Alder vs Swamp Ash, Maple vs Rosewood and a Neck Swap – The Definitive Comparison with Audio Clips

Posted by in audio clips, guitar, musical instruments

A while back I wrote this post concerning the differences between alder and swamp ash when used in a strat-style guitar and what tones/genres of music those combinations suited best. I originally wrote that post to satisfy my own curiosity, but also to share with others and participate in discussion. Three years later it is still the most searched topic on this site and continues to bring in a steady stream of traffic. Apparently I’m not the only one curious about these things….

Since I wrote the original post, I realized that I was missing a big chunk of the puzzle: how the wood the neck and fingerboard were made from influence the tone of the instrument. I realized the only way to truly see this was by comparing the two most popular neck wood combinations for a strat-style guitar (maple neck with rosewood fingerboard and one piece maple neck & fingerboard) on the same guitar.

To conduct this comparison I used two Suhr Classic guitars with identical electronics (V60LP pickups and the Silent Single Coil system). One was alder with a one piece maple neck and the other, swamp ash with a maple neck and Brazilian rosewood fingerboard. I recorded both clean and dirty passages utilizing every pickup combination on each guitar, then swapped the necks and repeated the process. note: swapping necks on a Suhr guitar will void your warranty if the factory doesn’t perform the work.

What follows below are the audio clips organized by pickup position so that you can  compare the sounds of the different wood combinations within the same context.

NECK POSITION – CLEAN TONES

Alder Body – Once Piece Maple Neck

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Alder Body – Maple Neck with Brazilian Rosewood Fingerboard

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Swamp Ash Body – Once Piece Maple Neck

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Swam Ash Body – Maple Neck with Brazilian Rosewood Fingerboard

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

NECK POSITION – DIRTY TONES

Alder Body – Once Piece Maple Neck

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Alder Body – Maple Neck with Brazilian Rosewood Fingerboard

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Swamp Ash Body – Once Piece Maple Neck

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Swam Ash Body – Maple Neck with Brazilian Rosewood Fingerboard

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

NECK + MIDDLE POSITION – CLEAN TONES

Alder Body – Once Piece Maple Neck

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Alder Body – Maple Neck with Brazilian Rosewood Fingerboard

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Swamp Ash Body – Once Piece Maple Neck

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Swam Ash Body – Maple Neck with Brazilian Rosewood Fingerboard

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

NECK + MIDDLE POSITION – DIRTY TONES

Alder Body – Once Piece Maple Neck

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Alder Body – Maple Neck with Brazilian Rosewood Fingerboard

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Swamp Ash Body – Once Piece Maple Neck

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Swam Ash Body – Maple Neck with Brazilian Rosewood Fingerboard

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

MIDDLE POSITION – CLEAN TONES

Alder Body – Once Piece Maple Neck

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Alder Body – Maple Neck with Brazilian Rosewood Fingerboard

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Swamp Ash Body – Once Piece Maple Neck

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Swam Ash Body – Maple Neck with Brazilian Rosewood Fingerboard

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

MIDDLE POSITION – DIRTY TONES

Alder Body – Once Piece Maple Neck

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Alder Body – Maple Neck with Brazilian Rosewood Fingerboard

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Swamp Ash Body – Once Piece Maple Neck

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Swam Ash Body – Maple Neck with Brazilian Rosewood Fingerboard

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

MIDDLE + BRIDGE POSITION – CLEAN TONES

Alder Body – Once Piece Maple Neck

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Alder Body – Maple Neck with Brazilian Rosewood Fingerboard

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Swamp Ash Body – Once Piece Maple Neck

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Swam Ash Body – Maple Neck with Brazilian Rosewood Fingerboard

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

MIDDLE + BRIDGE POSITION – DIRTY TONES

Alder Body – Once Piece Maple Neck

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Alder Body – Maple Neck with Brazilian Rosewood Fingerboard

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Swamp Ash Body – Once Piece Maple Neck

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Swam Ash Body – Maple Neck with Brazilian Rosewood Fingerboard

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

BRIDGE POSITION – CLEAN TONES

Alder Body – Once Piece Maple Neck

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Alder Body – Maple Neck with Brazilian Rosewood Fingerboard

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Swamp Ash Body – Once Piece Maple Neck

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Swam Ash Body – Maple Neck with Brazilian Rosewood Fingerboard

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

BRIDGE POSITION – DIRTY TONES

Alder Body – Once Piece Maple Neck

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Alder Body – Maple Neck with Brazilian Rosewood Fingerboard

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Swamp Ash Body – Once Piece Maple Neck

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Swam Ash Body – Maple Neck with Brazilian Rosewood Fingerboard

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.