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Body Woods

The unique acoustic properties of body woods help "flavor" a guitar shape’s fundamental sound. Body woods also boast an inherent visual appeal that can be deeply inspiring, with characteristics that differentiate a guitar and showcase each as a truly unique instrument.

Understanding Back and Side Woods

The hardwoods used for a guitar’s back and sides (the same species is used for both) contribute rigidity and stability to an acoustic guitar body. This helps generate more sustain from notes as they ring out. The back and sides woods also emphasize certain resonant frequencies in ways that add unique sonic colors and textures to the guitar’s overall sound. 

Different Woods = Different Tones

Different tonewoods have distinctive physical traits, such as varying degrees of hardness, density and weight, that translate into different resonant properties across the frequency spectrum. Watch the video below for a comparison of two popular back and side woods: rosewood and mahogany.


Indian Rosewood

This classic tonewood is beloved for its wide frequency range and overtone richness on both the low and high ends of the musical spectrum, which create a natural reverb-like sound. Sparkling trebles and deep lows frame a slightly scooped midrange, leaving room in the mix for vocals and other instruments.

Neo-Tropical Mahogany

In contrast to rosewood, mahogany’s sonic properties emphasize a woodier, more focused voice with a fuller midrange. It’s often described as having a dry sound due to its focus on the fundamental note, with sonic clarity and balance across the tonal spectrum. This makes mahogany guitars a popular choice for recording applications.

How Different Body Woods Shape a Guitar’s Sound

Beyond rosewood and mahogany, a wide array of other hardwoods are used for the back and sides of a guitar, including maple, Hawaiian koa, sapele and more. Explore the unique characteristics of each and the ways in which they flavor a guitar’s overall voice.

Solid Woods vs. Layered Woods

One distinction between the woods we use for the back and sides is whether the wood components are solid or layered. Solid woods produce the most complex tone and tend to contribute slightly more distinctive sonic flavoring based on the species used. Layered woods — a middle core of wood with a veneer on either side — allow us to use our resources efficiently and showcase beautiful outer veneers to elevate a guitar’s aesthetic.

Solid Back and Side Woods

Solid tonewoods produce the most sophisticated, nuanced sound and improve with age.

Layered Back and Side Woods

Our 3-ply layered-wood construction, used on our 200 Series and below, is strong and resilient. It also allows us to use attractive tonewood veneers that elevate the aesthetic appeal of guitars across our line.

Top Woods

Learn more about the role the top plays as the guitar’s soundboard, along with the commonly used woods for guitar tops.

Explore All Acoustic Features