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Old 04-02-2024, 09:06 AM
JulieMo JulieMo is offline
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Question Monkeypod as a tonewood?

I just got an email from StewMac promoting their build kits. Some of the kits used monkeypod for sides and backs.
[IMG]view-source:https://www.stewmac.com/globalassets/product-images/woodstax/wsp2k2/wsp2k2-3000-51.jpg[/IMG]

Has anyone ever played a monkeypod back and sides guitar? Does anyone know how they sound? Or is this just a gimmick?
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Old 04-02-2024, 10:46 AM
xaxinojo xaxinojo is offline
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From Claude:

Monkeypod is not a commonly used tonewood for guitars, but it can be used in some guitar construction. Here are a few key points about using monkeypod for guitar tonewoods:

1. Availability - Monkeypod, also known as Albizia saman, is a tropical hardwood that grows primarily in Central America and parts of the Caribbean. It is not as widely available as more common guitar tonewoods like mahogany, rosewood, or maple.

2. Tonal Properties - Monkeypod has a warm, slightly mellow tone that some luthiers compare to mahogany. It has a moderate amount of stiffness and density, which can produce a balanced, full-bodied sound.

3. Applications - Monkeypod is sometimes used for guitar backs, sides, and necks. However, it is not as common as woods like maple, rosewood, or ebony for these components. Some builders may use monkeypod as an accent wood or decorative element rather than the primary tonewood.

4. Workability - Monkeypod is considered a relatively stable and easy to work with wood, which makes it suitable for guitar construction. It can be sanded and finished well.

5. Aesthetics - Monkeypod has an attractive, sometimes figured grain pattern that can be visually appealing on guitars. The natural color ranges from light yellow-brown to reddish-brown.

Overall, while not a mainstream guitar tonewood, monkeypod can be a viable option for some luthiers and guitar makers looking to use unique or alternative tonewoods. Its tonal properties and visual appeal may work well in certain guitar designs and styles.
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Old 04-02-2024, 11:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JulieMo View Post
I just got an email from StewMac promoting their build kits. Some of the kits used monkeypod for sides and backs.
[IMG]view-source:https://www.stewmac.com/globalassets/product-images/woodstax/wsp2k2/wsp2k2-3000-51.jpg[/IMG]

Has anyone ever played a monkeypod back and sides guitar? Does anyone know how they sound? Or is this just a gimmick?
I don't know who Claude is, but xaxinojo's answer seems to sum it up. I'm no arborist, but I always thought monkeypod was an Asian species? Perhaps Claude knows better.

I played a monkeypod guitar by Jeffrey Yong long ago, and it was sublime. He's built several with monkeypod top/bottom/sides https://www.jeffreyyongguitars.com/gallery

I don't think it's a gimmick at all. I think Stewmac is introducing and selling alternative tonewoods that are reasonably priced and most likely more sustainable than traditional tonewoods. While Lutherie isn't for the masses, there isn't a shortage of aspiring luthiers and hobbyists, and I think Stewmac is doing good by offering these types of tonewoods to that ever-growing market.

Last edited by nootis; 04-02-2024 at 06:21 PM.
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Old 04-02-2024, 01:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nootis View Post
I don't know who Claude is, but xaxinojo's answer seems to sum it up. I'm no arborist, but I always thought monkeypod was an Asian species? Perhaps Claude knows better.

I played a monkeypod guitar by Jeffrey Yong long ago, and it was sublime. He's built several with monkeypod top/bottom/sides https://www.jeffreyyongguitars.com/gallery

I don't think it's a gimmick at all. I think Stewmac is introducing and selling alternative tonewoods that are reasonably priced and most likely more sustainable that traditional tonewoods. While Lutherie isn't for the masses, there isn't a shortage of aspiring luthiers and hobbyists, and I think Stewmac is doing good by offering these types of tonewoods to that ever-growing market.
Yes, I was going to mention Jeffrey Yong as someone who seems to build a lot with Monkeypod, it seems every guitar of his I look at is MP.
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Old 04-02-2024, 03:39 PM
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Jeffrey Yong out of Malaysia has been responsible for bringing several tropical tonewoods to the American guitar market. Iím almost positive that he was the one that really started pushing it about 15 years ago or so.
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Old 04-02-2024, 06:25 PM
Richard Mott Richard Mott is offline
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I recall that several years ago one of Jeffrey Yongís monkepod guitars was awarded a best-in-show by a jury of fellow luthiers.
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Old 04-02-2024, 07:03 PM
Treenewt Treenewt is offline
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If Iím not mistaken, Shoreline Music once had a custom Larrivee OM made with monkey pod. Itís been a few years but it sounded just like a good Larrivee.
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Old 04-02-2024, 08:50 PM
The Bard Rocks The Bard Rocks is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nacluth View Post
Jeffrey Yong out of Malaysia has been responsible for bringing several tropical tonewoods to the American guitar market. Iím almost positive that he was the one that really started pushing it about 15 years ago or so.
Correct. He makes beautiful guitars, to look at, to listen to. The wood is local to him. I have also seen it growing in Hawaii.
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Old 04-03-2024, 04:34 AM
jrdavies jrdavies is offline
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They pretty common in Hawaii. The Moanalua Gardens on Oahu has some really impressive Monkeypod trees. There are a few pictures on their website.

https://www.moanaluagardens.com/
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Old 04-03-2024, 06:20 AM
JulieMo JulieMo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xaxinojo View Post
From Claude:

Monkeypod is not a commonly used tonewood for guitars, but it can be used in some guitar construction. Here are a few key points about using monkeypod for guitar tonewoods:

1. Availability - Monkeypod, also known as Albizia saman, is a tropical hardwood that grows primarily in Central America and parts of the Caribbean. It is not as widely available as more common guitar tonewoods like mahogany, rosewood, or maple.

2. Tonal Properties - Monkeypod has a warm, slightly mellow tone that some luthiers compare to mahogany. It has a moderate amount of stiffness and density, which can produce a balanced, full-bodied sound.

3. Applications - Monkeypod is sometimes used for guitar backs, sides, and necks. However, it is not as common as woods like maple, rosewood, or ebony for these components. Some builders may use monkeypod as an accent wood or decorative element rather than the primary tonewood.

4. Workability - Monkeypod is considered a relatively stable and easy to work with wood, which makes it suitable for guitar construction. It can be sanded and finished well.

5. Aesthetics - Monkeypod has an attractive, sometimes figured grain pattern that can be visually appealing on guitars. The natural color ranges from light yellow-brown to reddish-brown.

Overall, while not a mainstream guitar tonewood, monkeypod can be a viable option for some luthiers and guitar makers looking to use unique or alternative tonewoods. Its tonal properties and visual appeal may work well in certain guitar designs and styles.
Nice! I see monkeypod slabs featured in email flyers I get from the wood store I frequent. Visually, it can be stunning but I've never worked with it. A quick look on their website found a $170 slab, with decent grain patterns, sized 3.40″ x 7″ - 16″ x 55″.

Years ago I paid $100 for a piece of Koa used to make one electric bass with little wood left over. So if monkeypod makes for good sides and backs, that $170 piece looks like a bargain.
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Old 04-04-2024, 10:49 AM
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Long ago I handled MonkeyPod at lutherie supply houses and rejected it as unlikely to be great for my/our purposes. It also seems true that a decent guitar can be made from just about any properly cut wood.
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Old 04-04-2024, 09:59 PM
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As jrdavies mentioned above, monkeypod is fairly common in Hawaii. We had a table made out of a large slab. I don't know how it sounds as a tonewood, but it sure looks good visually.



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Old 04-05-2024, 09:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kyee View Post
As jrdavies mentioned above, monkeypod is fairly common in Hawaii. We had a table made out of a large slab. I don't know how it sounds as a tonewood, but it sure looks good visually.




Beautiful work!
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  #14  
Old 04-06-2024, 09:54 AM
JulieMo JulieMo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kyee View Post
As jrdavies mentioned above, monkeypod is fairly common in Hawaii. We had a table made out of a large slab.
I get email flyers from a place about an hour from me and monkeypod slabs have made their way toward the top of the list that people seem to want more now. Your beautiful table and benches shows why. Parota is another of their favorites.

Years ago I bought three flamewood slabs and used them for a kitchen island top.


I also used the same wood to make a coffee table but there was a lot of rot that I ultimately filled with epoxy.


I'd love to use flamewood for backs and sides but I know nothing about its tonal qualities.
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