Guitar Body Woods

Part of the beauty of wood is the uniqueness of each piece. There are wide ranges of color, striping, streaking, figure size, interval, etc. Our pictures are for general reference only.

If you have specific appearance expectations, please contact our Customer Support team by emailing sales@warmoth.com or calling (253) 845-0403 to determine availability and price.

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.

WOOD TONE:
WARMER
 
BRIGHTER
Options  
Body Wood
Used For Laminate Tops
Ash - Fraxinus americana

We have two very different types of Ash: Northern Hard Ash and Swamp Ash (Southern Soft Ash). Northern Hard Ash is very hard, heavy and dense. A Strat® body will normally weigh 5 lbs. and up. Its density contributes to a bright tone and a long sustain which makes it very popular. Its color is creamy, but it also tends to have heartwood featuring pink to brown tints. The grain pores are open and it takes a lot of finish to fill them up. Swamp Ash is a prized wood for many reasons. It is a fairly light weight wood which makes it easily distinguishable from Hard Ash. A Strat® body will normally weigh under 5 lbs. Many of the 50's Fenders were made of Swamp Ash. The grain is open and the color is creamy. This wood is a very nice choice for clear finishes. Swamp Ash is our second most popular wood. It is a very musical wood offering a very nice balance of brightness and warmth with a lot of “pop”.

WOOD TONE:
WARMER
 
BRIGHTER
Options  
Body Wood
Used For Laminate Tops
Basswood - Tilia americana

This is a lighter weight wood normally producing Strat® bodies under 4 lbs. The color is white, but often has nasty green mineral streaks in it. This is a closed-grain wood, but it can absorb a lot of finish. This is not a good wood for clear finishes since there is little figure. It is quite soft, and does not take abuse well. Sound-wise, Basswood has a nice, growley, warm tone with good mids. A favorite tone wood for shredders in the 80s since its defined sound cuts through a mix well.

WOOD TONE:
WARMER
 
BRIGHTER
Options  
Body Wood
Used For Laminate Tops
Bubinga - Guibourtia demeusei

A very strong stiff wood used primarily for bass necks and in laminations. Used by Rickenbacker for fretboards and Warwick for bodies. As a bass neck, it provides bright midrange and a thick well defined bottom. Bodies made form Bubinga will be very heavy but will sustain for days.

WOOD TONE:
WARMER
 
BRIGHTER
Options  
Body Wood
Used For Laminate Tops
Indian Rosewood - Dalbergia latifolia

A gorgeous exotic wood with rich thick grain covering a range of colors and patterns. These bodies dominate the heavy wood category with solid Strat&red; bodies always weighing in at well over 6 lbs. Specifying construction as hollow or chambered build is always a good idea if you're weight conscious. Finishes can be a little difficult to apply with the oily nature of the wood. You can expect big warm tones from rosewood with smooth high end roll off. Indian Rosewood Tele® bodies were made popular in the 70's by George Harrison of the Beatles.

WOOD TONE:
WARMER
 
BRIGHTER
Options  
Body Wood
Used For Laminate Tops
Koa/Figured Koa - Acacia koa

This very beautiful wood comes exclusively from Hawaii making supply very limited. Its weight varies somewhat from medium to heavy and is an excellent tone wood for bass guitar bodies. Koa has a warm sound similar to mahogany, but with a little more brightness. Like walnut, this wood may be oiled, but generally will look its best sprayed clear. Koa is sometimes available in flame figure.

WOOD TONE:
WARMER
 
BRIGHTER
Koa  
Body Wood
Used For Laminate Tops

Figured Koa  
Body Wood  
Used For Laminate Tops
Korina/Limba (Black and White) - Terminalia superba

Black and White Korina both come from the same tree. Black is the heart or bottom of the tree; white is from the outer and upper part of the tree. In body woods, it is not uncommon to see both white and black in the same board. Though Limba is its true name, Korina is the name most guitarists recognize for this wood. Its light yellow-green color is unique and looks aged even though new. In both tone and texture Korina is very similar to Mahogany with just a touch more highs. Korina is only suitable for neck stock, not fretboards. Availability is limited or sporadic.

WOOD TONE:
WARMER
 
BRIGHTER
Options  
Body Wood
Used For Laminate Tops
Lacewood - Cardwellia sublimis

Lacewood is imported from Australia. It's a medium weight wood. The grain design ranges from very small spots to very large spots which create its signature reptilian appearance. Lacewood looks best in the form of a bookmatched laminate top, but is also available for solid bodies. The tone is similar to Alder but the look is very exotic with a fish scale like brilliance under a gloss finish! This wood needs a spray on type finish as opposed to an oil finish.

WOOD TONE:
WARMER
 
BRIGHTER
Options  
Body Wood
Used For Laminate Tops  
Mahogany - Khaya ivorensis

We use African Mahogany in our body production. It is a medium to heavy weight wood with a Strat® body averaging 5 lbs. or more. Mahogany is a fine grained wood with great musical properties. The tone is warm and full with good sustain. The favorite tone wood of the Gibson® brand name; associated with some of the most famous rock music of our time. The grain is easy to fill. Looks good with clear or transparent red finish.

WOOD TONE:
WARMER
 
BRIGHTER
Options  
Body Wood
Used For Laminate Tops
Makore - Tieghemella heckelii

A tropical hardwood from the west coast of Africa with a very similar color to the Mahogany family though with a finer, more lustrous surface finish. Given the normal color and texture variations found in the Mahogany family most people can’t easily distinguish one species from another. Makore can have a degree of figuring that enhances its appearance. Weight wise this wood is pretty similar to Honduran Mahogany and African Mahogany (Khaya) with a specific gravity of .62 and weighing about 39 lbs per cubic foot (Honduran Mahogany is .54 - .64 specific gravity and 34 – 40 lbs per cubic foot, African Mahogany .54 - .59 specific gravity and 34 – 36 pounds per cubic foot). For guitars this is heavy when compared to Swamp Ash and for this reason all three of these woods are much more popular when used as a chambered body. Tonality will be extremely similar to Mahoganies with the primary differences coming from the varied weights/densities within the species

WOOD TONE:
WARMER
 
BRIGHTER
Options  
Body Wood
Used For Laminate Tops
Maple (Birdseye) - Acer saccharum

Birdseye is a type of figure found in Hard Maple. It shows best in flat sawn wood. There is a wide variety of sizes and shapes in the "eyes." Under a gloss finish, the Birdseye takes on a 3D look for a beautiful visual appeal. There seems to be a recurring rumor that Birdseye Maple is unstable and not suited to guitar necks. Having made tens of thousands of Birdseye necks, we can assure you that it is no different in stability than plain maple. AAA grade means the wood will be a bit more figured than our standard.

WOOD TONE:
WARMER
 
BRIGHTER
Options  
Body Wood  
Used For Laminate Tops
Maple (Burl) - Acer saccharum

This is a very busy looking wood usually with a lot of porosity and bark inclusions. We only use this wood for bookmatched tops. Epoxy is used to fill all voids. Burl looks fantastic finished in a natural clear gloss or as a tobacco burst!

WOOD TONE:
WARMER
 
BRIGHTER
Options  
Body Wood  
Used For Laminate Tops
Maple (Flame) - Acer macrophyllum

While there are several maple species that show the flame figure, the only one hard enough for making necks is Acer saccharum. Identical to plain Hard Maple, except for the highly prized flame figuring. For even more flame figure, AAA grade can be requested. A different species of Flame Maple is used for body laminate tops.

WOOD TONE:
WARMER
 
BRIGHTER
Options  
Body Wood  
Used For Laminate Tops
Maple - Acer macrophyllum

Western Maple grows all around us here in Washington state. 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.

WOOD TONE:
WARMER
 
BRIGHTER
Options  
Body Wood
Used For Laminate Tops
Maple (Quilt) - Acer macrophyllum

Quilted maple is a more rare form of figure occurring mostly in western maple. It is distinguished by its billowing cloud or even popcorn appearance. This figure can vary from large, wide billows to tight small blisters. As with flame, quilted maple is most often used as a bookmatched top, but is sometimes available as 1-piece or 2-piece solid bodies.

WOOD TONE:
WARMER
 
BRIGHTER
Options  
Body Wood
Used For Laminate Tops
Maple (Spalted) - Acer macrophyllum

This wood is actually the product of a dead or decaying tree. The dark lines are created by fungal attack. This wood is soft and punky and is only used as a thin laminate bookmatched top on flat top bodies with binding. Spalt is difficult to finish as it soaks up a lot of finish. Don't even think about doing a "do-it-yourself" finish on this stuff. Each piece of Spalted maple is quite unique. It looks awesome with a tobacco burst finish.

WOOD TONE:
WARMER
 
BRIGHTER
Options  
Body Wood  
Used For Laminate Tops
Padouk - Pterocarpus soyauxii

Bright vivid red color which oxidizes to a warm brown with use. With an open grain texture like Rosewood, the sound is very similar to Maple; well balanced and tight. This is a heavy to medium weight wood that looks great with an oil finish or clear gloss!

WOOD TONE:
WARMER
 
BRIGHTER
Options  
Body Wood
Used For Laminate Tops
Poplar - Liriodendron tulipifera

This is another standard body wood having been used by many companies over the years. Due to the grey/green color, this wood is used mostly when solid color finishes are to be applied. Its weight generally runs about one half pound more than Alder. Tonally, it is similar to Alder as well. Poplar is a closed grain wood that accepts finish well.

WOOD TONE:
WARMER
 
BRIGHTER
Options  
Body Wood
Used For Laminate Tops
Redwood - Sequoia sempervirens

We have a nice stash of interesting figured redwood. It is available only as thin bookmatched laminate tops on flat top solid bodies. Oil finishes or a clear gloss really compliment the reddish color and figure! Redwood is not suitable for hollow bodies.

WOOD TONE:
WARMER
 
BRIGHTER
Options  
Body Wood  
Used For Laminate Tops
Roasted Swamp Ash - Fraxinus americana

Roasted Swamp Ash is Swamp Ash that has been heat-treated to remove moisture and other impurities. As a result, the wood becomes somewhat lighter in weight, and more rigid. This process also transforms it from its normal creamy color to a deep caramel, and the bold grain patterns become even more accentuated and dark. When finished in clear the wood darkens even further, becoming quite brown. Roasted Swamp Ash bodies retain the full-spectrum, slightly snappy tone that Swamp Ash is prized for.

WOOD TONE:
WARMER
 
BRIGHTER
Options  
Body Wood
Used For Laminate Tops  
Sitka Spruce - Picea sitchensis

Supplied quartersawn, this is the same wood used for acoustic guitar tops. Lightweight but stiff, the color is creamy white. Available for laminate tops only.

WOOD TONE:
WARMER
 
BRIGHTER
Options  
Body Wood  
Used For Laminate Tops
Walnut/Figured Walnut - Juglans nigra

Luxurious coloring and grain patterns are the earmarks of Walnut. Whether using an oil finish or a deep clear gloss, the pleasing appeal of Walnut always delivers. This is an open grained wood. Walnut is in the heavy weight category but it's not quite as heavy as hard maple. It has a similar sound to hard maple but it tends not to be as bright.

WOOD TONE:
WARMER
 
BRIGHTER
Walnut  
Body Wood
Used For Laminate Tops

Figured Walnut  
Body Wood  
Used For Laminate Tops
Wenge - Millettia laurentii

Wenge features black and chocolate brown stripes. It is usually quartersawn to yield straight grain - similar to open grained Zebrawood, but black. This body is in the heavy weight category so considering it as a hollow or chambered build is beneficial if you're weight conscious. Its weight does offer plenty of sustain though. Oil finishes are most popular on Wenge but you can also leave them unfinished as well. The tone is balanced with great mid presence and attack. This is a popular wood for boutique bass builders and its tonal reputation is impressive.

WOOD TONE:
WARMER
 
BRIGHTER
Options  
Body Wood
Used For Laminate Tops
Zebrawood - Cordia dodecandra

You may see where Zebrawood gets its name. The distinctive look tells you it's none other than Zebrawood! This open grained wood is very heavy so it's primarily used as a bookmatched laminate top. When used as a body its tone is similar to maple.

WOOD TONE:
WARMER
 
BRIGHTER
Options  
Body Wood
Used For Laminate Tops