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Exotic wood: Shedua

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by ChaosGwar, Sep 10, 2002.

  1. I was wondering if anyone has had any expereince working with shedua. What are the properties of it? It looks very nice, but that is about all I know.

    I would be using it for body wings, or possibly a fretboard.

    Here is a photo of what it looks like.


    Thanks for any info.
  2. JP Basses

    JP Basses

    Mar 22, 2002
    Paris FRANCE
    Hi CG,

    Shedua aka ovangkol is the wood now used by warwick for their necks an bodys (thumb bo, dolphin...)

    In fact, Ovangkol is now much used because fully available. You'll find it used for acoustic guitar backs and sides, electric bodys, necks, tops...

    Never saw it used as a fingerboard but IMHO, it would work fine. Remember that's a pretty heavy wood!

    BTW, the body in my avatar as an shedua top.

    Peace, JP
  3. JP,
    I had no idea shedua and ovankol where in fact the same wood. Either way you name it, it's perfect for what I'm planning. It will act as the body wings for the purpleheart neck through I'm going to be building.

    You made the suggestion in my other thread about using ovankol for the body wings, that it would go well with the purple heart.

    Thanks for the info JP.
  4. I understand it's also called amazaque, or amazakoue.

    I'm actually considering a bolt-on bass (buying, not making) with an amazaque body. I gather it's good-looking and fairly heavy, but how does it sound, particularly as a body? Thanks.
  5. JP Basses

    JP Basses

    Mar 22, 2002
    Paris FRANCE
    Well, I'm going to pass on this question as I not a believer of "that wood sound like this, this one like that etc..."

    The sound is not only in the body wood or the neck wood...Remember that we're talking about electric instruments. Strings, electronics, pickups and their positions plays a far more important role on sound.

    The sound produced by an instrument is coming from the whole thing. Just try the bass you are considering and if you like its sound then buy it.

    I love this quote:
    "I just use GOOD WOOD" -Carl Thompson .


    PS: yes, shedua=ovangkol=amazakoué
  6. Yes, I know all that. But clearly, since wood is one of the components of a bass, wood differences would have to have some effect on tone, if obviously not the only effects. It seems to me it ought to possible to make some *general* comparisons of the tonal tendencies of different woods while still keeping in mind the differences that other aspects of the bass can make.

    I would definitely rely on my own ears if I could actually play the bass. But the situation is that I would be ordering it from England if I do it. Hence my interest in getting some information beforehand.
  7. Thanks, Ken, that's helpful.
  8. otnemeM


    Oct 29, 2002
    Ovar, Portugal
    I know this is rather old but here it is...

    I'm in the process of chosing the components for a 6 string fretless bass, and I went for the Gary Willis' rule of thumb (for mwaah-y fretless bass):

    1 . Light-Weight wood
    2 . Bolt-On Construction
    3 . At least one of the pups in the "right place"

    With that in mind I chose Swamp Ash for the body but the luthier was like "ohh... we're using Amazaque nowadays, it is better for that kindda bass" :rolleyes:

    I did some research but it mislead me to think that Amazaque wasn't that much heavier than Swamp Ash, but after reading this, well...

    So what do you think? Will it ruin my plans?
  9. JP Basses

    JP Basses

    Mar 22, 2002
    Paris FRANCE
    Amazaque / Ovankgol e muito pesado pa!


    you could go with alder or (better) limba body with an ovangkol top.

    Also wenge neck wouldn't hurt :D

    Peace, JP

    PS: quem e que vai consrtuir o baixo?
  10. Wow, can't believe you even found this to resurrect it.

    I know Jon Shuker in England uses amazaque/shedua in his basses a lot, and he likes the way it sounds.

    I enede up getting a bolt-on 6 string fretless and fretted pair from Jon a few months ago, but I ended up going for an African walnut body and an amboyna burl top. The fretless sounds tremendous. I have no doubt, however, that one of his amazaque or zebrano fretlesses would also have sounded tremendous, because he knows how to make a bass. I've come around to JP's feeling that the wood by itself isn't gonna make you have a good or bad sound by itself--all the other parts, most definitely including the maker, have a great effect on what you end up with. I wouldn't rule out a maker just for using one wood rather than another; I'd check out the bigger picture.
  11. otnemeM


    Oct 29, 2002
    Ovar, Portugal

    JP, ja tinha lido montes posts teus e nao imaginava que falasses portugues :p Origem portuguesa ou brasileira?

    Anyhoo, now in (bad) english so everyone can "understand" :D

    I found this one doing a search on "amazaque" there were only two results so... :)

    I've not decided 100% but for now the best offer I've got is from Polish Luthier "Mayones"

    » Site «

    I'm not ruling out anyone... I just thought that it was a bit of a contradiction to what I wanted :rolleyes:
    ...And as I wasn't sure, I posted here ;)

    Well, so Richard says that it could sound good (considering the whole machine) and JP says that I should go with something else... I'll find out if it can be done with Swamp Ash, or if they exclude that possibility...

    JP, if you want be free to email me (in portuguese or whatever :D )

    - André
  12. JP Basses

    JP Basses

    Mar 22, 2002
    Paris FRANCE

    I've built with solid ovankgol. It's nice but damn heavy this is why I suggest something else.

    Peace, JP
  13. schuyler


    Aug 5, 2003
    Atlanta, GA
    i've seen it called hedua as well.
  14. Nick Gann

    Nick Gann Talkbass' Tubist in Residence

    Mar 24, 2002
    Silver Spring, MD
    Are you sure that ther person who talked about it didn't just forgot to add the S? :D
  15. mikgag

    mikgag Guest

    Mar 25, 2002
    Here's a Shedua top I'm putting on bass.....

  16. otnemeM


    Oct 29, 2002
    Ovar, Portugal
    Niiiiice! Very nice :)
  17. schuyler


    Aug 5, 2003
    Atlanta, GA
    here's my source... (had to look a bit to find it)

    "...faced either side with 1/4 in of a wood called hedua. This is a highly-figured brown wood that is very hard. It is also quite boring to look at until it is sanded and either oiled or lacquered, when it becomes very pretty. It is sometimes sold as Shedua or Ovankol."

    Melvyn Hiscock, Make Your Own Electric Guitar , 2nd ed. (p. 124).
  18. otnemeM


    Oct 29, 2002
    Ovar, Portugal
    That's a :eek:

    Is it yours?
  19. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    We have been using Shedua since 1987. We are probably one of the first instrument companies in the world to use this wood. If there were others back then, I haven't seen them in this country.
    I first used Shedua as a substitute for Figured Walnut. We had just purchased a few Logs of Figured Walnut but had to wait a few months for them to be dried properly. They had just been flitch-cut when I purchased them.
    The problem was that I had orders for Basses in Figured Walnut that would be delayed due to this material shortage. Most of my customers agreed to try this 'Shedua' that was nicely flamed and not too different in color.
    It was a hard sell but we managed to use up several hundred bd.ft. of Shedua and get back to Walnut 'only' as our dark 'Figured' wood choice.
    A couple of years later, we started getting calls for Shedua after 'pulling teeth' to get rid of it in the first place.
    I went shopping (not at the local mall.....lol) for some more of this 'Flamed' Shedua only to find out that it was very rare to find Shedua with figure. I found only 93 bd.ft. at one exotic wood supplier.
    In 1993, I introduced the BMT model Bass. The neck spec was Maple/Bubinga/Shedua. I purchased 100 bd.ft. of plain un-figured Shedua (as I was told the material was just plain) and started surfacing the wood shortly after receiving it to make the necks. One of my workers came to me and said some of the boards (2 out of 6 he was processing) were figured and what should he do with them. I told him to put them aside and we will use them for Body Tops.
    Within about a year we had processed all the Shedua and found almost 50% of it to be figured. For you wood guys all the boards were 4/4, 6" wide and about 13'3" (4 meters long, metric scale).
    Half way through the Shedua, I called the supplier to order more so I could make more necks as well as pull the figured boards for Body Tops when he told me this: " Ken, we had 7,000 bd.ft. when you first called a few months ago for the Shedua. We had been sitting on this for years without any movement on the species. A contractor in Colorado doing an office building needed a dark wood for flooring so we dumped the Shedua to get rid of it in one shot, all 7,000 ft."

    This goes to further prove that Shedua was not commonly used in the late 80s or early 90s. Still to this day, it is only found on occasion as it's usage and demand is limited as compared to other exotics.
    We currently have about 450 bd.ft. of Shedua in stock. I have pulled out about 100 bf.ft with Figure for Body Tops and will sell the rest to one of my wood customers.
    For more on Shedua and how we use it, go here;http://www.kensmithbasses.com/woodpages/shedua.html
  20. Saint


    Mar 2, 2000
    DC - USA
    I think a lot of the older Wal basses were Shedua and I think they are still using it.

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