissing everything in a forum. But there were claims of some swamp ash being a little duller. I want a real Texas bluesy growl.

Anyway, I hope this is some intersting reading: Guitar Player Tonewood Tutorial.


[u]Guitars:[/u] 2014 PRS Santana, 2013 PRS Paul's, 2009 PRS Hollowbody, 1972 Gibson ES-325, 2012 Fender Strat American Standard, 2012 Yamaha Pacifica, Martin M-36, Martin 000-15M, Seagull S6 Classic[br][u]Amps:[/u] Fender Blues Junior III, Boss Eband JS-10, Line 6 POD 500X, Quilter Microblock 45

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ChristopherSchlegel
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ChristopherSchlegel
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07/20/2020 11:42 am
Originally Posted by: pratterr

Thanks for your response.

I believe that you are saying that the resonance of a semi or hollow body guitar changes the way the strings vibrate giving a Fuller more around sound Versus a solid body which has more sustain.

All other things being equal, yes. Those are the general characterisitics. But any guitar will sustain longer if you plug it into a loud amp!


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# 6
ChristopherSchlegel
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07/20/2020 12:00 pm
Originally Posted by: matonanjin2This is a topic I have been studying somewhat seriously lately as I am considering having a Custom Shop Strat built by Fender. I am also very sensitive to weight having had 3 spinal surgeries. I was first considering a swamp ash body as they are the lightest.[/quote]

Basswood is very light. I have a project strat made from basswood that is extremely light & sounds great. And although it's considered a cheaper wood, agathis is used in a lot of the 2000s Indonisian Squiers, it's very light & resonant. I have 3 of them & 2 of them are really amazing machines. The 3rd is okay, too, just not as great.

I've always read that alder is lighter (on average) & more consistent sounding than ash. I own a couple of alder strats & an ash strat. I definitely prefer the alder for weight & tone. My 2 primary strats are alder & I love them.

But you need to try for yourself. Wood is inconsistent. Any given piece of alder, ash, basswood, etc. might be better or worse than another piece of the same wood.

[quote=matonanjin2]Of course there was because there is always someone dissing everything in a forum. But there were claims of some swamp ash being a little duller. I want a real Texas bluesy growl.

Haha! :) Yes, forums seem to attract that sort of action.

In my experience ash is brighter or favoring treble tones more. And this can run to a harshness that I don't like. I can tame it or fix it with EQ, effects & amp settings. But it always feels like I'm fighting it. Alder, on the other hand, seems to work more naturally for my preferences.

That Texas growl comes more from gear & playing style I think. If you are talking about SRV & Johnny Winter type stuff. The SRV strats had alder bodies with high output pickups. And SRV cranked it through one (or 2!) Tubescreamers (mostly for boosting, not distortion) into loud Fender & Marshall amps.

Check out this demo.

http://www.fendercustomshop.com/series/artist/stevie-ray-vaughan-signature-stratocaster-rosewood-fingerboard-3-color-sunburst/

This is a very personal thing, so I encourage you to try a bunch of guitars & ask questions! Have fun gear shopping!


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pratterr
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pratterr
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07/20/2020 12:29 pm

Thanks for your response.

I believe that you are saying that the resonance of a semi or hollow body guitar changes the way the strings vibrate giving a Fuller more around sound Versus a solid body which has more sustain.


# 8
matonanjin2
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matonanjin2
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07/20/2020 5:50 pm

Christopher, thank you for the elucidative, hugely helpful response. And pratterr, I hope you also find this helpful. I know your original post was about solid body vs semi-hollow body vs hollow body. But I think the knowledge about tonewoods is relevant. That I'm not hijacking the thread for my interest.

Yes, I'm talking the SRV/Johnny Winter type stuff. I have a Fender American standard that is Alder body with Fat 50 pick-ups (and maple neck and rosewood FB). I love the tone. But it is still a tad heavy. As you said, Alder is lighter and more consistent than Ash. but I also read that swamp ash is even lighter yet. but I don't know if it is even available any more. I will look into basswood and agathis. I have never heard of agathis!

It's not like I am in any hurry on this; I have lots of time to study and "try a bunch of guitars & ask questions! ". And I'll do this whenever we can get out and go shopping again!

Thank you again, Christopher.


[u]Guitars:[/u] 2014 PRS Santana, 2013 PRS Paul's, 2009 PRS Hollowbody, 1972 Gibson ES-325, 2012 Fender Strat American Standard, 2012 Yamaha Pacifica, Martin M-36, Martin 000-15M, Seagull S6 Classic[br][u]Amps:[/u] Fender Blues Junior III, Boss Eband JS-10, Line 6 POD 500X, Quilter Microblock 45

# 9
ChristopherSchlegel
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ChristopherSchlegel
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07/21/2020 12:53 pm
Originally Posted by: matonanjin2Christopher, thank you for the elucidative, hugely helpful response.[/quote]

You're welcome!

Originally Posted by: matonanjin2As you said, Alder is lighter and more consistent than Ash. but I also read that swamp ash is even lighter yet.

I've read that & heard guitarists say it, but I'm really not sure just based on personal experience. I did find this in a search.

"Low cuts of heavy ash may weigh as much as upper cuts of swamp ash, and very external and low cuts of swamp ash may be so light that they weigh similar to basswood or even less and this is the reason for the great confusion there is on this subject."

source: https://www.frudua.com/hard_ash_vs_swamp_ash.htm

That page is very brief but has a lot of interesting info I've never read before. So, thanks for the discussion resulting in me learning something new!

[quote=matonanjin2]It's not like I am in any hurry on this; I have lots of time to study and "try a bunch of guitars & ask questions! ". And I'll do this whenever we can get out and go shopping again!

Right on! Have fun with it!


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matonanjin2
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matonanjin2
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07/23/2020 3:41 pm

Christopher, thank you again. Succint as it was, that link was eductional. I'm still confused and probably will remain so until I order. Again, I have lots of time. I have most of specs, pick-ups, fretboard, etc., decided the only real remaining one is body wood. Of course, that's a biggie. I'm going with a maple top so I can go with the finish I want. I'm sure I'll be able to talk to someone there in the final stages before ordering. And one of the "check boxes" I found on the order form is I can declare a "maximum weight".

Thanks again.


[u]Guitars:[/u] 2014 PRS Santana, 2013 PRS Paul's, 2009 PRS Hollowbody, 1972 Gibson ES-325, 2012 Fender Strat American Standard, 2012 Yamaha Pacifica, Martin M-36, Martin 000-15M, Seagull S6 Classic[br][u]Amps:[/u] Fender Blues Junior III, Boss Eband JS-10, Line 6 POD 500X, Quilter Microblock 45

# 11

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