When choosing a body type, remember that the design must match your style of playing. You need to ask yourself do you play rhythm, lead or both, do you play Jazz or Rock or do you fuse them? What type of bridge - do you require it to be fixed? Do you use a tremolo, and if so what type of tremolo? Do you use it occasionally or is "dive bombing" your style? You also need to figure out what type of pickups you want - single coil or humbucker or a combination, and how many. Finally, and perhaps most critically, what type of electronics control is required for the pickups. Do you play with one pickup all the way up? Do you use the tone? Do you ever use the neck pickup?
It seems like a lot to think about, but when building a custom guitar you are investing
money to get the right instrument and we want you to get what works
best for you and your style of play.
At Ballurio Guitars, we’ve tried to make this process a bit easier. We provide a Design
Checklist to help you do it right! (See the Pickup Page Index for a
discussion on helping you to what pickup is best for you, and the Electronics
section to help with your control selection).
section describes the woods used in our instruments. It
provides insight into how the woods sound alone or in concert with
other woods. This section is not a complete list, for additional
information you should review the On
Wood section which lists the availability and use of all
the woods currently used by Ballurio Guitars.
Basswood is a soft wood with a close grain. The mid-range is pronounced because of the "rounding" of highs and the reduction of lows due to this wood’s overall weight. The total characteristics and overall mid-range tonal
singularity make this an excellent wood choice for a solo guitarist.
Ash is resonant throughout all frequency ranges. It has clear highs that "growl", a pronounced mid-range, and a strong, ringing lower
range with great overall sustain. This makes Ash well-suited for use in both rhythm and solo guitars. It offers good note separation and consistent energy for rhythm, and good upper range growl for solos. Ash, when used by itself, is
a fine wood for the guitarist looking for a "harder" guitar sound (rock
The open grained, large pores and constant density of Mahogany may
slightly restrict its mid-range, this restriction also tends to provide
a feel that is "fat." It has a nice low- and mid-range and
the interaction of the lower, middle and upper ranges are consistent
with no "push to the front" by any one range. The wood’s
density provides great support for guitar frequencies. Overall, it is a
versatile wood adaptable to any style of play.
Maple is a loud wood with a crisp upper-range and a strong mid-range that decreases when moving towards the lower ranges
(although overall it is a very consistent wood). Because Maple tends to be an "upper" range wood, it is best supported by combining with woods such as Basswood, Mahogany and Walnut to help
"round" the overall tones. Additionally, the use of “darker” humbucker pickups improve overall sound quality and depth.
Soft Maple is softer and heavier than Hard Maple although its tone is
similar with a compression of the upper-range and a fall off towards the lower range. This can cause a dulling on tone. As with Hard Maple, we suggest combining
it with Basswood, Mahogany and Walnut.
Black Walnut is a dark, hardwood wood with large pores, nice grain, and uniform density. Its tone is bright with a complex mid-range that can be dynamic as well as compressed in some frequencies. It has a crisp attack with rounded highs similar to that of Mahogany, but with a slightly more dynamic lower range. The tonal response of a solid body Walnut guitar is best supported by single coil pickups. The darker tonal response of humbuckers can result in a "nasal" sound. A chambered Walnut guitar produces a completely different tonal response and can support both single
coil and humbucker pickups, producing a warm consistent tone. Thus a solid body Walnut guitar with single coil pickups may lend itself to a rock position, and a chambered Walnut guitar with humbuckers may find itself in a Jazz position.
Overview on Body
Tops enhance the overall attack of the notes while the resonance and amount of sustain are a product of the body wood. Factors such as thickness and sculpting play a role in the actual tone.
Maple as a
The attributes of Maple and Basswood complement each other. Maple adds to Basswood’s lack in the upper-range. No frequencies are added to the lower-range when combining these two woods and the overall tonal characteristic of the combination is consistent and bright with a nice clean mid-range that falls off gradually and cleanly.
Maple adds a dynamic response to the overall lower-mid and upper-range
of Mahogany, providing a nice "rounded" feel to the
upper-range. This classic combination has been around for a long time
and is usually associated with the Les Paul.
With Black Walnut:
Maple adds a dynamic response to the lower-mid and upper-range of Black
Walnut, providing an increased clarity and punch to the upper-range
while rounding off the "nasal" sound that can result from a
larger solid body of Walnut. The combination is similar to that of
Maple and Mahogany but with a greater lower-range and more aggressive
overall tonal response. It is a great combination that we
believe has been neglected by other guitar builders.
Black Walnut as a Top:
This wood has a response similar to that of Hard Maple although with a
slight decrease in upper-range frequencies, but greater openness and
lower-mid and lower range definition, which make it a nice alternative
to the classic Maple top. Black Walnut tops are terrific when used in
combination with a Mahogany tone body.
Various exotic Delbergias (true rosewoods) such as Kingswood, Tulipwood and others Rosewoods will augment overall sustain by adding to the guitar’s density when used in combination with other woods. Many of these woods have a high oil content that can negate some of the upper-ranges.
as Zebrawood, African Paduak, Purple Heart Tops:
Woods such as African Zebrawood, Padauk, and Purpleheart have similar
characteristics to that of Hard Maple, but with a slightly different
responses at the upper-mid and upper-ranges. Generally, they are very
good tonal alternatives to Maple, and because of their amazing grains
and colors can be stunning alternatives to traditional figured Maple.