If a guitar’s body shape produces the sonic equivalent of a meal, think of tonewoods as the seasoning. The unique acoustic properties of woods help color a body shape’s fundamental sound. The key is to find the woods that match up best with your playing style and intended applications. It might be rosewood’s low-end growl and sizzling trebles; the midrange overtones of mahogany; the focus and projection of maple; or the warmth of a cedar top for fingerpicking. As you play different guitars, pay attention to each wood pairing’s distinctive acoustic traits, along with the feeling of responsiveness in your hands. If you plan to play and sing, tune in to the way the acoustic sound relates to your voice.
Beyond tonal considerations, woods boast an inherent visual appeal that can also be deeply inspiring. Figured koa, maple, and cocobolo, to name a few, have cast a seductive spell on many a player. Grain patterns, color variegation, and other visual characteristics all help differentiate a guitar and showcase each one as a truly unique instrument.
Our wood descriptions should help convey the tonal characteristics of each of the woods we use, but keep in mind that each tree, and even each set of wood, is different. Fortunately, here at Taylor we benefit from having listened to countless versions of particular models, which has given us a good sampling of each tonewood’s core acoustic personality.
In the end, our goal is simple: to help you find the ultimate tone.