Tonewoods can also have impart significant qualties to the neck. Understanding how each piece of the guitar comes together, and why each wood is used in each part can be a downright science. Guitar makers can choose woods that create a brighter tone, either reinforcing the top end of a large bodied guitar, or choosing a wood that gives the guitar a warmer tonal range.
So the next time you pick up a guitar, you can begin to understand the science behind all the woods selected in the guitar making process, and how each selected part influences the 'voice' of the guitar. Really neat stuff!
Maple: The most common electric guitar neck wood, Maple has a uniform grain, it’s strong and stable, and it has less reaction from environmental changes than other hardwoods. Its tone is highly reflective, and focuses more energy onto the body wood. All things being equal, bolt-on Maple necks are less of a factor on the guitar’s tone and emphasize the body wood.
Mahogany: The even density makes stable necks, and the open pores make the neck a little more responsive than a maple neck. The Mahogany will absorb a little more of the string vibration than Maple will, and compresses the attack and the highs a little.
Koa: The tone is somewhere between Mahogany and Maple with a little sweeter top end.
Rosewood: Heavy, oily wood, a Rosewood neck will produce excellent sustain while also smoothening out the highs. Generally with greater sustain comes a brighter top end. This is not true of Rosewood. It mutes the high frequency overtones, producing a strong fundamental that still has the complexities of mid and low mid overtones.
Wenge: Stiff, strong, and stable, Wenge trims some high overtones like Rosewood does, while resonating more fundamental mids and low mids due to its multi-density “stripes” combing away a little more of the mid and low mid overtones.
The completely consistent formula of TUSQ, TUSQ XL, and Black TUSQ XL helps all neckwood choices with maximum vibration transfer and enhanced harmonic content to add depth to the tonal response unique to each type.
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