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Century-old, repurposed beam bodies

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by OmalleyJr, Oct 3, 2020.

  1. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I used to repair fiddles and was deeply invested in the idea of old old wood making better sound, which has some truth in instruments where the wood is the voice.
    I've owned nearly 200yo fiddles and 5yo fiddles that sounded great.

    I still consider enough aging to stabilize the wood is essential, but I've had too many recent cut lumber guitars that sounded better than old cut lumber guitars to still buy into that idea.
    Recycled materials is great though, as long as the materials are good.
    I can see the charm in barn board/ whiskey barrel/ steam punk builds, but I sure don't want splinters and nails featured in my guitars.
    Pine is a pitchy wood that seems to stay pitchy for longer than hardwoods take to really dry and season.
    But I'm not in the group that likes pine for solid body electrics.
    If I did I'd want pine that had seasoned as long as required for the pitch to stop running.

    I also used to really be into the fine points of instruments, building and repairing them etc.
    Now it seems like the music trumps the guitars, as long as they work perfectly.
    Not that it's not cool to see cool builds, I just want to put my energy into playing music more than chasing gear.
    I'm glad others keep building though of course.

    Sustain seems to me to be about a good setup and good technique.
     
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  2. richbike

    richbike Tele-Meister

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    LOL
     
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  3. bodevelho

    bodevelho Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    The tonewood thing is a deep (as in bottomless) rabbit hole. Its been going on a lot longer in the violin-cello world, the whole "what makes 16th/17th century Cremona instruments sound so good" question. Ten or fifteen years ago I read a peer-reviewed paper that argued that the spruce they used in their tops had picked up something in the water that the logs were floated in (imagine a raft of logs sitting in a canal in Venice for a few months). Which brings us back to the whole sinker-log thing.

    I'm all for salvage wood but I'm not convinced of much magic in it beyond cosmetics.
     
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  4. Telebra

    Telebra Tele-Meister

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    I don't build them, just play them, but my Fender 60th Anniversary Indiana Barn Tele is one of the sweetest ones I have ever played or owned. Its wearing and ageing real nice too. Straight out of the Corona factory, no modifications IMG_20191114_135506.JPG IMG_20191108_120720.jpg
     
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  5. maxvintage

    maxvintage Poster Extraordinaire

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    Wood can't get any more dry than the environment it's in. It can't get any more dry than the ambient average humidity. it just can't: it's going to release and absorb moisture until it reaches equilibrium with the local environment.

    Decades ago in grad school i earned money doing demo and remodel on old rowhouses in San Francisco. These would have been from shortly after the Fire, so early twentieth century. I certainly noticed that the old framing timbers in those houses were very different from modern framing timbers: they were much harder to nail into. I've seen this many times since. I helped my brother in law restore a "balloon frame" house in West Virginia, probably 1880s. Those framing members, where they had been shielded from the elements, were much harder than standard modern framing lumber. Boards that had more exposure were more like home depot pine.

    My understanding is that this is due to the resins in the wood losing flexibility and becoming harder and more brittle over time, and also from modern wood being harvested from faster growing trees. But time will also deteriorate the cellulose and resins through the natural process of decay.

    So "old" does not mean just one set of properties. And also it's not at all clear that old wood sounds better.

    Guitar players will tell themselves all sorts of things in order to avoid practicing the guitar
     
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  6. tele_savales

    tele_savales Tele-Holic Platinum Supporter

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    They have been gutting a building down the street from me in brooklyn and there was a huge pile of utterly massive beams sitting there waiting to be hauled. Wondered what lucky duck was going to end up with them.
     
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  7. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    One more comment about guitars from old wood. I just built a classical acoustic guitar from 70 year old Douglas fir that was the gymnasium floor in a local school. Once again, it sounds a lot like a guitar, and some people think a pretty good one.

    Front 1.jpg
     
  8. otterhound

    otterhound Poster Extraordinaire

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    The supply of guitar wood appears to be exceeded by the myths surrounding it .
     
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  9. Mike M

    Mike M Tele-Holic

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    Love Rick Kelly!

    Would hit his store up on Carmine street almost every day (it was on my way to work).
    He used to set up my guitars as well. I always thought his guitars were a little on the "rough" side for my taste, but bought many other instruments there.

    I used to walk back and forth between his place and Matt Uminov's place on Bleeker, which I think is closed now. Used to be the perfect way to spend a Saturday.
     
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  10. jrblue

    jrblue Friend of Leo's

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    If there were a "Myths and Legends" forum, we could move this there. What is "old?" What is "pine"? What is "tone?" The only thing I get from this thread is that some people have guitars they love with sounds they love, and that's great, but the generalizations are nonsense. Surely we all know pine, and pinecasters, that are soft, unstable, and terrible. And pine and pinecasters that are stable and beautiful to hear. Go to a lumberyard and look over the pine. Look at all the warped and twisty boards. Don't tell me "pine" is always a good guitar wood. And "old"? Old and from someone's damp cellar or shed? Crap old wood stored poorly? Or wonderful old wood that spent its life in a good environment for aging? And as for sustain for days, well, pickup+amp will get you there even with an Affinity Tele made by robots using wood from a 20 year old tree aged for months.
     
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  11. Dik Ellis

    Dik Ellis Tele-Meister

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    The wood thing is a non starter for me. What matters is how it sounds coming out of my amp.
     
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  12. vintageampz

    vintageampz Tele-Meister

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    Sorry to disagree, but Pine is a Horrible wood for guitars .... just OK for cheap Walmart furniture, but it's NOT even listed as a Guitar or ANY wood Musical Instrument "Tone Wood" on ANY reputable reference website.

    Tap a plastic tip tool room hammer in a plank of Pine and then a plank of Alder or Ash and you tell me what you hear? Pine = "thunk", Ash or Alder = tone with a ring.

    https://www.guitarplayer.com/gear/tonewood-tutorial-everything-you-need-to-know-about-tonewoods
     
  13. RogerC

    RogerC Poster Extraordinaire

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    [​IMG]
     
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  14. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    What makes it a horrible wood for guitars?

     
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  15. otterhound

    otterhound Poster Extraordinaire

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    There are many species/varieties of pine . What you find in a box store or elsewhere today , is likely to be Southern White Pine . Leo Fender used Loblolly Pine . Two very different woods even though they are both Pine . My house is covered in Pine . it just happens to be old growth Eastern White Pine and that wood is vastly different from the Eastern White Pine of today . So much myth ....... Sadly , ignorance can be corrected , but you just can't fix stupid . I think that was said before .
     
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  16. RickyRicardo

    RickyRicardo Friend of Leo's

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    "Cuz I read it on the interwebs".... Geez.
     
  17. bodevelho

    bodevelho Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    I had a whole pile of salvage old-growth Doug Fir flooring that was quarter sawn and like an inch thick, that stuff was amazing, tight tight grain, and if you hung a piece on a string and hit it with your knuckle it rang like a bell. There is quite a bit of that stuff in large (beams) sizes in old heritage warehouses and such in the PNW, always thought it would make a great body.
     
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  18. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe TDPRI Member

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    I live a mile south of Mt. Vernon on GW’s old land and old property ... I pulled out some very old beams the other day... they were still filled with old sap and smelled deeply like Xmas ... no telling what old wood is, couldn’t use it for much of anything though my wife wants a mantle out of it, go figure...
     
  19. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Of the very few guitars that were made by Stradivarius, they were found to have pine tops.
    Not that some long dead dude knew the due...
     
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  20. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Poster Extraordinaire

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    I’m a sentimental guy, and would love to make a guitar from the wood from a famous Texas building, or maybe some wood from my great-grandparents’ garage/barn (which still stands, since the early 1900’s), even though it’s no longer in the family.

    I also know it won’t make a gnat’s-fart-worth of difference in tone.

    Since I’m poor, I’ll just deal with what I have in my hands at whatever time I’m playing guitar.
     
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