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Norway Spruce

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by otterhound, Oct 29, 2020.

  1. otterhound

    otterhound Poster Extraordinaire

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    CF Martin has used it at other times as well . They use Englemann , Sitka and Red , of course . Since luthier grade Sitka is the most available , it has become the standard .
     
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  2. PhredE

    PhredE Tele-Holic

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    I'm happy to see some folks mentioned Carpathian variant as well. It is not as well known as German, Swiss or Italian, but the trees coming from the Carpathian Mtns are also very good. I would guess that it grows faster than the other types due to lower elevation and milder conditions, well, generally speaking, but still seems to make a very fine guitar top. I have a guitar that has a rather ordinary looking (eg; is not particularly fined/dense grained) Carpathian spruce top and it sounds great. Good stuff when dried/seasoned properly.

    Just for reference: https://www.carpathiantonewood.com/
    The hardwood variety listed there (Acer pseudoplatanus) "European Maple" is also an interesting hardwood type that is not normally grown here in North America. But, appears to be an excellent tonewood for back/sides when processed properly.
     
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  3. otterhound

    otterhound Poster Extraordinaire

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    [QUOTE="PhredE, post: 10207189, member: 138302"


    The hardwood variety listed there (Acer pseudoplatanus) "European Maple" is also an interesting hardwood type that is not normally grown here in North America. But, appears to be an excellent tonewood for back/sides when processed properly.[/QUOTE]
    In Europe and some other places , this is referred to as Sycamore .
    Sycamore can be different things in different places . In Europe , a Maple is referred to as Sycamore and what Americans and Asians call Sycamore is referred to as Plane Tree in Europe . In the Middle East , Sycomore is in the fig ( Ficus ) family .
    The only sure way to know which one is being referred to is to use the latin based Botanical name . Oh yes , I can't forget this . What we call Sycamore here in America is called Plane Tree or London Plane Tree . London Plane Tree is considered to be a hybrid of the American and Asian Sycamores .
    Are you confused yet ?
    If you have ever noticed , Sycamores/Plane Trees cyclically shed their bark when mature . It is believed that the trees are shedding pollutants that the tree has absorbed when growing/alive . Similar to a filter , if you will . This is why they were planted in Europe/London when they were .
     
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  4. crazydave911

    crazydave911 Doctor of Teleocity

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    Yes, Carpathian is on the only guitar represented in the museum of Antonio's shop. It and the man certainly inspired me, such a genius. He was the type to look at these current cork sniffers and say, "Hyde glue? You still use hyde glue? It's ALL I had but man, this Titebond Original? I'd have given a left nut for THAT :rolleyes:"

    :lol::lol::lol::lol:

    Dave
     
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  5. otterhound

    otterhound Poster Extraordinaire

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    He used the best that was available as it should be . Spruce instead of Western Red Cedar , you must be joking . Dozens of small planes or CNC , let me see .... The era and available tools/materials are factors that far too often get passed by .
     
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  6. crazydave911

    crazydave911 Doctor of Teleocity

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    Can I get an AMEN? :lol:
     
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  7. otterhound

    otterhound Poster Extraordinaire

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    AMEN !!!!!
     
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  8. PhredE

    PhredE Tele-Holic

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    I'd second the AMEN!

    I think it's safe to say 'he did the best he could with what he had'. I am not a builder like you two or others that lurk in this area, but the more I learn about him the more impressed I am. He was inventive, analytical, conventional (and unconventional), etc. and wow! he knew how to make great instruments.

    At this time, I'll give another shout to the combination of spruce over maple. It works for me :)
     
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  9. PhredE

    PhredE Tele-Holic

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    Sycamore? or Plane? or Maple? or Sycamore maple?
    Confused? Sure, why not. :D

    For a medium density hardwood it seems to work well for back/sides. It's not the most interesting grain (on my guitar at least), but acoustically and structurally, seems to work just fine. And, best of all, no one has to mow down tropical rainforests to produce it.
     
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  10. otterhound

    otterhound Poster Extraordinaire

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    Quartersawn American Sycamore is anything but mundane to look at .
    You forgot the Middle Eastern Sycomore that is in the Fig family .
    FWIW , I harvested and sold plenty of American Sycamore to CF Martin .
     
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  11. crazydave911

    crazydave911 Doctor of Teleocity

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    Heresy! :eek:

    received_2312106395558122.jpeg
    received_1371031449735429.jpeg
    received_1545789288903575.jpeg
    received_200231761309053.jpeg

    Correct, not on yours, but my Dewdrop? Has it all :D

    Dave
     
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  12. otterhound

    otterhound Poster Extraordinaire

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    The oldest known Martin guitar , the 1835 , is Spruce over Maple . A sweet sounding guitar . It is a wonderful combination in capable hands .
     
  13. otterhound

    otterhound Poster Extraordinaire

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  14. crazydave911

    crazydave911 Doctor of Teleocity

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    Yeppers, depends all the wood and the builder ;)
     
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  15. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Hard to tell but it looks like a broader grain than I'm used to seeing in EU spruce?
    How much would you say the growing season and narrower rings has to do with the EU spruce being desirable?
    Does a faster or longer growing season change the sonic potential of the species?
    Or do you think the species carries a sonic signature to the sound of the instrument even if grown faster with wider rings?

    Maybe the wider rings soften the tone a little but still retain what I think of as maybe crisper or more brilliant tone and response?
    My thought may just be my adhering to mythology. Or the the brighter color?
     
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  16. PhredE

    PhredE Tele-Holic

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    All good questions and I can't even fathom an answer. Maybe the builders can speak about that.
    I know that some builders I have spoken to in my area tend to like very tightly grained tops (spruce or WRC) with very even grain.. But, hey, anything that works, works! So, there you go. :)

    crazydave: that's beautiful.

    Great info guys.
     
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  17. PhredE

    PhredE Tele-Holic

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    Sir, duly noted. I just speaking about my specimen. That looks great!
     
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  18. otterhound

    otterhound Poster Extraordinaire

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    Spruce can be measured in a number of ways .
    Color and consistency are the most obvious .
    Number of growth rings per inch is indicative of growing conditions .
    The caveat is that a high number of growth rings per inch does guarantee stiffness along or across the grain . Tapping is also a part of it for many .
    Some want the maximum number of rings across the piece and some prefer tight grain in the center that yields to wider grain and back to tight grain again .
    I have heard great sounding guitars made with wide grain Spruce and tight grained spruce .
    Bottom line is that this varies from luthier to luthier and their skills at getting the best out of a piece of wood . Bracing is all a part of this .
    Stiffness along the grain seems a consistent measure while some are more concerned with stiffness across the grain .
    In an acoustic guitar everything matters and possibly some things that you don't know about . An acoustic guitar is the sum of all parts without exception and that certainly does include the skills of the luthier .
    In the end , there is a considerable amount of mythology .
    If you choose to try the acoustic world , you will learn that there is no end to the learning .
     
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  19. PhredE

    PhredE Tele-Holic

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    So true. Although a good deal of understanding has been gained over the last couple hundred years in that realm, there appears to be a lot of variables/unknowns that still require a lot more study and research.
    Well said, BTW too. 'it seems like it should be simple, but really it isn't'.

    Trevor Gore (an Australian) has a great online presentation of his guitars. The section titled 'Innovation' has some interesting tweaks to traditional acoustic guitar construction. I find interesting to poke around his pages. .. Just one example, FYI.
     
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  20. crazydave911

    crazydave911 Doctor of Teleocity

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    I was soooo fortunate to find that sycamore, most is furniture grade like I used for my Strat Bass. That beauty I bought from Jefferies Woodworks, about 20 miles away. The Eastern Red Cedar is actually leftover from my former 2012 Build Challenge guitar I didn't finish in time. I kept that chunk and a rare quartersawn almost clear blank. When I fell in love with Rich Rice's Dewdrop design I commissioned my one and only custom build, bought the sycamore and shipped it all to him. He is retired but does build on occasion when his heart is in it. A very talented man and better friend :)
    I truly wasn't trying to be a smart a$$ but any excuse I can get to show her off lol. And she sounds as beautiful as she looks, about like an OM but with more character to the tone, good volume and complex overtones as usually befits a good teardrop design. Antonio Stradivarius dropped that shape almost 200 years before Europe, a real visionary. In workshop there was many mandolins, one guitar very conspicuous and a corner bench dedicated to violins. From the parts displayed and my limited knowledge it seemed mostly setup around repairs and redesign. Most folks have little idea of his scope. Not only do HIS violins sound beautiful, they ALL do thanks to Stradivari. Before him they were deeper and more arched with no soundpost and little volume. He lessened the "vault" in the top and backs, standardized the soundpost, F hole design and wood selection. Tripling the volume and making the violin a concert instrument for all time.
    And the guitar I saw was close to this one rumored to have been patterned after Stradivarius, as we're mine in their way
    received_881044052351023.png


    Anyone familiar with lute design at the time would had been flabbergasted at the simplified design of the body and bracing pattern, almost a repeat of what de La Torres did much later. Simple is almost always better ;):)

    Dave
     
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