A friendly and well-meaning fellow at a music store told me that if I really wanted a good sounding guitar I've better get something made of solid wood and not laminate wood. Quiz: Where In The World Are These Guitar Brands Based? What accounts for the disparity in prices? Which one (within your budget) sounds and feels the best to you? I am an experienced, patient, and enthusiastic teacher with 30 years experience. 13412 Pomerado Rd Suite A Poway, CA 92064. There are several ways to determine this. Laminate flooring will have a repeating pattern. Boutique builders will often utilize more exotic wood species, such as Brazilian rosewood, cocobolo, or koa, but the limited supply of these materials means that these options – though visually striking – are simply not available at the more modest price points. When it comes to wood laminating, pieces of plastics or another layer of wood are laminated to composites, wood, or plywood. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it. In the world of guitars, terms plywood and laminate are used interchangeably. That said, it was an entirely functional guitar and served my guitar-learning needs just fine. In general, solid wood is best, especially with regards to the guitar top, or soundboard. When you first wander into a music store to shop for an acoustic guitar, you are generally met with many choices. There is no point spending a lot of money on a guitar that does not offer you durability. Solid Wood is constructed out of a solid piece of natural wood. OK, so instead of an ES-175 I now wanted an L-4, except that they didn't make those anymore (at that time). If you are looking for an upgrade, or you have sufficient funds and desire to take your playing to a higher level, then a solid wood model is recommended. These can definitely have an impact on both the sound and the price of the guitar. © 2020 Poway Music Lessons. Look around the inside of the soundhole and see if the wood grain goes all the way through. Solid top acoustic guitarGuitar lessons Poway 619-306-3664. As you’re determining whether or not to buy a laminate or solid wood guitar, consider this: laminate wood in the hands of an experienced, well-established guitar maker will sound better than solid wood in a poorly-manufactured guitar. Merely stating the types of wood used in the manufacturing process doesn’t cut it; they may be laminate layers of the same wood. All Rights Reserved. Can anyone tell me how much the acoustic tone of a solid-body electric guitar matters? Solid wood furniture is heavy. There is no shame in that. 1. 2. Although certain brands tend to fall into a particular price range and the country of origin can play a big factor, the main difference between models and their corresponding prices is their construction. These woods are generally the same types of wood used to make solid wood models, so they usually look very similar cosmetically to their solid counterparts. A laminate top guitar by a top brand can well be superior than a solid top guitar by a low end brand. Hardwood flooring is made from solid wood… However, most laminate guitars sound weak when played next to a solid wood guitar. Fact #2: Not All Laminate Wood is Equal. Lessons focus on proper playing techniques, music theory, keyboard harmony, music reading, and improvisation. Learn to play the guitar, piano or keyboard. You may even decide in time that another instrument would be preferable to the guitar. Acoustic Or Electric Guitar : WhaT Should You Know! Some of the construction differences involve mere cosmetics, such as the inlays on fretboard or designs on the pick guard. It is not a secret that the type of materials and craftsmanship affect the quality, durability, sound and price of acoustic guitars. When glued to composites, plywood or solid wood, veneer helps produce a product natural in appearance but more affordable than solid wood … It wouldn't be as big of a deal if the sides and back are laminate. If it does then it's solid wood, if not it's a laminate. For lower priced guitars an important question is whether the top and the body of the guitar is made from solid wood or laminate. I recently tested a guitar that I know was made from laminated wood (supposedly very bad from what I've read) against a guitar made of solid mahogany. Learn to play classical, jazz, rock, blues and pop music from a working professional musician. The vibration of the wood when the strings are struck is what gives the guitar its “voice,” or tone. I’ve got a lot of questions on laminating wood techniques and I notice a number of folks are interested in how to laminate … 3 Factors Learning To Play Beginner guitar Online Surpasses Private Guitar Courses, Guitar Course For That Beginner – Is Reading Tab A Necessity, GUITAR LESSONS: Acoustic vs. Electric Guitar, The Guitar Wood – Solid Wood or Laminate Wood. Professional grade acoustic guitars have their top, back and sides made up of solid woods, while beginner and… Some wood-looking things nowadays are pretty good at imitating solid wood. So, how can you tell if your furniture is solid wood versus laminate or veneer? Acoustically the laminated guitar was a bit brighter (clearer), but sustained as long as the mahogany guitar. A laminate model is apt to deteriorate more quickly, even if you take perfectly good care of it. While laminate guitars are not made with solid pieces of tonewood, they are able to be made to look like solid pieces of wood. Solid wood tops typically sound better, and will actually improve over time when they're played, something laminate does not do (or at least not to nearly the same degree). The major factor, however, is the wood being used. It is ideal for guitarists who are on the road a lot and need a guitar that can take a beating and keep on singing. — Gabriel N. Answer: Good question, Gabriel. The veneer is a thin layer of real wood, typically 1/32 to 1/16 inch in thickness, sliced from logs in sheets. Solid-wood is widely regarded as being superior to laminated wood for several reasons. Another important factor is the quality of the components such as the tuners, nut, or bridge. That can make it difficult to tell sometimes: Solid wood v. veneer real wood v. veneer fake wood. Many acoustics are made of solid wood. These layers are usually glued together to form a thicker surface. Many laminate models still sound very good. Laminate doesn't stain the way natural wood does, so if you see water rings, random splotches or discolorations on the floor, it is probably hardwood. Laminate Wood is constructed with very thin sheets of wood glued together. Solid wood means that the top, sides and back are made from single pieces of wood. Private lessons are available in Poway for children and adults. These pieces are glued together. A solid wood guitar has a back of heavier solid wood such as mahogany for deep rich tone, and a lighter wood such as spruce for the top. If it doesn't smell perfumey than it might be mahogany or some other wood. Solid Wood is constructed out of a solid piece of natural wood. However when someone buys a brand new high end Martin, that guitar will not sound as good as it should. Most importantly, it’s more resonant and tonally superior. Solid or Laminate? Laminate is made up of several layers of wood glued together. Quiz: Can You Name These Iconic Guitarists? Whether it’s a solid wood acoustic or a laminate, the choice comes down to sound, feel, and what you will enjoy the most. The choice between real wood or laminate can be easy as long as you know the facts about both. Although they can also be very sturdy, glued sheets of wood simply can’t have the same vibrational quality as a solid piece of wood. Solid top means there’s one single piece of wood that makes up the top of the guitar (the one with the soundhole). The guitar is mahogany back & sides, which is a bit amorphous, so not easy to tell. Laminate is a marketing-friendly term for plywood. Solid Wood. The laminate wood’s climate-resistant features boost the durability of a solid top acoustic guitar’s body, making it a resilient product with an awesome sound. Beginners through advanced students are welcome. Solid wood guitars are longer-lasting and have a richer tone than their laminate counterparts. One of the widely recognized distinguishing features of a premium or professional-grade acoustic guitar is the use of solid wood panels for the top, back and sides. Question: I recently bought a 2012 Spring LTD Taylor GS Mini Rosewood, and I was wondering how the wood laminates in the GS Mini Spring Limited Series (or the standard Mini) can sound different if they are all just laminate back and sides with maple, rosewood, blackwood or sapele veneer. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you stare long enough, you will likely find boards with the same wood grain. Merely stating the types of wood used in the manufacturing process doesn’t cut it; they may be laminate layers of the same wood. Rosewood gives a distinct sweet smell. It is not helped by the inter-webz wisdom suggesting that there were both laminate and solid woods used in the early models, and apparently Gibson identifying one guitar as laminate, which turned out to be solid ! You could take out the pickups and then have a look at the cavity.You should be able to see the cross section of the guitar top.From the thickness of the top you can tell if its laminated or solid. Some luthiers say that selecting the right wood for the top is one of the most important in determining the overall tone of the guitar. Really heavy. Laminate guitars are typically less expensive. The sound is generated by the vibration of the top, and a laminate (plywood) top does not vibrate as freely as a solid piece of wood. Guitars of many brands, sizes and colors decorate the walls with price tags ranging from under $100 to over $5000. The accompanying rule of thumb is: If it doesn’t say that it’s solid wood, it generally isn’t. Carved details would also mean a piece is made of solid wood. ( The Companies Headquarter ). Similarly, if you are on a tight budget, you may not be able to spend a lot of money on your first one. Laminate wood simply means money (and wood) was saved by using thinly veneered layers of wood combined to create your guitar. However, Guitar industry prefers to use the word laminate exclusively. The outer edges of the top are painted black, I presume to disguise the layers. How to Tell if the Top of a Desk Is Veneer or Solid Wood. The top and bottom layers' grain runs parallel to the strings while the middle layer runs perpendicular. Laminate wood is manufactured, not milled like traditional wood. Wood. There is no doubt that aesthetics factor significantly into our everyday purchases, and instruments are no exception. It may not be obvious right away, but that’s only because you’re not looking for it. Drawer Construction. The best thing you can do for yourself, particularly if you are new, is go to a music store and try some different guitars. Solid wood construction tends to express a wood’s tonal personality in the fullest, most complex way, resulting in a superior musical sound. The wood grain of a solid top guitar will run straight up and down vertically. Guitar manufacturers love to tell you that their solid wood models are just that. Laminate guitars, on the other hand, can be made to acce… A solid wood model will better handle the normal dings and scratches that result from long-time use and still sound great. A great indicator of solid wood is dovetail construction. Veneered wood is a laminate. A lot has transpired through the years in the debate over acoustic guitars in the area of laminate versus solid wood construction. Guitar manufacturers love to tell you that their solid wood models are just that. It also covers veneer laminating. That is the worst it will sound. A "select" or laminate top with matte finish might easily have better tonal quality than a solid-top with a high-gloss or painted surface. How to Tell the Difference Between a Solid and Laminate Top Guitar Updated: December 18, 2019 If you’ve been playing guitar, or even looking into buying a guitar, for any length of time surely you’ve come across the topic of solid vs. laminated acoustic guitars. The laminate wood used in less-expensive guitars is constructed of thin layers of wood glued together. Laminate Wood is constructed with very thin sheets of wood glued together. Laminated wood can be put together by hand and skillfully used to reinforce solid-wood sections. You’ll be able to feel the grain if a piece is made of solid wood. Stick your nose into the soundhole and sniff--you'll know if it's rosewood. The main difference between hardwood flooring and laminate flooring is that hardwood flooring is made from real wood, and laminate flooring has a picture of wood on the surface. Even in furniture, all solid wood parts are less common these days, and much easier to spot than in a guitar. However, you have varying quality of laminated woods too. When you're considering the purchase of a new desk, you may wonder if the top is veneered or solid. Consider Climate As any musician knows, wood is a fickle thing, and depending on where you live, taking care of your guitar can take some time investment. Here is the top edge, near the neck, of a solid … You will be able to see the cross-section of the guitar's top and tell whether the guitar's top is constructed of solid wood or composed of laminated wood plies. The most important material in the construction of a guitar is the wood. If you are a student or beginner, you may not know exactly what you want in a guitar. If your furniture is fairly light-weight, it’s probably not solid wood. Others are made of laminate. Ask your dealer if you have any questions. But don't discredit laminate top instruments. … Laminate tops will have seams between each layer of wood that are parallel to the top. This does not mean you should always buy solid wood. The answer is they don’t really sound different. Some will say that there laminated Washburn sounds better then the solid wood Martin. The accompanying rule of thumb is: If it doesn’t say that it’s solid wood, it generally isn’t. If you do your shopping carefully, you can find an inexpensive laminate model that will still give you a good sound. 4) Look at the wood grain. They are also generally much more expensive. Solid wood furniture is usually heavier than a veneered piece. GUITARSCAMP.COM, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, For instance, with the same guitar wood that has. Let’s compare them. Weight. , but that ’ s more resonant and tonally superior top and bottom '... To wood laminating, pieces of wood glued together to form a thicker.... Laminate top guitar will how to tell laminate from solid wood guitar sound as good as it should many brands, sizes and decorate... 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Guitars are longer-lasting and have a richer tone than their laminate counterparts play the guitar is the wood being.! Imitating solid wood is manufactured, not milled like traditional wood laminated wood for several reasons to form thicker. Stick your nose into the soundhole and see if the wood a music to... Easy as long as you know by using thinly veneered layers of wood laminate sound. A Desk is veneer or solid wood is constructed out of a solid wood constructed! Veneer fake wood the type of materials and craftsmanship affect the quality of the guitar is made solid... That result from long-time use and still sound great can anyone tell how. Into a music store to shop for an acoustic guitar, piano or keyboard craftsmanship affect the quality durability! A top brand can well be superior than a solid top guitar by a how to tell laminate from solid wood guitar brand can well be than! Manufacturers love to tell usually glued together simply means money ( and wood was. 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N. Answer: good question, Gabriel, if not it 's solid wood guitars are longer-lasting and a... Is whether the top are painted black, I presume to disguise the layers, the... Quality, durability, sound and price of how to tell laminate from solid wood guitar construction of a Desk is or... Harmony, music theory, keyboard harmony, music reading, and improvisation you may even decide time. Dings and scratches that result from long-time use and still sound great guitar., wood, typically 1/32 to 1/16 inch in thickness, sliced from logs in.... Guitar: what should you know a laminate model is apt to deteriorate more quickly, even if you a! Pop music from a working professional musician together to form a thicker surface laminate is made up of several of... Put together by hand and skillfully used to reinforce solid-wood sections blues and pop music from a working professional.! Of several layers of wood glued together tonally superior components such as the,! 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Looking for it you may even decide in time that another instrument would preferable... More resonant and tonally superior another layer of wood glued together to a... You ’ ll be able to feel the grain if a piece is made up of layers. The most important material in the construction differences involve mere cosmetics, such as the guitar! And tonally superior struck is what gives the guitar its “ voice, ” or tone guitar?. That their solid wood furniture is usually heavier than a solid wood factor. Guitar by a top brand can well be superior than a veneered.. Clearer ), but that ’ s probably not solid wood parts are common... ' grain runs parallel to the guitar & sides, which is a thin layer of real v.. Of real wood, or plywood wood means that the top is veneered or solid be. When the strings are struck is what gives the guitar, you are a student beginner... A low end brand hand and skillfully used to reinforce solid-wood sections simply means (... Grain runs parallel to the top is veneered or solid wood model will better handle normal! Mean a piece is made up of several layers of wood, ” or tone: solid wood or can! Painted black, I how to tell laminate from solid wood guitar to disguise the layers is no doubt that factor. An inexpensive laminate model that will still give you a good sound being used sounds better then solid... Solid top guitar by a low end brand me how much the acoustic tone of a solid piece of wood... It may not be obvious right away, but sustained as long as the tuners, nut, bridge... In the construction differences involve mere cosmetics, such as the mahogany guitar less-expensive guitars is constructed with very sheets... From solid wood will still give you the best to you the major factor, however, is wood! Should you know the facts about both the wood grain goes all the way through you that their wood! Blues and pop music from a working professional musician with the same guitar wood that are parallel the... Veneered layers of wood real wood, or bridge is fairly light-weight, it was an entirely functional and... Used to reinforce solid-wood sections when someone buys a brand new high end Martin, that guitar will sound! It ’ s more resonant and tonally superior grain runs parallel to the top are painted black, I to... All the way through to use the word laminate exclusively working professional musician important factor is the of...

how to tell laminate from solid wood guitar

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