We have been getting these questions again, and again that do all electric guitar sound the same? What sets a guitar apart from the rest? As a matter of fact, no, the all-electric guitar doesn’t sound the same.
There is a massive difference in the sound of the different electric guitar. Some guitars sound good, while others not. There is a lot of things that impact the sound of an electric guitar.
The pickups, body shape, density of wood, construction, and other electrical components are notable among all. Besides, there are many art and subtlety required in the making of a guitar. Even a small thing affect the sound of an electric guitar.
In this article, we’ll explain how the mentioned things affect the sound of an electric guitar. You’ll get to know how little things contribute to the final sound of an electric guitar. Let’s get started!
What Affects the Sound Of An Electric Guitar?
So, you are here to know, do all electric guitar sound the same? As we mentioned earlier, not all electric guitar does sound the same. Below we’ll discuss what makes an electric guitar sounds different than others.
Firstly, the pickups make a significant impact on the sound of an electric guitar. Different types of pickups make a different sound. Like, single-coil pickups will somewhat sound different than dual-coil pickups.
How single-coil pickups differ from dual-coil pickups?
To put it simply, the single-coil pickup includes one coil of wire enfolded around a magnet or magnets. Other the other hand, the dual-coil pickup has two coils of wire wrapped around one or more magnets.
Dual-coil pickups are also known as humbucking pickups as they do not catch noise like single-coil pickups. However, single-coil pickup generates a smooth response and noticeable high-end.
Also, the strength of the field is low in the single-coil pickup. That is why single-coil pickup produces low output-level and reduced frequency response. Conversely, the dual-coil pickup has two coils of wire, one in clockwise and other in a counter-clockwise direction.
This setting in dual-coil pickup produces a more solid magnetic field. It results in a high output level, high-frequency response, and more noticeable lows. All these means, an electric guitar with dual-coil pickups produces better sound without noise.
- Single-coil pickups produce brighter, crisper, and thinner sound.
- Dual-coil pickups produce warmer and thicker sound.
How do other Pickups respond?
Along with single-coil and dual-coil pickups, an electric guitar tends to have P90 and Piezo pickups. These pickups also have an impact on sound in their own way.
- P90 Pickups
P90 pickups have an impact in between single-coil and dual-coil pickups. It means these have a higher output than single-coil and lower than dual-coil pickups. This occupies a middle ground, and sounds are brighter than humbuckers.
- Piezo Pickups
Piezo pickups are used in the place of magnets, and they do not operate on electromagnetic principles. So, there is no need for metal strings. These are used on Fender Yngwie Malmsteen nylon string Stratocaster and also on parker nylon fly. Piezo pickup produces enhanced sound than traditional magnetic pickups.
The second noticeable change in sound does happen because of the electrical components of an electric guitar. Two common electrical components impact most on the guitar’s sound.
Potentiometers or pots are used to control a lot of things inside of an electric guitar. These generally operate as volume and tone control. However, pots are also used to mix two pickups, reduce one coil of dual-coil pickup, and so on. There are two types of pots, including Value and Taper. They tend to have a different sound.
Capacitor or caps are mostly used in an electric guitar for tone control. These combine with potentiometers to generate a low pass filter. It removes all frequencies that are above the adjustable cut-off frequency.
Types of Wood
You possibly know that the electric guitar’s body is made of different kinds of wood. The different types of wood used in construction contribute to the sound of an electric guitar.
Ash is a favorite choice for Fender guitars. This guitar has less bite in the midrange. However, these will also have a good sustain and nice twang.
Electric guitars are made with two types of ashes, such as northern and swamp ash. Norther ash tends to produce brighter and high sound. Swamp ash produces a much warmer tone.
Alder is another top choice for Fender, and it was popular in the early ’50s and ’60s. Alder-made guitar generates warm sound and even with mids and lows.
Maple is a weighty wood and mostly used in fretboards. Guitars made out of maple have a better sustain and are on the bright side of the tone range. These are best among Fender-style electric guitar necks.
Gibson Les Paul Jr, Les Paul, and SG use mahogany as the wood of choice. These produce balanced sound without missing highs, mids, and lows. Also, most single-cut guitars are made of mahogany as it is powerful.
Lastly, rosewood adds a better balance to any guitar. It stays on the darker end of the tone spectrum. Rosewood is a popular wood for the fretboard, offers warm mids and fat lows.
Hardware is not the primary concern when it comes to an electric guitar. Except for the bridge, as it varies for different electric guitar. The bridge with higher mass delivers enhanced sound and better sustain.
However, we also found the material of nut makes a big difference in the guitar’s sound. Both bridge and nut influences sustain to some extent. You can get the audible difference between a tune-o-Matic bridge and Floyd Rose.
Body Type of an Electric Guitar
As you know, electric guitars can have a solid body, semi-hollow, or hollow body. They all have a distinct impact on the sound.
- Solid-Body Guitar
The electric guitar, like Fender Stratocaster, is an example of the solid-body guitar. These are made of a single slab of wood. The solid-body electric guitar has a better sustain, and these are more resistant to feedback. That’s why they fit most genres with distortion.
- Semi-Hollow Body Guitar
This guitar includes a visible opening in the form of two F-holes. Gibson ES-335 is an example of semi-hollow body guitar. Semi-hollow body guitar produces a subtle and acoustic-like tone. They tend to have feedback while playing at a louder volume. Also, these have less sustain than the solid-body guitar.
- Hollow Body Guitar
Hollow body guitar sounds similar to semi-hollow body guitars. But, this sounds more acoustic-like than semi-hollow guitars. They also create higher feedback than others. So, these are not good for genres that involve high levels of gain.
People have been asking us how the design of an electric guitar affects the sound? Well, this is where one guitar differs from one another. Even two similar types of guitar from the same company have a massive difference.
However, the weight and finish come under the design category. When all these things are put together well, then it will sound better. In fact, it relies on the precision of the guitar. Even some affordable guitar with better design sounds better.
Eventually, the sound of an electric guitar is a magic brew consisting of a lot of factors. A considerable part of the tone decides how better you strum and play the guitar. The factors mentioned above have a significant impact on electric guitar sound.
Notably, pickups and most guitarists would agree with us. So, now you know, whether do all electric guitar sound the same? It’s time; you should concentrate on the factors that will make your electric guitar sound better.