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-   -   Which of these less common woods for back and sides (https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=479356)

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.

Best,
Jayne

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

vote
 
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
 
Quote:

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.

Steve

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.

The Bard Rocks 08-11-2017 08:29 PM

padauk
 
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. (JoeCharter)

Sorry, I need to disagree.

I have seen, and own, some spectacular Padauk. Many samples are blah, granted, but by no means all of them. Look at the Padauks made by the Kinnairds and Mark Hatcher and you will take it all back. Going further, I have seen and played some very nice, rosewood-looking Ovankol and have seen a number of pretty neat examples of Pau Ferro. And every piece of Zebrawood I have seen has been very striking.

There are many, including me, who will argue that these woods give up nothing tonally when used by someone who knows what they are doing. I might make an exception for Zebrawood, so will give you that.

But I will agree with your last statement that they are not considered traditional. To mess with you, let me mention birch. Most would not call it traditional but boy a lot of guitars in the 20's and 30's were made from it.

Steve Kinnaird 08-11-2017 08:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by The Bard Rocks (Post 5441562)
But I will agree with your last statement that they are not considered traditional. To mess with you, let me mention birch. Most would not call it traditional but boy a lot of guitars in the 20's and 30's were made from it.

Let me add a significant vignette to your statistic: my Grandfather courted his sweetheart, my future Grandmother, with his White Oak guitar. It worked, and they were happily wed for decades. Which is definitive proof that alternative tonewoods can get the job done.

;)

Steve

Jobe 08-11-2017 10:12 PM

I think alternative options when it comes to wood (as opposed to 'traditional' wood) is something that will be explored more as time goes on. And time seems short lately. There is one respected member here that speaks of osage orange (sp?) May not look as pretty as some but the sound may ease your pain. And builders build. That's the key.

Tony Vines 08-12-2017 07:52 AM

Don't want to get to far off the subject but there is the incredibly resonant (and incredibly plain and almost ugly) Black Locust...

JoeCharter 08-12-2017 10:14 AM

Gents, there's nothing to agree or disagree with...

We all spend our money on whatever we like. And the reality is that these "less common" tone woods are less common for a reason. Either these woods aren't that hot or the general population are deaf and blind.

As the owner of a yellow guitar (some would say it's a good match with my skin tone), I'm clearly not judging anyone -- simply describing reality as I see it. And as someone much wiser than me once said, reality is in the numbers.

In the fantastic world of guitars, tradition is very important. If you're going to break tradition, your idea better be muchos incredible otherwise its appeal will remain fairly marginal.

tudor.ciocanel 08-12-2017 06:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JoeCharter (Post 5442078)
Gents, there's nothing to agree or disagree with...

We all spend our money on whatever we like. And the reality is that these "less common" tone woods are less common for a reason. Either these woods aren't that hot or the general population are deaf and blind.

As the owner of a yellow guitar (some would say it's a good match with my skin tone), I'm clearly not judging anyone -- simply describing reality as I see it. And as someone much wiser than me once said, reality is in the numbers.

In the fantastic world of guitars, tradition is very important. If you're going to break tradition, your idea better be muchos incredible otherwise its appeal will remain fairly marginal.

The numbers argument is 0. Because gangnam style has the most views, does that mean it's better than Bach or Miles Davis and if everyone knows about something does that mean it's the most important thing?
Consider the common Kenny G afficionado. Is he the smartest music listener? He is average at best. Most people are average. They like average things, like taylor swift, a batman movie and discussing soft superficial science or soft politics.

stringjunky 08-12-2017 06:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JoeCharter (Post 5442078)

In the fantastic world of guitars, tradition is very important. If you're going to break tradition, your idea better be muchos incredible otherwise its appeal will remain fairly marginal.

The emerging restrictions on the currently desired woods will increase their appeal until they become the norm. Future generations won't bat an eyelid because they won't know what it's like to use the current woods.

Jobe 08-12-2017 07:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by stringjunky62 (Post 5442575)
The emerging restrictions on the currently desired woods will increase their appeal until they become the norm. Future generations won't bat an eyelid because they won't know what it's like to use the current woods.

I was thinking about that. Will future generations speak of the 'good old days' or will they have moved on to what the future holds. I guess we should count our blessings as there is still access to the old and choices still available today. What was the question? ( I'm not old enough to vote.)

stringjunky 08-12-2017 08:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jobe (Post 5442601)
I was thinking about that. Will future generations speak of the 'good old days' or will they have moved on to what the future holds. I guess we should count our blessings as there is still access to the old and choices still available today. What was the question? ( I'm not old enough to vote.)

Ha! :) Might it not be seen as the 'bad old days' when this and past generations ravaged the Amazon and major forests which this wood will represent? We can only see it in the light of our present I have some of these woods in my guitar so I'm not moralising from a personal standpoint but of a possibly different common mindset in the future. Much like ivory is seen now, say, in the Western world. If I have another one made I shall ponder quite deeply on the subject of my choices from an ecological perspective. I quite like the look of some of the Padauk pieces i've seen and the positive, knowledgeable comments of some the luthiers here on the sonics makes it a distinct possibility for me.

Yes, we are lucky to be in the middle of this change and enjoy the choice.

justonwo 08-12-2017 08:56 PM

I like that Kenny G has been invoked in this discussion

Jobe 08-12-2017 11:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by justonwo (Post 5442683)
I like that Kenny G has been invoked in this discussion

Yes. We have moved to a deeper level.

j. Kinnaird 08-13-2017 05:11 AM

One more vote for padouk. It is every bit as resonant as BRW and if you shop around you can find plenty of pieces that are quite attractive. There is a lot of it out there so it's reasonably priced and not at all endangered. It is a little hard to bend. When making a florintine cutaway, to keep the tight beds from cracking,I usually thin the sides to the point where they need to be laminated with a supporting wood.

iim7V7IM7 08-13-2017 06:10 AM

Padauk
 
There are three Padauk species: African (Pterocarpus soyauxii), Andaman (Pterocarpus dalbergioides) and Burma (Pterocarpus macrocarpus). We don't speak about rosewoods as a single species I am not sure why we do with Padauk other than wood sellers don't always provide good identification on wood they do not have good chain of custody on.

Wood--------------------Density (lb/ft^3)-----Hardness (lbf)-----Stiffness (lb/in^2)-----
African Padauk-----------------47---------------1,970--------------1,700,000---------
Andaman Padauk---------------48---------------1,630--------------1,754,000---------
Burma Padauk------------------54---------------2,150--------------2,050,000--------
Brazilian Rosewood-------------52----------------2,790------------2,020,000--------
East Indian Rosewood----------52----------------2,440-------------1,668,000--------
Madagascar Rosewood---------58----------------2,550-------------1,742,000--------

Keep in mind, Padauk's color tends to be fugitive and darken over time with exposure to UV. Padauks are similar in weight to rosewoods, but no where near as hard. African and Andaman being more akin to EIR in stiffness and Burma being more stiff like BRW. This doesn't speak directly to the Q of the wood tat some builders have spoken highly of as a very acoustically lively wood.

African: Heartwood color can vary, ranging from a pale pinkish orange to a deep brownish red. Most pieces tend to start reddish orange when freshly cut, darkening substantially over time to a reddish/purplish brown (some lighter pieces age to a grayish brown).

Andaman: Heartwood color can vary, ranging from a pale golden yellow to a deeper reddish brown. Color tends to darken to a golden brown over time. Yellow sapwood is well demarcated from heartwood. Overall, Burma Padauk’s color tends to be less red and more subdued than African Padauk.

Burma: Heartwood color can vary, ranging from a pale pinkish orange to a deep brownish red. Most pieces tend to start reddish orange when freshly cut, darkening substantially over time to a reddish/purplish brown.

JoeCharter 08-13-2017 12:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tudor.ciocanel (Post 5442531)
The numbers argument is 0. Because gangnam style has the most views, does that mean it's better than Bach or Miles Davis and if everyone knows about something does that mean it's the most important thing?
Consider the common Kenny G afficionado. Is he the smartest music listener? He is average at best. Most people are average. They like average things, like taylor swift, a batman movie and discussing soft superficial science or soft politics.

Your post is quite entertaining but you'll notice I never said traditional woods were "better" than less common woods.

Just look at the higher end builds and the vast majority of them are using traditional tonewoods. Doesn't make them any better -- but I, like the majority of the market, prefer tradition over novelty when it comes to a significant investment like a musical instrument.

Saying that a certain wood is better than another is like saying that blue is better than red. It's non-sense and it's not what I said.

For the rest, comparing Gangnam Style with Bach is like comparing a guitar with a kazoo. They're both musical instruments but otherwise there's nothing to compare.

And Kenny G has better musicianship than all of us on the AGF combined...

justonwo 08-13-2017 01:31 PM

Why the slagging of Gangnam Style??


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