Virginia Sycamore tree as double bass tonewod?

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by james condino, Dec 31, 2012.


  1. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2007
    Location:
    asheville, nc
    A friend of mine recently cut up some slabs from a HUGE eastern US sycamore tree (Platanus Occidentalis), large enough for about five (5!!!) double basses. Does anyone have expeirence with this specific type of US tree for basses (not to be confused with "sycamore" from the UK and Europe)? It looks beautiful and has been resawn already, drying for about four years. He mentioned that there is a noticeable difference in the taptone when the weather / humidity shifts.

    j.
  2. Schoolhouse

    Schoolhouse Thomas Andres- Bass Makers

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2006
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    Yes James, I've made a very successful Viennese style bass out of it. It bends easily and takes a great finish. Dimensionally it was very stable. Tom
  3. forester

    forester

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2007
    Location:
    emmitsburg, maryland
    as you know it likes wet feet...so it's quite the sponge.
    something else worth mentioning is that when we run a half a shift of logs (green) through the mill there are a lot of people rubbing puffy eyes.(worse in the spring).some irritant that i can't put a finger on.
  4. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2007
    Location:
    asheville, nc
    Funny thing you mentioned that. A couple of hours ago, the friend stops by the shop for a visit and brings a stack of sycamore offcuts. Within 15 minutes I had to ask him to take everything out of the shop because I was getting sinus and respiratory allergic reactions from it. A google search turned up dozens of articles talking about how common allergic reactions to it are. Too bad- it looked and sounded great. Cross that one off the list for me....'have to stick with that boring old traditional super curly maple :)

    j.
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  6. uprightben

    uprightben

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2006
    Location:
    Boone, NC
    Too bad. I wonder if it wouldn't be less noxious after being completely seasoned. It's a wood I've been very curious about for basses as well, I was hoping you would try it out first and take a little of the guessing away for me...
  7. robobass

    robobass

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2005
    Location:
    Cologne, Germany
    Disclosures:
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    Could that be what is messing with my eyes? We call them "Platanen" and they are one of the most common trees here in Deutschland. I never had any kind of allergies growing up in the USA, but since moving here I can no longer wear contact lenses. Eye doctors say "just dry eyes. No biggie. Just take these drops and go away"...
  8. forester

    forester

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2007
    Location:
    emmitsburg, maryland
    good chance robo...i have many friends in the green industries that avoid the PLANE tree because of the reactions they have to the pollen,bark and wood. i might mention too that it is an extremely dirty tree...airborne polutants seem to cling to the smooth bark and gets transfered to the unwary handler of the brush and wood, etc. that being said...i love it,the wood and the tree. it's our county tree (didn't get my vote however) elected for the simple reason that it was easily identifiable by the common folk.;)

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