USA Custom Guitars • 2105 Inter Ave. Unit E • Puyallup, WA 98372 • 253.446.4048
Custom Bodies - Wood

Quality tonewoods are available here at USA Custom Guitars. Alder, Swamp Ash, Mahogany and the many flavors of Maple are our preferred body woods.

We don't normally stock "exotic" woods such as bubinga, wenge, goncalo, limba (korina), etc., but we will custom craft a body or neck made of these woods supplied by you. Pricing for bodies made from your wood is the same as a comparably styled Alder body. Please contact us for more information regarding body blank or board ft dimensions.

Here are some subjective descriptions of the woods we use for our bodies based on years of building, playing and listening.

SWAMP ASH - Has a tight bottom end (which we all like), scooped mids and a bright top end. It has a very quick attack when striking the strings - which is great for some players and bad for others. It has very open grain, which makes it a pain in the backside to finish. It is a very resonant wood, so it sounds phenomenal played clean. Great for Funk, Surf Music, Blues with a bite, Country twang, vintage Rock, and clean smooth Jazz.

ALDER - The "tastes like chicken" of wood. It has a nice even response all the way around the tone spectrum! Mostly known for its great Blues and Rock tones. It's the one body wood you can go play a Death Metal Gig one night, country the next night, Blues the next night and it's sounds fine for all of them. It is normally lightweight and has a closed grain which is a finishers dream. We carry hand selected Alder that is suitable for clear finishes as well as bursts and solid colors.

MAHOGANY - Our favorite wood for different varieties of Rock and Jazz! Normally pretty non-back friendly in a solid body, especially after years of gigging! Mahogany tends to filter out some of the shrill highs, has nice mids, and a fat bottom end (reminds us of a old Queen song). Can't be beaten for chunky rock in a solid body, and can't be beaten for chunky Jazz in a hollow body. Sometimes we recommend using 1/4" Maple tops on them to get back some articulation if used with a Mahogany neck. Not the easiest to finish, but not the hardest either. We now offer only African and other types of equatorial mahogany - we are using 2 different types right now that are truly killer tonewoods. Up until recently we used only Honduran Mahogany, but iIt has gotten awfully scarce and very expensive. Honduran is available at an upcharge, when we have it. Please be sure to ask about availablilty and pricing.

POPLAR - Doesn't sound too bad, but we refer to it as "the poor mans Alder" and normally use it for prototypes.

BASSWOOD - A nice resonant wood. Normally associated with Metal and Hard Rock guitars. Has a fat bottom and can sometimes (depending on pickups) have a mushy bottom end. But overall sounds pretty darn good. But if you look at it to hard it may dent because it is quite soft!

REDWOOD - We have this only in 1/4" tops! A phenomenal sounding wood for a real warm Jazzy sounding hollow body. It is red in color and always has nice grain patterns for a clear finish. It is soft, but any hollow body will break if you drop it on it's face! We won't have it forever - we have a very limited supply.

EASTERN HARD ROCK MAPLE - Durable, bright, and articulate. We can build entire bodies out of it for that 80's shrill screaming Metal tone. Rock maple can be used as a top wood if that's what you want.

WESTERN MAPLE - Softer than rock maple, we of course carry all of the varieties for top woods (quilt, flame, and wild). Tommy really loves the look of wild "angel step" maple tops.

About our WOOD

We normally purchase our wood already dry. We have meters that test the moisture content of wood - the ideal moisture content is 6% or less. Any wood we purchase that is green or has a bit more moisture than we would like is placed in our shop kiln to dry out. This is an important step in creating that "magic" that is a part of all of our bodies and necks.

A huge stack of Swamp Ash boards

Long Swamp Ash and Rock Maple boards