Sassafras – A Paradigm Shift in Tone Woods
As our world’s environment goes through an unprecedented period of rapid change, it was inevitable that our industry would also be affected and that we need to adapt to do what is the best for the environment at large as well as finding solutions to provide the best musical instruments possible. One impact felt by our industry is the extreme scarcity of a beloved and venerable tone wood: Swamp Ash. It is now a matter of when, not if, this wood will no longer be available for use on the production of electric guitars.
Fortunately, there are alternatives that are both environmentally friendly as well as being viable tone woods with attractive visual and tonal characteristics. Of the alternatives available, Sassafras has become a favorite amongst guitar manufacturers and for a good reason. Aesthetically, it looks very similar to Swamp Ash with familiar grain patterns. Tonally, it isn’t exactly like Swamp Ash but has its own very positive attributes that make it an ideal substitute as an electric guitar body wood.
With this industry shift in mind, we are now using Sassafras on four of our popular models: the G290 FAT, X700 Duality, KX508MS and the GB64JJ. So, the million-dollar question is: how does Sassafras sound compared to Swamp Ash? We can confidently say that it sounds great but slightly different. Overall, Sassafras sounds bigger with more low-midrange girth while maintaining the general tightness and punch that Swamp Ash is renowned for. Swamp Ash favors the high-midrange and is still a little tighter in the lows. Sonically, Sassafras can be described as being somewhere in between Alder and Swamp Ash but still leaning towards the character of the latter.
Swamp Ash, unfortunately, is going extinct. Sassafras is eco-friendly due to its abundance so you can rest assured that you are not doing harm to the environment. Both visually and tonally, Sassafras is attractive and a very solid performer as a viable tone wood. We are pleased to use Sassafras on our instruments and firmly believe that it will provide excellent value as well as the superb performance that Cort players have come to expect.