Difference Between Alder and Ash (With Table)

Alder and ash are two lightweight blocks of wood. They have the most common practical application in the manufacturing of guitars. Although the two types of wood may seem similar, they are not the same. Alder is a lightweight wood that produces guitars with a balanced and resonant tone. Ash guitars have strong lows, pronounced mids, and bell-shaped clear highs. Apart from this, there are several differences between alder and ash. 

Alder vs Ash 

The difference between alder and ash is that alder wood is well suited for solid colours rather than transparent ones. In contrast, ash wood suits transparent colours rather than solid ones. Alder guitars have a well-balanced tone of defined highs and clear lows. On the other hand, ash wood guitars have strong lows, pronounced mids, and bell-shaped clear highs. 

Alder is a wood that belongs to the birch family. It is a lightweight wood that gives a brighter and more pronounced tone than some other varieties of wood. In addition, alder produces a balanced and resonant tone. It has a practical application in the manufacturing of electric guitars. The alder sound’s attack decays smoothly and is relatively moderate. It covers a wide range of tones and usually serves as an all in one for guitarists. 

Ash is a lightweight wood with extremely porous characteristics and has practical application in a relatively small number of guitars. Ashwood guitars have strong lows, pronounced mids, and bell-shaped clear highs. Guitars made of ash wood can be hard to work with. Ashwood usually features straight grain and light colour. It is a dense hardwood. Ashwood has practical application in broadcasters, telecasters, and equalisers. 

Comparison Table Between Alder and Ash

Parameters of ComparisonAlderAsh
DefinitionAlder is a lightweight wood that belongs to the birch family. Ash is a lightweight wood with extremely porous characteristics. 
Practical applicationsAlder has a practical application in the manufacturing of electric guitars. It is the most significant option for Jazz Bass, Jaguars, Jazzmasters, and Stratocasters. It has a practical application in the manufacturing of a relatively small number of guitars. In addition, it has a use in the manufacture of broadcasters, telecasters, and equalisers. 
Characteristic of sound producedThe alder sound’s attack decays in a smooth manner and is relatively moderate. Thus, it has a well-balanced tone of defined highs and clear lows.Ash wood guitars have strong lows, pronounced mids, and bell-shaped clear highs. 
Ideal colourAlder wood is well suited for solid colours rather than transparent ones. Ash wood is well suited for transparent colours rather than solid ones. 
Type of the wood usually used in guitarsRed alder has a specific application for fender guitars. It elicits sharp attack and has an excellent sustain.Swamp ash is commonly applicable in the manufacturing of guitars. It has a sweet and resonant sound. 

What is Alder?

Alder is a wood that belongs to the birch family. Predominantly, it has a practical application in the manufacturing of electric guitars. Alder is a lightweight wood that gives a brighter and more pronounced tone than some other varieties of wood. Owing to its warmer balanced tone, alder is the most significant option for Jazz Bass, Jaguars, Jazzmasters, and Stratocasters. 

Since alder is a lightweight wood, it produces a balanced and resonant tone. The toughness of alder wood ranges from soft to medium. Its other significant properties, such as softness, suitable colour, resistance to swelling and shrinkage, and wood pattern make alder ideal for manufacturing guitars.

The alder sound’s attack decays smoothly and is relatively moderate. Thus, it has a well-balanced tone of defined highs and clear lows. Moreover, red alder has a specific application for fender guitars. It elicits sharp attacks and has an excellent sustain. Red alder glues well and is relatively easy to use. 

Alder guitar has a practical use for guitarists who seek to cover a wide array of sounds using only one guitar. In addition, alder wood is well suited for solid colours rather than transparent ones. Conclusively, it covers a wide range of tones and usually serves as an all in one for guitarists. 

What is Ash?

Ash is a lightweight wood with extremely porous characteristics. It has a practical application in the manufacturing of a relatively small number of guitars. From 1950 to mid-1956, ash wood was in use for electric guitars and bass bodies. Ashwood guitars have strong lows, pronounced mids, and bell-shaped clear highs. 

Two types of ash trees have a use in making guitars: northern ash and swamp ash or southern ash. Swamp ash has more extensive use as compared to northern ash. It has large open pores and is lighter than northern ash. Swamp ash has a sweet and resonant sound. In addition, it is more sustainable than woods of other kinds. 

Guitars made of ash wood can be difficult to work with. Moreover, two swamp ash guitars usually differ from one another. Ashwood usually features straight grain and light colour. It is a very strong and dense hardwood. Ashwood has practical application in broadcasters, telecasters, and equalisers. 

Ash wood guitars have a practical use for guitarists who wish to produce sounds with a sweet finish. In addition, it is well suited for transparent colours rather than solid ones. Conclusively, ash wood guitars are more famous for their attractive finish rather than their other properties. 

Main Differences Between Alder and Ash

  1. Alder is a lightweight wood that belongs to the birch family. In contrast, alder is a lightweight wood that belongs to the birch family. 
  2. Red alder has a specific application for fender guitars. It elicits sharp attacks and has an excellent sustain. On the other hand, swamp ash is commonly applicable in the manufacturing of guitars. It has a sweet and resonant sound. 
  3. Alder wood is well suited for solid colours rather than transparent ones. Ash wood, however, suits well for transparent colours rather than solid ones. 
  4. The alder sound’s attack decays smoothly and is relatively moderate. Thus, it has a well-balanced tone of defined highs and clear lows. In contrast, ash wood guitars have strong lows, pronounced mids, and bell-shaped clear highs. 
  5. Alder has a practical application in the manufacturing of electric guitars. It is a prominent option for Jazz Bass, Jaguars, Jazz masters, and Stratocasters. On the other hand, ash has a practical application in a relatively small number of guitars. In addition, it has a use in the manufacture of broadcasters, telecasters, and equalisers. 

Conclusion

Alder and ash, therefore, stand differentiated on several grounds. Alder is a wood that belongs to the birch family. It is a lightweight wood that gives a brighter and more pronounced tone than some other varieties of wood. In addition, the alder sound’s attack decays smoothly and is relatively moderate. Alder wood is well suited for solid colours rather than transparent ones. 

In contrast, ash is a lightweight wood with extremely porous characteristics. It has a practical application in the manufacturing of a relatively small number of guitars. Guitars made of ash wood can be hard to work. Ash wood usually features straight grain and light colour. It is strong hardwood. Ash wood has practical application in broadcasters, telecasters, and equalisers. 

References

  1. https://brill.com/view/journals/iawa/aop/article-10.1163-22941932-40190218.xml
  2. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=cvRhKfXfiqkC&oi=fnd&pg=PP9&dq=alder+wood+guitars&ots=1EWAsdYPZn&sig=XEzTrbTTYdpe18uAJDjXXVIEtQA
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