Guitar Backs & Sides

Acoustic Guitar Back and Sides
What is the best acoustic guitar tone wood for you?

Acoustic Guitar Body Woods
The choice of wood used for the back and sides of an acoustic guitar has less effect on the overall sound of an instrument than the wood used for the top because it’s primary purpose is to create a resonant cavity to amplify the vibration of the top. However, since the whole guitar resonates, the choice of woods used for the back and sides of a guitar are nonetheless important.

Acoustic Guitar Woods: Burled Mahogany
Burled mahogany is similar to straight mahogany terms of durability and sound characteristics, but has a beautiful, figured grain. Burled mahogany is comparatively rare so expect the price to rise for a guitar built from it.


Acoustic Guitar Woods: Indian Rosewood

Known for a full, rich sound, Indian rosewood is characterized by alternating dark and lighter streaks. It is used exclusively for guitar backs and sides as well as fingerboards. Indian rosewood has a fairly high oil content making it somewhat stable in dry climates.


Acoustic Guitar Woods: Brazilian Rosewood
Today’s “holy grail” of guitar woods, many of the most highly p most highly prized guitars from decades past were constructed of Brazilian rosewood. Since the ban on importation into the US, instruments built from Brazilian rosewood have become extremely valuable. In sound and durability, it is similar to it’s Indian counterpart but with a richer, redder appearance. A few manufacturers still have stores of it and will build guitars on a limited basis and at a very high price.


Acoustic Guitar Woods: Maple
Also used mainly for the backs and sides of acoustic guitars, maple is a hard, bright sounding wood. Typically maple guitars are quite loud and stand up well to variances in humidity and temperature.


Acoustic Guitar Woods: Koa
Koa grows only in Hawaii and is fast becoming the “Brazilian Rosewood” of the day. Its sound is deep and warm. Koa sometimes grows “flame” patterns similar to that of maple. When this of maple. When this occurs, its grain is nothing short of stunning to look at. Koa is considered to be fairly exotic so it is usually used in premium guitars.

(collectibles: modernguitar )