So, where does Fender get their wood? What wood are they using for their guitars? How old are the woods before they can be used for making a guitar? How many do they cut before they start producing guitars? There can be many questions about Fender’s business with the woods they are using for their guitars, so we will find out how they acquire these woods to create a high-quality guitar.
Woods are an essential material for a guitar to be manufactured entirely. From its body, neck, and headstock, wood is always used for these guitar parts. However, the woods that are used for Fender guitars are no ordinary woods. As a general rule, the quality of your guitar can only go as far as the quality of the wood you used.
Fender only uses a number of specific woods for their guitars, as not all woods can be used in making one. There are particular types of woods to be used for making a high-quality guitar, like what Fender is doing with theirs.
What Wood Does Fender Use For Its Guitars?
For the Mexican-made guitars, Fender frequently uses Alder for its bodies, while for its fingerboards, they are usually made of either Maple or Pau Ferro, which gives them the perfect “Made in Mexico” features.
For Fender guitars that are made in Japan, their bodies are made of Basswood, while their fingerboards are either made of Maple or Rosewood.
For American-made Fender guitars, their bodies are usually made of either Alder, Ash, or Pine, while for their fingerboards, they are usually made of either Maple, Rosewood, or Ebony.
For Fender’s limited-edition guitars, their bodies are either made of Ash, Alder, Pine, or Mahogany, while their fingerboards are made of either Maple, Rosewood, or Laurel.
The bodies of the Fender’s Artist Signature Series are either made of Alder, Ash, Basswood, Mahogany, Spruce, Rosewood, Sassafras, or Paulownia, and their fingerboards are either made of Maple, Rosewood, Ebony, Pau Ferro, or Laurel.
In 2020, Fender announced that they would stop using Ash for its guitars anymore as there is a declining number of the remaining swamp Ash trees because of the destruction that was caused by the Emerald Ash Borer beetle, which came all the way down from Canada.
As a company policy to maintain its high standards and consistency, the company decided to only use Ash on some of their higher-tier American-made guitars. As long as they can still find swamp Ash trees that can be used for guitars, Fender will try to use them, but it will only be in a limited number until the species goes extinct.
Why Does Fender Use These Wood Varieties For Their Guitars?
Alder is really Fender’s principal tonewood. It is slightly dense and light, which is a perfect material to be used as a guitar body. Its stiffness, weight, and tone quality are well-balanced and give more emphasis on the midrange. This wood usually grows in Canada and other North American countries.
The Ash is a slightly heavy wood but is also somewhat dense. This wood produces a bright sound with more emphasis on high frequencies, giving more attacking characteristics. This wood is also usually found in Canada and North American regions.
Mahogany is a slightly heavy wood, but it is soft. This wood produces a fat and mild bass tone, which is why Fender usually uses it for their chambered body guitars. This can grow in Africa and Latin America, but there are already imported plantations found in Asia now.
Basswood is lighter compared to other words and is easier to process. This usually produces a flat tone. By its grain, it also looks like an Alder. Fender guitars made in Japan are known to have their bodies made of Basswood.
After Fender announced that it will be reducing its Ash guitars, they have used an alternative wood, which is the Pine. It is lightweight and produces a warm tone and clear highs, which is why they are an excellent material for making guitar bodies, but they are not great for guitar necks as they are a little bit soft and weak.
The Maple is a very dense and heavy wood. Guitar companies, including Fender, frequently use this wood because of its exceptional durability and well-balanced tone from low to high frequencies. Fender always uses Maple as a guitar neck in all of their guitars, whatever the models are. This wood can be found in North America and Canada.
Similar to Maple, Rosewood is also a dense and heavy wood. Guitar companies like Fender frequently use Rosewood in their guitar fingerboards, as they have a very nice tea brown color. The wood is known to produce fat sound due to overtones. This wood can usually be seen in Latin America, India, and Southeast Asia.
Pau Ferro is a newer wood that Fender regularly uses for their fingerboards. It is harder but lighter in color compared to a Rosewood. The wood produces a snappy attack, which creates a crisp and clear sound, which is perfect for fingerboards. The wood can usually be seen in South America.
Where Does Fender Source Its Wood?
All Alder, Swamp Ash, and Maple used in every Fender guitar that is made in Mexico and the USA are all from Canada and US companies that harvest these types of trees. The Mahogany woods are also acquired from North American companies.
For the Rosewood, they are all from India, as also other guitar manufacturers get the same wood in the country. The Basswood used in Japanese-made Fender guitars is all from Asia. Lastly, Pau Ferro woods are acquired by Fender in South American countries.
Is Fender Still Using Rosewood?
As of this moment, Fender still uses Rosewood for their guitars. The wood is usually used for making fingerboards, but for some Artist Signature Series guitars; it is also used for making the guitar’s body.
Rosewood is an excellent wood to be used for making guitars as they produce a unique tone, especially when they are used for making fingerboards. Its color is also great to be used for fingerboards.
How Old Is The Wood That Fender Uses In Its Guitars?
In general, there is really no timeline as to how old a wood should be for it to be used in making a guitar. Alder and Maple are fast-growing and fast-replenishing trees, which is why more Fender guitars use these woods as their primary material.
Even with Fender Custom Shop guitars, the Master Builder Rod Thorn was able to make a Custom Shop Strat and Tele from a 300-year-old eastern white pine. Lastly, as a general rule, the older the wood, the better it is to be used for making a guitar.
Overall, it is important to know where Fender gets their wood, as you can also determine the quality of the guitar. Fender guitars are all high-quality guitars; therefore, you can really tell that the woods used in making these are also of high quality. The specific wood used to make these guitars directly relates to the sound or build quality of these guitars, so it is really important to use proper wood in making Fender guitars.