Cherry Martin Acoustic

A lot goes into the creation of a musical instrument, and one of the most basic and common materials needed for production is wood. Particularly in creating stringed instruments, wood is an important consideration in order for the instrument to produce the proper tone. Wood that has consistent and quality musical acoustics is called tonewood. Since sound is produced through vibration, the type of tonewood chosen for a particular instrument is dependent on its vibration qualities. Tonewood is most often used in making acoustic guitars.

Guitars are not usually made with the same type of wood throughout. Tonewood is usually only a consideration for the parts of a guitar that produce sound through vibration, namely, the back, sides, and topwood (also called the soundboard).

Some common tonewoods used to make the backs and sides of guitars include Rosewoods which produce deep bass tones and Mahoganies which produce round, more midrange tones. Maple, Walnut, Cherry, Alder, and Ash are other popular types of tonewood that create tonal qualities that vary slightly in resonance, warmth, and sustainability.

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The Sitka Spruce is a type of tonewood most often found in Alaska and is popular in making the topwood of a guitar. Martin and Gibson guitars usually use Sitka Spruce in creating their guitars because the wood is vibrant and transmits sound well. Other types of Spruces and Cedars are also used to create topwoods.

By considering the type of tonewood a guitar is made of, musicians can more easily predict the qualities of sound and tone that a guitar will make and choose to play the guitar that best suits their musical needs.

Alaska Specialty Woods ( has the finest supply for all kinds of tonewood ranging in all different grades and sizes. Billings Farnsworth is a freelance writer.

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