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View Full Version : Padauk wood for back/sides of guitar


lofapco
03-11-2008, 09:20 AM
My newly aquired Lange guitar was built in 2004 and features a nice sitka spruce top. When I got the guitar I was told by the owner he thought the back and sides were Mahogany or Bubinga. I was able to get in touch with the builder shortly after getting the guitar and he said that he had used Padauk for the back and sides. He also said it is likely the only Padauk guitar he will ever build again. One reason is he found out how toxic the wood can be to work with and apparently he went through 5 side sets before getting the sides bent without breaking. (This was only the 3rd guitar he had built also. He is on #12 now.) The wood is very nice to look at and has a bright reddish/orange color that I understand will likely darken to more of a rosewood color over time. The guitar also features a cocobolo bridge and fretboard and maple binding.

What experiances do any of you have with Padauk wood? I really enjoy the tone. I have it tuned to DADGAD now and for Celtic music it seems to have just enough sustain and note separation to make it sound very nice. My Taylor is almost too shimmery for the Celtic stuff I like to play but the Lange seems to pull it off perfectly. Here are a couple photos of the guitar but I would love to hear your thoughts and any sound samples anyone has with Padauk wood.

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd219/lofapco/PICT3409.jpg

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd219/lofapco/PICT3412.jpg

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd219/lofapco/PICT3416.jpg

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd219/lofapco/PICT3424.jpg

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd219/lofapco/PICT3426.jpg

Tim McKnight
03-11-2008, 10:44 AM
Padauk is an EXCELLENT tonewood. I would challenge anyone to tell the difference (in tone) between it and the best rosewoods in a blind sampling. It is a little difficult to bend but makes a fine instrument. I wish more folks would try some different woods because there are a LOT of great alternative tonewoods out their to enjoy. Congrats on your newly acquired guitar. Its a beauty.

Brock Poling
03-11-2008, 10:48 AM
What Tim said...

But I will say though... working with it has some challenges. The color bleeds very easy and the dust is bright red and gets in every little nook and cranny.

Great tonewood though.

lofapco
03-11-2008, 11:21 AM
Thanks Tim and Brock...

I too love the tone. The finish on the guitar leaves something to be desired, but looks never bother me all that much. I like a little "MoJo"....

I would say the tone is different from the IE Rosewood on my Gibson AJ, but then the whole guitar size is smaller than the AJ as well. It is just a very different and difficult to explain tone. I kind of put it between Maple and Mahogany?

Interesting comments.

I have heard it is very difficult to work with and the dust can be very bad for your health. I have also heard Cocobolo is something like that. I didn't know you Luthiers had to worry about wood dust like that!

Tim McKnight
03-11-2008, 06:45 PM
I have heard it is very difficult to work with and the dust can be very bad for your health. I have also heard Cocobolo is something like that. I didn't know you Luthiers had to worry about wood dust like that!

Sheesh, Mary developed a SERIOUS rash from Cocobolo dust in December and I had to gut my shop, vacuum every nook and cranny, install a much larger ($5K) central vac system and that held the problem at bay for a couple of months. The batch I am building now happens to have 3 cocobolo guitars in it and guess what, her rash is back again. So, yes, the wood we work with pose some serious health hazzards.

Jeff M
03-11-2008, 06:48 PM
Sheesh, Mary developed a SERIOUS rash from Cocobolo dust in December and I had to gut my shop, vacuum every nook and cranny, install a much larger ($5K) central vac system and that held the problem at bay for a couple of months. The batch I am building now happens to have 3 cocobolo guitars in it and guess what, her rash is back again. So, yes, the wood we work with pose some serious health hazzards.

I have the last Cocobolo guitar built by Julius Borges.
He developed allergies to the dust while building it. Doesn't offer it any more.

Chazmo
03-11-2008, 07:07 PM
Ibanez has one of their exotic wood "flavors" in a laminated padauk.

Gee, I didn't know folks had allergic reactions to this wood. So, Paul, with both Padauk AND Cocobolo, that axe would have to be the bane of the luthier's existence!!!

Nice find, man. Looks beautiful.

MichaelM
03-11-2008, 10:52 PM
I'd heard about the allergic problems with cocobolo (as well as gluing problems and problems with cracking if it's not dried properly) but I didn't know there were allergic problems with padauk.

The Dave Matthews Sig Martin DM3MD has a center back wedge of padauk. It's difficult to say what it contributes to the sound as it's not a major element of the body, but it is really pretty.

WigginsPlayer
03-12-2008, 05:09 AM
I have a Guild GAD-30PCE which has a solid spruce top with solid paduak sides and back. To me, the sound is a cross between mahogany and rosewood. Not as bright as mahogany, but not as dark as rosewood. I like it very much.
I do not know if this helped anyone, but I tried.

lofapco
03-12-2008, 06:54 AM
Ibanez has one of their exotic wood "flavors" in a laminated padauk.

Gee, I didn't know folks had allergic reactions to this wood. So, Paul, with both Padauk AND Cocobolo, that axe would have to be the bane of the luthier's existence!!!

Nice find, man. Looks beautiful.

Thanks Chaz....

I hope it is not the Bane of a luthiers existense...(I give all of them credit for building such beautiful objects of my lust) but it is one heavy guitar. Padauk is a very heavy wood. It would make a good weapon for El Kabong!

http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd219/lofapco/El_Kabongcopy.jpg

It's actually about the same size as a X12 Taylor but weighs more than my Gibson AJ! I am really enjoying the sound especially after putting on some Light Gauge Elixer Nano PB's last night. This guitar was made for playing in DADGAD.

Tim.... I hope Mary is staying away from your shop for awhile! Just tell her to keep posting here.... we all love reading her stuff! :)

lofapco
03-12-2008, 06:56 AM
I have a Guild GAD-30PCE which has a solid spruce top with solid paduak sides and back. To me, the sound is a cross between mahogany and rosewood. Not as bright as mahogany, but not as dark as rosewood. I like it very much.
I do not know if this helped anyone, but I tried.

I agree about the sound being between Hog and RW. It has similar sustain to Maple but a darker tone.