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  #16  
Old 08-19-2018, 11:18 AM
jim1960 jim1960 is offline
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Jack sent me a picture of the end grain and it looks well quartered.
It turns out Jack purchased the set from a traveling wood salesman named Tony Walker.
I'm really looking forward to getting my hands on this instrument.
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2017 Circle Strings 00 bastogne walnut/sinker redwood
2015 Circle Strings Parlor shedua/western red cedar
2009 Bamburg JSB Signature Baritone macassar ebony/carpathian spruce
2004 Taylor XXX-RS indian rosewood/sitka spruce
2002 Taylor 814ce Limited cocobolo/sitka spruce
1988 Martin D-16 mahogany/sitka spruce


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  #17  
Old 08-20-2018, 09:24 AM
Truckjohn Truckjohn is offline
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That is a really spectacular piece of KBP.

I have a super soft spot in my heart for Sheoak - especially high figure lace sheoak:... But flame sheoak is spectacular stuff as well....
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  #18  
Old 08-20-2018, 11:59 AM
jim1960 jim1960 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Truckjohn View Post
That is a really spectacular piece of KBP.
I was wondering if Jack would be able to get his hands on a set, and it turned out the set walked right into his shop.

This is the story from Jack:
"I got it by chance from a travelling wood seller.. Tony Walker. His business is tastimber.com.au
I had never known him before but he called me last week. Seems he got frustrated with trying to sell wood from Tax on the internet, and so loaded up his truck and got the ferry across to the mainland.. which is Melbourne first stop. Then rang as many instrument makers as he could find to visit and show wood to.. he had some lovely sassafras, and some nice pieces of the spalted myrtle.. all too expensive for me.. not that he was over priced, I understand it's value, just don't have the cash. He had a few bit of KBP and this one was too small for a guitar.. but clear and straight and very stiff across and along the grain, I thought it was perfect for you, he wanted $150 for it but what could I say.. it was delivered to my door."


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Originally Posted by Truckjohn View Post
I have a super soft spot in my heart for Sheoak - especially high figure lace sheoak:... But flame sheoak is spectacular stuff as well....
Maybe you should ring up Jack's new friend, Tony Walker.
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2017 Circle Strings 00 bastogne walnut/sinker redwood
2015 Circle Strings Parlor shedua/western red cedar
2009 Bamburg JSB Signature Baritone macassar ebony/carpathian spruce
2004 Taylor XXX-RS indian rosewood/sitka spruce
2002 Taylor 814ce Limited cocobolo/sitka spruce
1988 Martin D-16 mahogany/sitka spruce


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  #19  
Old 08-21-2018, 08:52 AM
Truckjohn Truckjohn is offline
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I got mine the better part of 10 years ago (yikes how time flies) from Tim Spittle at Australian tonewood...

We talked a few times about native Aussie tone woods.... and his lament was that nobody would buy guitars made out of the stuff except for Blackwood.... It’s the same thing we run into here in The States with our own native tonewood (except for top wood - which has gained acceptance).

We run into the same thing here.... build a guitar out of Oak or Osage Orange - and players will hold it and cuddle up to it and look lovingly at it.... Then put it back into your hands and say “Wow... This is great... Have you ever tried building one like this out of Rosewood/Mahogany?” And like we saw with Martin’s native wood series - they will happily buy them for about 50% what they would pay for the same model in Mahogany or Rosewood....
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  #20  
Old 08-21-2018, 05:10 PM
peter.coombe peter.coombe is offline
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Yes, I have noticed that with guitars. Rosewood sells relatively quickly, but Myrtle, Sassafras, Ash or even Blackwood has taken a lot longer to sell. Weird since Sassafras sounds a lot like Mahogany and can look stunning. However, it has been different with my mandolins. Spruce/Maple is the traditional combination and certainly in the bluegrass world they are very traditional, but I don't make F5 mandolins. The majority of my mandolins have used Aussie woods, some with King Billy, some with Spruce tops. My all Aussie wood King Billy Pine/Blackwood mandolins sell very well. They have a peculiar sweet clear sound that only gets sweeter as they age. Many went to the USA at first because the customers wanted something different, so I guess that is the same thing all over again. Took a while, but Australians are buying my King Billy mandolins now.

Most of my King Billy Pine comes from a green log I bought in 1997 from Morrisons Sawmill in Tassie (they milled it into 50mm thick planks). At the time I almost passed on it because a whole log was expensive and of unknown quality but when it arrived I nearly fell off the chair. King Billy Pine about as good as it gets. That log has made some exceptional mandolins and Gillian Alcock was so impressed with a hammered dulcimer she made for me from that log that she never used Cedar again. Still have plenty left, but have not used it in a guitar mainly because I am not sure it would sell.
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  #21  
Old 08-22-2018, 12:19 AM
jim1960 jim1960 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peter.coombe View Post
Still have plenty left, but have not used it in a guitar mainly because I am not sure it would sell.
I'm curious as to why you think it wouldn't sell. Is it an aesthetic or tonal issue that might come from using KBP on an acoustic? In general, in what direction do you think KBP would take the tone?
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2017 Circle Strings 00 bastogne walnut/sinker redwood
2015 Circle Strings Parlor shedua/western red cedar
2009 Bamburg JSB Signature Baritone macassar ebony/carpathian spruce
2004 Taylor XXX-RS indian rosewood/sitka spruce
2002 Taylor 814ce Limited cocobolo/sitka spruce
1988 Martin D-16 mahogany/sitka spruce


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  #22  
Old 08-22-2018, 12:39 AM
peter.coombe peter.coombe is offline
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Quote:
I'm curious as to why you think it wouldn't sell. Is it an aesthetic or tonal issue that might come from using KBP on an acoustic? In general, in what direction do you think KBP would take the tone?
Mainly it is the same thing we have been discussing, i.e. an Australian native wood dos not sell guitars. King Billy Pine does sound different, it does not sound like Spruce and does not sound like Cedar, although it is probably closer to Cedar than Spruce. Is difficult to put into words, but I will give it a shot. Sweet and clear particularly in the mids and treble, bright sounding bass especially when new. The sound quality seems to improve suddenly at about 8 weeks of age, richer and bass not so bright, so is not a good idea to evaluate the instrument when brand new. A few customers have been disappointed when their mandolin was new, only to be blown away at how good it sounded after 6 months. It is not as stiff along the grain as Spruce and in an arch top instrument you can compensate for that by carving thicker and making the arch higher. A flat top guitar is different, and is likely to take quite a bit of experimenting to get it right. I probably would not get it right the first time, so it would end up being a big time drain. Jack Spira once told me he could not get King Billy to work in his steel string guitars. Don't know if that is still the case. Graham Caldersmith also told me he does not like King Billy in steel string guitars, classical guitars yes, but in violins he said he would not use anything else. I have played a few steel string guitars with King Billy Pine tops and I also did not like most of them. Just did not sound right to me, and other people have agreed with me. Is difficult to put into words what the problem was. However, it is possible to make a good steel string guitar with King Billy since not all I have come across were "wrong", but they were a small minority. I will probably try it in a Tenor guitar first because the string tension is much lower, and a tenor guitar is closer to a mandolin than a 6 string. King Billy tops in flat top mandolins can be exceptionally good so it should work.

Last edited by peter.coombe; 08-22-2018 at 12:47 AM.
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  #23  
Old 08-22-2018, 04:12 AM
jim1960 jim1960 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peter.coombe View Post
The sound quality seems to improve suddenly at about 8 weeks of age, richer and bass not so bright, so is not a good idea to evaluate the instrument when brand new.
Interesting. And this bit above I did not know. That's a fast break-in period. I almost brought up KBP when Jack built a zouk for me a couple of years ago but I had a specific sort of sound I was after (light on the jangle and sweeter in the top end without the sort of harsher highs that some zouks have) and cedar seemed the safer bet as I have more experience with that wood. The choice of tiger myrtle was also about controlling the tone, but it was also about using local wood. The zouk was going to travel to the other side of the globe and I wanted something that represented where it came from. It turned out to be quite a beautiful instrument when it was done. The inlay across the 15th fret says "síocháin" (the Irish word for "peace") and at the 7th fret is a dove. I rarely put it in the case. It's too pretty to hide.

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Jim

2017 Circle Strings 00 bastogne walnut/sinker redwood
2015 Circle Strings Parlor shedua/western red cedar
2009 Bamburg JSB Signature Baritone macassar ebony/carpathian spruce
2004 Taylor XXX-RS indian rosewood/sitka spruce
2002 Taylor 814ce Limited cocobolo/sitka spruce
1988 Martin D-16 mahogany/sitka spruce


SoundCloud link
Spotify
YouTube
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  #24  
Old 08-22-2018, 04:30 AM
Trevor Gore Trevor Gore is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jim1960
I'm curious as to why you think it wouldn't sell. Is it an aesthetic or tonal issue that might come from using KBP on an acoustic? In general, in what direction do you think KBP would take the tone?

Typically, King billy pine is about half the Young's modulus of spruce for a similar density and has higher damping. That puts you a long way off the pace if you're trying to make a responsive guitar. Unless, like Peter, you bought a log 20 odd years ago, suitable wood is very hard to get hold of. KBP isn't commercially logged and I believe that it is currently protected from logging by the Tasmanian government. I've made the odd KBP topped guitar for customers wanting 100% native Australian timbers, but, at the end of the day, there is not much point in creating a market for a timber that is so difficult to source.

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