Overview: Harder, denser woods like mahogany and koa that are used on the back and sides of a guitar are sometimes used as tops. Their stiffness initially translates into a bright tone and tends to need more play-in time to open up, but the more a mahogany-top guitar is played, the more it develops overtones that contribute to a fuller, richer sound. A mahogany-top guitar might appeal to rootsy players who like a little extra punchiness in their tone.
Origin: India, Central and South America
Goes Well With: Blues and roots players, anyone who likes an slightly more burly or punchy quality to their tone.
The unique acoustic properties of top woods help color a body shape’s fundamental sound. The key is to find the wood that matches up best with your playing style, like the warmth of a cedar top for fingerpicking and the feeling of responsiveness in your hands.