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Custom Built Guitars: Tonal Influence of Back & Side


Guitar Body: Top, Back, Side & Sound Production

During custom guitar, especially acoustic guitar, custom guitar body is the most important work. Because body determines the sound performance of guitar mostly.

Since mentioned a lot of times that top is the main part to determine the sound of guitar, many looked down upon the impact of back and side. Therefore, we want to try to explain how back and side influences the tone since the two parts also take part in the sound production through resonance of the body.

What exactly influences the resonance or response frequency of the body? Well, everything will affect the sound, tonewood, scale length, play style (pick or finger), body style and size, the bracing system inside, etc. Compared with those elements, back and side just affect the sound at a tiny degree. So, why back and side should be given consideration?

Well, we are trying to explain as specific as we can to help designers to realize that back and side is as important as top in article.


Role of Back & Side: Reinforce Stability & Aesthetic Appeal

Well designed and constructed side and body will support the top solidly, because of a nice stable frame. That increases resonance and sustain. Therefore, there are some benefits. The well-constructed back and side will be more responsive. Besides, makes the guitar to be solid with stable performance.

Another role of back and side is related with aesthetics. Since we know that top is the key part to affect the sound of guitar, so it is more freely to select wood for back and side. So, there are chances to create back and side with brilliant appearance. Don’t look down upon the appearance, it actually helpful to increase your selling. For players, this also stands for the quality.

Custom Guitar Back & Side: Wood Combination

Firstly, as our experience, there are some tone woods that commonly seen in the building of back and side: Rosewood, Mahogany, Sapele, Maple, Koa and Walnut, etc. To know more about tonewood, we have introduced the characteristics on Characteristics of Guitar Tone Wood.

What we want to focus on is the paring of tone wood. Theoretically, any combination of wood of the body will just work fine. However, when custom guitar body with special combination of wood for top, back and side, you should surely understand the properties of the woods. If you are hesitating about this, please feel free to CONTACT US for free consultant. There are some common combinations for reference:

  1. Spruce Top + Mahogany Back & Side

This type of combination is frequently found. Especially, classic on a lot of high-end acoustic guitars. The Spruce top provides bright tone and Mahogany back & side provide nice low end and warm sound. Therefore, the body creates a very balanced sound.

  1. Spruce Top + Rosewood Back & Side

Rosewood back and side usually provide less bass than Mahogany, but more mid-sound. Thus, this makes the guitar more metal feeling. Besides, visually, Rosewood could be more striking.

  1. Full Mahogany Body

Generally, this type of body is not so common. However, full Mahogany body plays full and rich sound, but lack of high pitch. Thus, normally this type of guitar fits for company playing.

And there are also more other combinations that we don’t list here. Guitar body building is not as simple as it looks like. Besides tone wood selection, internal bracing system is also a powerful influential element. Thus, when custom guitar body with various combinations, keep in mind that this is a scientific work instead of guessing or interest.

Once you want to custom guitar body with special combination, to CONTACT US for consultant will greatly save your time.