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-   -   Stick with Bubinga for first build, or...? (https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=604786)

warfrat73 01-23-2021 11:17 AM

Stick with Bubinga for first build, or...?
 
As I noted in my other thread about tools, I bought a set of Bubinga back and sides for my second try at a first build.

I was primarily shopping based on price and what I'd read about tone, without really considering workability.

Only after the fact did I notice discussions of how hard it is to work. For example Tim McKnight is quoted as saying "Go out to your sidewalk and practice sanding on it, because that is what it is like to sand bubinga" and Steve Kinnaird commented that he had one set of Bubinga that "bent like bulletproof glass. This is the one that faceted so badly..." (https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/...d.php?t=177470).

Now, there are mixed reports about how Bubinga bends, and apparently several different species sold as Bubinga, and I won't really know until I try it.

I like the set I got well enough, looks good, has a beautiful clear ringing tap tone, and is quite heavy. But I'm wondering if I'm setting myself up for failure starting with this, and if I might be better off saving it for a future project. I am only about $55 into it, so it's not a huge deal.

I was thinking I might be better off building with something like Myrtle first time out, which I had previously read bends like plastic, and which Bruce Sexauer has said "is as easy bending a material as I have encountered" (https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/...=595199&page=2).

I've found a few reasonably priced sets, and am thinking that saving myself the frustration might be worth the investment.

Bruce Sexauer 01-23-2021 11:34 AM

It is hard to beat EIR for ease of building. It is hard to break, unlikely to scorch, dark enough to use fill to mask errors, and readily available in properly cut sets. Get the plainest straightest grained material you can, which it virtually all is. Yes, Myrtle bends more easily, but as long as you stay under .085 EIR is unlikely to be much trouble. There is a reason why you see so much EIR, and itís not because it sounds like BRW.

warfrat73 01-23-2021 05:03 PM

Thanks for the input, Bruce.

phavriluk 01-23-2021 05:34 PM

A thought
 
For my first group of builds, I've concentrated on clean building and careful setup. 'Tone' rides in the back seat and keeps its comments to itself. Works good so far.

redir 01-23-2021 07:09 PM

Hmmm interesting. I have only built one Bubinga guitar but have several sets left in stock and I found it to be no problem at all. It may be getting harder to get but when I bought it many years ago large perfectly QS boards were easy to come by. So perhaps it has to be nice and QS to work well but honestly I do not remember at all having a problem with Bubinga.

warfrat73 01-23-2021 07:45 PM

In one of those links that I cited earlier, Steve Kinnaird points out that there are (were?) several different species sold as bubinga... even from from different genus. He points to description at LMI which seems gone by this point (their bubinga is currently listed as Guibourtia demeusei there). So that might account for the differing experiences with it as much or more than how close to quarter it's sawn.

Anyway, I took Bruce's advice and ordered a nicely quartered, straight grained set of EIR. And maybe two sets... one with slightly less straight grain. Didn't mean to.

I put an offer in on the straight grained set on eBay that was scheduled to end later tonight, and so was waiting to hear back. In the interim I got what I thought was a counter offer (ok, didn't read it super carefully), accepted it and paid for it, but was then confused when I went to look at the listing and saw that the grain on the sides wasn't as straight as I remembered. Went and looked at the set I thought I had bought and found that the offer had been accepted and was awaiting payment. Wait, WHAT? I had somehow bought two sets? All I thought I did was accept the counter offer? NO! It was an unsolicited offer for a different set that I had looked at from the same seller, lot #235, when the one I wanted was #234. The message was apparently generated by eBay, not the seller, as it's archived under the "Messages From eBay" tab.

I'd never seen that before, and I'm not thrilled about it. I requested the cancellation of the extraneous order. Seller has 100% positive feedback on over 10k transactions and offers free returns, so it shouldn't be a problem. But I was flustered.

Anyway, here's the set I intentionally bought:
https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/W7MAA...wo/s-l1600.jpg

hubcapsc 01-23-2021 08:41 PM

I've had a board about 30 years now, I'm pretty sure it is bubinga.
16 or 18 inches wide, an inch thick and about 18 or 20 feet long...

-Mike

Gingerninja 01-24-2021 02:48 AM

I'm brand new to this forum and still a novice maker, I am now on my seventh build, so please bear this in mind. I hand bend on a pipe and found bubinga very easy to bend, which seems to conflict with others, it's also my best sounding guitar. However, what I've learned is that the thickness is crucial. I've just bent European Walnut with ease in about 15 mins per side and yet the EIR I bent before this one was much harder. They were both around 1.9mm. The difference in stiffness was considerable, the EIR was so much stiffer and with hindsight I should have thinned to nearer 1.7mm. I'd appreciate others' opinions on this but I think the wood needs to show plenty of flex before it will even consider bending. As I say my experience is limited so please take with a 'pinch of salt'. The heat of the pipe is crucial too.

Shuksan 01-24-2021 01:37 PM

How are you going to be bending the sides? Hot pipe or bending machine?

Before I bent my first real set of sides (which were mahogany), I practiced bending using sides that LMI sells specifically for practicing side bending. I did four of them and learned a lot in the process before moving to the set of sides that were actually used for my first guitar. (I do my side bending on a hot pipe.)

https://www.lmii.com/tonewood/3597-m...090-thick.html

redir 01-25-2021 08:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gingerninja (Post 6613271)
I'm brand new to this forum and still a novice maker, I am now on my seventh build, so please bear this in mind. I hand bend on a pipe and found bubinga very easy to bend, which seems to conflict with others, it's also my best sounding guitar. However, what I've learned is that the thickness is crucial. I've just bent European Walnut with ease in about 15 mins per side and yet the EIR I bent before this one was much harder. They were both around 1.9mm. The difference in stiffness was considerable, the EIR was so much stiffer and with hindsight I should have thinned to nearer 1.7mm. I'd appreciate others' opinions on this but I think the wood needs to show plenty of flex before it will even consider bending. As I say my experience is limited so please take with a 'pinch of salt'. The heat of the pipe is crucial too.

The heat of the pipe is what most people get wrong at first. It has to be HOT! Spritzed water on it should ball up pop and dance on the pipe and you will hear it sizzel. That's when you know it's ready to bend wood on.

1.7mm is pretty thin but not unheard of. I typically go more for 2.3mm. But certainly for difficult woods the thinner you go the easier they will bend.

warfrat73 01-25-2021 09:04 AM

I'm going to be bending on a hot pipe. When I tried this once before, I did buy a few practice sides from a local supplier (Madagascar Rosewood of all things), and had pretty good success bending those... but that was about a decade ago.

Those practice sides were about as far as I got with that first "build" before I ran out of money to buy the tools I needed (broke grad student), and kind of lost interest (depressed and over worked grad student).

phavriluk 01-25-2021 09:14 AM

A thought
 
First projects are very difficult to see to completion. The fogs of ignorance and inexperience and the endless need for tools and tooling can overwhelm us. Problem with the support equipment is that we need something whether it's used once or fifty times, it is needed. A whole lot of cash/time is sunk into stuff that ain't an instrument.

redir 01-25-2021 09:24 AM

BTW the Bubinga that I purchased from a hardwood dealer was sold as 'African Rosewood.' But it is not a rosewood (Dalbergia)


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