Some electric guitars sound undoubtedly great, while others just don’t manage to pull off a good sound. There’s likely a cause for this though, and there are some things you should certainly watch out for when buying a new model. The top reasons for an electric guitar to sound great can be more or less summarized in three points.
- The wood. Good quality hardwood, much like the mahogany used on a Les Paul Model, or maybe alder as in Stratocaster guitars, can really make a difference in how the instrument sounds. There are various other hardwood types that can also sound fantastic, but be careful with the cheap laminate bodies. The best sound quality tends to come from guitars made from a single piece of wood, instead of 2-3 piece constructions. This seems to help the sustain, even though it will also cost you more money. Don’t forget that the quality and density of the wood will also have an effect on the string vibrations and sustain.High quality fret board wood like maple, ebony or rosewood, is also something to consider, but don’t go any cheaper because you risk spoiling the sound.
- Next, the pickups – these are pretty important, as bad pickups on an overall good guitar can completely destroy the sound. Some low-priced mass-produced guitars tend to get cheap pickups slapped on to them, and if you’d like pickups that actually sound good you’ll want a set that came from one of the main producers, or one of the more renowned smaller makers. Pickups from these companies are made with great attention to detail and quality materials, and they tend to utilize the old winding methods from the 1950s, which can’t really be said for some of the cheap pickups that come from the Far East.
- The hardware on the guitar is something else of importance too – cheap brass bridges tend to be flimsy and don’t really add anything to the sound. Many guitars are available on the market that offer a poor quality of their sound, though technically you get what you paid for. Pay close attention to this otherwise you’ll find yourself spending money on an upgrade sooner than you imagined. You’ll also want to consider the nut installed at the top of the fretboard, which is there to seat and spread the strings. If it’s made of cheap plastic, this isn’t a very good indication of its quality – on the other hand, bone, graphite and advanced polymers tend to work a lot better.