Origin: Central and South America
Used On: The 500 Series, Acoustic 5 Series, LKSM
Mahogany is a good wood to anchor a discussion of tones, as a lot of other wood tones can be described in relation to it. Its essential sonic profile is well represented in the midrange frequencies. Acoustic guitars in general tend to live in the midrange portion of the sound spectrum, but mahogany in particular displays a lot of midrange character. That thick, present midrange sound is sometimes described in guitar circles as meaty, organic or even “chewy” — wherever a player digs in on the fretboard, they’re tapping into the core of the harmonic content of what a guitar produces. Those great midrange frequencies produce overtones that stack up and produce bloom, giving the sound extra girth. When one hears the resulting harmonics, the “chewy” tone serves up a big mouthful of midrange. As a popular tonewood for many decades, mahogany has been used on scads of old school acoustic recordings, and that sonic heritage carries across various strains of roots music, from blues to folk to slack key.
Goes well with: A broad range of players and musical styles; people who like a well-balanced tone, nice dynamic range and a healthy serving of overtones. Blues and other rootsy players tend to respond well to mahogany’s midrange character. A smaller body mahogany guitar (GC or GA) might appeal to fingerstyle players, whereas more aggressive flatpickers might opt for a mahogany Dreadnought or GS. For versatility, a mahogany GA is a good bet. Because of mahogany’s midrange, a player with “dark hands” will tend to sound darker on a mahogany guitar. A bright player will sound slightly less bright.