The sound of an electric guitar's tone is produced from various areas: the timbers used, construction method, quality of construction, hardware, pickups and amplifier. You can change pickups, choose a different amplifier, but you can't change the tonewood, once a guitar is built, so it is very important to get this right, first.
Light weight with a tight grain structure with no real noticable grain lines, Alder is perfect for bodies. Mids are pronounced but it still has a nice rounded bottom and and bright top end.
Light weight with an open pore structure, with a beautiful flowing grain which can be grain filled in a contrasting colour for special effects. Mids are pronounced but it still has a nice rounded bottom and and bright top end. Very similar to Alder, with a slightly nicer bottom end. Think of the old guitars built by Leo, and you'll be familiar with Swamp Ash.
Poplar has been a favourite body timber for certain manufacturers who prefer solid finishes rather than clear, for good reason. It's considered to be closer to Alder in tone, but the grain is a light grey or even green colour and is mostly unattractive. However, burled examples feature beautiful figuring, swirls, darker pockets, and a maze of interlocking lines and grain.
Most people consider this a Mahogany, however that isn't quite true. It does have Mahogany like properties in both appearance and tonality. Whilst generally straight grained, it can be found with the rare pommele style figuring, which somewhat resembles a quilted appearance. Useful for bodies and necks, although the figured material is only suitable for bodies.
Normally sourced from Africa, White Limba, also known as ”Korina”, has been used in guitar building since the early 1950’s. It is a light-colored hardwood with a fine grain pattern that appears as long, thin streaks. It has a warm, balanced sound with clear highs and excellent sustain. Similar to mahogany, Korina is popular among rock players for its focused midrange that allows it to cut through the mix.