Lets talk about timbers. When it comes to soundboards (another word for the top of a guitar), the wood selection can dramatically change the sound and the look of your guitar. While some players may select guitars on budget, availability or looks, it is worth considering your playing style to choose the right guitar.
Bunya, which is a light-colored wood with long wood fibers and a high strength-to-weight ratio, will sound similar to Spruce (commonly used on US-made acoustics) and have a loud natural projection with a bright, clear, articulate treble response. Bunya makes a great soundboard for players who are more percussive and want the sound of the guitar to show off strong rhythmic performance. Additionally, if you’re playing in an unamplified (purely acoustic) situation, Bunya’s confident projection may potentially make your guitar louder than others with soundboards made of different wood selections. Note: wood is organic, so when we describe the look and sonic response of any one species of wood, we are speaking in generalizations. In the same that identical twins will have distinct differences in personality and behavior, the two Bunya wood tops might be very similar to one another but still have their own unique personality (WITHIN the overall Bunya generalizations) in look and sound.
Redwood, which has a warm, reddish color will be familiar to those who prefer a Cedar top on a guitar. Redwood can be nondescript, highly figured or it can feature bright stripes of sap wood that create a striking two-tone look to the top of the guitar. Where Bunya would have long wood fibers and a high strength-to-weight ratio, Redwood has shorter wood fibers and is softer overall. Sonically, those characteristics produce a guitar that may not be as physically loud, when unplugged, but is warmer and softer sonically. “Warmer” means that some of the top end treble is rolled off or subdued, with a more pronounced midrange and low end. Additionally, Redwood has some natural compression built in, which minimizes the volume spikes when you play aggressively. In both the sound and the response, Redwood is the most forgiving of the top timbers we use.
Blackwood, native to Australia is an Acacia tree, and is a close sister to Hawaiian Koa. Like many other timbers, it can feature colorful ribbons of figured grain, or it can be simple and more conventional. Sonically, Blackwood is strong across all frequencies, and we believe it sounds the best when amplified using our pickup system. One thing to note about Blackwood is that it takes longer to “open up” than some of our other common timbers. (Opening up is the phrase used to describe the break-in process for acoustic instruments. The more an instrument is played, the more the vibrations work to slightly flex the wood. The makes it more pliable and responsive, so that the end result is an acoustic instrument that is louder, with more pleasing overtones. Note that these changes can’t be seen; they happen with great subtlety over the lifetime of an instrument. However, the break-in process normally is most obvious in the first few weeks of regular use.) As Blackwood opens up, the midrange and bass frequencies become more pronounced, giving you a guitar that sounds bigger, warmer and more powerful over time.