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Ash vs Alder Telecaster: Everything You Need to Know

This article is for informational purposes. Always seek the advice of qualified professionals.

Choosing the best telecaster is not easy.

Various factors are needed to be checked.

The wood used in the telecaster is such a factor.

Alder and Ash are two common kinds of wood used in the telecaster.

But which is the best in Ash vs Alder telecaster?

The answer is not that easy. Ash wood is better for a sweet tone. But it is heavy. The finishing of this wood is also inconsistent. On the other hand, Alder wood is more consistent and lightweight. The sound produced is also balanced. The price of the Alder telecaster is also lower than the Ash.

This is only the starting. Much more information is yet to be unveiled.

Please, keep scrolling to dive into the details of Alder and Ash telecasters!

Short Comparison 

Both ash and alder are popular choices of woods for telecasters. But they are very different. It’s necessary to choose the best wood just like getting the finest wood for basement stairs.

One can distinguish between ash and alder by several factors. Below I’ve shown the major differences between them in a single table. Have a look at it!

FactorsAsh Alder 
ToneSweetBalanced 
WeightHeavy Light 
First Used 19501956
Best for ThinlineSolid
Finishing Inconsistent Consistent 
Price Expensive Reasonable 

You can easily choose between ash and alder from this table. But you might want to know more. And I have got you for that! In the next section, I will make an in-depth discussion about these factors. 

Extended Comparison 

Sometimes it is not easy to make a decision based on the factors only. Details are needed for making the right call. And for that, an extended comparison is needed. Scroll through this section to know every bit of information about ash and alder.

Tone

A very important aspect of any telecaster is the tone of the sound produced by it. The main function of using a guitar is to produce music. That’s why the sound generated by the guitar must be of high quality. This statement is true for both Telecaster and Stratocaster.

The tone of the sound of Ash telecasters is sweet. The music is more resonant. It can also be described as more harmonious and melodious. This is beneficial for people who love extra sweet music.

On the other hand, the Alder wood produces a balanced sound. The sound is not too sweet or harsh. The upper high notes are much better in this telecaster. Balanced music is preferred by many. For them, Alder is the right choice.

Weight

Another significant aspect of the telecaster is its weight. Telecasters are played by hand. And they are also not placed on the ground. Rather the musician holds it while playing. For this reason, the telecaster can not be too heavy. 

The weight of Ash wood is more than Alder wood. Suppose a piece of ash wood weighs 3 to 3.5 kg. Then a similar piece of Alder wood will weigh about 2.75 kg. Because of this difference, the telecaster made by Alder wood is also lighter.

This difference in the Ash and Alder wood weight is due to their distinct physical structure. The internal structure of Alder has more vacancies. These spaces are the result of large pores. But Ash wood is more solid. Thus it’s heavier. 

But the weight of the telecaster does not depend on the weight of the wood only. Rather it depends on how the guitar is made. So some Alder telecasters may weigh more than the Ash ones. But in general, Ash weighs more.

First Used 

Though both Ash and Alder telecasters are currently famous, the situation wasn’t always the same. The start of using the Ash and Alder wood was at a different time. Previously, Ashwood was more in use.

From 1950 to 1956, Ashwood was highly preferable for telecasters. It was popular for its highly melodious music. Then in 1956, Alder was used for making the telecaster. Since then both are in use.

You might think that Alder replaced Ash in 1956 for some serious quality reason. Well, the reason is serious, but it does not have anything to do with the telecaster quality. Alder was simply used for its availability. 

It helped the manufacturers to reduce their making costs. Still, Ash was not replaced due to the superb quality of the Ash telecasters. 

Best for 

The external structure of wood for the telecaster is not the same all time. The guitar body can be either Thinline or solid. Both ash and alder wood can be used for making Thinline and solid telecasters. But the quality may vary.

Generally, the Ash wood is better for Thinline telecasters. This is due to the internal structure of Ash wood. On the contrary, the solid telecaster made from Alder is of better quality. You might want to focus on this factor while choosing the wood.

Finishing

The finishing of the telecaster is not important for its music production. But a proper finish is necessary for visual delight. The aesthetic and beauty of the telecaster depend highly on the finishing of the wood.

The Ash wood is inconsistent. But it comes with straight and visible grains. The look of the telecaster made from ash is more natural because of this. And the Alder wood is more consistent. The grains are not so visible. It looks better in solid color. 

To keep your telecaster brand new, you must polish it regularly. I can suggest some high-quality polish for this purpose. Check them out!

Product-1
Product-2

These are very safe for your telecaster. You can use them without any tension. 

You won’t get glassy finished wood from Ash or alder. But both these blocks of wood are brighter than other hardwoods. For that don’t get worried about this aspect of the Ash and Alder wood.

The Price 

I have come to the last comparison factor between the Ash and Alder telecasters. Price is an important aspect for many buyers. Like the other factors, the price of Alder and Ash telecaster guitars also varies a lot. 

The Ash wood is costlier than the Alder wood. As a result, the cost of Ash telecasters is more than that of the Alder telecasters. It is quite hard to express the cost difference in numbers. Because the price of guitars varies in a large range. 

Still, I will try to present you with some numbers. Suppose Ash telecaster costs around $1,200. Then an Alder telecaster of the same quality can be bought for about $1,000. You can see that the price differs a lot like the Mansfield 210 and 211.

These are the major differences between the Ash and Alder telecasters. I think that now you can make your call. If you are still confused, keep scrolling. Below I will help you to choose the right one for you.

Final Discussion 

It is not easy to choose between the Ash and Alder wood for the telecaster. Because both of these woods are unique. Still, I will try to choose between them. 

The Ash wood produces sweeter tones than the Alder wood. But it is also heavier. The cost of Ash wood is also more. On the other hand, the Alder telecasters come at a low cost with a consistent finish.

If you are concerned about your budget, go for the Alder telecaster. This will save you some bucks. But if you want a sweet melody, you can get the Ash telecaster. You will have to pay more for that.

FAQs 

Which is better: Alder or Ash?

Both Alder and Ash are very good woods for telecasters. Both of them are unique and have their advantages. Alder is lighter and comes at a low cost  Whereas Ash produces more melodic sound.

Is Alder heavier than Ash?

No, Alder is not heavier than Ash. Rather the weight of Ash is more than Alder. The internal structure of Ash is more solid than that of the Alder. As a result it weighs more.

When did Fender switch from Ash to Alder?

Fender switched from Ash to Alder in 1956. From 1950-56, they used only Ash. In 1956, after finding out the availability of Alder, Fender started using it. But using Ash was not stopped completely. 

Conclusion 

This is all on today’s topic: Ash vs Alder telecaster. I hope that now you can get the best telecaster for you.

You can join any music club before making the final call. There you will be able to test various telecasters. Then you can go for your preferred one.

Goodbye!