Choosing wood for the guitar

Choosing wood for the guitar

From the time of its invention to the present day, the guitar has been made from wood. To create a guitar, conifers are taken – for example, spruce.

Often developers use “Sitka” spruce, because this tree grows everywhere, so it is easy to get it. “German” spruce is more expensive, gives the guitar an ivory tone.

How to choose a tree

Each breed has properties suitable for a particular guitar part. Therefore, developers use one or more types of wood when developing one model.

Choosing wood for the guitar

Criterias of choice

The weight

Linden as a material for the guitar weighs a little, which is why it is popular with lead performers. In this regard, alder is similar to linden. Swamp ash models weigh moderately.


Linden is used in production – this variety highlights the top notes. The wood has a “whistling” nature, so the high range is cut down somewhat, although low sounds get a weaker sound. The alder wood gives the instrument a more powerful sound thanks to the densely spaced rings. In view of this, the guitar does not sound as sharp as a basswood product.

Swamp Ash makes low sounds rich and high sounds clear. Due to the uneven density of this wood, each model in the series will sound different.

An instrument made of this wood is not suitable for heavy compositions. Bass guitars are produced from the root part of swamp ash wood.


Choosing wood for the guitar

basswood guitar

Developers use linden for guitars – the body is developed from it. The material is easily machined, simply ground or milled. With close pores, softness and lightness, alder is similar to linden. Swamp ash is used as wood for guitars: it has a dense and rigid structure.


Among wood, linden is distinguished by an affordable cost – a cheap material. Products made of alder or ash are somewhat more expensive.

What else to pay attention to

Experienced musicians warn: when buying an Asian guitar made of ash, you need to carefully check for pores on the surface of the instrument. Ash from Asia is of poor quality, although it weighs a little due to the large number of pores. In this case, the guitar will sound unsatisfactory.

Effect of wood on guitar sound

Wood for the guitar is now used not as a tribute to tradition, but to achieve the acoustic properties of the instrument. Wood is used to:

  1. Amplify the sound of the guitar.
  2. Give the sound of the instrument individual features. Therefore, an electric guitar and a classical instrument sound differently.
  3. Increase playing time.

Among other materials, wood gives the guitar sound its versatility and beauty. In a tree, physical properties form the desired sound. It also weighs a little, is dense and flexible.

Compared to wood, plastic or metal will not create velvety tones, which appear only in wood due to the presence of micropores in its structure.

wood for acoustic guitar

Choosing wood for the guitar

Cedar guitar

For “acoustics” two main types of wood are used:

  1. Cedar – gives softness to sounds.
  2. Spruce – makes the sound sharp and sonorous. A common species is the Sitka spruce.

wood for electric guitar

In the manufacture of electric guitars, alder is often used. It provides a variety of frequencies, is light in weight, valuable for its good sound. Alder has a suitable timbre ; wood resonates well.

Ash gives the sounds ringing and transparency. Two of its types are used – marsh and white. The first has light weight, high strength, the second has high decorative properties, but heavier weight.

Electric guitars are produced from bubinga, which gives a warm and bright sound. A rare breed is the koa, which gives the instrument a pronounced sound of mid- range sounds , while the low frequencies are rather weak, and the high ones are soft.

Answers on questions

What wood is best for guitar?Each wood has its own advantages. It all depends on the tasks that the musician sets himself when choosing a guitar.
Which tree is the cheapest?Linden.
What wood is optimal in terms of price and quality?Alder, linden, swamp ash.


We found out what kind of wood guitars are made of – these are the main types of wood: linden, alder, ash. Additionally, electric guitars are developed from koa and bubinga – exotic breeds, the cost of which is high. Each type of wood has advantages, so there is no universal material for making a guitar.

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