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USA Custom Guitar blog.

Paulownia tone tapping

Tone Tapping

Ah yes…tone tapping…they holy grail of wood selection, the lost art, the end all be all.  Find a company that has a CTTS (CTTS – Certified Tone Tapping Specialist) governed and authorized by the GUAACTTAA (Global Universal Association of Associated Certified Tone Tappers Anonymously Anonymous) and you will get a fine piece of tone wood.  However, stray too far away from a CTTS and POW you’ll get…well…a fine piece of tone wood.  Yes really…we’re serious…nope, not kidding.

Como say wha?

Tone Tapping in Building Quality Custom Guitars

Many of you are now angry with me, but most of you are probably thinking “I knew it…I knew all along tone tapping was BS.”  Unfortunately, much of it has been perpetrated by the industry itself and in the past even by people within our own ranks. And really, we aren’t sure why because the reality is this:  the key component to building a good sounding guitar is high quality wood…that’s your cornerstone.  Get the wood part right and the rest of the build gets just a bit easier.

Now don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean that all woods sound the same.  If you want your Swamp Ash Tele to sound like a Les Paul it’s going to be hard, right?!  Maple on Mahogany sounds different than Swamp Ash, that’s just the way things are.  But if you want an Alder Strat body or maybe a nice Mahogany Tele body (or a multitude of other good woods) I can assure you that by using a company that cares about the wood it uses you will be just fine.

There is no guy sitting in the back that has a bachelor’s degree in tone tapping sifting through every piece of wood in the facility performing a circuitous cycle of tone tapping so your guitar parts will make you sound like Stevie Ray.  The only way you are going to get close to sounding like Stevie Ray is to practice.  The only way your guitar is going to sound just like a 1954 Stratocaster is if it IS a 1954 Stratocaster.  There is no magic wand, no secret sauce.  Buy crappy cheap wood and your guitar will sound bad no matter how great the pickups and bridge and tuners are.

Quality Only: Guitar Necks & All Our Products

The same goes for necks…good quality wood is the key.  Repeat after me; quality wood, quality wood, quality wood, the same kind of quality wood that you can get right here at USACG.  And don’t forget about the crazy sexy stuff too like Quilt Maple tops, Ribbon Mahogany, Cocobolo boards, Katalox…we have that stuff too, and yes it is high quality.

But lastly, for those of you that just don’t believe us we will offer our tone tapping services for the very reasonable price of $49.95 and will also begin offering “Tone Chamber” services which will bombard your guitar neck or body with the sultry sounds of your favorite band during the production process, also only $49.95.  DISCLAIMER: we don’t think this works, it might cause diarrhea, or blindness, or both, or it might cause you to wake up looking like a mid 30-yr-old Pierce Brosnan, but the odds of that don’t outweigh the whole diarrhea thing we don’t think, at least our lawyers don’t think it does, were actually not supposed to even mention the Pierce Brosnan thing because we didn’t get his approval, don’t do drugs kids.

Don’t miss next week’s installment; “Rosewood:” how a character from Beverly Hills Cop became the fretboard wood of choice.