Wood choice for Telecaster build

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by TomTom, Aug 23, 2009.

  1. TomTom

    TomTom TDPRI Member

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    Hi,

    I've joined the forum as I wish to build a Telecaster as my 3rd self build. I've checked my nearest hardwood stockist and was overjoyed with the woods available. I'm interested on peoples thoughts as to what woods I should go with.

    I've read so much about pine Tele's and probably will go down that route, so Yellow pine or Douglas Fir are both options.

    As for neck material maple stock was limited to 1inch thickness which is too thin for a neck unless I add a different fretboard material which I don't want to do or make a 3 piece neck. So wonder if I could use something else. I could of course wait until they get some more maple stock, but interested on alternatives.

    My choice of body preferably is
    Yellow pine
    Douglas Fir

    Any views on which Is better?

    Other woods available
    Ash
    Tulipwood
    Beech
    Sepele
    Iroko
    Walnut
    Cherry
    Keruing
    Oak
    Maple

    I believe Tulipwood is from the rosewood family so would that be any good as a neck choice?

    What do people think?
    Tom
     
  2. Brett Faust

    Brett Faust Tele-Meister

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    Two different kinds of Tulip, the Brazil is a rosewood with very good hardness and contrasting stripes,very expensive.The Brazil Tulip refers to the colors of the wood. The other is Tulip Poplar a softer wood not expensive,not a good neck material.

    I hope that narrows it down for you ,good luck and have fun.
     
  3. TomTom

    TomTom TDPRI Member

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    Ah, that's worth knowing. I'll check, but guess it may not be Brazillian tulipwood. Thanks
     
  4. otterhound

    otterhound Poster Extraordinaire

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    Walnut and Cherry are both usable for two piece necks , bodies as well . I have some 1/4 sawn Walnut necks and a Cherry neck to use for the next build . I have been using Cherry for bodies as well . Can't seem to find any drawbacks either way . Some may not like the weight , but that is personal preferences . Have some fun with it and learn . The combo of Walnut/Madagascar neck on my Strat build ended up looking like a one piece once finished . Way cool to me . Pics required when finished . Oh yes . The best woods are free and inexpensive , in that order .
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2009
  5. KevinB

    KevinB Doctor of Teleocity

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    Softwoods like pine and fir are usually lightweight and resonant. Both can make make a good body, although being softwood, they will mar and dent fairly easily.

    For a neck, you want something hard and strong. Cherry or walnut would be good, although I've heard that the latter is hard to fret. Beech and tulipwood would probably not be strong enough.

    Iroko, keruing and sapele are mahogany-like. They would make good bodies but tend (although this is a generalization) to be more suitable for warmer tones rather the bite of a Tele. Oak is strong, but is usually heavy and not particularly resonant.

    Brazilian tulipwood is a beautiful wood with pink and cream grain, and is much like rosewood. Tulip poplar is light and strong but I'm not sure I'd make a neck out of it.

    A pine body with a cherry neck might be worth a shot, or a walnut body. A mahogany type body with mahogany neck (and maybe P90 pickups) would also be interesting.

    Good luck with it!
     
  6. TomTom

    TomTom TDPRI Member

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    My Les Paul custom build (no weight relief) weighed 11lbs so I think the cherry neck weight penalty won't be too bad! I like the pine body cherry neck option. Just a question, 2 piece neck, is that neck of say cherry and fretboard of something else like rosewood for the 2 pieces?
     
  7. otterhound

    otterhound Poster Extraordinaire

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    The Cherry neck that I have for my next build is a 2 piece with a Madagascar Rosewood fretboard . Very tasteful look . Do not try to fret Walnut or Cherry . They just aren't suitable when so many other good choices are available .
     
  8. KevinB

    KevinB Doctor of Teleocity

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    Yes, a two piece neck implies a separate fretboard, and often times that can be of the same wood as the neck - two piece maple necks are common.

    But the classic fretboard woods are maple (finished), ebony, or any of the rosewood types (bubinga, goncalo alves, etc).
     
  9. Rob52

    Rob52 Tele-Holic

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    KevinB's suggestion of maple with a maple fretboard is a good option if you want a neck/fretboard you can lacquer. Maple is probably the best choice for a neck from the woods you listed as available from your supplier.
     
  10. Marc Rutters

    Marc Rutters Tele-Afflicted

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    If your like me you'll try them all sticking to the basics of lighter weight for the body and denser for the neck, from there just let it rip. You will find yourself picking threw your wood source's stock for that one board that says to ya "I want to be a guitar, please help me" Welcome to the forum/ self help group for teleholics. Oh yea skip the oak my opinion is it's great for cabinets or BBQing but not much else.
     
  11. Colt W. Knight

    Colt W. Knight Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Southern Yellow Pine.
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    [​IMG]

    You can build an electric guitar from anything, just keep in mind the purpose of the guitar, and for whom the guitar is being built. If weight isn't an issue, the possibilites are virtually endless. There is a lot of tone adjustment possibilities once the guitar has been built.
    Change pickup heights, alter electronics, nut material, saddle material, strings, and pickups.
     
  12. Nicktarnow

    Nicktarnow TDPRI Member

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    It all depends on how you want your guitar to sound. The harder the wood the brighter the sound. The softer the wood the heavier the sound.
     
  13. olaftheholy

    olaftheholy Tele-Afflicted

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    That is a theory... and proven a shaky one as of late.


    I say Yellow Pine!!!

    [​IMG]

    - Those very first (and best sounding) was laminated yellow pine
    - Easy on the tools
    - Easy to finish
    - Light (does not brak your back)
    - Cheap (does not break the bank)
    - Sounds very bright and has good low end whilst remaining the 'twang'


    There's a lot of Pinecasters beïng build lately and the outcomes are the same overall, very twangy screaming telecasters.
    Thos first 'hot' ones were built using laminated pine, pine being a very light and resonant wood is ideal for the acoustic properties sought after for teles.

    I just finished one in Yellow Pine, it started out as a project where i just wanted to check out the quality of a manufacturerer of body's.
    It proved to be well enough made to make it into a guitar and efter i ran some test with tuning forks i was convinced of the 'sound' it was capable of producing and made it my "pet" project.
    Out of the seven tele's i have (including some very high end ones) it is by far the most versatile in tonal capability's.
    The real funny thing is, if you calculate the cost of production....
    It is a "budget" guitar.

    Body $35.-
    Neck $100.-
    Hardware $125.-
    Pickups $57.-
    Finish $25.-
    -----------------
    Total $343.-


    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
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    Try Pine, you won't be sorry, i guarantee it!



    cheers,
     
  14. Nick JD

    Nick JD Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    With an electric guitar, nearly all woods work for necks if they are over 550kg/m3 and under 850kg/m3 - but optimally about 6-700.

    Body needs something between 350 and 550kg/m3 if you want to be comfortable.

    Come to think of it - it doesn't even have to be wood if it's in that range.

    That's about it. No rockets, no brains and scalpels...

    Make a guitar out of something different! :D
     
  15. guityak

    guityak Tele-Meister

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    My latest build is about 910kg/m3 for West Aussie Jarrah.

    Guess what........... it will be a thinline.
     
  16. TomTom

    TomTom TDPRI Member

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    I think I'm going to go for yellow pine body and 2 piece maple neck as that will be a nice bright sounding guitar. I still keep the light colour neck too which will go well if go with a clear coat for the body. Cherry and Walnut I've save for another day.

    Thanks for everyone's input.

    With pine can I do a 2 piece body or do I need more? I've seen 10 piece pine bodys and just wonder why.
     
  17. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Depends on the pieces of Pine you have found, Tom.

    A lot of pieces of Pine in the USA South are very unstable, and multiple pieces reduces the bad issues of this instability. A lot of other folks are just using what they can find.
     
  18. TomTom

    TomTom TDPRI Member

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    I can see that issue and certainly if I chose redwood or white pine the wide grain I could see it splitting. I'm going to look for a narrow grained sample for my body.
     
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