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  #1  
Old 09-16-2012, 06:43 PM
dane dane is offline
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Default Pear Wood Guitars

I see from time to time post regarding “exotic woods” being used in guitars. Way back when I would see from time to time guitars with back and sides made of pear wood. If I recall correctly, the few I played had a very nice tone and was very pleasant to the eye. Is anyone still using pear wood?
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  #2  
Old 09-17-2012, 06:57 PM
PlaysGuitar PlaysGuitar is offline
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Does it sound different from the Rosewood family of woods?
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Old 09-17-2012, 07:17 PM
davenumber2 davenumber2 is offline
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Default Pear Wood Guitars

The only ones I recall seeing Pear wood on were Guild D44's. As far as production guitars anyway. Were there others?
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Old 09-17-2012, 07:32 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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The main place I've seen pear wood has been on old banjos and guitars from around 1890 to 1925 or so - on those instruments, pear wood was commonly used as an ebony substitute, and was dyed black with aniline dye.

What happens with a lot of those old dyed pear wood fingerboards and peghead veneers is that the acidity of the dye over time has caused a sort of dry rot, to the point where if you rub the surface of the fingerboard, sawdust comes up as you rub.

It's kind of distressing, really, particularly when (as on Orpheum banjos) there was a central piece of dyed pearwood laminated to two maple pieces for the neck - as that dyed pear wood piece crumbles, the whole neck essentially has to be replaced.

But pear wood left in its natural color is not something I've seen a lot of, particularly not used as back and side wood. I do know it's dense, so I imagine the tonal quality of pear wood back and sides would probably be similar to other "almost like maple" tonewoods like birch and sycamore - from a tonal standpoint they're in the maple ballpark, so to say, but since they're a little softer they're generally a bit more bassy than the hardest maple.

But that's pure speculation on my part as to whether that would apply to pear wood back and sides, since I've only ever seen it on fingerboards, peghead veneers and as part of the necks on old Orpheum banjos. I'd be interested to try one of those pear wood Guilds you mentioned.


Wade Hampton Miller
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Old 09-17-2012, 08:07 PM
royd royd is offline
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Lowden's 30th anniversary model was built of pearwood and there happens to be one for sale in the classifieds here (I have no relationship with the guitar)
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Old 09-17-2012, 08:41 PM
Gardman Gardman is offline
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Guild used pearwood for the D-44 in the late 60s and early 70s, and also for one of its classical models for a short time (Mark IV, I think). All of the pearwood used by Guild that I have seen was rather plain in appearance, not well-figured, and was commonly stained a deep reddish brown.

I do have a 1971 Guild D-44 with pearwood back and sides (I also have 7 other Guild dreads in different tonewoods for comparison). Tonally, the pearwood D-44 is bright, with a lot of sparkle to the trebles like mahogany (comparing to a Guild D-35), but with a stronger bass. It is not nearly as rich in overtones as rosewood (comparing to a Guild D-50, D-55, and DV-73). I think it is nice folksy sound... and prefer it fingerpicked rather than strummed.
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Old 09-17-2012, 08:41 PM
bohemian bohemian is offline
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Most of the pear we see is steamed and changes the color.
Unsteamed is used in Europe, principally for the binding/purfling on the violin family instruments.

Pear is also commonly used for recorders.

I do not recall seeing a guitar (modern) with pear backs and sides.
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Old 09-17-2012, 08:47 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bohemian View Post
I do not recall seeing a guitar (modern) with pear backs and sides.
Yeah, me, neither, but from the testimony from these fans of Guild guitars, it's clear that Guild used it for a while.

Maybe I've played some and not known what they were made of. I've certainly played lots of Guild guitars at music stores over the decades, and owned a few of them, as well. Never owned a pear wood Guild, though, so far as I know.


whm
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Old 09-17-2012, 08:54 PM
bohemian bohemian is offline
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Agreed, about the same experience.

Pearwood is rather non descript and homogenous, and if stained or finished in a dark hue or burst... no way to tell if it is pear.

Here in So Oregon we have an abundance of pear trees, hiowever they aare usually cut at 7-10 yeras because these trees are for the fruit, not the wood.

Many custom and high end diatonic accordeon makers in France use pearwood for the bodies,, that would be Maugein and Seraphine, possibly others. Highly regarded wood. Much of it in variegated(sp) colors ie light and dark.. it also spalts.
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Old 09-17-2012, 09:03 PM
noledog noledog is offline
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My Lowden has pearwood binding and is a warm contrast to the eir b/s and amber'd sitka top. Lowden, at least in the older years used it often for this on several models.

Not the best closeups of the binding but a nice contrast to the wonderful cross-silking of this aged sitka top and eir b/s...

http://www.acousticgallery.com/photo...1_100_2147.JPG

http://www.acousticgallery.com/photo...2_100_2123.JPG

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  #11  
Old 09-18-2012, 12:14 AM
royd royd is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bohemian View Post

Pearwood is rather non descript and homogenous, and if stained or finished in a dark hue or burst... no way to tell if it is pear.
not true of the pearwood Lowden linked above... it is anything but nondescript. Still, that may be far from what typically is found in this species. All that says is that in any species there is always a wide range of what is possible.
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Old 09-18-2012, 12:41 AM
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Ive made some of Serbian Pear. Much like maple. But when tapping with a hammer it sounds more of "glass"

Picture of a 7.string OM size . Serbian Pear back.





Olav

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  #13  
Old 09-18-2012, 04:35 AM
Guitarbench Guitarbench is offline
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The fruitwoods have a history in instrument making, cherry for example is used in lutes I believe and pearwood can a nice tonewood.

I've tried the Lowdens and the European luthiers' guitars from pearwood and it is more towards the Cherry/Maple end of the scale, reflective, brighter, although in fairness if you know how to use it, it can sound wonderful...

Here are 2 of the lowdens found in the database on our site:
- 30th Anniversary F Model 2 of 30
- 30th Anniversary S Model 16 of 30

Terence

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  #14  
Old 10-13-2013, 09:33 AM
guildmann guildmann is offline
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i have a 1968 Guild Mark IV pearwood... sounds awesome!!!
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  #15  
Old 10-13-2013, 11:51 AM
ocarolan ocarolan is offline
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UK luthier Dave White has just very recently completed a small terz parlour guitar with pear back/sides and a cedar top.

Here's a link to a test recording he made with it this weekend -

https://app.box.com/s/7zfcfi2usa8sb5y14c0w

Open strings are - FCFBbCF , ie DADGAD intervals 3 frets higher.

It's a lovely little thing, with a full sound for such a tiddler as I discovered when playing it a fortnight ago when it had only been strung up the day before. When final set up has been done, it should appear on Dave's website (www.defaoiteguitars.com) as a new model in his range.

Keith
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