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  #1  
Old 08-28-2014, 06:03 PM
WallyM WallyM is offline
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Default An all american guitar?

Is it possible to build a guitar entirely from north american lumber that would sound as good as, say, one built from BRW with an adi top? What would one use for the back and sides? Soundboard? Neck, fingerboard and bridge? Surely there should be some combination that would result in such a guitar. Any thoughts?
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Old 08-28-2014, 06:09 PM
Dru Edwards Dru Edwards is offline
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Great question. Simon and Patrick, made in Quebec, are made from 95% Canadian wood. The fretboard is Indian Rosewood though.

I wonder what North American options there are for fretboards.
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Old 08-28-2014, 06:14 PM
WallyM WallyM is offline
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I was thinking persimmon. It's the closest thing to an ebony that grows in north america. I was also thinking it may work for the b&s but it doesn't seem to be readily available. If it were, might it sound similar to maccassar?
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Old 08-28-2014, 06:27 PM
Dru Edwards Dru Edwards is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WallyM View Post
I was thinking persimmon. It's the closest thing to an ebony that grows in north america. I was also thinking it may work for the b&s but it doesn't seem to be readily available. If it were, might it sound similar to maccassar?
I've never heard of persimmon. Looked it up at http://tonewooddatasource.weebly.com...tails-n-q.html

"The only native American ebony and,, as such, it polishes well. Has been used on fretboards and bridges".
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Old 08-28-2014, 06:32 PM
Scootch Scootch is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dru Edwards View Post
I've never heard of persimmon. Looked it up at http://tonewooddatasource.weebly.com...tails-n-q.html

"The only native American ebony and,, as such, it polishes well. Has been used on fretboards and bridges".
They used to make golf clubs from it. My dad used to call his woods his persimmons. Hard stuff.
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Old 08-28-2014, 06:59 PM
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I have no problem using a wood from outside North America for the fretboard, otherwise it is not hard to build a guitar with homegrown wood. Will it sound like BRW? Maybe not, can it sound good, sure why not?

I just picked up some cherry and walnut for the next couple of guitars once I get the current ones done. I have some nice spruce and cedar tops from British Columbia that I am going to use with the walnut and cherry.
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Old 08-28-2014, 07:38 PM
dekutree64 dekutree64 is offline
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I'll take adi top, osage orange back/sides, cherry neck, mesquite fingerboard and bridge.

Though cocobolo does grow in North America, and could be used for the back/sides/fingerboard/bridge.
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Old 08-28-2014, 07:49 PM
WallyM WallyM is offline
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Hah! You are correct, sir. I forgot that Mexico is indeed part of North America. That would certainly broaden the options, wouldn't it.
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Old 08-28-2014, 08:58 PM
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fazool fazool is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dru Edwards View Post
...
I wonder what North American options there are for fretboards.
Seagull too.

For the fretboard, one could use maple. Fender does it.
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Old 08-28-2014, 09:06 PM
LouieAtienza LouieAtienza is offline
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Quote:
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Seagull too.

For the fretboard, one could use maple. Fender does it.
Fender made their necks out of a single billet of maple, meaning the fretboard is integral to the neck. Fender also lacquered the entire neck, including fretboard. This would wear from play, and most all have seen Strats and Teles with wear spots. Kind of looks cool on them, on an acoustic maybe not so much.
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Old 08-28-2014, 09:28 PM
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I had a Gibson torrefied maple fretboard that was fantastic
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Old 08-28-2014, 10:47 PM
John Arnold John Arnold is offline
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I have done it, using dyed persimmon for the fingerboard and osage orange for the bridge. That guitar had cherry back, sides, and neck, red spruce top and bracing, and sassafras end blocks and kerfing.

This guitar is not 100% domestic, but it does have cherry from a nearby storm-damaged tree that I cut.



Osage orange is probably the closest domestic wood to the sound of Brazilian RW, but I have built two guitars with black locust backs that sounded just great. I rate those guitars as good or better than any I have made from mahogany or Brazilian RW.
The best fingerboard and bridge wood I have cut is not persimmon, but Texas ebony, a legume from the southern tip of Texas and northeastern Mexico. Unlike persimmon, it is dark in color, and similar in hardness and density to true ebony. Though persimmon is in the ebony family, it is primarily light-colored sapwood, which is not as hard or as dense as black ebony.
Another viable choice for bridges and fingerboards is desert ironwood.

Here is a nice quartered Texas ebony board that is about 40" long and 4" to 5" wide.




Last edited by John Arnold; 08-28-2014 at 10:57 PM.
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Old 08-29-2014, 02:49 AM
ewh2 ewh2 is offline
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There was a good thread on the UMGF of tonewoods from USA/Canada

http://theunofficialmartinguitarforu...nada-Ha?page=1
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  #14  
Old 08-29-2014, 06:57 AM
redir redir is offline
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Nice guitar JA I love the mottled look of cherry.

---

I built this guitar from materials found about 100 ft behind my house. The planks of an old barn were oak and pine and no doubt were cut locally in the hills of Virginia where I lived at the time. I don't know what kind of pine the top is made of but the rest of it is white oak. I could have used the pine for bracing however I chose to use Sitka so it's not 100% local but it easily could have been.

As for whether it sounds as good as a high end guitar made with exotics? I think so and you can judge for yourself:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctm3nBTKUyU

The fretboard and bridge is oak died black with a vinegar solution.


The same solution was used to give it that burst like affect.


So imho the answer is yes you can build a nice guitar from domestic or locally sourced materials. Wood like BRW is beautiful no doubt and may actually contribute to the tone of a guitar but it's just wrapped in tradition, myth, legend and so on. The top is what drives the tone and again imo is the important factor and any of the coniferae can be used to give that traditional tone. A hardwood top is going to be very different, so are the different species of pines and spruces, but they all at least sound like the guitars we are familiar with.
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Old 08-29-2014, 08:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Arnold View Post
I have done it, using dyed persimmon for the fingerboard and osage orange for the bridge. That guitar had cherry back, sides, and neck, red spruce top and bracing, and sassafras end blocks and kerfing.

This guitar is not 100% domestic, but it does have cherry from a nearby storm-damaged tree that I cut.



Osage orange is probably the closest domestic wood to the sound of Brazilian RW, but I have built two guitars with black locust backs that sounded just great. I rate those guitars as good or better than any I have made from mahogany or Brazilian RW.
The best fingerboard and bridge wood I have cut is not persimmon, but Texas ebony, a legume from the southern tip of Texas and northeastern Mexico. Unlike persimmon, it is dark in color, and similar in hardness and density to true ebony. Though persimmon is in the ebony family, it is primarily light-colored sapwood, which is not as hard or as dense as black ebony.
Another viable choice for bridges and fingerboards is desert ironwood.

Here is a nice quartered Texas ebony board that is about 40" long and 4" to 5" wide.



Already thinking of my next build, I picked up some cherry and walnut. I have a couple of cedar and spruce tops. I am considering doing an OM and I was wondering which tops would go with the cherry or walnut. The cherry would have a cherry neck, the walnut probably mahogany.
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