Paulownia, Cozart and King

Giuseppenola

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Location
New Orleans LA
I’ve built scratch jazz guitars since 1980, along with a few customized parts guitars. My hands don’t stand up to much of that work now, so I got back into partscasters, trying to combine parts for my own taste, as opposed to recreating a classic. So I bought several inexpensive guitars, swapped on some Gibson scale necks, pickups, etc. I bought an unbranded Cozart snakehead Esquire and put an Alnico III pickup in to replace the ceramic. I rolled the fingerboard edges and intonation and setup. A luthier friend gifted me some better tuners he wasn’t interested in. I was knocked out, all for about $175.00. One of the things that I loved about it was the lightweight body. Turns out that paulownia is a very resonant wood, long decay, acoustically lively. It dents easily though. But reading up on it, I learned it soaks up a lot of Co2 through huge leaves. It’s farmed now. You can get up to 7 trees from one hard to eradicate root system. Interesting endgrain that resembles ash.
But here’s the thing. I’ve built about 200 + scratch guitars, and this guitar had a great soft D neck, is light but sounds Great!
So I think Paulownia is promising. Cheap guitars can be made to be pretty great. The Cozart and King guitars I bought are worth every penny.
But I know a lot of folks don’t care for them.
 

Fenderdad1950

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Welcome from Albuquerque, New Mexico. It may be that people are unfamiliar with the names that you mentioned, and I am one of them. Posting pics of said guitars would go a long way. Play on, or im your case, build on.
 

Giuseppenola

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New Orleans LA
Sure!
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Giuseppenola

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Posts
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Age
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Location
New Orleans LA
Rolled edges and fret treatment on a King. It takes me maybe 10-15 minutes. These techniques were taught to me by archtop builder James L D’Aquisto, who designed some Fender models in the ‘80s.
 

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Giuseppenola

TDPRI Member
Joined
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Location
New Orleans LA
These guitars have Asian maple necks. I hogged my way through a lot of raw Vermont maple for necks and bodies before I moved to New Orleans and quit that work to play, and though I can see subtle grain differences. The necks have not needed truss rod adjustment. I lightly tapped in a few high frets, but haven’t taken a fret file to any of the 3, other than to dress the edges. The three necks have been perfectly slab sawn. All in all, few negatives and plenty of positives on the lumber of these guitars. Ain’t gonna lie, though, upgrading parts as you can will help in longer lasting functionality. But there’s not one of these I wouldn’t take to a gig.
 

Maguchi

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Jun 16, 2019
Posts
2,510
Location
Lalaland
I’ve built scratch jazz guitars since 1980, along with a few customized parts guitars. My hands don’t stand up to much of that work now, so I got back into partscasters, trying to combine parts for my own taste, as opposed to recreating a classic. So I bought several inexpensive guitars, swapped on some Gibson scale necks, pickups, etc. I bought an unbranded Cozart snakehead Esquire and put an Alnico III pickup in to replace the ceramic. I rolled the fingerboard edges and intonation and setup. A luthier friend gifted me some better tuners he wasn’t interested in. I was knocked out, all for about $175.00. One of the things that I loved about it was the lightweight body. Turns out that paulownia is a very resonant wood, long decay, acoustically lively. It dents easily though. But reading up on it, I learned it soaks up a lot of Co2 through huge leaves. It’s farmed now. You can get up to 7 trees from one hard to eradicate root system. Interesting endgrain that resembles ash.
But here’s the thing. I’ve built about 200 + scratch guitars, and this guitar had a great soft D neck, is light but sounds Great!
So I think Paulownia is promising. Cheap guitars can be made to be pretty great. The Cozart and King guitars I bought are worth every penny.
But I know a lot of folks don’t care for them.
I've heard mixed things about paulownia and you've mentioned some of them above. It's reported they're a really resonant good sounding wood. Some of the premium guitar builders use paulownia wood for bodies, Suhr comes to mind. I've also heard that soft wood guitars like paulownia, pine and basswood dent easily and screw holes that are under a lot of strain, like the ones that hold a guitar's bridge can strip out. I've experienced this with basswood and more recently pine guitars. My basswood and pine guitars would have more dents and dings from just day to day use compared to other guitars. And I've had a couple screw holes strip out on basswood and pine guitars. I have a 2015 Squier that one of the strap button screws just keeps spinning and can't be tightened. I know that can be fixed with hardwood dowel holes etc. But if I have a choice of body woods, why bother. BTW, in the early 1950s Leo Fender switched from pine to ash and later alder because he believed pine was too soft for a "professional" guitar.

Now the good points, those who believe that wood type makes a difference in tone say that paulownia and pine sound really good as a guitar body wood. Basswood, not so much. Basswood is said to have a slightly dark and muffled sound.
 

jwsamuel

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Upper Holland, PA
I've heard mixed things about paulownia and you've mentioned some of them above.

I watched an interview the other day with Otiel Burbridge who plays bass for Dead & Co. He switched to a bass made from paulownia for the current tour because of persistent back problems he had during last summer's tour. He said the new paulownia bass weighs half what his old bass weighs. Last year, he had to play shows sitting on a stool because he could not stand. This year, he is fine standing for the entire show.
 

Maguchi

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I watched an interview the other day with Otiel Burbridge who plays bass for Dead & Co. He switched to a bass made from paulownia for the current tour because of persistent back problems he had during last summer's tour. He said the new paulownia bass weighs half what his old bass weighs. Last year, he had to play shows sitting on a stool because he could not stand. This year, he is fine standing for the entire show.
Cool, wonder if the neck wood or neck material was chosen for lightness also to avoid neck dive. Paulownia is an awesome sounding, lightweight wood. I play on small crowded stages so I worry about dents and dings to soft woods like paulownia. If there are maple plugs glued into the paulownia wood wherever there will be screws, the screw holes stripping out can be prevented. I have a 2015 Squier Tele made of some softer wood, I think it's agathis, and the screw hole for the rear strap button started to strip out and spin around. I drilled a bigger hole and glued in a short piece of wood dowel and problem solved.
 
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jwsamuel

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Cool, wonder if the neck wood or neck material was chosen for lightness also to avoid neck dive. Paulownia is an awesome sounding, lightweight wood. I play on small crowded stages so I worry about dents and dings to soft woods like paulownia. If there are maple plugs glued into the paulownia wood wherever there will be screws, the screw holes stripping out can be prevented. I have a 2015 Squier Tele made of some softer wood, I think it's agathis, and the screw hole for the rear strap button started to strip out and spin around. I drilled a bigger hole and glued in a short piece of wood dowel and problem solved.

I know that Burbridge's bass is made by Sandberg in Germany. They offer a "superlight" version of one of their basses. Burbridge plays a 6-string bass but they only show 4 and 5 on the website.
 

Maguchi

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K
I know that Burbridge's bass is made by Sandberg in Germany. They offer a "superlight" version of one of their basses. Burbridge plays a 6-string bass but they only show 4 and 5 on the website.
Koo, Sandberg huh.Haven't really heard of them before and thought you meant Strandberg at first. I looked them up and it looks like their basses are very nice. Oh probly Burbridge had a custom 6 string one made for him.
 
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