Last week I touched on the importance of EQ with regards to getting a natural sounding acoustic tone from your amp or DI box. I would like to delve a bit further into that topic this week and discuss how we can think about EQ relative to the instruments themselves.
Tonewoods on an acoustic guitar dictate the overall responsiveness of certain frequencies that are produced when the instrument is strummed or picked. As an example, our 1958 Martin D-28 has Brazilian Rosewood back and sides, which generally have a "scooped midrange" type sound, meaning the lows and highs are more pronounced and the middle frequencies less so. This type of response can compliment a singer very well, as the guitar's natural "smiley face" EQ curve leaves room within the mix for the voice which, for most of us, happens to be naturally mid-rangy.
Conversely, mahogany tends to be more mid-rangy, with the lows and highs falling off a bit--a "frowny face" if you will. Our 1937 D-18, for example, has a big robust sound that would do well in a bluegrass jam or acoustic ensemble because the abundant mids allow the guitar's voice to cut through in the mix. (Check out the video below of Tony Rice and Norman Blake--see if you can hear the difference between the 14-fret D-28 with Brazilian Rosewood that Tony is playing and the 12-fret D-18 with Mahogany that Norman is playing!)
These days, there are a plethora of different tonewoods available--yet another factor to consider when making your next guitar purchase. Stop by the shop sometime and try a few out!
McCoy Tyler is a salesman at Sylvan Music with an aptitude towards acoustic guitars, amps, and pickup systems. When he's not spouting musical knowledge on the sales floor, he can be found doing some hot picking and sweet singing with his group The McCoy Tyler Band.