Best Experience With Wood For The Body

pshupe

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I use walnut in my builds a lot. I really like it. It can be a little heavy but great for thinner guitars or chambered. I built this one for a friend's son. He was a big Batman fan. It was a light piece of walnut and made a nice solid SG body.
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Also did a Tele mainly out of white ash but it was chambered with a walnut back and neck. Sounds great to my ears and quite light as well.
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Cheers Peter.
 

blackbelt308

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Curious if any of you have experience with black walnut.

Yep. We took down a black walnut tree in our yard a few years ago... When I took a big chunk of it to a local sawmill, the owner offered me some beautiful figured oak. Combined those with a neck made of roasted maple and Brazilian Rosewood. Fralin pickups. Fantastic guitar! As it is obviously chambered, the weight is just fine.

Ciao,
Rick

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guitarbuilder

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Curious if any of you have experience with black walnut. I had one fall on my property four years ago and had the wood prepared and dried. Last year we built a beautiful dining room table from some of it. I still have access to a couple slabs and I've been thinking about building a guitar with it. Thanks! View attachment 936217


I've done a few walnut acoustics and just made a walnut neck. I'm a fan. My first electric a long time ago was a solid walnut LP jr clone.
 

Peegoo

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The only only reason I ever saw for fender originally using it was cheap & available.

Spot on. Ash and alder were used by Fender because it was cheap and easy to get in large quantities and it was easy on tooling. It had nothing to do with it being a particularly good "tonewood," whatever that means. Many makers use alder and ash because of that Fender connection; guitar players are a superstitious lot.

I work with ash, alder, maple, and mahogany every day (occasionally korina and others), and sometimes the differences between two pieces of the same species are surprising. Weight and workability can swing wildly. Some alder is waxy and loads up the sandpaper. Some ash is almost balsa-light; you wave sandpaper at it and it turns to dust. Some ash is so hard the sandpaper skates right over it.

Some ash can be very frustrating to sand smooth because of the proximity of hard, tight grain to soft open grain. It's stoopid easy to get dips where the soft grain is, especially over corners.

Curious if any of you have experience with black walnut. I had one fall on my property four years ago and had the wood prepared and dried. Last year we built a beautiful dining room table from some of it. I still have access to a couple slabs and I've been thinking about building a guitar with it. Thanks! View attachment 936217

Walnut can be heavy, but I've never experienced it as being particularly hard on tools or difficult to work. It machines, carves and sands really nicely. That's the reason it's so popular as gunstock...stock:twisted: Pay close attention to grain because it varies, and some grain patterns can be incredibly beautiful. If you have 8" resaw capability, bookmatch it for a really nice-looking top and back. You can also chamber it to reduce weight.
 
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Jim_in_PA

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Curious if any of you have experience with black walnut.
I've worked with a lot of black walnut over the past two decades, the majority of it harvested off our old property compliments of septic system work and storms. I'm a big fan of air dried or KD with no steam for black walnut. I do not like in any way, shape or form, KD with steam because of the ruddy brown color that increases yield, but destroys the wonderful coloring that's natural to the species. It's easy to work with, both with hand tools and with machinery and finishes nicely. It has a slightly open grain so filling will be necessary for a glossy, smooth surface. It's moderately heavy, but it's tree specific, too. One thing to keep in mind is that black walnut tends to get lighter over time with UV and oxidation; the opposite of species like cherry which tend to get darker. Keep that in mind if you are using it for contrast. It will always have contrast with, say...maple and ash...but it will not retain the same contrast with darker species like cherry and alder.
 

eallen

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Curious if any of you have experience with black walnut. I had one fall on my property four years ago and had the wood prepared and dried. Last year we built a beautiful dining room table from some of it. I still have access to a couple slabs and I've been thinking about building a guitar with it. Thanks! View attachment 936217

I use it regularly and have a small stash of figured blanks left from some milled a few years back. Love the smell of working with it. It can make a heavy guitar. Last solid strat I did was 9.8lbs & solid tele 9.2lbs. Now that I have a saw to resaw 13"+ I will start clambering most.

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epizootics

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A wood that surprised the heck out of me was plain old every day douglas fir - I have built both solid body T style guitars and one acoustic classical from doug fir and not only was it fun to work with in the shop, the guitars are wonderful.

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I will second that. With all the caution and skepticism in the world, I have to admit that most of the "best-sounding" (whatever that means) instruments I made had a douglas fir body.


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DF has its quirks - notably its ability to turn any drilling operation into a crapshoot, how easily it tears out when quarter-sawn and how easily it dents - but overall I like to work with it. The smell alone makes me forgive its capriciousness.
 

trev333

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Depends on whether you paint it or you want it to look like grandma's fine furniture....;)

depends on whether you want a boat anchor or some serious neck dive....:twisted:

@4 1/2 Lbs per body is good wood....:D
 

Ebidis

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The safest bet in my experience is basswood. It's easy to work and almost always sounds great, Smooth, even, and balanced.

For the adventurous type, a 3/16" or 1/4" thick maple top helps to add more complex frequencies without risking a great overall sound.

I have so many bodies made from mahogany, ash, alder, maple, etc etc, and I find a basswood body with a thin maple top yields the best, most consistent results.

The traditional guys here will lambaste me over this but it's OK. I'm too old and too experienced to fight about it any more.

Oh, and acoustic resonance has absolutely nothing to do with it, LOL! Don't even waste your time with it, unless your main goal is to play acoustically.

I completely agree with you.

This is one of my favorite guitars of all time, and one of the best sounding I've ever owned.

Guess what the body is made of?

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ChicknPickn

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It probably has been mentioned already, but try a pine body - - you may be pleasantly surprised. So easy to work with, doesn't kill your router bits. I'm not sure how much I'd go on about "tone woods," but I have to say that my piney has a certain something that is very different from my ash and alder builds. And I really like it.
 

dougstrum

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I was a cabinet maker for many years, and have worked with all kinds of wood. Cherry is probably my favorite wood, it's what I used to build my 1st guitar 30 some years ago; it still sees a lot of use🎵

I use this one mostly for jazz gigs, always draws comments~redwood top, walnut back and sides, with oak accents.
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crazydave911

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I use almost exclusively honduras mahogany for solid and chambered guitars. It has all the advantages of every other wood I can think of and none of the issues. For all the other varieties of guitars I have used most of the tone woods that are not under international restrictions and every one of them have advantages and issues.

A wood that surprised the heck out of me was plain old every day douglas fir - I have built both solid body T style guitars and one acoustic classical from doug fir and not only was it fun to work with in the shop, the guitars are wonderful.
Absolutely, I've built many guitars, especially acoustics with DF necks, always splendid. Because I was poor at the time it was my main go-to.
When I began building electrics, because of the same I often used what my dad referred to as "poor man's mahogany", tulip poplar. Easy to work and finish, a joy to work with
 

Yonatan

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Some ash can be very frustrating to sand smooth because of the proximity of hard, tight grain to soft open grain. It's stoopid easy to get dips where the soft grain is, especially over corners.
Sounds like my experience with some Pine. The concave curves of the body give me a particularly hard time with this. In some cases I can never get them 100% smooth.
 
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MickoConCarne

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Curious if any of you have experience with black walnut. I had one fall on my property four years ago and had the wood prepared and dried. Last year we built a beautiful dining room table from some of it. I still have access to a couple slabs and I've been thinking about building a guitar with it. Thanks! View attachment 936217
Actually, my first completed Tele build was Black Walnut. Of course I didn't know any better but I thought it was good to work with and made a beautiful guitar
 




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