How To Make An Acoustic Guitar Sound Warmer (4 Ways To Try)

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Acoustic guitars are some of the most widely used instruments in music today, and rightfully so because no one sounds the same as another. But sometimes, the sound you’re getting from your guitar is not the sound you want for the style of music you’re trying to play. If you want to get your guitar to sound warmer, there are a few things you can try.

You can make your acoustic guitar sound warmer by trying a thicker pick or heavier pick with a rounded tip, changing your picking hand’s position, changing out your guitar strings, and changing the materials of your saddle and nut.

Here are 4 ways to make an acoustic guitar sound warmer:

  • Try a thicker pick or heavier pick with a rounded tip
  • Change your picking hand’s position
  • Change out your guitar strings
  • Change the materials of your saddle and nut

In this article, we will be discussing what makes a guitar sound the way it does, as well as the numerous tactics you can employ to get your acoustic guitar to sound warmer (Relevant article: how to make an acoustic guitar quieter). So, let’s get right to it!

If you want to find out what my recommended guitar gear is, then here is what I recommend on Amazon:

What Gives a Guitar Its Sound And How Can An Acoustic Guitar Sound Warmer?

To understand why your guitar does or doesn’t sound warm, you first need to understand the basics of how your guitar produces sound. This may sound complicated, but in actual fact, it is quite simple.

An acoustic guitar produces sound through vibrations. The guitar strings run from the neck to the guitar’s body and are strung tightly to create tension. When you pluck one of the strings, it creates a vibration that is transmitted to the guitar’s saddle and from there onto the soundboard.

These vibrations resonate through to the top of the guitar and the sides and back. The air in the guitar’s body and the soundboard amplify their vibrations. Finally, the sound is produced and comes out through the hole in the front of the guitar.

Every piece of your guitar’s composition plays a part in how the sound produced by its strings sounds to your ears, so naturally, there are many ways to change the way that your guitar sounds, including making it sound warmer.

If you find that your guitar produces sounds that are a bit ‘tinny,’ ‘bright,’ or that it just doesn’t have the warm and full-bodied sound you are looking for, you may be wondering if there’s anything you can do to make it sound different. Luckily, there are several ways in which you can make your guitar sound warmer, which we will go over now.

1. Use a Different Pick To Get a Warmer Acoustic Guitar Sound

Possibly the easiest thing you can do to get a warmer sound from your guitar is to use a different plectrum when playing. Using a heavier pick, one made of wood, or one with a rounded tip (as opposed to the pointy tip that most picks seem to have) will all help take away some of the brightness or thin sound your guitar is producing, and will, in turn, give you a more mellow and warmer sound.

Picks made from a softer material (like acetal) will also help add warmth to the sound of your guitar.

2. Change the Position of Your Picking Hand For a Warmer Guitar Sound

Another easy thing you can do to change your guitar’s sound is to change where your picking hand plays on the strings. 

If you play too close to the nut and saddle (i.e., the bottom of the guitar), the sound of your guitar can become quite bright or tinny, but playing closer to the neck of the guitar (while still playing over the soundhole) can help your guitar produce a warmer sound.

3. Change Out Your Guitar Strings

While the actual construction of your guitar (the materials the body and neck are made of) have the most influence on the type of sound it produces, the strings also play a significant role. 

Before deciding to mod out other parts of your guitar (which we will discuss in a bit), you might want to try to change the strings you are using, as they can also influence your guitar’s tone.

String Gauge

String gauge is just a fancy way of describing the diameter of your guitar’s strings. They are usually categorized using shorthand terms (extra lights, lights, mediums, heavys) or by the thinnest string in the set (elevens, twelves, thirteens, etc.). On acoustic guitars, “thirteens” are considered medium strings.

If you want to get a warmer sound from your guitar, you might consider switching out the strings you currently have on your guitar for some heavier strings. If you have “light” strings, then switch them out for “medium” strings, and if you’re already using medium strings, you can replace them with some “heavy” gauge strings.

Heavier gauge strings have higher tension than “light” strings and thus have a more full-bodied and warm tone, whereas lighter strings can often sound thin and brittle in comparison.

String Material

The material that your guitar strings are made of can also play a massive role in how your guitar sounds overall. The wide variety of materials available means that there is also more variety in tone than before. This is great because you’ll be able to get exactly the sound you want from your guitar.

When wanting to get a warmer sound from your guitar, you could upgrade your strings to some phosphor-bronze strings or silk and steel strings. Both these string types are known for their warm tone and are very highly recommended to those wanting to get a warmer sound from their guitars.

Phosphor-bronze strings are most often recommended because they produce a nice warm tone and are relatively affordable. However, silk and steel strings are known to have a more mellow and softer tone and have lower tension, which makes them less harsh on your fingers, but are slightly more costly than phosphor-bronze strings. 

Still, it is worth looking into both types to figure out which you like best and give you the sound you’re looking for.

Best Strings to Use for a Warmer Guitar Tone

When trying to find the best strings to use on your guitar, it seems that everyone has a different opinion of what is the “best” brand and type of string to use.

Here are the most popular guitar strings for a warmer guitar sound and tone:

  • Martin Monel Retro: These strings are made of a combination of copper, nickel, magnesium, zinc, and a few other elements that help make them resistant to saltwater (a.k.a. sweat). They have been praised for having an “earthy” tone and for bringing out the wood sounds of the guitar.
  • Martin MSP4100: These phosphor-bronze strings produce a nice warm tone and are a well-rounded choice for an affordable price.
  • Ernie Ball Earthwood: Ernie Ball’s strings are known to have a full, clear, and warm sound, and they are very well priced, no matter whether you go for their phosphor-bronze or silk and steel strings. It is good to go for their heavier gauge strings, however.
  • Thomastik-Infeld Spectrum Bronze: These strings are some of the most expensive on the market, but they absolutely live up to their price point. They are made for studio recording purposes, which means that they produce a really high-quality sound, but they can be a little harder on your fingers than the other strings on this list.

4. Choose a Different Saddle and Nut Material To Make Your Acoustic Guitar Sound Warmer

Another thing you can do, if all of the other things mentioned above don’t give you the results you’re looking for, is to change out your guitar’s saddle and nut for something made from a softer material. Most guitars come with a plastic saddle and nut, and changing them out for material like ebony or buffalo horn will help your guitar produce a warmer sound.

What is the warmest sounding acoustic guitar?

The warmest sounding acoustic guitar is subjective and can vary based on the tonal preferences of the player. However, certain wood types are generally known for producing warm, rich tones. Some of the most popular warm-sounding tonewoods for acoustic guitars include:

  1. Mahogany: Mahogany is a warm-sounding tonewood that is often used for the back and sides of acoustic guitars. It produces a rich, balanced sound with warm midrange tones and a strong low end.
  2. Rosewood: Rosewood is another popular tonewood for acoustic guitars that produces warm, rich tones. It has a strong low end and clear, defined high-end tones, with a smooth and balanced sound.
  3. Cedar: Cedar is a softwood that is often used for the top of acoustic guitars. It produces warm, rich tones with strong midrange frequencies and a softer, more delicate sound.
  4. Koa: Koa is a hardwood that is known for producing warm, balanced tones with a strong midrange and a focused sound. It is often used for the back and sides of high-end acoustic guitars.

Ultimately, the warmest sounding acoustic guitar will depend on a variety of factors, including the type of wood used, the guitar’s construction and setup, and the playing style of the musician. It’s a good idea to try out different guitars and wood types to find the warmest sound that best suits your preferences.

What is a warm sounding guitar?

A warm sounding guitar is one that produces rich, mellow tones with a full-bodied sound that emphasizes midrange frequencies. This type of tone is often associated with acoustic guitars made from certain types of tonewoods, such as mahogany, rosewood, cedar, and koa.

Warm sounding guitars typically have a full, rich sound that emphasizes the lower and midrange frequencies, producing a full-bodied tone that is well-suited to a variety of playing styles. These guitars are often favored by players who prefer a mellow, expressive sound with a strong, warm character.

In contrast, guitars that produce brighter, more focused tones with a stronger emphasis on high-end frequencies are often described as “bright” or “shimmering.” The tonal characteristics of a guitar are influenced by a variety of factors, including the type of tonewood used, the guitar’s construction and setup, and the playing style of the musician.

How do you warm the EQ on an acoustic guitar?

Warming the EQ on an acoustic guitar typically involves boosting the low and midrange frequencies while cutting or reducing the high-end frequencies.

Here are some steps you can take to warm the EQ on your acoustic guitar:

  1. Use the EQ controls: Most acoustic guitars come with onboard EQ controls that allow you to adjust the tone of the guitar. Experiment with boosting the bass and midrange frequencies while reducing the treble frequencies to achieve a warmer, more mellow sound.
  2. Change the strings: Different types of guitar strings can produce different tonal characteristics. Try switching to a set of strings that are known for producing a warmer, more mellow sound, such as phosphor bronze or silk and steel strings.
  3. Adjust your playing technique: The way you play the guitar can also have an impact on the tone. Try playing closer to the bridge for a brighter sound, or closer to the neck for a warmer, mellower sound.
  4. Use a different pick: The type of pick you use can also affect the tone. Try using a thicker or softer pick to achieve a warmer, more mellow sound.
  5. Consider using a preamp or external EQ: If you’re not satisfied with the onboard EQ controls on your guitar, you can consider using a preamp or external EQ to adjust the tone. These devices allow you to fine-tune the tone to achieve the warm, mellow sound you’re looking for.

Which guitar strings have the warmest sound?

Phosphor bronze strings are one of the most popular choices for warm-sounding guitar strings. They have a warmer, mellower sound than other types of strings, thanks to the added warmth and depth provided by the phosphor bronze alloy.

Silk and steel strings are also known for producing a warm, mellow tone, thanks to the combination of silk and steel that creates a unique tonal blend. These strings are often favored by fingerstyle players and those looking for a softer, more delicate sound.

Flatwound strings can also produce a warm, mellow tone, thanks to the flat winding that reduces the high-frequency overtones. These strings are often used for jazz and blues playing styles that require a warmer, more mellow sound.

Ultimately, the best strings for warm sound will depend on your playing style, guitar, and personal preference. It’s a good idea to experiment with different types of strings to find the warm, mellow tone that best suits your playing style and musical preferences.

Final Thoughts On How To Make An Acoustic Guitar Sound Warmer

While guitars are some of the most popular musical instruments today, getting them to sound the way you want can be challenging. However, if you know the basics of how guitars produce sound and what their different parts do, you should be able to adjust them until you get them to produce a sound that you like.

If you want to find out what my recommended guitar gear is, then here is what I recommend on Amazon:

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David Sandy

Hey there! My name is David Sandy and I'm the founder of Sandy Music Lab. I've been playing guitar for several years now and created this site to be able to share and explore music with others.
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