Strandberg & Son Attempt to Answer the Tonewood Question – With SCIENCE!

In his first blog post since June, luthier Ola Strandberg takes a long, hard, and most importantly smart look at the age-old question (and maybe the most controversial since the anti-vaccination movement) – does the kind of wood you use in a guitar matter? Now, of course the answer is yes, you’d have to be deaf to not hear a difference –  but now, with the aid of his son David Strandberg, one of the brightest and most forward-thinking luthiers of our time has tackled the subject using actual controlled conditions and rational thought, instead of hearsay and witchcraft.


The video included in the blog post gives an idea of not just whether the wood affects the tone, but how, as wunderkind David Strandberg provides sound samples and spectral analysis of 4 different wood types. I found that it was most telling in on the high string, but the results were nothing short of eye-opening. He used the controlled conditions of identical pickups, strings, scale length, and pick attack, so his findings were relatively consistent.

I’m not going to go into it too much, because if you’re serious about your tone, you’re going to want to read what Ola has to say about it and consider his words very strongly.

Check out his blog post here.

On a related note – Parenting – Ola is doing it right. In my dad’s workshop I made wooden swords that I used to terrorize the neighborhood squirrels.

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As Editor-in-Chief of Gear Gods, I've been feeding your sick instrument fetishism and trying unsuccessfully to hide my own since 2013. I studied music on both coasts (Berklee and SSU) and now I'm just trying to put my degree to some use. That's a music degree, not an English one. I'm sure you noticed.

Latest comments
  • Wood doesn’t really have that much effect though. It does have an impact on sustain and presence of higher order dynamics. However, so do a million other things- construction, moisture, strings, etc. The type of wood mostly affects tone by way of altering playing style (feel of fret board, for example).

  • Seriously i do not understand this at all. For decades humankind was familiar with the fact that different tonewoods produce different results WITH E-GUITARS. Bring on the youtube trolls that are just out there to waste everyones time with their tacky KISS shirts and the music world goes rampant. One possible explanation could be that some people are far too much in love with their emulation softwares, active pickups, drop tunings and muddy amps. Well it sucks to be them.

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