TonewoodsMakeTheGuitarLargeImageIn grade school, I made a “guitar” out of a ruler, some rubber bands, a pencil and a shoe box. It didn’t sound so great or look that pretty either. Today’s question is: what really makes a guitar look and sound great? You’ll need wood, steel, glue, sandpaper, varnish, tools and at least moderate skill to make a guitar. These DIY kits are readily available on the net, but what if you want a vibrant, clear, resonant instrument without all the work? Here at Teton, we pride ourselves on having created beautiful instruments that are not just aesthetically pleasing and affordably priced, but sound and feel great.

How do we do that? It begins with the wood: cedar, spruce, , mahogany, flamed maple, rosewood, koa and ovangkol. They all bring something different to the table and two guitars made of the same woods will often sound slightly different, as each piece of wood is slightly different. All of our acoustic guitars have solid tops, in either cedar (which is warmer/darker) or spruce (which is cooler/brighter.)

Now, what about the woods that comprise the back/sides? Most models consist of a laminate back and sides, with the 200 series being an all solid construction which produces a louder, more resonating tone. Mahogany is a common wood with a dry, woody sound that ages beautifully. Rosewood is rich, both in sound and color, producing complex overtones and strong projection. Flamed maple is one of the most beautiful options with a bright, articulate tone and striped pattern. Koa is bright, smooth and, again, brings a pleasing dark look. Ovangkol is lighter in color and many say provides a tone unlike anything else, especially when coupled with a spruce top like in the STS110CENT dreadnought and STC110NT classical.

Ask 10 people and you’ll probably get 10 different answers on which wood is better. I suppose it all depends on the tone you’re after. Find your nearest Teton dealer at and decide for yourself.

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