Black wallnut vs. rosewood for George Harrison Telecaster body & neck

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by The Crash Cowboy, Jul 4, 2019.

  1. G.Rotten

    G.Rotten Tele-Holic

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    I haven't read all of the replies here so if this a double I apologize. I've worked with walnut a limited amount with no issues.

    However, it should be mentioned that black walnut is a toxic plant. When working with it you should be careful to make sure shavings & sawdust are contained as it can be lethal to certain animals & other plants.

    I first heard of this when working in the driveway of my old house. When my elderly neighbour noticed I was working with black walnut he cautioned me. From what I can find online it's not as bad as he made it out to be, but he likely had some first hand experiences to draw from. Either way, better to be cautious.
     
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  2. Jim_in_PA

    Jim_in_PA Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    G.R., some folks are susceptible to sensitivity to black walnut with exposure over time. Just as with many "exotics" proper dust control while machining and sanding is pretty important. You are correct about shavings, for both plants and for animals...toxic to horses for example.
     
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  3. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Friend of Leo's

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    I seem to recall reading all-rosewood teles were quite bright also. Maybe look at some other alternatives that sit in the tonal neighborhood you want to get to. But bear in mind, these things are just guidelines...it depends on the individual piece of wood. You can build bright and dark sounding guitars from wood from different parts of the same tree. How well aged/dried out it is can make a difference too.

    Remember too that, to a degree, you can sometimes compensate for brighter woods with darker sounding pickups/hardware...though within limits.

    This might help you evaluate your options:

    https://www.warmoth.com/Bass/Options/WoodDescriptions.aspx

    If nothing else, it might serve as a general guideline.
     
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  4. G.Rotten

    G.Rotten Tele-Holic

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    There's a lot of talk about tone. I've owned over 250 guitars & wood tone has the most impact unplugged on the couch. As a modder I've swapped pickups from guitar to guitar to guitar. The pickups always sound like the pickups do. Some woods are going to give you more sustain but the effect on tone is so minimal it's almost a non issue. Basic design differences will have more impact on tone. Example an all Mahogany Les Paul with 57 classics will sound different than an all mahogany SG with the same pickups.

    I say this being the same person who says he can hear the difference between a one PC maple neck vs a Rosewood board. That tonal different can only be heard unplugged on the couch or on a good clean amp at low volumes. Once in a band mix it's completely lost, same as body woods.

    As a builder I say use any wood you like the look of as long as it can support everything needed to make it a structurally sound instrument.

    I'm strictly speaking of electric guitars. Acoustic guitars require a degree in mad sciences & the wood selection is key.
     
  5. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Have you considered using Richlite? That seems to be a popular substitute around here these days.:confused:
     
  6. The Crash Cowboy

    The Crash Cowboy Tele-Meister

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    Wow, that’s an awful lot of info you gave here ! Thanks ! I guess black walnut IS a good alternative to rosewood, and it is a fine wood to build an electric with. The main opinion is that it will give somehow the same ‘look’ as the rosewood Tele. I will do my research on all the tips you all gave me !

    As to the ‘tone’ of the wood: I belong to the people that think that it’s a minor factor in the sound of an electric guitar. Pickups, construction, and your fingers are way more important. But I know there’s about a million views on that subject. When I build a guitar (I did some steel bodies and a ‘51 Dusty Hill style bass) the most exciting moment is bringing it to life and find out what it sounds like. I can’t predict a lot about that, besides my choice of pickups, hardware and overall construction, but that’s the fun of the game to me !

    Thanks all ! Again, you’re a great help !
     
  7. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Tele-Afflicted

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    Find the rightly figured Walnut, and you can simulate RW. Find some with the purply, red and yellow tinted streaks, they will be subtle and hard to see until you surface the boards. Look into Danish Oil, and learn to use a scraper - those two things will bring out the color and contrast like nothing else. PS - there is no reason Walnut wouldn't sound like a tele anymore than RW or any other wood. My Agathis, Maple, veneered sandwich Maple, and Ash all sound like teles - because they are teles, lol.
     
  8. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Tele-Afflicted

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    Which begs a really good question: with the unlimited potential in Richlite appearance, why don't they simulate the streaking of Ebony, or even the coloration of RW? Its all the rage in polymer flooring. Actually, Richlite would make good flooring.
     
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  9. hemingway

    hemingway Poster Extraordinaire

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    Spot on.

    And I've never seen a walnut guitar that wasn't beautiful.
     
  10. The Crash Cowboy

    The Crash Cowboy Tele-Meister

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    I read similar things about pau ferro.
     
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  11. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Tele-Afflicted

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    And so is Rosewood.
     
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  12. G.Rotten

    G.Rotten Tele-Holic

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    Lol!

    Walnut, Rosewood, Pau Ferro. Sounds like the key to a great guitar is poisonous woods. It ain't fun without an element of danger.
     
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  13. G.Rotten

    G.Rotten Tele-Holic

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    I think you can order Richlite in any color you want. I assume it can be stained, so in theory you could order it in the lightest color you would want on a board and create your own color ribbons in a darker color.
     
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  14. G.Rotten

    G.Rotten Tele-Holic

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    He said with a decent amount of sarcasm. Lol.
     
  15. Engraver-60

    Engraver-60 Friend of Leo's

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    Make yourself a chainsaw mill, and slab it into 2" or 3" thick planks. You'll be glad you did, for guitars and furniture, and woodturning.
     
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  16. RogerC

    RogerC Poster Extraordinaire

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    Not quite. Companies make limited colors. And I don’t think it will stain since it’s a resin-infused paper product. The resin makes it impervious to moisture which is why it’s used for cutting boards.
     
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  17. G.Rotten

    G.Rotten Tele-Holic

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    Ah, well there you have it. Limited colours, can't stain.
     
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  18. crazydave911

    crazydave911 Poster Extraordinaire

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    SETI list? Search For Extraterrestrial Intelligence? Did you find some? LMFAO!!!! I think you meant SITES, so.You made a fine bass, inspired mine.So don't mind the cautious naysayers and build your walnut tele,it will be gorgeous. And since you aren't a horse disregard the dire warnings of impending doom LOL. Cut a square of poplar, make a neck from a 2 X 4 and with the right pups it will still sound like a tele. So HAVE at it, I look forward to the thread ;)


    Dave
     
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  19. The Crash Cowboy

    The Crash Cowboy Tele-Meister

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    Oops ... :D:D:D
     
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  20. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Walnut can have a swirly burl figure, whereas rosewood would have more of a ribbon stripe. As for the color, I'd be leery of trying to make one wood look like another. But you'll be well served to get the most out of the walnut which is a beautiful wood without pretending to be rosewood. And the dark-wood tribute to the Harrison guitar will still be evident.

    I use waterborne finishes which do not have much color to them, unlike solvent based lacquers that have some amber to them. With a waterborne finish, walnut can look a bit dry and grey, and it benefits from a hint of amber (red/orange or "honey maple" dye, I use Trans-Tint diluted in water or alcohol) before topcoating it. You should experiment with lots of test panels you may find out that a coat of linseed or tung oil is all you need to bring out the life in the wood, then after that's sufficiently dry you can seal and topcoat with your favorite flavor of lacquer.

    You will of course want to grain-fill if you're doing a gloss finish, but with a matte or satin finish it can look good with the pores unfilled - just look at a "studio" Les Paul for instance.
     
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