Guitar Construction: Solid Wood Versus Laminated Wood

Solid Adirondack top and Solid Rosewood back for Homestead Guitars

In acoustic guitar, the guitar’s body has a major role in determining the sound a guitar produces. Although the main source of the sound of a guitar originates from the strings, it is resonated and amplified by the guitar construction: i.e. fretboard and guitar’s body, producing the acoustic sound people hear from the guitar. Yes, the fretboard resonates and amplifies the strings’ source sound, but with acoustic guitar, most of the sound is resonated and amplified by the body of the guitar.

The body of an acoustic guitar comprises the top, side, and back of the body. The top of the body is the crucial part, where most resonation happens. The side and the back of the body are mainly to amplify the resonation from the top. 

 An acoustic guitar body can be made of laminated wood, solid wood, or a combination of solid wood for the top and laminated for the side and back. 

There are different types of laminated wood. You can find for instance an all-wood laminated construction of different layers glued on top of each other, such as three-layered laminated wood, where the interior and exterior layers use tone wood veneers (spruce, sapele, rosewood, etc.) and the core uses cheap wood (poplar). There is also laminated wood that uses non-wood materials as the core of the laminated layer, such as high-pressure laminate (HPL)(see next picture). 

The characteristics of laminate wood on guitar

Laminated wood is comprised of several layers of materials, as mentioned above. The composure of these layers dampened the free movement (vibration) of the wood as a resonator and an amplifier.

Laminated wood is cheaper than solid wood. Laminate wood is also more durable against weather changes.

Solid top grain continues along the entire edge, visible from the side of the sound hole.

Because of its natural and dense composition, solid wood is a better resonator and amplifier compared to laminated wood. 

Solid wood in general produces more waste (unusable wood excess) compared to laminated wood. This is why solid wood is more expensive compared to laminated wood. 

Sound characteristics

Laminated wood only
Solid top in combination with laminated back and sides
All solid wood
Relatively dampened because laminated wood is less resonating and less amplifying if it is compared with solid wood
Better than an all laminated guitar, because most resonation comes from the top, but worse compared to a solid guitar
Produces the best expression, volume, and sustain


An all-solid wood guitar produces the best expression, volume, and sustain compared to a laminated guitar and a solid top guitar. The combination of a solid top, that best in resonating the strings’ sound, and the solid back and side, which is best in amplifying the sound created from the strings and top wood, will create a much richer and dynamic sound.

Moreover, as the solid wood ages, it will increase the tonal quality it produces, while the sound of laminated wood will not get better as it ages. 

Homestead and Javatar Guitars are made using all solid wood construction. The body construction also uses 100% quarter-sawn wood since our goal is to build the best acoustic guitars with the best sound. Furthermore, for Homestead Guitars we use the best available grade of Adirondack Spruce for the top wood of our guitars. You can read more about Adirondack spruce in the article “Why is Adirondack the best top for your guitar?”.