Video with full analysis.
Scientific analysis of Alder and Maple tone bars on Teufell Birdfish.
This experiment can be replicated yourself at home using the following free trial software.
Sound files from Teufell.
A/B of Teufell Birdfish.
Alder (Alnus rubra):
Alder is used extensively for bodies because of its lighter weight (about four pounds for a Strat® body) and its full sound. Its closed grain makes this wood easy to finish. Alder’s natural color is a light tan with little or no distinct grain lines. It looks good with a sunburst or a solid color finish. Because of its fine characteristics and lower price, Alder is our most popular wood and it grows all around us here in Washington State. The tone is reputed to be most balanced with equal doses of lows, mids and highs. Alder has been the mainstay for Fender bodies for many years and its characteristic tone has been a part of some of the most enduring pieces of modern day contemporary music.
(Acer saccharum-Hard Maple):
We offer two types of Maple: Eastern Hard Maple (hard rock maple) and Western Soft Maple (big leaf maple).
Hard Maple is a very hard, heavy and dense wood. This is the same wood that we use on our necks. The grain is closed and very easy to finish. The tone is very bright with long sustain and a lot of bite. This wood cannot be dyed. It looks great with clear or transparent color finishes.
Western Maple grows all around us here in Washington state. It is usually much lighter weight than Hard Maple but it features the same white color. It has bright tone with good bite and attack, but is not brittle like the harder woods can be. Our flame (fiddle-back) and quilted bodies are Western Maple. This type of maple works great with dye finishes.
Some recent posts I have made on Linked in regarding this subject.
Some further papers I have since read on this subject getting to the point of QED.
J.-L. Le Carrou, J. Frelat, A. Mancel, B. Navar- ret ”Guitare eńlectrique : quel roˆle pour les e ́le ́ments de lutherie ?”, Congre`s franc ̧ais d’acoustique, Lyon (2010)
Symmetrical vs. asymmetrical electric guitar: what change for sound?
The symmetry of the headstock is responsible for :
modes appearing in a different order
strong frequency shifts for the modes of the guitar
active torsional modes along the middle line of the fingerboard
torsional modes acting differently on each side of this middle line
The symmetry of the body is responsible for :
modes appearing in the same order
small frequency shifts for the modes of the guitar, though shifts increase with increasing frequency
no active torsional modes along the middle line of the fingerboard
Ebony & rosewood electric guitar fingerboards: do they really sound different?
Electric guitar lutherie being a huge topic, this paper focuses on the influence of the fingerboard on the string vibration. An experimental study is carried out on two guitars whose only intentional difference is the fingerboard wood: ebony or rosewood.
Fingerboard wood may have an influence on the:
dead spot location: spatial and frequency coincidence between string and guitar resonance
dead spot dangerousness: string damping may be bigger for rosewood-fingerboard guitar
→ Also true for partials → the timbre is affected by the fingerboard!
The sound differences have consequences in:
instrument-making: changing the resonance coincidences (fingerboard thickness and shape, sawing angle) → reducing or increasing the differences between the woods!
playing: players forced to avoid certain places on the neck
tuning: frequency coincidences are tuning-dependent. → some guitars are said to sound better with a non-standard tuning!
Dead Spots of Electric Guitars and Basses
Which of both, the bridge-end or the neck-end support of a string, is more mobile?
Experiments indicate that, in the normal case and in obvious contrast to an acoustic instrument, the bridge of a solid-body electric guitar or bass is much less mobile than the neck. The string may induce body vibrations via the neck rather than via the bridge. Energy is transferred to the instrument and gets lost for the string vibration. The “vibration willingness” of the neck is the cause for additional damping of the strings, i.e.for dead spots. Former studies have revealed that the motion of the instrument perpendicular to the fingerboard dominates this effect.
What, in summary, is new?
At the first glance, an electric guitar or bass looks rather rigid. At the second glance, however, it proves as very flexible at particular frequences. A dead spot, defined by an abnormally fast decay of the fundamental tone, is caused by damping due to energy transfer from the string to the instrument body. For a well-balanced instrument the bridge proves as practically immobile, while the neck is flexible and exhibits resonances. Under certain circumstances, the string may excite a neck resonance with the result that the string vibration is additionally damped. The mechanical conductance is a suitable indicator of the frequency-selective damping of the string supports. An in-situmeasuring approach is suggested to ascertain the out-of-plane conductance on the neck. The combination of the curves as obtained at the nut and frets creates some kind of a landscape which represents a “fingerprint” of a guitar with respect to dead spots. An overlay chart based on the fundamental frequencies makes its evaluation easier as the higher the conductance for a string-fret combination is the more probable it is to find a dead spot. Thus, the fingerboard conductance of an electric guitar or bass can be simply measured and promises to be a key parameter for diagnosing and avoiding dead spots.
A vibro-acoustical and perceptive Study of the neck-to-body Junction of a solid-body electric Guitar
A. Pat ́ea, J.-L. Le Carroua, B. Navarretb, D. Duboisa and B. Fabrea
We concentrated on the confrontation of time-frequency representation of the notes of the guitars in relation with dri- ving-point conductance. In general we find quiet similar re- sults as : when the driving-point neck-conductance mea- sured at the string/guitar coupling point is high at the fre- quency of the note, an unusual damping of the fundamen- tal frequency is visible on the spectrogram. We nevertheless found a non-neglectible number of exceptions to that: they will be the motivation of further work.
A last point to mention is the bridge conductance. We could observe in line with  and  that the driving-point conductance at the bridge is in general small compared to the ones on the neck. This fact is to be put into perspective: it should depend on the bridge type. The bridge of our guitars is not as rigid as other bridges, at certain frequencies the con- ductance at the bridge can be found to be bigger than on the neck. So in further works the bridge conductance will still be taken into account.
referenced by this paper.
The LAM paper published in french has clear results showing how 3 different types of woods on otherwise specially made and identical guitars produce different resonant responses.
QED in fact!