What do you guys think of Poplar bodies?

Discussion in 'Squier Telecasters' started by Genghis Bomb, Jan 13, 2022.

  1. Genghis Bomb

    Genghis Bomb Squier Talker

    Jul 6, 2021
    Might be a controversial opinion, but *nothing* is more of a dealbreaker on a guitar for me than a Poplar body. I find guitars that use it tend to sound bland and lifeless, like they're choking the pickups. It's also a very soft wood, making the instrument much more prone to dents and dings.

    Other than the low cost, and the preference for it in Asia as it let's them save on saw blades, I don't get why companies use it. I would rather pay an extra $50-$60 and have proper a proper hardwood body.

    Case in point, the amazing Squier Contemporary line. The spec sheets are just *dynamite*, *except* those damn Poplar bodies!

    Am I just insane here, or do you some of you guys avoid Poplar as well?
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2022
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  2. fattboyzz

    fattboyzz Dr. Squier

    Nov 29, 2017
    Newnan ,Ga.
    I prefer Alder.

    Yellow pine is ok and Agathis is too ;)

    Lots of guitars are made of Basswood and its a soft tonewood ;)
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  3. Angry Possum

    Angry Possum Obsessed With Music & Guitars Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 30, 2019
    Squier Town NY
    Poplar is cool, and highly affordable. I have a poplar Tele body I built from scratch. It ain't half bad. Doesn't take stain that great, but it's workable. Some photos below of the poplar Tele. The poplar wood is green it seems.


    It came out decent with the yellow Angelus shoe dye I used
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2022
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  4. Ray Stankewitz

    Ray Stankewitz Jammin' in my Music Room Platinum Supporting Member

    Oct 11, 2014
    Central Indiana
    My 1961 Kay K102 Vanguard II guitar and my 1966 Sears (Coral) Silvertone 1443 Hornet bass are both Poplar for the necks and bodies. They both have fixed truss rods, too. The Kay has a maple veneer over the front and back of the body and it's light as hell. Like hollowbody light. The bass is heavy, though like 10.0 lbs heavy. Both sound great and I would take poplar over [email protected] any day. It's more resonant than basswood, which is not that resonant when compared to other woods used for guitar bodies.
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  5. Hugh

    Hugh Squier-Nut

    Dec 15, 2009
    If I didn't use pedals, I'd want alder. Using pedals, either is fine.

    My Bullet Tele is polar and actually sounds better and more resonant unplugged than my Epi LP Special. Plugged in, the Epi slams the Tele though.
    Different p/ups, so perhaps an unfair comparison.
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  6. Angry Possum

    Angry Possum Obsessed With Music & Guitars Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 30, 2019
    Squier Town NY
    The Tonewood on electrics aren't as crucial as tonewoods on an acoustic. IMO,,, it's all hype, the pickups and hardware are more of a factor in the tone of an electric, than the body tonewood itself. I built a Candlenut Wood body that's very light and cheap, and it sounds pretty damned good.
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  7. beagle

    beagle Squier-holic

    Nov 19, 2017
    There's nothing wrong with poplar, it's been used for American Standard Fenders when Alder was in short supply. The tone wood debate in reference to solid bodied guitars is a pile of excrement that I won't dip in to.
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  8. AxelMorisson

    AxelMorisson Squier Talker

    Nov 15, 2021
    Fagaras, Romania
    Poplar is affordable and helps a lot of young musicians with their first dream guitar... and that was it- until after my accident. Now I say : Poplar is very nice, cheap, and most of all light- I can't feel the weight of the guitar even after some hours of playing. My full mahogany SG on the other hand , while very nice , is a cruel punishment to my crushed and not-quite-healed legs and back..so it became sort of a case queen in these last years. Recently got a cheap Epi SG in full poplar- and I love it, it is...not painful to listen to or hold...for hours..
  9. TimTheViking

    TimTheViking Squier-holic

    I see what you did there... :D
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  10. TimTheViking

    TimTheViking Squier-holic

    So there are a bunch of reasons for selecting a particular wood for the body of a guitar.

    Availability (could include current laws)
    Tonal characteristics
    Guitar model legacy (like re-issues)

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  11. beagle

    beagle Squier-holic

    Nov 19, 2017
    Primarily cost. Profits are the main driver, the rest is pretty much marketing hype.
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  12. radiotech

    radiotech Squier-Axpert

    Apr 23, 2014
    I’ve had a number of poplar bodies (including a US made Fender JP-90). If it’s finished properly (especially with paint and poly), it’s nearly impossible to dent. My JP-90 took a number of tumbles, and hits over the 23 years I had it, and still looked like the day I got it. That bass had wonderful sustain (gave it up in the divorce).

    That said, I’m all for “whatever” kind of guitar materials, as long as it is durable, plays (or can be made to play) well, and sounds good. One of my favorites is my Sawtooth Telecaster, and it’s made out of Sycamore!
    I’m not adverse to properly long (or cross) cut Basswood either, my Dimensions are the best sounding, most versatile basses I’ve ever owned.
    Two other Basswood Stunners:
    0FCE53C7-57EC-4FD5-9FDE-FEA67C0B70CF.jpeg DE40E4F1-AA9B-43AB-A659-6C3093632B17.jpeg

    Heck, my Martin 000 body Auditorium is HPL (maple/mahogany micro-ply w/layers of BAKELITE)! Sounds good, and indestructible!

    If I could only tolerate certain woods, I’d probably only have a couple to few guitars.
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  13. Robb

    Robb Squier-holic

    Jan 13, 2011
    Chertsey Canada.
    I hear poplar is very poplar here !
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  14. Big George

    Big George Squier-Meister

    Jan 11, 2018
    North Carolina
    Tonewood in electric guitars is a specious argument. It's all about the amplifier.
  15. 5ofeight

    5ofeight Squier-holic

    Nov 14, 2016
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  16. cool gouhl

    cool gouhl Squier-holic

    Dec 4, 2014
    I don't think polar is much softer than basswood or even alder. I started off think harder, heavier woods were better but I think softer woods resonate better. Plus the poly finishes they use are so hard you don't have to worry about denting so much.
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  17. beagle

    beagle Squier-holic

    Nov 19, 2017
    Alder dings just as easily as basswood or poplar, if not more easily. Don't ask me how I know...
  18. The Butcher

    The Butcher Squier Talker

    Jan 6, 2021
    Someone in marketing needs to give poplar a rebrand, I own a poplar squier and it goes just fine but I look down on it as the runt of the litter! It really does have a lousy reputation.

    That said, one of my "go to" strats has a laminate body
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  19. White Dog

    White Dog Squier-Meister

    Oct 19, 2011
    I like Poplar. Nice grains. I chose it for my pedal board, because with the right stain, you can make the yellows, reds, purples, and greens really pop in it.
    As far as guitar bodies go...I'm with a lot of these other members---I don't hear a difference in the "wood" when it comes to solid body electrics.
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  20. Slacker G

    Slacker G Squier-Meister

    Sep 6, 2021
    I prefer
    #1Swamp Ash
    #2 Alder
    #3 Swamp Ash
    I could live with Poplar but only if I had to.
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