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cedar as a body wood?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by steve-o, Aug 7, 2002.

  1. steve-o

    steve-o Guest

    Apr 17, 2002
    would this wood work all right?
    should it be a necktrough bass or will a bolt on work all right.
    i have some acces to some big planks.and the wood is light.

  2. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    What kind of cedar?

    Almost anything will work okay as a body wood.

    Spanish cedar makes a very nice body wood. The coniferous cedars (white, red) will be very soft (and will dent easily) but otherwise will work okay.
  3. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Tonewise, it will work nicely.
    It is soft, indeed, and also not very stiff. Due to this lack of stiffnes, I would hesitate to use it for a bolt-on. For two reasons:
    - would the joint stand up to the strain?
    - do I want the thump or do I want sustain? A stiff "backbone" between nut and bridge is essential to sustain, whereas a soft quarter of that spine will damp the fundamentals rather quick (ref to a doublebass).

    I would use it as body wings on a neckthru, with thin top and back of some harder wood, to avoid dents.
  4. How hard is red cedar compared to alder or poplar?

    A big red cedar (?South Shore of Massachusetts...red colored wood?) just fell down (roots and all) in my parent's back yard and I figured I'd try to get a couple of blanks out of it.
  5. Barkless Dog

    Barkless Dog Barkless to a point

    Jan 19, 2007
    Cedar would be lile Redwood. Peavy has used flame redwood on their Cirrus basses.
  6. doctorjazz


    Oct 22, 2006
    Wilmington, NC
    Roscoes with Spanish cedar bodies are my favorite basses for fretless tone, period. It's a great-sounding wood.
  7. T2W


    Feb 24, 2007
    Montreal, Canada.
    Spanish Cedar (Cedro) is, in fact, female Mahogany, from Guatemala. It is about as hard, if not harder, than any Mahogany I have worked with. It tastes really bad when you sand it. Western Red Cedar is about as soft as Pine. I would build a Bass with Cedro anytime, as for Red Cedar (from North America) I would put a top and back on it, just like suburban mentioned. It will dent easily.
  8. What type of top/back would you put on a Cedar body that can be found around where I am (eastern Massachusetts)...I want to try to make my bass(es) out of wood that I can find growing locally. If the cedar is so soft, will it still sound ok as a tone wood or would it make for a muddy sounding bass?

    Also, what can I use for necks/fretboards other than maple? Thanks a ton for all the info!!!
  9. T2W


    Feb 24, 2007
    Montreal, Canada.
    for a Neck, we've all seen people use Ash or even Oak. I dont know what other local wood you could use as a fretboard other than Maple. As of a top and back, Maple would look nice, Walnut is also grown locally but could be weird looking with Cedar, I have no idea what kind of tone Cedar has. You can ask Wilser about that, he knows a lot about the Mid-Hump. LOL
  10. Rodent

    Rodent A Killer Pickup Lineā„¢ Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Honey Badger Pickups & Regenerate Guitar Works

    you are in the land of eastern Maple, so a nicely figured birdseye or flame top/back would be an excellent cap for the softer Cedar body core. you could also bookmatch a flatsawn selection of Ash if you're looking for more of that kind of vibe. same could be said for Black Walnut and Cherry.

    for a neck, you could laminate Maple with either Cherry or Walnut. I've done a couple M/W/M/W/M necks before and they look/sound quite nice. I am about to experiment with a M/C/M/C/M neck for an upcoming project, and have read that it can be worth your consideration.

    off-hand, I can't think of a good 'local' fretboard wood outside of Maple.

    all the best,

  11. Thanks Rodent!!!

    I was thinking of building a guitar out of this cedar as well for my wife. Can black cherry be used as a guitar neck or body wood? I saw somewhere that it was used as a mahogany substitute by colonists and it sounds appealing to me...I was thinking of using the cedar as a top (aparently it is well figured according to my dad). Would I have to impregnate the cedar with epoxy to make it a strong enough top? Thanks!!!
  12. Black Walnut and Butternut seem to be native to my area...would either of those work as a fingerboard wood?
  13. T2W


    Feb 24, 2007
    Montreal, Canada.
    Butternut? Its called Butternut for a reason, its as soft as Butter. Period. It smells superb though :smug: Im quite convinced Black Walnut aint strong enough either
  14. The red and white cedar I have here, taken off a door frame from an old house, is soft, brittle and dents easily. It's pretty stable though. I have a couple of redwood hand planes and the wood on those is much harder than the cedar.
  15. So it looks like maple is the only way to go if I want to keep this to wood from my state...ah well. :meh:
  16. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Black walnut?

    I'm getting black with envy (passed the green state a moment ago). I'd really like some of that around here....really really!

    Go have a chat with that walnut, and the cherries, too. I haven't got the figures at hand right now, but I remember well that black walnut is a great neck wood, and seemingly godd FB wood, too. A CA coat would take all doubts away.
    Around here, wild cherry is also hard enough, similar to the balck walnut.
  17. See, that's what I thought too...I thought black walnut was pretty darn close in density and stability to maple and is sometimes used in necks...I've never seen it as a fingerboard wood but it seems like it should be.
  18. powerbass


    Nov 2, 2006
    western MA
    I live in western Mass and there are several great lumber dealers to get whatever kind of wood you want right within Mass. Try Anderson McQuad in Cambridge, Forest Products in Greenfield. I buy directly from a sawmill - Bannish Lumber they do a small retail biz and cull out the best figured and quatersawn native stock. They have exceptional quatersawn maple. I made a fretless bass out of black walnut and it sounds great. Walnut is denser than butternut and cedar.
  19. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    I've seen pictures of basses with FB out of european walnut, which is substatially softer than black walnut.
  20. Hey guys!
    An 80 year old Lebanon cedar has fallen off in my house a few nights ago because of a storm. I'm saving a 1,5 meters long, 1 meter diameter piece of trunk for making a bass guitar. I'm planning to let it air-dry for a couple of years and then make a neck-through bass (dreaming it'll be a 11-string one). What can you tell me about this kind of wood, I've heard that Lebanon cedar is the best kind of cedar for solid body instruments, and also it has a beautiful red colour.
    Regards from an Argentinean friend!!!

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