What Materials Are Used to Make Guitars?

By Ma Wen Jie

Although traditionally made of wood, in recent times other more modern materials have been adapted to guitar making.

Acoustic Guitar Bodies

The body of an acoustic guitar is comprised of two main parts: The front, or soundboard, and the back and sides. Acoustic guitar soundboards are usually made of spruce or cedar. The soundboard may be solid or laminated. The back and sides are made out of a variety of materials, including mahogany, rosewood or, in some cases, synthetic composites.

Electric Guitar Bodies

Solid body electric guitars are often made of mahogany, basswood, maple, ask poplar or alder. Sometimes a good sounding but less expensive wood is veneered with a beautiful but more expensive hardwood.

Guitar Necks

Guitar necks are made from a variety of materials, including the following woods: bubinga, maple and mahogany. In some cases, necks are made of graphite, aluminum or carbon fiber. Steel strung guitar necks usually contain a steel rod for additional stability.

Fretboards

Fretboards can be made of a number of woods. The most common are rosewood, maple or ebony. In some cases, they are made of carbon fiber or synthetic composite materials.

Frets

Frets are the rounded metal strips in the fretboard that determine the pitch of the note played. Frets are usually made of nickel alloy. In some cases, they are made of stainless steel.

About the Author

Although he grew up in Latin America, Mr. Ma is a writer based in Denver. He has been writing since 1987 and has written for NPR, AP, Boeing, Ford New Holland, Microsoft, RAHCO International, Umax Data Systems and other manufacturers in Taiwan. He studied creative writing at Mankato State University in Minnesota. He speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese, English and reads Spanish.