Effect of back wood choice on the perceived quality of steel-string acoustic guitars

Carcagno, Samuele and Bucknall, Roger and Woodhouse, Jim and Fritz, Claudia and Plack, Christopher John (2018) Effect of back wood choice on the perceived quality of steel-string acoustic guitars. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 144 (6). pp. 3533-3547. ISSN 0001-4966

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Some of the most prized woods used for the backs and sides of acoustic guitars are expensive, rare, and from unsustainable sources. It is unclear to what extent back woods contribute to the sound and playability qualities of acoustic guitars. Six steel-string acoustic guitars were built for this study to the same design and material specifications except for the back/side plates which were made of woods varying widely in availability and price (Brazilian rosewood, Indian rosewood, mahogany, maple, sapele, and walnut). Bridge-admittance measurements revealed small differences between the modal properties of the guitars which could be largely attributed to residual manufacturing variability rather than to the back/side plates. Overall sound quality ratings, given by 52 guitarists in a dimly lit room while wearing welder's goggles to prevent visual identification, were very similar between the six guitars. The results of a blinded ABX discrimination test, performed by another subset of 31 guitarists, indicate that guitarists could not easily distinguish the guitars by their sound or feel. Overall, the results suggest that the species of wood used for the back and sides of a steel-string acoustic guitar has only a marginal impact on its body mode properties and perceived sound.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? acoustics and ultrasonics ??
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Deposited On:
11 Dec 2018 14:12
Last Modified:
15 Jul 2024 18:42