The STS103NT-OP can only be described as “woodsy.” This all mahogany-bodied guitar is just as at home in your guitar collection as it would be in the middle of the Teton mountain range. The top is a solid African mahogany which has a very precise and balanced tone. Mahogany does not have the shimmer of spruce or the dark mellowness of cedar. Its tone is considered to be very pure and natural. The dark mahogany body is set off by light maple binding. The visual contrast is dynamic and provides an excellent backdrop to the tonal qualities of an all mahogany guitar. The open pore finish allows the wood to move and react to the string vibration in a very organic way. This guitar is all about classic tone and undeniable good looks.
African Mahogany is a harder wood than spruce or cedar. Harder woods will have a break-in period where they are brighter when you first get the guitar and, as they are played, they mellow out and you'll notice more of the deeper tones. Volume levels seem to be on par with spruce tops but with less attack.
The dreadnought body shape has been the most popular shape for decades now for a number of reasons. First, it has a nice balance between low, mid and high frequencies. Where some body shapes scoop the mid range, a dreadnought will bring the mid range up. This is important when playing with a group of instruments. The mid range of a guitar will stand out. Because of the tonal balance of a dreadnought, the sound does not get muddy and will be very articulate even when a player is a more aggressive picker.