Overview: Though better known and more widely used as a back and side wood, walnut also offers a distinctive musical flavor as a soundboard wood. Its physical density and stiffness are akin to Hawaiian koa, generating a similar natural compression effect when used as a top wood that results in a smooth, balanced attack. Players will notice crisp trebles and a woody, warm low-end response that matures and grows richer with time and playing. Walnut generates a bit more presence in the midrange than koa, providing some of mahogany’s dryness and focus in the center of the tonal spectrum balanced by a touch of overtonal texture similar to rosewood.
Goes Well With: Players who like a balanced, woody acoustic sound that offers treble clarity and definition along with warmth and depth.
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.