Why no bamboo guitar necks?

JPF

Member
Messages
8,892
This is our bamboo living room table, brought from our home on an island off the Spanish coast. It works well, but there’s a whole lotta stratification goin’ on - and not in the Stratocaster sense of the word…
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sahhas

Silver Supporting Member
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19,661
i was just looking stuff up and didn't realize that the Chapman Stick uses Bamboo for some of their necks!

From their website:

Instruments Bamboo

Option for the Stick, Grand Stick, Stick Bass, Ten String Grand, Stick Guitar and Alto Stick models and for the NS/Stick neck
Laminated bamboo is an ideal natural material for making Sticks. It's lighter in weight and more rigid than hardwoods, and also has a very tough surface. Three tiers of 3/16" wide "vertically" laminated strips form an attractive "breadboard" construction with maximum strength in the direction of string tension. The laminates are made without epoxy resin, and as such are an eco-friendly material. The finish a medium tan color.

Laminated bamboo construction is now available for all of our wooden instruments, and it's rigidity and light weight also make it an excellent material for the NS/Stick neck.

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never knew this!!!!
 

sahhas

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
19,661
i did not know this, interesting!!!!!

Stronger and lighter than wood (& steel??!!)
Looks kinda similar to maple in color.
Less expensive than hardwoods.
Seems ideal.
But why no necks (or bodies) made from bamboo?

Various internet facts . . .

"Yes, bamboo is stronger than steel in regards to the tensile strength. Steel has a tensile strength of 23,000 pounds per square inch. But bamboo surpasses steel with a noticeable lead at 28,000 pounds. ... The tensile strength can be defined as the resistance offered by an objecting to breaking or splitting under tension."

"People choose bamboo rather than solid wood flooring because it is very much cheaper than hardwood. Bamboo plants are grown and harvested economically and take only five years to mature, so the raw material is naturally inexpensive."

"Thanks to its unique composition, bamboo is naturally designed for strength… Unlike wood, bamboo has no rays or knots, allowing it to withstand more stress throughout the length of each stalk."

"Try to break a large bamboo cane in two, and it is impossible. In fact, bamboo's tensile strength is stronger than steel: 28,000 per square inch versus 23,000 for steel."
 

TonePilot

Member
Messages
5,554
Stronger and lighter than wood (& steel??!!)
Looks kinda similar to maple in color.
Less expensive than hardwoods.
Seems ideal.
But why no necks (or bodies) made from bamboo?

Various internet facts . . .

"Yes, bamboo is stronger than steel in regards to the tensile strength. Steel has a tensile strength of 23,000 pounds per square inch. But bamboo surpasses steel with a noticeable lead at 28,000 pounds. ... The tensile strength can be defined as the resistance offered by an objecting to breaking or splitting under tension."

"People choose bamboo rather than solid wood flooring because it is very much cheaper than hardwood. Bamboo plants are grown and harvested economically and take only five years to mature, so the raw material is naturally inexpensive."

"Thanks to its unique composition, bamboo is naturally designed for strength… Unlike wood, bamboo has no rays or knots, allowing it to withstand more stress throughout the length of each stalk."

"Try to break a large bamboo cane in two, and it is impossible. In fact, bamboo's tensile strength is stronger than steel: 28,000 per square inch versus 23,000 for steel."
Pandas will eat your guitars.
 

cram

Member
Messages
14,117
grassy tones.
so much glue to make blanks.
The longest stalks still do not have thick walls of the shaft to be workable.
They grow as nodes - air pockets in each. From the outside shell toward the inside gaps, they grow more porous. Not sure about the workable portions of the "wood" as it dries.
The radius on these are a tough join as well if pressing them because you may sacrifice a lot of material.

I have climbed these in a dense forest in Hana HI. It's basically like you're an ant in the grass - you scramble up and solong as you have a good grip, you can traverse stalk to stalk.

Got me thinking though.
 

Alan Wolf

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,001
I’ve built speaker enclosures from Plyboo, along with other furniture. It’s very heavy, very stiff, and very hard. Probably more stabile than any wood or wood byproduct I can think of.

This is of course all dependent on the manufacturing. The resins used and the heat and pressures applied. It’s also fairly expensive—the last 4 x 8 sheet I got was north of $200, wholesale.

From a structural point of view, I think it would be ideal for guitar necks. But from a cost perspective, not to mention the correct objections based on eco-sensitivity, (well,as a raw material, it is very fast growing etc., but ultimately it relies on the resins and a lot of energy to transform it), it wouldn’t make sense in a production environment.

I think it’s wrong to assume that one’s experiences with inexpensive flooring, or whatever, leads to good understanding of a material’s qualities.
 

jvin248

Member
Messages
6,923
.

The reason there are not more guitars made with bamboo is because guitars were not made of bamboo in the 1950s.

Look at the name calling by the Gibson leadership at Leo Fender's 'slapped together boards' guitars ... during the time that Fender was beating Gibson sales so bad that Gibson actually discontinued the Les Paul model. It wasn't until a few 'Boomer bands found LPs in pawn shops for cheap and used them on stage (actually recording those songs with Telecasters!) that LPs actually had a chance of selling again.

Perception is that bamboo should be cheap and a guitar made from it should be cheap. Guitar brands are ever chasing premium perception and pricing so they fear cheapness. They fear it so much they will strip rain forests of old growth timber to ensure straight clear grain without knots.

Players fear cheapness because they can't be seen walking around with a Speedway coffee cup when everyone else is carting that Starbucks one.

But those masonite and poplar Danelectric guitars fill a solid niche in the old days and again in the nostalgic new days.

If you want to experience bamboo plywood yourself .. here is a link, they might send you some to experiment with.


Or buy a cutting board at Ikea to chisel into a guitar-like shape.


I had bamboo flooring a couple houses ago. It looked good, but it was super soft and dented easily. I would never use it again. I don’t want a guitar made from it, especially when the current choices are great.

How is that Rosewood and Mahogany flooring working out?

.
 

LPTyler

Member
Messages
205
.

The reason there are not more guitars made with bamboo is because guitars were not made of bamboo in the 1950s.

Look at the name calling by the Gibson leadership at Leo Fender's 'slapped together boards' guitars ... during the time that Fender was beating Gibson sales so bad that Gibson actually discontinued the Les Paul model. It wasn't until a few 'Boomer bands found LPs in pawn shops for cheap and used them on stage (actually recording those songs with Telecasters!) that LPs actually had a chance of selling again.

Perception is that bamboo should be cheap and a guitar made from it should be cheap. Guitar brands are ever chasing premium perception and pricing so they fear cheapness. They fear it so much they will strip rain forests of old growth timber to ensure straight clear grain without knots.

Players fear cheapness because they can't be seen walking around with a Speedway coffee cup when everyone else is carting that Starbucks one.

But those masonite and poplar Danelectric guitars fill a solid niche in the old days and again in the nostalgic new days.

If you want to experience bamboo plywood yourself .. here is a link, they might send you some to experiment with.


Or buy a cutting board at Ikea to chisel into a guitar-like shape.




How is that Rosewood and Mahogany flooring working out?

.
It’s wonderful, the tone of my dogs footsteps on the floor is much better than the non traditional tone wood flooring.
 

diogoguitar

Member
Messages
744
"Yes, bamboo is stronger than steel in regards to the tensile strength. Steel has a tensile strength of 23,000 pounds per square inch.

Van Damme disagrees (see below).
Also, tensile strength is not the same as bend resistance. A high tensile strength wood doesn't necessarily mean a very stiff wood
 

hatsubai

Member
Messages
71
Tom Anderson has a few guitars with bamboo necks that he's made. Apparently it sounds similar to maple:
 




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