Mahogany or Rosewood Back and Sides
#1
Do you think that there is any real/ significant difference in the sound produced by rosewood back and sides and mahogany back and sides on an acoustic steel string guitar?
Most of the guitars that I've owned have had rosewood but I've had a few with mahogany over the years- can't say that I noticed a big difference between them.
How about laminated mahogany or rosewood- any difference there?
Eastman E8OM-TC
Eastman PCH OM3-Koa
Eastman E6 D (with Herringbone Trim)

4 Fender Strats
Fender Tele
Gibson Les Paul Classic Premium Plus Faded Honeyburst
Gibson ES335 (dubious provenance) Sunburst
Gibson ES335 Custom (ditto) Burgundy
PRS SE Custom 24 Sunburst
PRS Custom 22 (dubious) Red Quilted top
PRS Custom 24 (dubious) Black Flamed Maple- my favorite electric guitar to play
D'Angelico D steel string Acoustic Electric
Esteve Model 8 Classical
Esteve Model 11 Classical
Yamaguchi Classical
Masaki Sakurai Model 15 Classical
Blueridge steel strings- BR160A, BR163, BR40, BR180
 
#2
Definitely. Mahogany is more focused on the fundamental and tends to have a crispy edge to the tone, particularly in the wound strings. This produces a sound that cuts through the mix and is less likely to become muddy in an ensemble. Rosewood can have a warmer, lush sound with more overtones. These are generalizations of course and there are always exceptions to the rule, as every piece of wood is different.

Laminate instruments tend to have a more compressed sound with less headroom compared to a solid B&S instrument, and lack the dynamics and tonal complexity of solid woods.

The bottom line is, the differences are only significant if you can really notice them. For casual strumming, any of the three choices are going to be fine. My first decent guitar was a plywood Yamaha and I was a happy camper for several years with that guitar.
SasquatchLife and Ted like this post
#3
Do you think that there is any difference between the sound of mahogany laminate and rosewood laminate, or are they basically the same?
Eastman E8OM-TC
Eastman PCH OM3-Koa
Eastman E6 D (with Herringbone Trim)

4 Fender Strats
Fender Tele
Gibson Les Paul Classic Premium Plus Faded Honeyburst
Gibson ES335 (dubious provenance) Sunburst
Gibson ES335 Custom (ditto) Burgundy
PRS SE Custom 24 Sunburst
PRS Custom 22 (dubious) Red Quilted top
PRS Custom 24 (dubious) Black Flamed Maple- my favorite electric guitar to play
D'Angelico D steel string Acoustic Electric
Esteve Model 8 Classical
Esteve Model 11 Classical
Yamaguchi Classical
Masaki Sakurai Model 15 Classical
Blueridge steel strings- BR160A, BR163, BR40, BR180
 
#4
I have an E10D (Adi/Mahogany) and an E20D (Adi Rosewood) -- the only difference between them are the solid back and sides. I definitely hear the difference that RoyBoy and others here talk about; they sound nothing alike. As most people will tell you, mahogany gives you a woody, fundamental tone that (as RoyBoy says) can really cut through a mix; rosewood has more shimmering overtones and a warmer, more 'complicated' sound. If I were playing acoustic in a group setting, I'd use my E10D. For solo gigs I primarily use the E20D (and prior to that, my E8D—Sitka/Rosewood) in standard tuning for the majority of the songs, but I also bring along the E10D in DADGAD for the songs I play in that more open tuning.

The only experience with laminate back and sides I have is with some Seagull guitars I once owned that used a laminate wild cherry with a maple center---they had their own unique (and pleasant) sound, but it wasn't either 'mahogany-ish' or 'rosewood-ish'. I'd think that RoyBoy is also correct in saying that laminates 'mute' the differences and probably don't have nearly as much influence on the sound as solid woods. But someone who's familiar with laminate rosewood and mahogany would give you a far more realistic answer to that—I'm just guessing!  Smile
Ted, SasquatchLife, RoyBoy like this post
Best, Steve

6 string acoustics: 2018 Eastman E10D (Red Spruce/Mahogany); 2021 Eastman E6D-TC (Alpine Spruce/Mahogany); 2021 AC522CE - GB (European Spruce/Mahogany)
Electric guitar: 1964 Guild Starfire V semi-hollow electric
Acoustic Bass: Epiphone El Capitan 5 String Acoustic/Electric Fretless (Year ?)
Website: http://www.stephenleigh.com 
YouTube: sleighwriter
#5
Roy and Steve covered the differences with the solid woods.  Keep in mind that everyone hears differently, and some people aren't as sensitive to these differences in sound.  I can definitely hear them, and my Rosewood and Mahogany guitars sound nothing alike.  Most of the sound is created by the top, and the body (back, sides) help to reflect or shape the sound.

As for most laminate guitars, we're talking about a piece of poplar (or some other center material) in between two veneers of Mahogany, Rosewood, Maple, etc.  Those veneers are not going to affect the sound, so essentially, two laminate guitars from the same maker are going to sound similar (if not exactly the same).

There are some exceptions, such as Godin (Seagull), who create their laminate with three equal hardwood pieces, where the outside pieces are what's visible, and the center piece is Maple.  Their laminate Cherry/Maple/Cherry on their S6 guitars are wildly successful in the sub-$500 range.  The combination of the thicker outside pieces and Maple interior provide a unique sound, but not the same as solid wood Rosewood or Mahogany.
sleigh and SasquatchLife like this post
"It's only castles burning." -- Neil Young
#6
Rosewood and Mahogany are about the same as steak and chicken, wine and beer, and blondes and brunettes.

In all seriousness though, they are VERY different as others have outlined above.
2020 Eastman E8OM-TC
2023 Eastman E2D
#7
Up above, I said: "For solo gigs I primarily use the E20D (and prior to that, my E8D—Sitka/Rosewood) in standard tuning for the majority of the songs, but I also bring along the E10D in DADGAD for the songs I play in that more open tuning."

Well, a few days back I reversed that decision. I decided I that on the whole I prefer the 'non-complex' and straightforward woody sound of the E10D for the majority of the songs I'm singing (and the vast majority of my songs are in standard turning), and wanted the added shimmer and complexity of the E20D for the songs I'm doing in DADGAD tuning. I reserve the right to change my mind and go back the other way at some point in the future.

You see, you can't trust anything I say!
SasquatchLife and Pura Vida like this post
Best, Steve

6 string acoustics: 2018 Eastman E10D (Red Spruce/Mahogany); 2021 Eastman E6D-TC (Alpine Spruce/Mahogany); 2021 AC522CE - GB (European Spruce/Mahogany)
Electric guitar: 1964 Guild Starfire V semi-hollow electric
Acoustic Bass: Epiphone El Capitan 5 String Acoustic/Electric Fretless (Year ?)
Website: http://www.stephenleigh.com 
YouTube: sleighwriter
#8
I've seen it go both ways for singing.  Some people like that Mahogany doesn't compete with the vocals, while others find that Rosewood's scooped sound creates a pocked for the mid-range vocals.  There's no one definitive answer.

Yesterday, I started this long post about how I prefer Rosewood and had gotten completely lopsided, selling all of my Mahogany guitars and replacing them with Rosewood ones (this is the shorter version, ha!).  Eastman's Mahogany guitars turned around my opinion, and I appreciate both now, and I worked to re-balance my collection.  For better or worse, I couldn't sell any of the Rosewood guitars, so that caused my overall collection to grow, but I could be happy with one Rosewood and one Mahogany guitar (or maybe one of each size; dread, OM/000).
sleigh and SasquatchLife like this post
"It's only castles burning." -- Neil Young
#9
(11-18-2020, 09:11 AM)Pura Vida Wrote: I've seen it go both ways for singing.  Some people like that Mahogany doesn't compete with the vocals, while others find that Rosewood's scooped sound creates a pocked for the mid-range vocals.  There's no one definitive answer.

Yesterday, I started this long post about how I prefer Rosewood and had gotten completely lopsided, selling all of my Mahogany guitars and replacing them with Rosewood ones (this is the shorter version, ha!).  Eastman's Mahogany guitars turned around my opinion, and I appreciate both now, and I worked to re-balance my collection.  For better or worse, I couldn't sell any of the Rosewood guitars, so that caused my overall collection to grow, but I could be happy with one Rosewood and one Mahogany guitar (or maybe one of each size; dread, OM/000).

My voice is definitely more mid-rangy so that's one reason why I prefer rosewood. And I just think that overall I like the lush and full sound that rosewood brings. However, I do miss my hog guitar, and my ultimate goal is to acquire what you mentioned in the last sentence. Then I would feel complete. So, now I just need to buy a hog dread and OM and I'm set!
2020 Eastman E8OM-TC
2023 Eastman E2D


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