Padauk or Mahogany build

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by hopsbb, Dec 18, 2014.

  1. hopsbb


    Nov 8, 2014
    So I'm contemplating taking the plunge and doing my own build.

    I've been trying to decide on what exactly I want to put together.

    Been really wanting a longhorn for awhile but not to keen on Danelectro and it being hollow body.

    Would really like to do a fenderbird.

    And just for kicks a battle axe.,Gene Simmons style.

    I've got about 10 board ft of 8/4 mahogany and padauk with a little walnut and zebrawood.Just wondering which if either would be preferable over the other.
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2014
  2. JayGunn

    JayGunn Supporting Member

    Jan 24, 2010
    Chapel Hill NC
    Padauk is a wonderful wood for stiffness and stability (with well known dust and staining issues). And it must be a 'tonewood' since there's a site that discusses using it as marimba bars. But it's heavier than maple. So I'd consider it as a neck wood, but not a super thick baseball bat of a neck, but if you use it for a body you'll probably want to chamber it.

    In comparison zebrawood looks great but isn't all that stable.

    Mahogany is not particularly stiff, but it does work for necks (and bodies of course), and is ultimate in stability if you have a straight grained piece.

    One option: mahogany neck and body with a zebrawood cap. Maybe a pair of padauk stringers in the neck. Or use the padauk for the neck.
    Another option: mahogany neck and body with a padauk cap, especially if you have a piece of padauk with a nice stripey look to it.
    For a different color set: Walnut neck and body with zebrawood front (and back? good for balance from the expansion/contraction point of view to match front and back). Colors would go nicely together.

    Plenty of other possibilities according to your taste, but I'm not sure for myself I'd mix mahogany and walnut, two wonderful woods. I don't think I'd like the color contrast. But YMMV. The only think I think you should rule out is to make a zebrawood neck.

    I'll sub and be interested to see what you end up going with. Those are some pretty noble woods to choose from.

    ImNotJoel and hopsbb like this.
  3. ImNotJoel


    Jan 12, 2014
    I am no builder I mainly lurk here getting inspiration and knowledge for the day I gather the tools and parts. As a player one of my favorite wood combos is mahogany body and padauk neck, go for it.
    hopsbb likes this.