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Wenge or Zebrano for necks?

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Tele-mann, Nov 25, 2020.

  1. Tele-mann

    Tele-mann TDPRI Member

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    I got some nice pieces of wood in the mail today. According to the hardness scale for wood these are both comparable to maple, and I've seen some pictures of wenge necks. Does anybody have experiences to share in this department?


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    Last edited: Nov 25, 2020
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  2. hemingway

    hemingway Poster Extraordinaire

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    I had a zebrano body made about 8 years ago and the luthier offered to make me a zebrano neck as well, but I couldn't afford it.

    I also saw a while later that he was selling zebrano necks on ebay. He made really good stuff, so I assume if he thought it was good to use, then it was.
     
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  3. CCK1

    CCK1 Tele-Meister

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    I have a Wenge fretboard on one of my Telecasters. Like it a lot, much like rosewood, but the somewhat open grain in the wood seem to contribute to less drag/friction.
     
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  4. Tele-mann

    Tele-mann TDPRI Member

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    Thanks for the input guys.

    Have you ever worked with the wood? They say it smells bad/funny when you work it...
     
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  5. Ripthorn

    Ripthorn Friend of Leo's

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    I love wenge for necks. Zebrawood is a little softer and I'm not certain if I would use it for a neck, but it could make a fantastic stringer in a laminated neck.

    Wenge will splinter and they are daggers. Zebrawood has more interlocking grain and can tear out easily with rasps. Both finish well.
     
  6. CapnCrunch

    CapnCrunch Friend of Leo's

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    Both of these woods are African hard woods. They are both dense, and hard. I looked up the Janka hardness because I was curious and both are harder than, and heavier than, North American Maple. My experience working them told me that Wenge was harder and denser than Zebrawood. I was a little surprised to find that Wenge has Janka hardness of 1630, Zebrawood is 1575 and N.A. Maple is 1450. I thought Wenge would be quite a bit higher and that Zebrawood be higher as well. They're closer together than I expected too. Anyway, both of these are way more than up to the task of being guitar or bass necks. Zebrawood is stunningly beautiful with a clear or amber finish on it. Wenge turns pretty close to black when you put finish on it. Both would require pore filler if you are going to finish them smooth and polish. White or light colored filler on Wenge would be a cool effect. I've seen Wenge used for bass necks and I don't think I've ever seen Zebrawood used in guitars other than as body tops.

    I've used Wenge for finger boards, and I've used Zebrawood for lots of boxes, i.e. humidors and jewelry boxes. Both stink when you work them, but Zebrawood smells like a rotting animal. I was just thinking yesterday that I want to start a bass build with a Wenge neck and fingerboard, on an ash body with a Zebrawood drop top. If I build what is in my head, then the body top and fretboard would be bound with flame Maple. One thing to keep in mind, is that these woods are heavy. Depending on your design, I can see a guitar being neck heavy if you are not careful. All in all, they are a very cool combination.
     
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  7. CapnCrunch

    CapnCrunch Friend of Leo's

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    I have a big name luthier friend, that uses Obeche for bodies and necks in some of his electric guitars. It has a Janka hardness of about 430 which is about the same as cottonwood. He sells guitars around the world and I don't think he as ever had one come back with a warped neck. Truss rods are beautiful things. I've made several necks out of Doug Fir. They are stable and solid after about 8-10 years.
     
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  8. hemingway

    hemingway Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yeah, it stinks. I had to drill a few holes in mine and it wasn't pleasant.

    A couple of years after I'd built the guitar I was playing it in a gig and the guitar got pretty warm from my body. And the smell enveloped the stage. Nice.

    After 8 years I think it's died down. But I'm not drilling any more holes in it.
     
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  9. crazydave911

    crazydave911 Doctor of Teleocity

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    Try 30 for the DF, and counting :D
     
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  10. 1bad914

    1bad914 Tele-Afflicted

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    Zebrano back and sides I am working on now. It should be fine for a neck.
    9C9D03A6-3072-4D04-9BFE-4789261AF106.jpeg 7C0882FA-3870-4883-A934-FAFD648E8DBD.jpeg
     
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  11. crazydave911

    crazydave911 Doctor of Teleocity

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    Everything from Southern Yellow Pine and up have been made into fine necks, give it a rest people :lol::lol::lol:
     
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  12. Ripthorn

    Ripthorn Friend of Leo's

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    For necks, stiffness is more important than hardness. DF is extremely stiff, but not hard at all. Makes a great neck.
     
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  13. crazydave911

    crazydave911 Doctor of Teleocity

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    Yeppers, the wood that that makes masts and yards? I think you can say is stiff :lol:
     
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  14. Tele-mann

    Tele-mann TDPRI Member

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    Wow, so much knowledge out there. Thanks again guys!
     
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  15. Tele-mann

    Tele-mann TDPRI Member

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    Is there also a stiffnes scale?
     
  16. epizootics

    epizootics Tele-Meister

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    In the Wood Database, that would be the elastic modulus. The higher, the stiffer. Looking at their average numbers, you'll see that DF and hard maple are in the same ballpark in terms of stiffness (12.17 GPa vs. 12.62 GPa, respectively) even though maple is quite a bit harder (2760 N vs. 6450 N respectively).
     
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