Paulownia Tele bodies?

RayBarbeeMusic

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,911
How does Paulownia... "sound"?
From what I'm told, it sounds a lot like ash. It is light and VERY soft though, like basswood, so if you don't baby it, expect dings. Tends not to look good with transparent finish, though I'm told there are examples that are ok if you look for them.

So you get the sound of ash with super light weight.

The other issue though is that they don't take trems, etc, without hardwood inserts because the wood is so soft.

That price at GF is crazy cheap.
 

71strat

Member
Messages
9,284
IMHO .. Paulownia though soft.. Will probably become the replacement for ash, because of the Emerald Ash Borer. Stock up everyone, as ash is going to become the next Chestnut Trees Extinction. 1 piece Super Light Ash will go through the roof.

They are here, and are destroying millions of ash trees. The city just took 2 out of my yard alone. 1 of them was 106 years old. The house I live in was built by my GGFR in 1904.

I also believe some may also put Brass/Stainless Steel inserts in critical screw applications, but am not certain.

+1 on the inserts if a Vibrato is to be used.

Minus Dings ect. Paulownia has/can have a figuring that's so close you cant tell. It is also a very stable wood, and is used for surfboards, and instruments in Asia/China. Its also called Empress wood.

Guitar Fetish gets theirs from a guy in Tenn. I bought a 2 x piece Book Matched Blank from the guy in Tenn, about 5 years ago, +- but believe it was cut/book matched at GF. GF was just gearing up to start using this wood.

Fender made a Masterbuilt Featherlight Series using Paulownia, and Aircraft Grade Spruce.



Created by One of the Best Luthiers on the Planet
The Fender Custom Shop Featherlight Telecaster was Masterbuilt by Yuriy Shishkov, one of the most in-demand luthiers today. Yuriy Shishkov spec'd the Featherlight Telecaster to be as light as possible, while still being lively and resonant. Weighing in under five pounds, this guitar is a dream to play. The lightweight paulownia body combines with the airplane-grade spruce neck to give you a solid playing foundation that gives you epic Tele tone and playability. Few guitars have been built with as much care and attention as the Fender Custom Shop Featherlight Telecaster Masterbuilt by Yuriy Shishkov.

Designed to be as lightweight-yet-resonant as possible

Yuriy Shishkov chose ultra-lightweight paulownia and airplane-grade spruce to make the Featherlight Telecaster so light and comfortable to play. Paulownia is a rapidly-renewable wood that's very lightweight, but interestingly also has very resonant and musical qualities. As far as airplane-grade spruce, that means the spruce has been chosen, cut, and dried in a particular way to maximize strength and minimize twisting or warping. So you get a lightweight neck that enhances your note attack and definition, and also will remain straight and true as long as you own this masterpiece.

They use a Rosewood Board.


They are insanely $$$$$$$$$$.

Did I mention the cost of these was over the top ??? No Way Id pay that for 1, but its a good concept, and easily repeatable.

Ive sourced the wood, and will send it to Tommy at USA Custom Guitars to make a Neck/Body from my supplied wood. No extra $$$$ I'm going to use Maple for the board.


Anyone interested in making a really light guitar heres some info.

Aircraft Grade Spruce has specific Guidelines. Mainly Sitka, and Adirondak Red was used for Aircraft. Sitka was more plentiful. It took me 3 days to finally figure out how to apply the guidelines to interpret how to apply to ordering/sourcing wood.

Basically Aircraft Grade Spruce.. AGS has to have at least 6 lines per inch, no more than 1 inch Fall Away in 12 inches, with some small Pin knots permitted, but are also added up, as there is a limit on area of knots. And only really really small is allowed.

But when youre talking Guitar Necks.. NO Flaws and AGS is easily obtainable. The wood must be Qsawn. Did I say for what it is that its CHEAP ????? For Perfect Spruce. Adirondak Red. Same place almost everyone gets theirs from. Incl Martin.

I had a good look at the Tele Featherlight Neck, and counted 14 Rings Per Inch, No Knots ect, which is considered Artist Grade Spruce, looking at it from a musical instrument perspective, and has No Fall Away, and is 100% straight over the Length. 0 Knots.
That's it in a nutshell. 6-14 is rtist Grade. 14-20+ is considered Artist Grade +.

I got a 21 Rings Per Inch Blank 27 x 2 x 6. I told them I needed a piece that would need to be 27 x 2 x 4 when ready to be cut so they also gave extra width. But none was flawed. I believe the blank was $60 4-5 years ago. Wouldn't be much more now.

Just tell them you want Artist Grade + in that size, and it will meet/exceed all guidelines.


Which is the ASH ?

Which is the Paulownia ????





Old Standard Wood - Adirondack Spruce
www.adirondackspruce.com

Paulownia Tree Farm in Parrottsville, TN | Paulownia ...
www.paulowniaseed.com
Guitar Blanks #1 Grade $49.00
 

Cal Webway

Member
Messages
9,569
Are you sure Guitar Fetish gets theirs from a guy in TN?
My understanding it is from China, and the various factories.

I think it is Mario at Guitar Mill, also in TN, who gets his paulo wood blanks from that TN supplier.

.
 

swiveltung

Member
Messages
14,490
Don't know anything about the seller, but the body looks like an abused version of what guitarfetish sells for $60.

http://www.guitarfetish.com/Lightwe...ecaster-Style-Body-Seafoam-Green_p_17731.html
Yes I would be careful that it's not just a resale. I have made a couple guitars out of GF Paulonia bodies. They are very light weight. Their bodies are not top quality but good for the $. The finish is SUPER brittle, when you drill a small hole, a chip may occur.... so you need to be very careful.
 

jklotz

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,773
I've played some that were really light and very resonant. But keep in mind it is a soft wood, so don't expect it to hold up like ash or alder.

The 3 gfs bodies I have bought were a mess. The bridge holes were mis aligned, neck pockets cut incorrectly and body curves were off by a good bit. Waste of $ imho. Maybe they have improved, as it's been a while.
 

71strat

Member
Messages
9,284
Are you sure Guitar Fetish gets theirs from a guy in TN?
My understanding it is from China, and the various factories.

I think it is Mario at Guitar Mill, also in TN, who gets his paulo wood blanks from that TN supplier.

.

Yep. Youre right.

It is Guitar Mill. Not Guitar Fetish.
 

Whiskeyrebel

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
30,308
IMHO .. Paulownia though soft.. Will probably become the replacement for ash, because of the Emerald Ash Borer. Stock up everyone, as ash is going to become the next Chestnut Trees Extinction. 1 piece Super Light Ash will go through the roof.

They are here, and are destroying millions of ash trees. The city just took 2 out of my yard alone. 1 of them was 106 years old. The house I live in was built by my GGFR in 1904.
If the ash snags could be processed, I wonder if it wouldn't actually be a greater source of lightweight wood for guitars - just not well suited for other traditional uses of ash that rely on its hardness, toughness and resilience.

I'm remembering what happened to the elms in the 70s and 80s. I dealt with it as firewood in the 80s, which had been cut from snags that stood with the bark sloughed off - in some cases for years. In this state it was really light, almost punky, and noticeably softer than maple. I was very surprised to learn that elm is supposed to be a hard, durable wood. In terms of resonance, where straight grained cedar would ring like a bell when split for kindling, and maple would make a crack like a bat hitting a ball, the snag elm would make a 'donk' or 'tock' sound somewhere between the two. Sort of like a temple block.
 

BadAssBill

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
7,437
I know this is the extreme case....but this is what the Paulownia can sound like.


The challenge I see with the original body would be that the wood underneath looks new. Kinda silly if it took time to wear down like that.
 

Ron Kirn

Member
Messages
7,101
when I use it... and that's a Paulownia Bodied guitar I'm holding in the Premiere Guitar Article, i also use extra precautions.. On a "normal" guitar... say a tele or hard tail Strat.. I use extra long screws on everything...

On high stress points, subject to constant variables of pressure such as the tremolo mounting.. I reenforce the enter section from the back with a hardwood block... doing so it's not visible from the top side, and completely concealed by the tremolo cover plate in the back...

You'll note that I also reenforced the electronics cavity with a piece of bakelite.... I don't want someone calling complaining they were swing the guitar at a screeching cat and the top caught a fence post and the force cracked the top when the knob hit the 4x4... "now whudda you gonna do about it"...

I've never had a problem... and as long as you treat the guitar as it should be, there is no problem...

they say a picture is worth a thousand . . . and I don't feel like typing a thousand . . so perhaps this will better illustrate... this guitar weighed about 5.5 pounds...

Ron Kirn







 

Mikhael

Member
Messages
3,004
Do you use any Brass/Steel Inserts for neck screws ect ?
Well, the inserts would go into the neck, not the pocket. The neck is presumably rock maple, and is harder than snot to begin with. It would be the wood of the neck pocket that would concern me more. But with the neck plate to hold the screws in place, and spread out the pressure all along the back of the neck pocket, I guess it would be okay.
 




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