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Old 02-26-2014, 03:22 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Orlando, FL
Selecting the right wood

Okay, I know I'm opening up a whole new can of worms here, but here goes:

A few months back, I bought a Chinese electric cello from a local luthier for very cheap because he didn't want to bother fixing it. The instrument sounds great, and after a few more tweaks could compare to most decently set up fully carved cellos, in my opinion. It has a small resonating chamber, but a HUGE sound!

Anyway, there are things that I would do differently than most cellos on the market, and would like to try my hand at making a solid body instrument, with some local experts' help.

Essentially the shape of the instrument I want is like one of these cheap Chinese instruments:


BUT, instead of the inferior materials they use for the body, I would like to carve it out of a piece of wood. I've had some experience woodworking, my landlord has a small wood shop in the garage, and I have luthiers around that will explain the proper measurements for the acoustics, but one mentioned something that I didn't realize: I need to be extremely picky about the wood.

So, where do I get quality wood for an instrument that won't break the bank?

Also, what would some of you guys do for the frame there? I was thinking about edge gluing boards together for a single, huge blank, but that might actually be overkill. The other idea is to make the actual body out of one board of the proper wood (whatever that might be) and the frame out of some medium grade wood from somewhere like Lowes. The frame just needs to be there for the feel and grip of the instrument--I'm not a big fan of the stick-shaped cellos.

I wish I could ask this on a cello forum, but have you guys ever tried to post something on the Yuku forum? Most of the responses would be telling me that I should study cello with a real carved instrument for a few years before doing this. So I'm not even going to bother with them.

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