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domestic mahogany alternative?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by [CRTL+ALT+DEL], Sep 9, 2016.


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  1. [CRTL+ALT+DEL]

    [CRTL+ALT+DEL] mad scientist

    May 25, 2008
    Brooklyn
    what would be your choice to match mahogany? oak, hickory, locust, cherry, walnut, koa, spruce? is there anything in the usa that has that warmth? looking for the warmest wood in north america for a certain project. maybe warmer than mahogany. or maybe just use an eq pedal and stop thinking about it? please discuss
     
  2. Will_White

    Will_White

    Jul 1, 2011
    Salem, OR
    It doesn't get a lot of love but Pine and Douglas Fir are nice warm and resonant acoustically.
     
  3. [CRTL+ALT+DEL]

    [CRTL+ALT+DEL] mad scientist

    May 25, 2008
    Brooklyn
    cedar maybe? i know it's really soft. this is for an electric guitar
     
  4. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD Supporting Member

    May 20, 2005
    Norman, OK, USA
    All wood is warm if you apply enough fire.


    But as for hardness and density, Sycamore is probably the closest you'll get.
     
  5. Scoops

    Scoops Why do we use base 10 when we only have 8 fingers Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 22, 2013
    Sugar Creek, Wisc
    I am me
    Black Walnut! Plentiful supply, looks great too
     
    Means2nEnd, Will_White and ctmullins like this.
  6. Is sycamore readily available in guitar-sized chunks? I love the idea of using a real local wood. Walnut is one I'd like to use as well, mostly because I love the look.

    -Jake
     
  7. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    Poplar; it's about in the same weight/stiffness range as mahogany, and it's commonly available and inexpensive. I use poplar for most of my bass bodies.
     
  8. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    This, alder is also very similar to poplar as far as density and weight
     
  9. [CRTL+ALT+DEL]

    [CRTL+ALT+DEL] mad scientist

    May 25, 2008
    Brooklyn
    Warmoth Custom Guitar Parts - Wood Descriptions

    so is this malarky? all the other woods on the "tone-meter" are in the middle or bright. mahogany is the only one way over towards warm besides korina/limba. part of me doesn't believe in tonewoods when it comes to electrics. part of me is ocd and full of G.a.s... somewhere someone said hickory sounded like mahogany. sometimes i think maybe i should say to hell with tonewoods and make things out of whatever is cheapest.
     
    ctmullins likes this.
  10. Beej

    Beej

    Feb 10, 2007
    Victoria, BC
    Its not that its entirely "malarky", its more that the wood used is just one variable in the entire system. Changing any variable will have effects on the final sound. Different variables will have more influence in the overall variability that is discernible to the listener. Those differences, along with the predictability of them is often hotly debated, but its worth remembering that an electric bass is a system of components and they can come together to influence the "tone", so therefore none can really be held "more responsible" for the overall "warmth"...
     
    smithcreek and Will_White like this.
  11. Will_White

    Will_White

    Jul 1, 2011
    Salem, OR
    I won't say that tone wood is total
    malarkey but the effects of wood on electric tone is completely overblown for the most part, body wood especially. Tone has more to do with the pickups and electronics then anything else. But IME wood and construction has an effect on the character of the note, the attack and sustain, more then overall tone and the effect is still very minor unless you go to extremes, heck even at the extremes it still isn't very much, a cardboard strat still sounds like a strat after all. Pick wood for what's available, how stable it is and how it looks.
     
  12. Scoops

    Scoops Why do we use base 10 when we only have 8 fingers Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 22, 2013
    Sugar Creek, Wisc
    I am me
    I have often wondered how Warmoth came up with this. Was it some people conjecturing on possibilities, and then coming up with a chart? Or was there a scientific study done here? I speculate at the former.

    Case in Point: I have a Warmoth Tele with P90's. Their chart says it should be closer to warm. It's terribly bright.

    So over the years I have given up on trying to figure out what kind of tone I'm gonna get out of using this wood or that wood. Rather, when I'm done with the build, I figure out where the instruments sweet spots are, and exploit that.
     
    Will_White likes this.
  13. [CRTL+ALT+DEL]

    [CRTL+ALT+DEL] mad scientist

    May 25, 2008
    Brooklyn
    Good point. You know a species of tree doesn't mean all the trees would be the same, like not all oranges taste the same.
     

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