Guitars are made of numerous different parts, many of which are made of wood. The choice of wood in the guitar body (the solid body and laminate in electric guitars and the sides, back and top of acoustic guitars), neck and fretboard all contribute to the overall playability, feel and, of course, tone of the instrument. Since anigre is used in the construction of guitars and basses, it's worth investigating whether it's a good tonewood or not.
Is anigre a good guitar tonewood? Anigre is a relatively unknown yet viable tonewood. It's strong and has a medium density, best used in bodies (solid and hollow), thanks to its vibrant midrange harmonic profile and strong low-end. It can be used for necks as well, though perhaps a bit soft and certainly too soft for fretboards.
In this article, we'll discuss if and how anigre tonewood is used in electric, acoustic, classical and bass guitar construction with a keen focus on its tone.
Note: in my research for this article, I used Sweetwater's extensive guitar database to find examples of guitars with anigre in their construction. The links to the guitars in this article will send readers to Sweetwater's site for more information. Sweetwater is featured in My New Microphone's Top 10 Best Online Audio Gear/Equipment Retailers.
Table Of Contents
- Characteristics Of Anigre Tonewood
- Is Anigre A Good Electric Guitar Tonewood?
- Is Anigre A Good Acoustic Guitar Tonewood?
- Is Anigre A Good Bass Guitar Tonewood?
- Other Tonewoods
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Characteristics Of Anigre Tonewood
Anigre tonewood (pronounced Ah-Nee-Grey, Ah-Nee-Gra, Anna-Gra, Anna-Grey, or Uh-Nee-Grey) is from a select few species of the Pouteria and Chrysophyllum genera (Sapotaceae family), though most typically from the species Pouteria altissima. The wood is native to tropical East and West Africa and primarily in Cameroon.
Anigre has a nice light yellowish-brown colour, often tinted slightly pink. Its grain ranges from straight to interlocked, and figured patterns are commonly sought-after, including curly and mottled. This diffuse-porous wood has an even medium texture.
Anigre is not listed in the CITES Appendices, nor is it on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, though this status may change since the IUCN lists it as conservation-dependent.
Anigre's silica content gives it a relatively high blunting effect on tools, given its density and hardness. It's not the easiest wood to work, but it finishes well. Care ought to be taken to avoid tear-out when working pieces with interlocked grain.
As a tonewood, anigre offers a relatively warm tone with plenty of lower mids, smooth yet apparent high-end and excellent sustain. It's slightly brighter than mahogany, to which it is most often referenced.
Here are a few notable anigre specs:
- Hardwood/Softwood: Hardwood
- Colour: yellowish white to pale brown, sometimes with a pinkish or red-grey hue
- Grain: straight to interlocked
- Texture: medium uniform
- Pores: diffuse-porous
- Density: 550 kg/m3 / 34.00 lb/ft3
- Janka Hardness (Typical): 4,380 N / 990 lbf
- Elastic Modulus: 10.95 GPa / 1,588,000 psi
- Tone (Warm/Bright Scale): warm
- Price: moderate
Here are links to the official website of the IUCN and Cites:
• IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature)
• CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora)
Is Anigre A Good Electric Guitar Tonewood?
Before we begin, I should mention that tonewoods don't have nearly as much of an effect on the overall sound of an electric guitar as they do on an acoustic guitar. The guitar pickups, strings, signal chain and amplifier all play a huge role in the overall tone of an electric guitar. It's not all about the wood, though it is a factor.
Anigre is a relatively obscure option for electric guitars. However, it's not necessarily unpopular because it's a bad tonewood. Rather, there are more established standards that overwhelm the market. Anigre can be used in solidbody and hollowbody designs and even in guitar necks with varying degrees of success.
Is Anigre A Good Electric Guitar Body Tonewood?
With a density of 550 kg/m3 / 34.00 lb/ft3, anigre would be considered a bit on the heavy side of what's considered normal for solidbody guitar woods. As a body wood, it offers remarkable sustain with a lot of low-end energy and a pleasant, warm overtone profile.
It also bends well, which we'll discuss more later, making it a good option for hollowbody designs that utilize backs and sides.
Though it's a decent tonewood for electric guitar bodies, similar to mahogany, anigre is rarely used in commercially available models.
Examples of electric guitars with anigre bodies/tops:
- Ibanez Artcore AM2000H: semi-hollowbody with figured anigre top, back and sides
Is Anigre A Good Electric Guitar Neck Tonewood?
Though anigre is certainly hard and dense enough to work as an electric guitar neck, it's rarely ever considered as such. Its stability as a hardwood is also adequate for neck construction. Additionally, its small pores don't require filling, and it finished nicely.
As a neck tonewood, anigre can offer subtle warmth and notable sustain while still capturing the high-end of the individual notes.
Is Anigre A Good Electric Guitar Fretboard Tonewood?
Anigre is largely considered too soft for use as an electric guitar fretboard.
Is Anigre A Good Acoustic Guitar Tonewood?
Anigre can be a superb tonewood for acoustic and classical guitar construction, particularly in the body. That being said, it hasn't broken into the mainstream as a viable option for mass-produced instruments.
Is Anigre A Good Acoustic Guitar Body Back/Side Tonewood?
Anigre bends very nicely and is a great choice for back and sides material in acoustic and classical guitars.
Anigre is durable, and its tone even improves with age. It offers a beautiful warmth, sustain and subtle upper clarity that benefits whatever top wood is used in the instrument.
Is Anigre A Good Acoustic Guitar Body Top Tonewood?
Anigre is relatively stiff, which means it can project decently. Its hardness and density draw this projection back slightly, especially compared to the typical softwood soundboards (spruce and cedar). It provides a lovely warm tone compared to the aforementioned tonewoods with strong fundamentals and rich overtones.
Is Anigre A Good Acoustic Guitar Neck Tonewood?
As mentioned previously, anigre is hard, dense and stable enough to work as a guitar neck wood. However, it's not nearly as popular as the standard (mahogany, maple, nyatoh) and is unlikely to make a name for itself any time soon. It sounds good but just isn't popular.
Is Anigre A Good Acoustic Guitar Fretboard Tonewood?
Anigre is largely considered too soft for use as an acoustic guitar fretboard.
Is Anigre A Good Bass Guitar Tonewood?
Anigre is a good bass guitar tonewood, though, as its role in 6-string guitars, it's only typically used in bodies (when it's used at all).
The strong low-end and low-mids of anigre hold down strong bass fundamentals, while the rich midrange allows the all-important first few harmonics of the bass tone to shine.
Of course, there are plenty of other tonewoods besides anigre. Here is a list of other tonewoods with links to check out more in-depth articles on each:
- Panga Panga
- Pau Ferro