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We need to talk about 'Paulownia' Tone wood..

Discussion in 'Vintage Tele Discussion Forum (pre-1974)' started by acVox, Oct 9, 2020.

  1. tubegeek

    tubegeek Friend of Leo's

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    What a cool and unusual guitar, really unique.
     
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  2. pblanton

    pblanton TDPRI Member

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    ^^ This!
     
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  3. Maguchi

    Maguchi Tele-Meister

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    Too soft, dent city, stripped screw holes, neck dive. Swamp Ash and Alder rule!
     
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  4. acVox

    acVox TDPRI Member

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    That's a statement clearly based on your personal experience, and just what we need to help get our heads around this stuff. Many thanks.

    Being a soft hardwood the Idea of 'sandwiching' the Paulownia between two harder sections of wood sets up the potential for some interesting, experimental tone wood combinations. Who knows??

    Brad Paisley would not put his name to something he did not believe in which I think will help with confidence in this wood.
    I remember when guitar builders found that Basswood made a superb match when mated with a Maple top.
    I'm now wondering if Paulownia will go the same way. Time will tell.
     
  5. PJ55

    PJ55 Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I built a Pawlownia-wood Tele partscaster and the wood is light in weight, low-density (soft), easy to drill and had absolutely the most resonance and clear tone, than all my Teles. I was amazed. It’s not mine any longer, but crazy-good tone, especially unplugged. Plugged-in, like with most, the pickups play a big part, but amplifying bell-clear, resonant-tone makes for a great sounding guitar.
     
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  6. branbolio

    branbolio Tele-Meister

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    Nice axe! What’s this finish on it?oil?
     
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  7. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Paulownia is very soft
     
  8. branbolio

    branbolio Tele-Meister

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    Yes as has been said many times. My bed sheets are very soft too. I’ve had 4 paulownia guitars and the softness didn’t bother me. Never had any issues, all great sounding and playing guitars.
     
  9. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Your bedsheets aren't expected to bear tension, hold a thread, assist with sustain and such...
    the flip side is, I don't plan on sleeping on my guitar o_O

    I"m glad you've not found fault with yours

    I mean it's nice I guess, if you want to do reshaping on the body you can do it with a tablespoon.
    I've owned one paulowina, it will be my last
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2020
  10. Matthias

    Matthias Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    Sounds similar to the basswood that you used to find a lot in the mid 90s. Dented easy, screws stripped... I don’t believe in tone wood but I do believe in wood that’s both a reasonable weight and holds a strap button! I’ll probably pass on the Paulownia...
     
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  11. Antoon

    Antoon Tele-Afflicted

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    Dont say that before you tried one. I bet you will like it.
     
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  12. acVox

    acVox TDPRI Member

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    Hey guys, good news.. I'm now in possession of a completed strat style guitar with a body of Paulownia tone wood!

    Not entirely my own work but all the better for it imho..

    In specification, close to a pre 1958 strat. Two tone burst, single ply guard, vintage vibrato, one piece neck etc.
    However, all plated parts are in nickle rather than chrome, in line with my taste for that vintage worn nickle hardware vibe of vintage Les Paul's.

    I prefer to carve my own necks, but you'll understand why I settled for this particular neck. Beautiful figuring in the Maple, combined with a profile that simply had to be partly hand carved, or at the very least extensively hand sanded to aquire this level of individual character. I don't know which but I couldn't do a better job myself, so..

    So, Paulownia.. Visually beautiful, with Swamp Ash like grain with a colour shade like Alder. Yes it's easily dented I suppose, and the thinner the lacquer the better imo, as a thicker finish may make dinks more visible, if this is something that really bothers you.

    This light weight guitar coming in at 6lbs 4oz. Comes as something as a shock. It's so light you just can't help feeling that it will sound the same, but no, it doesn't. It's alive, vibrant, you can feel individual notes where you once only felt chords.
    Chords now ring through your hands such that you feel thirds and fithths.
    I'm waxing slightly lyrical here folks, I know that, but I'm not exaggerating what I'm feeling through my hands, and so far my forum brothers/sister's hey, it all good.
     
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  13. JeffBlue

    JeffBlue Tele-Afflicted

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    IMG_0074.jpg IMG_1512.JPG
    Both of these guitars are inexpensive GFS Paulownia bodies that I bought specifically to test how they sound. Both have Seymour Duncan pickups. They sound excellent.
     
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  14. SecretSquirrel

    SecretSquirrel Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Thanks!
    I used Formby's "Tung Oil Finish" -- which I think contains little or no actual tung oil, but it seems to work fine, built up in thin coats. Simple to use, I'll use it again. It's a good choice, I think, for the inexperienced like me.
     
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  15. golfnut

    golfnut Friend of Leo's

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    I don't know if you can characterize a guitar in general based on lightness, wood, etc. But for the most part you have described my Brad Paisley silver tele. I find it has less sustain than my custom shop 52 where the notes just sail on forever. The BP silver definitely more mids airy. However it has more highs than my CS52. Of course my CS52 isn't all that heavy either, coming in at 6.9 pounds compared to the 5.4 pounds of the BP. No neck dive in mine.
     
  16. acVox

    acVox TDPRI Member

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    Golf nut, great contribution many thanks.
     
  17. acVox

    acVox TDPRI Member

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    Well, I'm surprised because my new Paulownia Strat exhibits excellent sustain, equal to that of a US strat at 7.8lbs.

    Guitars are undividual, we all know this don't we, all the same I'm thrilled with my new strat style guitar.
     
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  18. Robmac

    Robmac Tele-Meister

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    That looks alot like the partscaster I threw together.
    I like the grain and the black binding. Pretty sure it is paulownia. On the lighter side, but the guit is balanced, no neck dive. Sounds nice plugged in or not.
     

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  19. Robmac

    Robmac Tele-Meister

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    Formby's makes really good products, I use their wood cleaner and lemon oil. For years and years
     
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  20. hamerfan

    hamerfan Tele-Meister

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    This is about the best tonewood comparison I found on YouTube: Very slight differences on mahogany, poplar and paulownia. Liked Obeche best, a bit briter and attackier than the rest.

     
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