You’ve heard the arguments for and against tonewoods over the years, but Paul Reed Smith is here to attempt to ’em to rest once and for all. Or at least that’s the goal – you’ve been on the Internet before. People aren’t ever going to stop arguing.
Anyway! In a recent interview with Dipped In Tone, Reed argues that tonewood matters under the premise that if it didn’t, folks would only put their focus on pickups and microphones instead.
“I found an argument in Germany when I was over there that I think sticks,” said transcribed by Guitar World. “If the instrument doesn’t matter, and it’s only the pickup, then a concert violinist would go up to a Neumann microphone and the violin would not matter at all. It’s his hands and the microphone. That’s it. That’s all that matters, according to the internet. What a load of crap.”
“A really good guitar is bright on the bass strings and really thick on the high strings, and that the pickup picks it up. And the idea that the pickup is going to ignore that… That red guitar in the rig [behind one of the interviewers] is hollow and has a note that’s coming out of it all the time, those harmonics are added to every note you play.
“I’ve heard it over and over and over and over again that the tonewoods don’t make any difference whatsoever. It’s just not true.”
Reed then touches on the story of a violin maker, who picked out all the same tree’s woods despite not knowing where it all came from.
“I took a couple of violin makers to my wood supplier once. And they went and knocked on every piece of wood in this entire area. And they were listening not for the note but how long it rang. At the end, the woodcutter’s jaw-dropped. I said, ‘What’s wrong?’ And he goes, ‘Look what they picked out.’ They picked out 40 backs for violins. They all had the same number on it.
“I said, ‘What does that mean?’ And he said, ‘They’re all from the same tree, Paul.’ I mean, they had picked out the ones that rang the longest – it was all coming from the same tree. So that doesn’t matter? It’s just nuts!”