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Why no cherry wood?

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Tollehouse Twang, Oct 16, 2017.

  1. Tollehouse Twang

    Tollehouse Twang Tele-Meister

    Jul 24, 2017
    Vista, ca
    Besides weight, why am I not seeing anybody use cherry wood? I've just acquired a slab of old growth cherry 6x3ft 2.5" thick Enough for 8 one piece bodies! I sanded one piece to see the grain and it's full of amazing grain patterns. Some burly stuff!

    Anyways, anybody using cherry?
    savofenno and DrASATele like this.
  2. Steve Ouimette

    Steve Ouimette Tele-Holic

    Aug 17, 2012
    Scottsdale, AZ
    I know Godin uses wild cherry for their acoustic guitars (under the Art and Lutherie label) but otherwise I haven't heard much about cherry. Might be interesting.
    Random1643, DavidP and Doug 54 like this.
  3. Crafty Fox

    Crafty Fox Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 25, 2011
    Perth Australia
    Nah, it's no use; just send it over to me :p

    But seriously, I love cherry and don't see any reason for you not to use it. I've made a cherry neck and I would use it for bodies, both solid and semi. Acoustic too.
    Its very expensive over here which is the only reason I haven't built a cherry body yet.
    Just make sure its dry enough before you get started.
    Looking forwards to seeing your project.
  4. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Silver Supporter

    Jun 22, 2010
    Osaka, Japan
    I thought I had read here at some time about it being splintery or something like that?
    ndeli55 likes this.
  5. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Jul 18, 2010
    Someone here made a solid cherry (body) Tele a while back. 10 lbs? Heavy, I remember that. And gorgeous.
  6. adirondak5

    adirondak5 Wood Hoarder Extraordinaire

    Oct 24, 2009
    Long Island NY
    I use cherry every once in a while . It machines well , sands well , finishes well , and looks great IMO .
    I don't find it overly heavy but like most hardwoods some is heavier or denser than other .
    nosmo and John Nicholas like this.
  7. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County
    My first strat- like neck back in the day was quartersawn cherry. It is a nice wood to work with. Martin dabbled in cherry for a while too in their necks. A local guy tried to manufacture Cherry acoustic guitars for a while called American Acoustech.

    It is popular for things like dulcimers.

    I'd say it is not more popular commercially because consumers really don't want anything other than Alder, Swamp Ash, Maple and Mahogany in their guitars. There are plenty of nice timbers out there but if nobody buys the guitars.......
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2017
    savofenno and DrASATele like this.
  8. maxvintage

    maxvintage Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Mar 16, 2003
    Arlington, VA
    I've used it for multiple guitars and basses. I made a couple teles and a p-bass and an archtop out of cherry. It's a really great wood to work with. You can bend it pretty easily, it finishes well, and you can find pieces with nice figure. It tends to be a little heavy for a solid body. Only the weird conservatism of guitar players keeps it from being used more. It's a little plain most of the time, but not more so than alder

    There are a lot of domestic hardwoods that could be excellent for guitars. Sycamore for example--i'd like to make a solid body out of sycamore, which is generally lighter in weight.
    Doug 54, savofenno, DrASATele and 2 others like this.
  9. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 18, 2014
    Near Detroit, MI
    +1 It's not used because ... it's not used. Or wasn't used in the 1950s. Look at the trouble Gibson had in 2015 when they introduced changes to the LP and SGs. They try to reinforce the headstocks and the purists complain about the guitars not being the true designs of the 1950s. The factories all started with importing fancy wood to try making their instruments stand out "just like the high-end furniture makers use" and the same way buyers can be more fond of imported beer because it is imported and marketed as a status symbol. Of course the manufacturers spent a hundred years talking up their 'tone woods' enough that people believe them, to the point of demanding to deplete the rain forests to get it.

    The practical matter is that Cherry has a limited harvest. As a manufacturer you need to think about a years supply at a time and can you get ten thousand body blanks that are all nearly identical (and knot free to avoid tear outs with high speed machinery) from trees large enough to only need gluing up two or three pieces due to labor costs.

    DugT, cnlbb, bluesky1963 and 4 others like this.
  10. maxvintage

    maxvintage Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Mar 16, 2003
    Arlington, VA
    The black cherry is
    This is exactly right. The Black Cherry is a fast growing, extremely common hardy native N. America tree. The wood is great to work with; it's also good for smoking food and the cherries are delicious if more tart than sweet cherries. It's a viable, sustainable tree. The only reason it's not used more for guitars, aside from weight, is hype and tradition.
  11. boredguy6060

    boredguy6060 Friend of Leo's

    Mar 28, 2012
    Sou Cal
    Had an uncle who built furniture and a few guitars and Cherry was his favorite.
    He also used a lot of Walnut, but Cherry was his first choice.
    savofenno and DrASATele like this.
  12. Tollehouse Twang

    Tollehouse Twang Tele-Meister

    Jul 24, 2017
    Vista, ca
    Awesome info! Thanks for all your replies. I'll post some pictures of some of the figure I've sanded back. Just finishing up 2 amazing Honduran mahogany tele's, still might be a couple weeks till I actually get to it. Stay tuned!
    DrASATele likes this.
  13. jwp333

    jwp333 Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    Jul 17, 2013
    Richmond, VA
  14. dougstrum

    dougstrum Tele-Holic

    Oct 6, 2015
    blu ridge mtn cabin
    I love cherry, it is a beautiful wood for color and grain. It's
    also a very stable wood.

    My favorite, well one of my favorite Teles is cherry. I built it in a thinline style. The top and back are 1/4" thick; sides are also cherry and I glued a block in where the bridge screws on.

    It is my lightest Tele and sounds great to me!
  15. bullfrogblues

    bullfrogblues Friend of Leo's

    Jun 5, 2011
    Southeast Florida
    I made this Tele out of cherry, one of my best sounding Teles!
    It's only 8 lbs 2 oz.
    It's not really as blotchy as the photo seems, reflections on the body.
  16. Lokkochaa

    Lokkochaa TDPRI Member

    Oct 7, 2016
    Sheffield UK
    I've no idea. Ive made a DC Junior, numerous laminated necks and a carved LP top from Cherry. Its lovely to work, looks great, smells amazing and has a nice bright sound to it.
    RodeoTex and savofenno like this.
  17. Ripthorn

    Ripthorn Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 22, 2009
    Austin, TX
    It is also sometimes bypassed because tonally, it is similar to maple, but costs about 50% more. I have used it before and love it for guitars. It is awesome for necks, and curly pieces could make awesome tops.
    Zeonoid likes this.
  18. crisscrosscrash

    crisscrosscrash Tele-Meister

    May 8, 2015
    I made a tele out of cherry -- it's a bit on the heavy side, but not LP heavy! Tonally, I don't think you'll notice any real difference between cherry or any other typical dense tele wood choice.... It sands and finishes well, imo.

    I also used cherry for the body of this Macassar Ebony topped guitar -- it's chambered, so not so heavy... The side grain of cherry looks fantastic, I find.

    You might encounter the same problem I did with the join if you glue up a blank: the glue up looked great before finishing, but the two sides took the oil a bit differently and reflect light VERY differently from different angles, which is a bit weird. I don't spend much time looking at the back, so no big deal, but if it were a top it might be frustrating...

  19. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 3, 2017
    Foat Wuth, Texas
    Maybe it sounds too fruity????
    Do most consumers really care? I know many of us here have specific woods we may prefer, but we're a relatively small group of new guitar buyers. Most buyers want a nice-ish guitar at a good price. Now, if it's particularly heavy, I could understand it not selling, but as bullfrogblues' picture shows, it makes a BEAUTIFUL guitar in a natural finish. I guess bottom line it good "tonewood"?? ;)
    savofenno likes this.
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