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Old 04-19-2012, 05:42 AM
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Herb Hunter Herb Hunter is offline
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Originally Posted by bohemian View Post
Taylor is hedging. They did not specifically say "khaya" they said African mahogany.

Which says nothing about the quality of the guitar. Glad you enjoy it.
In 1996, i bought two Taylors and recall Taylor's use of the term Khaya in connection with the 400 series when use of mahogany was discontinued for that series. I'm confident that Alnico5 is correct in saying his guitar's back and sides are made of Khaya.
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Old 04-19-2012, 06:00 AM
tnvol tnvol is offline
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My ears can't tell the difference.
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Old 04-19-2012, 08:35 AM
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fishstick_kitty fishstick_kitty is offline
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I would like to see more companies like Santa Cruz and Bourgeois use Sapele. I'm a firm believer that the tone of the wood has as much to do with the builder as it does with the wood itself.

My 1929 00 is made out of mahogany just like the Martin 00-15...but they are totally different sounding guitars...totally different (no dis intended...I like the Martin too). I'd be willing to bet that the Martin 00-15 in mahogany and sapele probably sound closer to each other than they do to the 1929 00.
'17 Waterloo Scissortail
'17 David Newton 00 Rosewood
'11 Homemade Strat
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Old 04-19-2012, 11:49 AM
blue blue is offline
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I like to view it this way. In the "golden era" they used what sounded good and was widely available. Mahogany was easy to get and worked. Sure you maybe had to burn a little forest and displace some "savages" to get it, but then you had all the wood you needed. Its use was probably as much predicated on its availability as tone. Now we need to find something else that doesn't hurt the local biomass, or populations, and there are a lot of candidates. I've done blind tests with lots of mahogany alikes, including Koa, and I'm nowhere near being right all the time. Sapele is great. It just suffers in the public mind from not being a "golden era" wood

I do think that old growth Braz rosewood is special. I happen to be lucky in that I'm not a rosewood fan so I don't have to sweat it. But when I see a vid of PRS tapping a 4x4 of rosewood and it rings like a bell, well, that's special even if you aren't a fan of rosewood guitar sounds.
I only play technologically cutting edge instruments. Parker Flys and National Resonators
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Old 04-21-2012, 02:49 PM
Cazon Cazon is offline
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Gallagher uses Sapele.
2003 Morgan OMR
2013 Kronbauer MJ Sitka/Koa
1957 Gibson LG-2
2013 Eastman E20OM
2002 Takamine EAN60C
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Old 04-21-2012, 04:24 PM
bohemian bohemian is offline
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I have quite a bit of "khaya" and "sapele".. it is difficult to tell the difference in many cases and... the sellers and their suppliers are clueless and often mislabel them.

I have purchased genuine american mahogany labelled both khaya and sapele....and have seen khaya and sapele labelled honduras mahogany.

I appreciate all of them.
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Old 04-22-2012, 07:46 PM
Steevarino Steevarino is offline
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Great thread!

I build guitars, and lately I have been running some sapele /mahogany "pairs" through the shop; similar guitars, but one with mahogany backs and sides, and one with sapele. Most recently we made a pair of dreadnoughts, pretty closely along the lines of a D-18, as well as a pair of our version of what you might think of as J-45 style guitars. As it turns out from out experience, there is no clear winner between these two woods. Players and listeners seem to be split about 50/50 on their opinions of which guitars sound better. Also, some people prefer the more "active" look of the sapele, as it often has a much more "striped" look to the grain. Then again, some people prefer the more subtle look of genuine mahogany.

So, from my experience so far, they are so close that it would be hard to tell the two apart, tonally. Like John mentioned above, since overall stability could be an issue, I stay with mahogany necks on my builds, just in case . . .

On the subject of sapele and African mahogany being the same wood, personal experience would make me tend to disagree. Maybe it's just me, but African mahogany puts out a pretty pungent smell when you work it, especially when you run it through a table saw. Hard to describe, kind of an acrid, almost ammonia-like smell. Drives me nuts. The sapele I have used has come in back/side sets, so I don't have to work it as much, but I don't remember it putting off this smell.

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Old 04-22-2012, 08:07 PM
jbslive jbslive is offline
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To answer the OP.. Sapele is inferior because it is more widely available. Pretty soon they are going to stop using mahogany as a standard just like they did with brazilian rosewood. Sapele is the hog replacement. I really like Sapele though so it's not an issue, and it sounds great. Genuine Mahogany is the more expensive wood.
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