Guitarmill Feather Weight Series/Paulownia

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by polifemo, Sep 13, 2008.

  1. polifemo

    polifemo Member

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  2. polifemo

    polifemo Member

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  3. gkoelling

    gkoelling Member

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    I played a paulowina Tele they had at summer NAMM. Very light weight and sounded quite nice. I think it was about the same weight as my pine Tele.

    I can't give you tonal descriptions, as that was 3 months ago and NAMM is NOT the place to get a representative idea of what something sounds like.
     
  4. michael30

    michael30 Gold Supporting Member

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    I'm building a strat with a Guitar Mill Paulownia body. I should have an answer for you in a month or two. What I can tell you now is that you want to be very careful handling the body. The slightest bump will leave a mark.
     
  5. KBR

    KBR Member

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    They say they sound like Ash, that is a good thing...I love light Guitars!

    Thanks, for the Bridge, Greg
     
  6. gkoelling

    gkoelling Member

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    You know, the NAMM Tele I played was very close to ash in tone.


    ...glad the bridge got there OK. Sorry it took me so long.
     
  7. JPenn

    JPenn Member

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    I'll be interested to see what you guys think of the sound of these. I like light guitars as well.
     
  8. michael30

    michael30 Gold Supporting Member

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    It took a bit longer than expected, but my strat is finally done.

    Guitar Mill Paulownia body
    Warmoth neck with ebony fretboard
    Wilkinson vintage-type bridge
    Kinman avn-56 neck & middle, BG P90 bridge

    Pros:

    Very lightweight

    Sounds great, very resonant and loud with a lot of snap and attack. Like swamp ash but a bit more powerful. I might still experiment with different pickups in this guitar. My first impression is that you wouldn't want to use anything that's too bright.

    Paulownia is not an endagered species.

    Cons:

    You need to be very careful when working with Paulownia. The slightest little bump will leave a mark.

    It's not the easiest wood to finish. You need to prep this wood thoroughly before shooting any paint.

    You need to drill any holes with a smaller size bit than you would normally use.


    I was pretty sure that this would be my first and last Paulownia guitar during the building stages. Having heard the sound of this wood I think I'll do a few more at some stage.
     
  9. Boris Bubbanov

    Boris Bubbanov Member

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    Michael, can you describe in any detail what steps you will take on refinishing your next paulownia body? Are we talking multiple coats of grain filler, like on ash?

    Very nervous about the dent-magnet nature of this wood. Has anyone given thought to trying a "wood hardener" type product such as I remember using on punky or otherwise disintegrating trim on old houses?

    Finally, any sense that the wood between the neck and the neck plate is crushing, or that the bridge mount fasteners are gonna work their way loose. Some guitar bodies sound better as the structure of the wood hardens; could this be one also?
     
  10. michael30

    michael30 Gold Supporting Member

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    I'm not an expert at finishing guitars. I'm still learning. Paulownia looks like ash and probably needs multiple coats of filler and enough patience to let everything dry long enough before sanding.

    I screwed a peice of wood to the neck pocket without using a plate as a handle when spraying. The first screw sank right into the wood. The first two bridge fastener screws worked their way loose immediately after I used a normal-sized drill bit for the holes. Fortunately I had only drilled the two outer holes at that time and was mounting the bridge to check the alignement. I filled the holes with a bit of glueand wood fibers and used a smaller-size drill for the others. I have only played this guitar for a couple of hours but I suppose I'll have to spend a week doing dive-bombs with the tremolo to see what happens.

    I'm also interested in how the sound of this guitar will develop after having been played a while. I'll let you know if anything drastic happens.
     
  11. gkoelling

    gkoelling Member

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    Can you draw any comparisons between paulownia and northern pine? Finish, tone, hardness?



    Thanks
     
  12. michael30

    michael30 Gold Supporting Member

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    I built a tele with a pine body (also from Guitar Mill). I don't know what kind of pine it is but it sounds great (like a combination of ash and alder), was easier to finish and is much harder than Paulownia. The weight is closer to normal tonewoods.
     
  13. mattmccloskey

    mattmccloskey Supporting Member

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    that soft wood makes me scared. I would rather just pay extra for lightweight ash or alder. It isn't too hard to find swamp ash strat bodies at 3.5 pounds, which makes for a real light guitar.
    I prefer alder because it finishes easier, and is plenty hard. I have an alder body that is about 3.75 pounds. That still makes a pretty light guitar.
     
  14. Boris Bubbanov

    Boris Bubbanov Member

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    Thanks, Michael, for passing along your adventures so far.

    I'm a baby step sort of guy. I think I would do a hardtail Paulownia body first, perhaps a Telecaster style with shallower pickup routs, perhaps an Esquire with no neck pickup rout whatsoever.

    I'd want to do specifications that would give the guitar with the Golden Voice the longer possible life span. Were I to have a "spec" Paulownia Strat, just me now but I'd leave the whammy bar off, just do a little palm shimmer on the bridge plate and no 11s or 12s.

    I watched two USACG Paulownia webspecial bodies sell to others. Maybe I will gun for the next one.

    Thanks kindly.
     
  15. gkoelling

    gkoelling Member

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    The pine bodies from GM are sugar pine, AKA northern pine. My pine Tele body is from them and only weighed 3 pounds, 3 ounces.
     
  16. K-Line

    K-Line Gold Supporting Member

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    It is super soft, makes pine seem like a true hardwood. Go for the superlight ash, you will not be disappointed when the screws start falling out.
     
  17. gkoelling

    gkoelling Member

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    My sonic blue Tele is lightweight ash from GM and it's a very nice body.
     
  18. plagtr2

    plagtr2 Silver Supporting Member

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    Here is my GM Paulowina Tele. Allparts "Fat" neck, Callaham, Budz. I LOVE this guitar! Light & resonant--very pleased with this one!
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  19. MrNick

    MrNick Member

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    My paulownia tele is the best guitar I own.
     
  20. gkoelling

    gkoelling Member

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    So, where are the pics? :BluesBros
     

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