Much has been written about the different qualities of tonewoods. In electric guitars and in my opinion, it doesn’t make a great deal of difference as most of the tone comes from the type of pick-up used, the amp settings and the player’s fingers. Acoustic guitars though, are a truly different animal. Yes an acoustic guitar will always sound like an acoustic guitar, no matter how it’s built and no matter what tonewoods have been used, but it will never sound like a mandolin, a violin, a banjo etc.
What makes an acoustic steel string guitar different from an electric is that all of the string’s energy is transformed and amplified by the sound box and its make up components. If we were to use ‘dead’ materials such as cardboard (as did Antonio Torres in the mid nineteenth century) for the construction, yes it would still sound like a guitar, but it would be dull and lifeless. Where as if we use highly resonant timbers in our construction, this sound will come through to the listener’s ear.
Four different species of tonewood bridge blanks and from left to right we have bocote, ziricote, cocobolo and Brazilian rosewood. All these woods have a very glass like tone that is described as ‘vitreous’ ie. they ring like a bell.