The tone wood myth?

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Re: The tone wood myth?

Post by Wonks »

If you look at the spruce available though, you'll find like pine, that it has an abundance of knots in it, which you really don't want in a guitar body.

So finding a knot-free piece of spruce with nice straight grain takes some doing. And which puts the price up considerably compared to the run-of-the-mill builder's spruce.

A piece of master quality European spruce for an acoustic top can easily cost £200 or so, though lesser quality grades are significantly less. But if you want to make something of the body wood, rather than use a solid finish, then you'll need to pay. And as you could get 4 or 5 tops from the thickness required for a solid body electric, you'll pay a lot for that in top quality timber.

Not all woods are suitable for guitar manufacture. Some are far too heavy, some too soft (though even balsa has been used as a lightweight core filler by companies like Gibson), and has been mentioned, some are too difficult to machine on a large scale.

There have been electric guitars made from spruce, though there is no real benefit to it, and other woods are more cost-effective and less ding-prone.
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Re: The tone wood myth?

Post by N i g e l »

Johnsy wrote: Wed May 18, 2022 12:55 pm ...... exceptional stiffness-to-weight ratio ......

sounds like a cue for carbon fibre !

Now that time has passed -are the original Steinberger bass guitars considered as having a good tone ?

E&MM review from 1982:
https://www.muzines.co.uk/articles/stei ... -bass/4301

Wonks wrote: balsa has been used as a lightweight core filler by companies like Gibson

Factoid: Even though you can poke your finger through it, Balsa is technically a hardwood !
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Re: The tone wood myth?

Post by Johnsy »

N i g e l wrote: Wed May 18, 2022 1:49 pm
Factoid: Even though you can poke your finger through it, Balsa is technically a hardwood !


While Yew, a softwood, is harder than hard/rock maple!
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Re: The tone wood myth?

Post by Sam Spoons »

The difference, I believe, is how fast it grows.
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Re: The tone wood myth?

Post by merlyn »

It's simpler than that.

Coniferous or evergreen (like a christmas tree) -- softwood
Deciduous (trees whose leaves fall off in autumn) -- hardwood
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Re: The tone wood myth?

Post by Music Wolf »

This is the stuff that you need to make a decent guitar!
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Re: The tone wood myth?

Post by Johnsy »

Remember Angie and Jim...

Hardwood = Angiosperms ('enclosed' or 'encased' seeds)

Softwood = Gymnosperms ('bare' or 'exposed' seeds)
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Re: The tone wood myth?

Post by Martin Walker »

Music Wolf wrote: Wed May 18, 2022 5:41 pmThis is the stuff that you need to make a decent guitar!

5000-year old oak - wow! :shocked:
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Re: The tone wood myth?

Post by Wonks »

Martin Walker wrote: Wed May 18, 2022 6:37 pm
Music Wolf wrote: Wed May 18, 2022 5:41 pmThis is the stuff that you need to make a decent guitar!

5000-year old oak - wow! :shocked:

Can you remember planting the acorn?
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Re: The tone wood myth?

Post by SecretSam »

N i g e l wrote: Wed May 18, 2022 1:49 pm
Johnsy wrote: Wed May 18, 2022 12:55 pm ...... exceptional stiffness-to-weight ratio ......

sounds like a cue for carbon fibre !

Now that time has passed -are the original Steinberger bass guitars considered as having a good tone ?

I only ever tried them in shops, but it seemed to me that you had to play them quite aggressively. There was a threshold of effort to put into the string, beyond which they sounded great. But they didn't do light and shade, and had a very specific sound. Good for funk and fusion, would probably work for a lot of rock.

Status Graphite, on the other hand, made fantastic basses that work for pretty much anything. Probably still do, but I can't afford them these days.

Modulus were well regarded as well, but I never got to try one.
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Re: The tone wood myth?

Post by Sam Spoons »

I always wanted a headless trans green Status carbon through neck 5 string bass :blush: Never been able to justify the expense though :(

I do have a carbon fibre parlour guitar, an Emerald X7, which is wonderful. Good job I bought it when I did as they have gone up in price/value exponentially* since.

* I paid £850 for mine about 5 years ago, the current equivalent costs nearly twice that.
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Re: The tone wood myth?

Post by BigRedX »

I have two Gus G3 5-string basses and a Gus G1 guitar which are a 2mm carbon fibre skin over a cedar neck and body core. TBH they were bought primarily because I liked the design rather than for their construction. I also play an Eastwood Bass VI which is made out of conventional materials, but it would be replaced by an equivalent Gus in a heartbeat if I had the funds.
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