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Prizen 08-10-2017 04:07 PM

Which of these less common woods for back and sides
Assuming a spruce top on an OM or slightly larger body, what's your preference from this lot?

TuckerRE 08-10-2017 04:10 PM

Woods for 200 Points!
I'll take 'Cool Woods' for 200 Points!

JoeCharter 08-10-2017 04:20 PM

If it's my decision I wouldn't take any of them (spruce top or otherwise).

jaymarsch 08-10-2017 04:21 PM

I voted pau ferro because I have played a couple of guitars with spruce and pau ferro and loved the tone of them. They were each from very accomplished builders so I never know truly if it is the wood or the hands that are voicing it and shaping it. It so depends on the tone you are looking for.


Tim McKnight 08-10-2017 05:20 PM

Padauk is one of the best and most underrated tone woods on the planet. I'd put it up against some of the best BRW in terms of Q and sustain.

Some people are very allergic to Pau Ferro so be careful using it on fret boards and bridges. It's a non issue under a finish.

Zebra wood is very totally similar to mahogany if that is your cup of tea.

Mark Hatcher 08-10-2017 05:37 PM

I voted Padauk as best of the four to go with your Sitka. Pau Ferro is an excellent tone wood as well but it shines better with cedar or Redwood. The other two on average just aren't in the same league IMO.

The Bard Rocks 08-10-2017 09:07 PM

I went with the Padauk, but I am a little biased. I have great respect for Pau Ferro and Ovangkol, as well.

Incidentally, these woods would not be expected to all come up with similar sounds.

TuckerRE 08-10-2017 10:09 PM

Which of these less common woods for back and sides

Originally Posted by TuckerRE (Post 5440054)
I'll take 'Cool Woods' for 200 Points!

OK I'll quit being weird. At least for a moment. I voted (first and) for Padauk because I actually have one. The first and one of only two, I hear, that Richard Hoover (at SCGC) ever built. Was wood I book matched and started to build from and then I awoke to realize I am NOT a luthier and Richard was kind enough (with encouragement from Frank Ford) to build it for me. An early and treasured instrument.

iim7V7IM7 08-11-2017 10:08 AM

Two thoughts...
  1. I would listen closely to the individual builder who is making the guitar to understand which set they thought might be best meet your goals in the context of their building paradigm.
  2. I would also choose whichever individual back and side set is best seasoned and quartersawn.

Haasome 08-11-2017 10:11 AM

I'm not sure why you've narrowed it down to these 4 species, but I'd be talking to my builder about the outcome I wanted to achieve and see what they thought about tonewood.

Bruce Sexauer 08-11-2017 11:35 AM

I voted Padauk because it is the only one I have used, or even heard. I have made one guitar only from it, but it was very successful.

Using an unusual wood because of democratic concession is quite foolhardy IMO, and a much better idea is trusting your builder's opinion.

Steve Kinnaird 08-11-2017 11:53 AM

Yet another vote for Padauk! I have built three guitars from this, and remain convinced it behaves like rosewood. In fact we think highly enough of it tonally, that it is our wood of choice for bridge plates.


Tony Vines 08-11-2017 03:40 PM

I have to go with the Pau Ferro aka Bolivian Rosewood. It sounds great. Unlike Padauk, it is beautiful. From a builders perspective it is very nice to work with as well.

JoeCharter 08-11-2017 05:02 PM

I would go with a less traditional tonewood only if I fell in love with an instrument or if a builder had a very special set.

Otherwise there's a reason why the less common tonewoods in this poll are not particularly sought after. They don't bring anything special sonically, they aren't especially visually desirable -- and they're not traditional.

The only thing going in their favour is the novelty factor -- and IMHO that aspects wears off after a while. For long lasting pleasure and satisfaction, I vote rosewood, mahogany, maple and koa.

printer2 08-11-2017 06:19 PM

Darn, hate to spoil tradition. Handled some Zebra wood, did not excite me. Have a few sets of Padauk, taps nice and I like the color. The other two I have no experience with.

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