Which wood for my first Strat?

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by gabrygaggio19, Feb 8, 2015.

  1. gabrygaggio19

    gabrygaggio19 TDPRI Member

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    Hi everyone!
    I'm going to make my first own guitar (a Stratocaster) very soon but I'm not sure what kind of woods I should use.

    I'd like to use maple (quilted or flamed) for the neck and rosewood or always maple for fretboard. However for the neck I've almost decided the types of woods and I don't have problems.

    My great doubts are for the body. I like Ash sound but here in Italy we don't have Swamp Ash. Our Ash is tough and similar to northern AmericanAash. Is there really a great difference between the two types of Ash??
    Alternative I could use Alder but I don't know if the type that is found in Italy is the same to that is used in America. Anyone know that? Then in your opinion is there a great difference from Ash?

    And what do you think of maple bodies?

    Thank you everybody to help me in this important decision.
     
  2. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Northern Ash and similar types of ash will produce a fairly heavy guitar. Maple will too, but that really depends on the boards you choose since density can be all over the place. I'm sure that there are timbers that aren't quite as heavy that are available in Europe. You can use whatever is available for a body. Consider Linden or Basswood or even pine or spruce for your first guitar body.
     
  3. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Don't make the number one mistake guys just entering this amazing hobby make, Do Not try to make your first, your dream guitar..

    as you get into climbing the learning curve, your opinion of various components are going to change... if you've spent big bux on esoteric components... you're gonna get stuck with stuff that doesn't seem as appealing as it once did..

    Also. some cuts of lumber are rather costly... believe me, you don't wanna develop routing technique on a piece of lumber that set ya back what a good 21 year old Single Malt would...

    Go to the local lumber yard, buy ya a 2x8 .. cost ya about 8 bux... you can make several body blank from it... and at a cost of a few bux each, when the router decides to teach ya how firmly to hold it, and it chews out a good size hunk.. you can chunk it in the fire place, and move on to body blank number two..

    here's some "stuff" i did a few years ago that may help..

    http://jpbturbo.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Tele-reader-spreads.pdf

    http://jpbturbo.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Nitro-New-reader-spreads.pdf

    http://jpbturbo.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Tele_template-illustrated-reader-spreads.pdf

    http://jpbturbo.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Setup-reader-spreads.pdf

    http://jpbturbo.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Strat-reader-spreads.pdf

    http://jpbturbo.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Strat_template-illustrated-reader-spreads.pdf

    Ron kirn
     
  4. barbrainy

    barbrainy RIP

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    Someone much cleverer than me once said on here:

    "the best kind of wood is free wood; the second best is cheap wood"


    Follow Ron's advice, don't spend big on wood for your first scratch. I did my first one using an old pine door I bought off ebay for 99p...
     
  5. ItZaLLGooD

    ItZaLLGooD Tele-Holic

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    I have a 60's re-issue MIJ strat from the 90's. It is by far the most comfortable guitar that I own. It's made from basswood. My last build was a basswood bodied Jazzcaster style. Both guitars are nice and light and sound great. I would try to find something local that was cheap, light and easy to work with.
     
  6. Stratburst

    Stratburst Friend of Leo's

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    This man speaks the truth. Get your technique together before attempting to build your dream guitar.

    And for your original question: given the availability of wood in your area, I'd say go with alder. Most Strats are made with alder.
     
  7. waparker4

    waparker4 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Use something hard, that will hold in the screws that hold the bridge plate down and hold the trem claw in place. :D
     
  8. LE-Henry

    LE-Henry TDPRI Member

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    Concrete ? :twisted:
    Nah jus kidding find yourself pallets and industrial wood "junk"
     
  9. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Unless you are a complete klutz, I wouldn't go with junk wood. Defined as wet, green, building grade construction lumber.... Dried out after a couple years..that's different. If you use something decent ( read quality but economical), then your approach could be a bit slower and with more attention to detail. I think people rise to the occasion of the material they are working with. Using a fresh 2 x4 from lowes will ensure that you end up with a warped guitar body by the time you are done. I would procure some properly dried cabinet wood of some type. Using a less dense material will aid in getting an easier to deal with result...my 2 cents. Basswood or a poplar are good places to begin that won't break the bank. In the end, a piece of kiln dried basswood or poplar from a hardwood store is only a bit more than a 2 x8 from a home center anyway and you can make it a full thickness of 1-3/4".

    Something like this only on your side of the ocean.

    http://www.ebay.it/itm/2-x-7-Linden...935?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item1c41f20f37
     
  10. LE-Henry

    LE-Henry TDPRI Member

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    Use what's available in your location , the alder you talked about is good stuff usually local stuff cost less and is environment friendly.

    Where I live in Canada maple is the first to come wood next to poplar and ash so I go for these.
     
  11. DrASATele

    DrASATele Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yeah, local is the way to go and like marty said as long as it's not still green(wet). Also check places, buildings, homes that are being demolished, this will be well seasoned lumber which you might get FREE or CHEAP both of which make great sounding guitars with tons of mojo ;)
     
  12. gabrygaggio19

    gabrygaggio19 TDPRI Member

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    First of all thank you very much for all of your reply! This is really a great forum!!
    As for my question, I think your replies confirmed my idea of spending not too much for my first guitar. I never thought I could make my first guitar my dream guitar..
    Tomorrow I'll go to some local joiners to ask for some good Adler. I will consider basswood local ash or maple too as you advised.
    The priority will be to have a well dried wood of course.

    Some of you advised me poplar or spruce or pine, I never thought them as guitar wood. But I imagine they don't sound really good.

    PS thank Ron for your material!
     
  13. DrASATele

    DrASATele Poster Extraordinaire

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    I can't touch poplar I'm allergic but Spruce and Pine they're just fun & easy to work with. The wood is softer so it dents easily but if you take your time you can get some really nice light weight guitars from them.

    I was a big strat guy until I got my G&L ASAT Blues boy, anyway once you've got your first behind you, some of those harder heavier woods make great hollow/thin line style guitars, even strat style thin lines. Ash and maple is a great combo, heavy as a solid but can be nice as a thin line, just something to keep in mind when you're thinking about that next build.

    Good luck!
     
  14. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Any dried wood can be used on an electric guitar. Even plywood, hardboard, and medium density fiberboard have been used over the years.
    Wood like Alder and Swamp Ash are commonly used on Fender style instruments because that's what Leo used...they were cheap for him. Basswood and Poplar are probably the most used woods for Fender style guitars after those first two. Fender themselves use them. Spruce is typically used in acoustic instruments for its strength to weight ratio... no reason why conifers can't be used for solid bodies too... and many are right here in this forum. You probably want to pick something that doesn't have a lot of defects and isn't too heavy or dense for ease of cutting, routing, and sanding.
     
  15. Tony Done

    Tony Done Friend of Leo's

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    What Ronkirn said. The (body) timber isn't that important (Bob Taylor built a very nice acoustic out of a packing case he found in their warehouse) , and the first guitar is not likely to be the one in your dreams. I would pay attention to getting decent timber for the neck though, to avoid stability issues.
     
  16. Dasher

    Dasher Tele-Meister

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    As someone building outside the US of A, there is a tendency to get hung up on North American lumber because that's what the big names use.

    Yep, Fender and Gibson use it because they are American companies and that's what was the best of what was available there at the time.

    There is a whole stack of local timber here in Australia which is more than suitable for building. Vitorian Ash, Queensland Maple, Tasmanian Blackwood, Tasmanian Myrtle, Desert Mulga etc. I'm sure it will be the same in Italy.

    You may need to take your local Ash and chamber it for example. Take Ron's advice and play around with different types and styles to get a feel for the hobby. Learn from your mistakes.

    There is no 'right' timber to use. An electric guitar is not rubbish because it's not made of Honduran Mahogany and Eastern Maple!

    Here's an example of an Aussie Blackwood guitar (save the fingerboard) that is killer!!

    http://www.bluestoneguitars.com.au/html/Micks_Blackwood_bent_sides_singlecut.html

    Unless you're building a replica, experiment with what you have. And have FUN!
     
  17. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    the Pine I suggested is for the journey up the learning curve, once you're comfortable, then move on to some hardwood of choice. Since the pine will only be 1 ½ inches thick, it's not thick enough to make a decent body from anyway.. or as an alternative, two pieces of ¾ MDF glued together makes a great test bed too.

    The most often encountered problem for those new to the hobby is, tear out... that where the router's but, grabs the grain, when you're not expecting it, and splinters it, tears out a large, larger than ya wanted anyway, or causes other reasons for profanity. :eek:

    If you want a good quality body, made of wood that is so very consistent, that the chance of tear out is reduced somewhat, try good old Basswood. The grain is so consistent that this is the number one choice for "whittlers" guys making Decoys, etc. Also, I forget who, but there is an A list guitarist who's #1 has a basswood body..

    But... to be honest.. I love wood with some story behind it... I'd love to have a guitar made of the Pines of Rome... Love to play a little Respighi on it too..

    rk
     
  18. LeroyBlues

    LeroyBlues Tele-Holic

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    No one has asked the question, are you an experienced wood worker, or are you green to the tools and tricks of the trade? Still, Ron's advice is the best, get some cheap wood and works out the bugs.
     
  19. Hellmark

    Hellmark Tele-Holic

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    I am partial to poplar. Mahogany can also be nice. Alder and Ash are also good woods.

    I personally wouldn't make an all maple solid body. That would be a boat anchor. Plus the sound would probably be fairly bright.
     
  20. R. Stratenstein

    R. Stratenstein Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Poplar works easily, and takes a paint finish well. Depending on the board, it can also be surprisingly resonant, also, which does not so much affect tone on an electric guitar, but does help sustain.

    And welcome to the forum! We have a couple of great Italian guitar builders here, maybe they'll see your post and add their insight from a more local viewpoint.
     
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