Agathis as a Tonewood?

Fastffood

Well-Known Member
#1
Seen a guitar I liked recently made of Agathis, with a Maple Veneer, and Rosewood Fretboard. Bolt on neck. However, what is a close relation of Agathis tonally? I see some people suggest Mahogany, while others say Alder. Seems to have a slightly airier tone to my ears than Mahogany, as I own a couple of Mahogany bodied guitars. Reason I ask is I plan to change the pickups when I buy it. Both Dimarzio and Seymour Duncan don't have Agathis listed as a body wood on the pickup selector part of their sites. Maybe Agathis is like Basswood used to be, in terms of respectability. Haha.
 

Alan O'hagan

Well-Known Member
#4
Seen a guitar I liked recently made of Agathis, with a Maple Veneer, and Rosewood Fretboard. Bolt on neck. However, what is a close relation of Agathis tonally? I see some people suggest Mahogany, while others say Alder. Seems to have a slightly airier tone to my ears than Mahogany, as I own a couple of Mahogany bodied guitars. Reason I ask is I plan to change the pickups when I buy it. Both Dimarzio and Seymour Duncan don't have Agathis listed as a body wood on the pickup selector part of their sites. Maybe Agathis is like Basswood used to be, in terms of respectability. Haha.
In a former life, I was a cabinet maker and joiner for 25 years - we never made guitars just reproduction furniture, Bars (as in pub's) and shop fronts - this was when wood was actually wood and not plastic pretending to be wood. Anyway I don't know about tone wood but yeah Agathis is one member of the larger Mahogany family.
 
#5
Agathis is one member of the larger Mahogany family.
Maybe @Wire_n_Wood can help me dig out an article talking about mahogany by former forum member Helldunkel which gets it to the point really well.
I'm no expert at all, but I'd think that it's impossible to make a statement about the acoustic/structural/whatever properties of the guitar in question when it's not even clear which of the 22 species (don't quote me on that) in the agathis genus is actually used.

I had a cheap Ibanez SG copy, GAX 30something IIRC. Beast of a guitar, sustain for days and quite the chugging machine.
 

Alan O'hagan

Well-Known Member
#6
Maybe @Wire_n_Wood can help me dig out an article talking about mahogany by former forum member Helldunkel which gets it to the point really well.
I'm no expert at all, but I'd think that it's impossible to make a statement about the acoustic/structural/whatever properties of the guitar in question when it's not even clear which of the 22 species (don't quote me on that) in the agathis genus is actually used.

I had a cheap Ibanez SG copy, GAX 30something IIRC. Beast of a guitar, sustain for days and quite the chugging machine.
TBH I'm more of a string it up, plug it in, and hope for the best type of guy. I'm not that interested in what it's made of, a good paint job or a cool graphic would be more like my hand writing - apart from stripy flames and quilted tops of course.
 

Fastffood

Well-Known Member
#7
Thanks for the replies. I take the point about species. I'm not a string it up, plug it in, and hope for the best type, but each to their own. I'm interested in what a guitar is made of because in my experience it makes a big difference to the sound. Both unplugged & plugged in. But I understand others may not be so bothered about what it's made of.
 

Fastffood

Well-Known Member
#9
Agathis Christie, a mysterious wood...especially with a Marple neck. :) Tone wood isn't a myth, and neither is tone deaf. :)

Best wishes.
 

doctorpaul

Negative, Ghost Rider, the pattern is full.
Staff member
#10
I have guitars made from stuff including:
Ash
Swamp ash
Mahogany
Maple
Poplar
Walnut
Wenge
Basswood
Purpleheart
Bubinga
Snakewood
Ebony
Korina
Black limba
Spalted beech

You know what?
They all sound friggin AWESOME.

Live and let live.
 

Fastffood

Well-Known Member
#13
Can you provide any proof of this?
You'll just have to take my my word for it. I have this opinion through many years experience of playing, and LISTENING. I'm not talking in terms of pitch. Just as in darker or brighter tone. I mean why does someone as talented & experienced as Steve Vai match up specific necks & bodies of his guitars if woods don't matter? Why do Fender offer Rosewood or Maple fingerboards? Even Damon from Fender said in one demo video about Rosewood for a rounder tone & Maple for a brighter one. It isn't just for feel & looks. I could go on. Anyway, this is a friendly forum, and I'll leave it at that. I just have fun trying woods, amps, pickups etc.
 

MrDon

Owner of a heap of shit dentist guitars
#14
You'll just have to take my my word for it. I have this opinion through many years experience of playing, and LISTENING. I'm not talking in terms of pitch. Just as in darker or brighter tone. I mean why does someone as talented & experienced as Steve Vai match up specific necks & bodies of his guitars if woods don't matter? Why do Fender offer Rosewood or Maple fingerboards? Even Damon from Fender said in one demo video about Rosewood for a rounder tone & Maple for a brighter one. It isn't just for feel & looks. I could go on. Anyway, this is a friendly forum, and I'll leave it at that. I just have fun trying woods, amps, pickups etc.
Oh good you have your mind made up and can hear stuff that can't be measured scientifically.
I do suggest you read a bit more into it though - you may be surprised by what you find.

For the record I prefer Strats with a maple board and Les Pauls that weigh more than a car. This is my preference because of feel and looks - tone isn't affected by these things.
 

Robstafarian

The Good and Wise Call Me “Rufus”
#15
The resonance of an electric guitar affects the vibrations of its strings, to a greater or lesser degree depending on various aspects of the construction. The resonance of an electric guitar is affected, in part, by the wood used. The wood's internal state (e.g. dryness and density) will determine its effect on the guitar's resonance.

The concept of tonewoods is not a myth: it is a set of correlations regarding the typical internal states of various woods as used in electric guitar construction. You may have noticed that guitars made of exceptional wood defy expectations with regard to tone and dynamics: consider basswood as used in a cheap Ibanez and basswood as used in a John Suhr Modern.
 
#16
In my opinion it's essential to define how the term 'tonewood' is used, what aspects of the tone are looked at and in which grade the wood in question is generalised, rather than talking about a specific species, before you can have a well grounded discussion.

But that's probably never going to happen.

I shall leave "comb filter" here and continue playing what I like and try to choose native woods for my following builds. Just because I can ;)
 

MABLUNG

Ain't nobody like me but me.
#17
This argument can go on and on and on and on.....
Tonewood yes or no?? *shrugs.
Not one shit will be given by me for this ONE simple FACT.
(are you ready for it??)
Ahem...
You have NO idea what the guitar sounds like until you fucking play the fucking thing.

No amount of reading the bloody spec sheet about what wood it is made of will fully describe the actual sound you will get out of the guitar.
What about other factors like... Ermm my.... Oh yeah;-
What pickups does it have?? What pots?? How much roll of the volume/tone will you be using??
What Amp is it plugged into??
How much gain??
Eq setting??
Speakers in the cab??
Plectrums??
Your actual fingertips and how you play??

Just play the damn thing.
And the rest of you- No More Bollocks About Tonewood!!
 

Fastffood

Well-Known Member
#18
Thanks Mablung. Your original reply was what I was looking for. Admittedly I could have titled the thread a little better, and yes I will try an Agathis guitar soon. Aware of the variables, and was planning to change the pickups only because I had a similar model previously. Just they changed the body from Basswood to Agathis. Esp Ltd Viper 100FM. The specifications subject to change deal.
 

ArchieIsted

Well-Known Member
#19
The tonewood debate is an interesting one. As a physics student I can kinda see why people get confused but put simply:
Your strings vibrate
This makes the whole guitar vibrate (touch the guitar when you play a chord, this is obvious)
This means how the guitar vibrates (ie what its made of) will alter how the strings vibrate (how they sustain, decay, hit natural resonance frequencies etc).
To what extent does the wood change this? Can you hear a difference? I dunno, can you? Can you feel a difference when you play it?
The fact is it does make a difference but it may be so small you don't notice.

On the actual topic of the thread, you can only really draw broad tonal differences between woods at best. Your average mahogany may sound 'darker' than your average swamp ash but really the differences between 2 random cut bits of mahogany will have massive physical differences.
 
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