Cocobolo Top:what do you think?

Discussion in 'The Small Company Luthiers' started by tequilaboy85, Oct 2, 2006.

  1. tequilaboy85

    tequilaboy85 Member

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    I'm considering a new custom guitar.I'm thinking about this wood as a top:I know that some builders use it as a neck wood and also for the body(like Driskill) and some others have used it as a top(McNaught and Thorn).
    NOw I know that is an extremely hard and dense wood:so it could sound a little more bright and focused than maple,right?

    My question is this:is cocobolo a tone wood as good as maple,koa or redwood for a top?

    For sure it will sound different,but to me the important thing is that Cocobolo is worth the moneey as a good piece of maple or Koa.
     
  2. rollyfoster

    rollyfoster Supporting Member

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    garcia's guitar was maple sandwiched by cocobolo. pretty tight and focused sound. i say go for it
     
  3. Jim Soloway

    Jim Soloway Supporting Member

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    We've done a few. They're visually stunning. Tonally it's very bright and agressive. Matched with a warm pickup, they can be a wonderful top, but not for everyone and not for every application. Those are all very different sounding woods, so in comparing it to koa, maple, or rosewood, the real question is what you're trying to achieve musically.
     
  4. TRIODEROB

    TRIODEROB Senior Member

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    I was wondering Mr Soloway

    1) what do you think of an all walnut guitar?
    2) what is your favorite 2 wood combo?

    thanks
    trioderob
     
  5. Jim Soloway

    Jim Soloway Supporting Member

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    We've only used walnut as a top over a swamp ash back, so I can;t really comment on an all walnut body. Combined with ash, it's been a wonderful wood: warm, clear, and consistently acoustically very loud.

    As for 2 wood combos, so much of what we've done has been over a swamp ash back, that I tend to view everything in that context. And then it depends what you're tryng to accomplish. We've used a lot of different tops and we've learned that they all tend to achieve different objectives. For my own playing, my favorite is probably mahogany over ash. That warms things up a little and strengthens the mids without sucking the life out of the high end overtones.
     
  6. BradKM

    BradKM Member

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    That's a combo I'd never thought much about before, but it makes a lot of sense.
     
  7. tequilaboy85

    tequilaboy85 Member

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    I really want something different from what I already have.
    I think that from yours descriptions it could be a good alternative...

    Just to add more info:the guitar with the ccobolo will be a set neck,mahogany body and neck,wraparound bridge and probably 2 WCR humbuckers,maybe 2 goodwoods or darkburst

    So what do you think about this guitar?what kind of tones could I achieve?
     
  8. Jim Soloway

    Jim Soloway Supporting Member

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    It's difficult to answer without a bit more information. What's the scale length? How thick is the top? Is the body solid or chambered?

    Without those answers, I would have three concerns: first, it's likely to be a heavy guitar; second, there is not going to be a lot of acoustic sizzle; and third, quality mahogany and large pieces of cocobolo are both difficult to find thee days. I would probably be more inclued to use korina or limba than mahogany. Either would give it a bit more zing. On the other hand, this is all based on my own taste. Your tonal objectives may be very different than mine.
     
  9. thesedaze

    thesedaze Member

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    I'd recommend using a slab of African Mahogany if you can find a good enough size w/ figured claro walnut top. Maybe stain the mahogany to a trans brown, w/ a thin vineer of maple between the body and top. Visually, the claro walnut can be like a mix between koa and cocobolo.

    Here's one of Mr Soloway's own creations w/ a claro walnut. It's hard to tell the actual color of the wood, but you can get it a bit darker if necessary:

    [​IMG]
     
  10. alanbass1

    alanbass1 Member

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    Cocobolo is a much favoured tonewood for many high end bass guitar makers, most notably Alembic (who incidently uses it on their Garcia model). Also, so is walnut. They are very dense and heavy woods and, from a bass perspective bring out the low end fundamental of the instrument. Whether these woods would overtly mask the top end I would not know, but the fact that not many guitar manufacturers use these combinations must account for something. But if you truly want something that is different from the norm, this would one of the directions you could go.
     
  11. TRIODEROB

    TRIODEROB Senior Member

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    I can tell you that I have a 100% walnut Gibson "The Paul"
    and it is NOT a heavy wood. it is very hard wood.
    It also has a special ability to play low notes and high notes.
    there is some thing weird about how it grows its rings that permits
    it to produce such a wide tonal range.
     
  12. Rocktrans formed

    Rocktrans formed Member

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    Cocobolo is, in my opinion, the most beautiful wood in existence for a guitar top. I really want somebody to buy a Thorn with one, just to see what it looks like...
     
  13. tequilaboy85

    tequilaboy85 Member

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    The guitar will be a 25" scale,probably chambered body with a carved top.
     
  14. Jim Soloway

    Jim Soloway Supporting Member

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    All three of those are relevent to what you can expect it to sound like.

    The 25" scale length is, by definition, a compromise between the two more common 24.7 and 25.5 lengths. All other things being equal (which of course they're not) it should be a bit less dark than an LP.

    For a chambered body, I definitely prefer korina or limba to mahogany. Chambering should add some acoustic zing and I think that can be hard to get out of mahogany. Whether you use mahogany or some other wood, the chambering will the weight a bit though and I consider that to be a good thing.

    A carved top is by definition quite thick and you're going to have some difficulty finding a piece of cocobolo thick enough to do what you want. One source you might try is Tropical Exotic Hardwoods in Carlsbad. They seem to have a stash of dry (VERY important) cocobolo in large pieces most of the time. Here's a link to their site.

    http://anexotichardwood.com/index.html

    BTW, I don't know how you feel about weight, but cocobolo is VERY heavy. A thick carved cocobolo top is probably going to make it a heavy guitar, even with a chambered back.
     
  15. KKauffman

    KKauffman Member

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  16. Giraffecaster

    Giraffecaster Member

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  17. tequilaboy85

    tequilaboy85 Member

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    Jim thanks for all the info..I will think about the limba/korina body and neck instead of mahogany.

    By the way,I'm not going to build it myself...it will be built by an expert and professional builder...for the moment I don't want to say nothing more...just a bit of suspance:AOK
     
  18. PFCG

    PFCG Member

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    my guitar has a cocobolo top just like jerry garcias, considering its an alembic just like his was ( i know... go ahead and say irwin made it, he did work for alembic remember!) it is a very bright guitar, but asthetically its beat by very few woods.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  19. dgood

    dgood Member

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  20. Chris Rice

    Chris Rice Member

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