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Old Wood spin off thread

Discussion in 'The Small Company Luthiers' started by Killcrop, Feb 10, 2008.

  1. Killcrop

    Killcrop Supporting Member

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    We were talking about "old wood" on one of the D'Pergo threads. I guess he looks at the wood under a microscope. I wonder if he, or anyone else has analyze the molecular composition of a great piece of old wood to help explain or identify the natural wood/drying/moisture content and develop some kind of tonal formula.

    Of course when Leo was cranking out Strats they were just plucking a block of wood from a pile. They did pretty well with that.
     
  2. JDouglee

    JDouglee Member

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    What's he looking for under the microscope? Some trees sound better than others, it's nature. Maybe there's some teeny tiny little "tone gnomes" in the wood?

    :BEER
     
  3. matte

    matte Senior Member

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    mock what you don't understand.:dude

    maybe ed yoon will pop onto this thread and share with tgp why he did a 180 on this very subject, as suhr now offers old growth wood (after ed's initial dismissal of same).
     
  4. Paulpuck68

    Paulpuck68 Member

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    Juha of Ruokangas guitars has done a lot of analysis of wood and has come up with a patented process to treat wood to get a certain cellular response in the wood to make it more like aged wood. Sounds like Stefan has a similar idea and looks for actual aged wood with those types of characteristics. I have no idea if they are the same characteristics but they might be onto the next big things from different angles. I do find Ruokangas guitars to be exceptional but I am guessing it is all just one part of the equation.
     
  5. JDouglee

    JDouglee Member

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    Just a little joke dude. :messedup I don't make guitars, I don't know what the hell I'd be looking for if I was microscoping. If you understand whatever it is you think I'm mocking, please share with us. :dude
     
  6. fretnot

    fretnot Gold Supporting Member

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    I would think that the tonal properties of a piece of wood have more to do with that particular piece than with age...otherwise, builders would simply look for the oldest wood they can find and just accept that it sounds better than anything else.
     
  7. wstsidela

    wstsidela I'm bonafied Gold Supporting Member

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    Funny you mention Ruokangas. That guy is doing something special. I'd love to try his guitars.
     
  8. shallbe

    shallbe Deputy Plankspanker Gold Supporting Member

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    As much as I think age and proper drying techniques can affect wood sonics and resonance---I feel exposure to freqencies and vibration are a huge factor as well. Take a beat to **** vintage Strat and one the same age that is near mint. The played one usually outperforms it in sound, soul and all the intangibles every time.

    At least that has been my experience. So, if you happen to get your hands on a great guitar that is also new, be happy that playing it will only make it better.
     
  9. jzilla

    jzilla Member

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    i think the burden of proof is on you since you are doing the mocking. great policy, to mock what you don't understand. great recipe for progress!
     
  10. photoguy

    photoguy Member

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    Everybody's gotta be somewhere.
    I took it as a joke too...geesh, you guys are sensitive.
     
  11. JackButler

    JackButler Supporting Member

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    Interesting point sir. I have always believed that the ones beat were the "good ones", that's why they were played, just like the minty ones tend to sound worse. But oyu have me thinking now:AOK

    I think it comes down to dogs will always be dogs, most good guitars fall into the "good" category and then there are the ones that truly are an excpetion and stand out baove all their consectutive serialed counterparts.

    I don't think old wood is the main ingredient in a great instrument, but it sure doesn't hurt any does it!
     
  12. rosscoep

    rosscoep Member

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    Some Stradivarius are said to be superior due to being constructed from old-growth wood that had been submerged, thereby compressing the wood with water pressure. And maybe old-growth trees were more healthy due to lack of environmental toxins.
     
  13. Zhurh

    Zhurh Member

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    I have some old chestnut from barn built in 1832, ok only 175 years old but it is so dry and yet in great shape. I measured & weighed and it is 2.4 lb per ft; same as light swamp ash. Waiting on a tele to be finished right now from it. Then I'm going to have a strat built.

    I honestly think every now and then, you get a superior slab of wood that just makes guitar sound so sweet; don't matter the age.
     
  14. yeast2000

    yeast2000 Member

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    I also thought that was a pretty good, funny joke. Given that we're now living in the world of "genomics"...
     
  15. Jimetti

    Jimetti Member

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    This paper discusses (please follow link below) viscoelastic properties of wood and depicts images and an example of wood micro structure. By understanding the viscoelastic properties, one could reason how wood with lower viscoelastic performance and a micro structure, ie the shape and size of the cell itself, could influence the sonic transmission efficiency and frequency transmission response of a billet of wood...providing the micro structure as observed is consistent.

    By the way...I played a Dpergo Limited last week and it was the most impressive Strat style guitar I have ever played!

    Dpergo...you have my respect!

    Of course, the actual type of wood probably has the greatest influence on the cell density of the specimen, based upon its species. From that point, growing climate conditions, soil composition and atmospheric composition, as influenced by environmental intangibles such as volcanic activity, co etc., must influence the cell structure of the tree.

    That Limited was REALLY nice!




    http://www.ipenz.org.nz/ipenz/publications/indexes/transaction/transactions97/emch/4ASTLEY.PDF
     
  16. John Hurtt

    John Hurtt Supporting Member

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    But, a great sounding/playing guitar can get more wear just because it started out that way. The near mint one could have been a dog up front so it didn't get played.

    Maybe... :BEER
     
  17. JMG

    JMG Member

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    "Yes, the molecular structure is perfect for playing Mustang Sally!"
     
  18. Ian Anderson

    Ian Anderson Supporting Member

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    Well said.

    What of the builders who use grain orientation and structure, weight and or other visceral observations based not on science, but actual physical experience? Or have we finally given up mojo for science?

    Also... Once you have understood the various relationships between the different metals, woods, magnets, wires, pots, capacitors, paint, etc.. there is not much left to mystery. Then again, that is the hard part isn't it?

    :RoCkIn
     
  19. jzilla

    jzilla Member

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    i don't think it's either/or. what about science & 'mojo' (or intuition / experience)?
     
  20. Jon Silberman

    Jon Silberman 10Q Jerry & Dickey Gold Supporting Member

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    It's the Hamadryad, stupid!!!
     

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