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Mango Body

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by StuBass, Feb 9, 2004.

  1. StuBass


    Dec 27, 2003
    I started this post in another section and thought it might be more appropriate here. I've had a crazy thought to use Mango as the body wood on my home made bass, any thoughts?
  2. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    If you can get the stuff cheaply and easily (i.e. you are in Hawaii) and it's not a threatened species, then I'd say go for it. I don't know the working properties of the wood but I wouldn't think it would be too heavy.
  3. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    doesn't Hoyt use mango ? Personally I 've been trying to find sassafras to use. Think maybe I found it out in western Pa but not sure.
  4. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    Here's Karl's mango-topped bass that he built for Bob Gollihur:


    You can read Bob's comments on it here:
    http://www.gollihur.com/bass.html (about halfway down the page).
  5. hoytbasses


    Mar 30, 2003
    Cape Cod
    I build stringed instruments.......
    yes, I've built two basses using curly mango faces: one of my customers/friends is a fellow living in Kailua Hi and he does the taxes of a wood merchant there. I got it from him/her. I can probably get you her phone number. back in 1997 when I built his bass, she was not computer friendly......maybe that has changed.

    it's a very different grain than, say, curly maple or curly koa. I think that the swirls in the grain look like Van Gogh's 'starry night' sky. and it doesn't have quite the 3d appearrance of other figured woods....... it has a tap-tone similar to a figured maple but a little less dense. it works o.k. if you keep your tools sharp (as with all figured woods) and smells nice when machined. it took finish well (rubbed-on oil/poly on gollihur's, water based lacquer on the other one.) BOTH basses I built with it had really solid fundamental notes and good sustain. BG's is mahogany back and the other was northern ash back.

    the wood is creamy colored and seems to get more and more golden as it ages. while I liked it, and it's very distinctive, I don't think I'm going to get any more of it. you can e-mail me off list if you have other questions. It might be cool to build a bass of solid curly mango: that might be pretty wild. I don't know if it takes a stain but I suspect that it would/

    but most of all, have fun!

    Karl Hoyt

    p.s........ I seriously doubt that it's endangered since it's the trees that mango's come from. Also, as fate would have it, my friend saw #2 on e-bay (being offered by someone else) and snapped it up. with passive Jazz pickups it barks like a junkyard dog!
  6. Garey

    Garey Supporting Member Commercial User

    Apr 23, 2003
    Northern California
    Artist Relations/Product Specialist: Mesa Boogie
    Mango wood can be quite nice when used for instrument tops.....and also for ukulele's, as the sound properties are good. Mango wood is anything but a threatened species....its all over, and huge trees come down occassionally as they just get too big! Certain trees can end up with gorgeous figuring...

    Check here: http://www.curlykoa.com/woods/mango.html

    Email me if you need a contact for hawaiian hardwoods...I've got a couple sources for great stuff

    Aloha, Garey
  7. StuBass


    Dec 27, 2003
    Thanks for everyone's input.
    The reason I chose mango actually is because I thought it would be cheap. I'm From northern Australia where every second house has a big mango tree in it's yard!

    I've seen it used in wood carving outside guitar building and it looks very nice. The biggest gamble would be the tone.
  8. StuBass


    Dec 27, 2003
    1 more question about the mango(or is that 2).
    It should be easy to find a slab of it somewhere close to me, but which way should the slab be cut i.e. cross-section of tree or vertical slab. And how can I tell if it will sound better than another slab of the same wood. I've heard of tone-tapping wood but am unsure of what I am looking for!
    It may be a home made bass but I want it to sound A1!
  9. hoytbasses


    Mar 30, 2003
    Cape Cod
    I build stringed instruments.......
    ask the lumber person for a 'quarter sawn' piece: what this means is that the growth rings will be nearly vertical when you look at the end of the board. this is the strongest and/or most stable.

    Tap tone refers to taking a knuckle and tapping on a board to see how it sounds: your best bet is to find a variety of different boards and start tapping on them. some will have a dull thud of a sound, others will ring nicely. you want to find a board with a really nice ring to it. but don't sweat it too much if you don't have that IF the piece has good color and figure: I found that the tap tone of the pieces of curly mango that I had were'nt reamarkable, though the basses I built out of them were quite good sounding.

    on the whole, a bass made of nice wood with a light finish is going to sound better than any factory-made bass which is glopped with polyester.... you'll end up with anice sounding bass.

    if this is your first effort, I would suggest getting an inexpensive board to practice on prior to carving up and ruining a really nice piece of wood.

    have a great week

    Karl Hoyt

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