Where did we get the idea that all the decent wood is gone?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by COYS, Feb 10, 2020.

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  1. Figaro

    Figaro Supporting Member

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    The very early Fender guitars had a pine body and are classified as mythological. :D
     
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  2. sahhas

    sahhas Supporting Member

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    My 2 newest guitars have pine bodies, I think pine is great, not sure where the hate for pine came from!! And I used wood from some old shelves in our house, so it’s over 50 years old!!!

     
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  3. funkapus

    funkapus Supporting Member

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    When it comes to old growth Brazilian rosewood, as far as its availability for making guitars is concerned, yes.

    As I said earlier, I'm coming to this from an acoustic guitar perspective, so I don't think of BR vs. EIR as fretboard wood so much as back-and-sides wood. So any answer I give will come from that perspective. With that in mind, I don't think there exists right now a definitive answer to your question. There are people who think that in acoustic guitars, only the soundboard wood matters, and re:back and sides, there's no difference between mahogany and maple. And there are people who think those people are nuts. I don't think you can get the *kind* of answer you want (which is to say, divorced from subjectivity).

    If you're talking about early guitarmaking, you're talking about centuries ago, and the choices of woods came from long experience with making other kinds of stringed instruments. In the 1800's, it was sensible for people like C. F. Martin to build with woods that had previously been established as "good"; and this becomes a tradition that we still have today. A reasonable argument can be made that that even the earliest preferences for certain woods were still *preferences*, and therefore subjective. Certainly if you have a guitar made with novel wood choices and it sounds good to you, that's as valid an opinion as anyone else's.
     
  4. MrDoty

    MrDoty Supporting Member

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    a Steinberger GL can sound pretty damn good too, with insane sustain, made of freaking plastic!
     
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  5. RayBarbeeMusic

    RayBarbeeMusic Member

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    It's not. Er, nm that. Feel free to send your ugly highly figured non dark rosewood to me. I'll dispose of it properly.
     
  6. COYS

    COYS Supporting Member

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    I think rosewood with some color and figuring is great, and would rather have that over anything. There is just some kind of internet meme that a rosewood board needs to be as dark as possible, even though the darker ones are probably dyed that way. If you want something truly naturally dark, go with ebony.
     
  7. thesjkexperienc

    thesjkexperienc ^^^ I made this guitar^^^ Supporting Member

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    I’d say the wood availability is a bigger problem for acoustic guitars as the traditional woods become endangered. The good news for electric is some of the most common North American tree species (maple, swamp ash, pine, alder and spruce) make excellent electric guitars.

    So the question is will people be open to new woods as old favorites become expensive? Pine is a highly underrated wood for a Teles and sits nicely between alder and swamp ash. It can have nice weight too!
     
  8. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Member

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    There's a guy down here in the ATX area who builds using mesquite and the various oaks we have down here. I always though a body made of bald cypress or Ashe juniper would look great, too.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  9. kludge

    kludge The droid you're looking for Silver Supporting Member

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    Something else to think about, at least for acoustics... the rise of torrefied tops. They're becoming common on acoustics, both budget and high-end. Two of the most interesting acoustics I've played but didn't buy were a $500 Ibanez, and a $6000 Martin - both with torrefied tops. It seems to really get that "old wood" sound without actually being old wood... what a friend described as "it takes a while for the wood to forget that it was a tree and learn that it's a guitar".
     
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  10. JordanS0012

    JordanS0012 Member

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    I like the sound of pine a lot, it's pretty bright though, it is fantastic for country/singer songwriter stuff where you can make a lot happen with a thinner, brighter, more brittle tone. It doesn't have as much harshness as I'd expected but it definitely does feel like a situational sound and I think pine as a wood really struggles in a heavier context.

    The tone of pine in general is really amazing but a little "much," if that makes sense. When you hear it for too long it becomes kind of grating. The sound is wonderful for the lead chair, though, and you can gain it up for leads and get amazing tones, but its really best for more "background" playing in my humble opinion.

    My friend built me an incredible guitar made of old pine that was used in a venue where they played jazz for a long time. Not sure how much truth there is to the horns hitting the wood and causing vibrations but the wood is very resonant. Honestly, it is an amazing sounding guitar, it is very light and the sound just springs from it, but I like using it in those specific contexts, it doesn't have the versatility of a 335 or an alder strat. It's an awesome tone wood though and as long as you aren't playing really heavy music it's great. I think with high gain blues, though, you are better off with alder.
     
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  11. Stinky Kitty

    Stinky Kitty Silver Supporting Member

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    Where did we get the idea that "all the decent wood is gone?" From Flaxwood owners. After all, how else will they ever get a decent price for 'em? :p

    FWIW, I've owned four and took a bath on each one but they do have that certain something...
     
  12. Allen Martin

    Allen Martin Member

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    That is some good looking wood. I have a bunch of nice cedar myself
     
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  13. sinner

    sinner Member

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    Haven't you heard that everything on the planet was changed at the molecular level after the first Atom Bomb Test?

    So old wood, new wood, doesn't matter--after the Atomic Age nothing is the same!
     
  14. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Member

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    I really love the Rapunzel grain of the cypress. Not sure what, if any, impact on tone it might have in an electric, but it looks like it'd make a beautiful plaintop.

    If you decide to post builds with cedar/juniper, please post pics. I've seen and worked with that lumber in a different context and done right, it's really pretty.
     
  15. Allen Martin

    Allen Martin Member

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    Would like to post some pics but will need to have someone show me how to do it. I'm kinda old and have been taking my sweet time getting into the modern world.
     
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  16. guitargeek6298

    guitargeek6298 Member

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    I haven't read the whole thread, but I think it's because the old growth wood isn't around like it used to be. The stuff that's being harvested now just isn't the same.

    I'm in construction as a project manager, but I used to be a finish carpenter/woodworker. When I worked on old houses from 100+ years ago, the difference in the framing lumber, flooring, trim was all immediately apparent; much tighter grain, better color, etc.

    Now, whether that difference applies to the tone of an instrument I'm not qualified to say, but I can certainly attest that wood that's being harvested now is substantially different from the wood harvested 100 years ago. And likely 50-60 years ago as well.
     
  17. guitargeek6298

    guitargeek6298 Member

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    I don't think this is necessarily true; if we're talking lumber that comes from a managed forest, then the trees are fed fertilizer and water to help them grow faster. If you look at the annular rings on a 2x4 from today vs from 50 years ago, you'll see a striking difference. I remember coming across a 2x4 that was extremely light; looking at the end grain, there were only 4 annular rings! An old piece that grew naturally would've had many more than that, maybe 40-50.

    As I said above, there might not be a difference in tone with an electric guitar, but there's definitely a difference in wood quality.
     
  18. rockon1

    rockon1 Member

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    Bob Taylor on Ebony. Skip to the 7:00 mark if its too long

     
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  19. COYS

    COYS Supporting Member

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    Great. Character and personality are good in wood. If that is undesirable there are always artificial dyes or materials like richlite
     
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  20. RayBarbeeMusic

    RayBarbeeMusic Member

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    Dark ebony is dyed as well.
     

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