Difference Between Alder and Ash (With Table)

Both alder and ash are light woods. In the production of guitars, they are the most prevalent practical use. Despite their similarities, the two varieties of wood are not the same. Alder is a light wood that creates guitars with a well-balanced, powerful tone.

Alder vs Ash 

The main difference between alder and ash is that alder is ideally equipped to neutral tones than translucent ones. On the other hand, Ashwood is more suited to translucent colors than decent ones. Alder has a very modest grain appearance and is usually invariably a pale brown tone. Ash, on the other hand, is a creamy white tone with a considerably deeper and more noticeable grain pattern.

Alder is a moderate, somewhat soft hardwood with poor dynamic stretching, impact resistance, and rigidity. Alder is more commonly utilized in the construction of electric guitars. It is a compact wood that comes from the beech family and has a brighter tone than other varieties.

Another lightweight substance with a very porous property is ash, notably marsh ash. It has a lot of lows, a lot of mids, and a lot of highs that are bell-like yet clear. Linear grain and a pale color characterized ash-wood. It’s hardwood with a lot of density. Broadcasters, telecasters, and couplers may all benefit from Ashwood.

Comparison Table Between Alder and Ash

Parameters of ComparisonAlderAsh
DefinitionAlder is a twigs timber that is compact and easy to work with.Ash is a permeable wood that is light and easy to work with.
Practical applicationsElectric guitars are made from alder, which has a practical purpose. For Jazz Bass, Jaguars, Jazzmasters, and Stratocasters, it is the most interesting choice.It has a limited practical applicability in the production of guitars. It’s also used in the production of presenters, telecasters, and equalisers.
Characteristic of sound producedThe onset of the alder sound is rather modest and decays in a pleasant manner. As a result, it has a very well tone with distinct highs and lows.Strong lows, powerful mids, and ring clear highs characterize ash wood guitars.
Ideal colorSolid colors, instead of translucent ones, work nicely with alder wood.Rather than solid colors, ash wood is better adapted for translucent ones.
Type of the wood usually used in guitarsFender guitars have a special application for red alder. It boasts a razor-sharp edge and superb durability.Swamp ash is widely used in the construction of guitars. It has a lovely, powerful tone to it.

What is Alder?

Since 1956, alder has been linked with Fender Solid Body Guitars, particularly Strats and Telecasters. Although Alder is not a standard Gibson guitar wood, it is nonetheless widely used by bolt-on neck producers.

Alder was first used by Fender in 1956. CLF (Clarence Leo Fender, folks, c’mon!) did not wish to modify the guitar’s tone. It was just more readily accessible and inexpensive than Swamp Ash. As a result, he made the move, and now Alder is used in the most of Fender guitars.

Because of its richer, more rounded tone, alder is by far the most popular wood for Stratocasters, Jaguars, and Jazzmasters, and also the Jazz Bass.
Guitarists who want to describe a broad range of tones with only one instrument might benefit from an alder guitar.

Alder creates a tone that is resonant and harmonic, with a strong upper treble, long sustain, and additional attack. It takes finishes well because of its tight pores and tight texture, and it is frequently treated in neutral tones.

What is Ash?

The tone wood of preference for most (if not all) of Leo Fender’s guitars during his early years, notably from 1950 to 1956, was ash. Ash may be used for a variety of purposes, and there have been notable differences in the sorts of ash used on guitars over time. Southern “swamp ash” is more frequent for Fender. Although single-piece structures have been created from marsh ash, most are made up of two or three parts cemented altogether. Ash is a tough, thick hardwood with a light color and linear grain.

The majority of ash trees are small to medium-sized, although some of the bigger timber-producing species can reach heights of 18–34 meters (60–120 ft). Ash trees have opposing leaves that are typically evergreen and petiolate complex with an arbitrary amount of leaflets, generally five to nine. The samaras, or slender fruits, are and one wing. Flower clusters are generally tiny and spectacular, and some varieties have petaled flowers.

Ash wood guitars have an useful utility for musicians who want to generate lovely tones. Furthermore, it is best adapted to translucent colors than solid colors. Finally, ash wood guitars are known for their beautiful finish instead of their other characteristics.

Main Differences Between Alder and Ash

  1. Alder is a twigs wood that is light and easy to work with. Ash, on the other hand, is a light wood from the birch family.
  2. Fender guitars have a special application for red alder. Sharp assaults are elicited, and the sustain is outstanding. Swamp ash, on either hand, is often used in the production of guitars. It has a lovely, resonant tone to it.
  3. Solid colors, rather than translucent ones, work nicely with alder wood. However, ash wood is more suited to translucent colours than solid colors.
  4. The onslaught of the alder sound is silky and modest in nature. As a result, it is well tone with distinct highs and lows. Ash wood guitars, on the other hand, feature deep lows, powerful mids, and ring clear high notes.
  5. Electric guitars are made from alder, which has a functional function. For Jazz Bass, Jaguars, Jazz Masters, and Stratocasters, it is a popular choice. On the other hand, ash is only used in a small percentage of guitars. It’s also used in the production of presenters, telecasters, and equalizers.


In the end, the struggle between Ash and Alder is a close one; both kinds of wood have a deeper tone than most other hardwoods. In terms of appearance, Ash has a more erratic but linear and apparent grain that works well with organic and translucent treatments, whereas Alder has a tighter grained and is less obvious but highly regular and is frequently treated in solid colors. With its focused upper-mids, Alder will provide more assault and weight than Ash, making it sound a little bit crisper. Ash will provide a tone that is slightly smoother and mellower, with ringing highs that aren’t too brilliant.


  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