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
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.
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