Wood Specifications

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Omsong
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Wood Specifications

Postby Omsong » Wed Aug 14, 2019 9:57 pm

I put together a woods specs. spreadsheet that might help you make a decision about wood selection. The first chart is sorted by weight, second by hardness. Hardness might be a better indication of sonic performance. It might also indicate which woods would provide the hardest fretboard material.
WoodSpecs.jpg
WoodSpecs1.jpg
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Last edited by Omsong on Fri Aug 16, 2019 11:17 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby Srini » Thu Aug 15, 2019 4:40 pm

That is an incredibly useful piece of work! Thank you!

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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby Omsong » Fri Aug 16, 2019 11:02 am

Srini wrote:That is an incredibly useful piece of work! Thank you!

Srini


You're welcome. I frequently wonder how much heavier a particular body wood would be to alder, for example, or how does the hardness of another fretboard wood compare to maple, etc. This chart helps to answer those kinds of questions. Percentage or ratio differences would be helpful, too. For example, an ash body would be 1.5 times (or 50% heavier) than Alder (swamp ash might be significantly lighter than white ash). Of course, any given piece of wood can vary greatly, but, generally speaking...

I was also surprised at how soft limba is!
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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby UnexplodedCow » Wed Aug 21, 2019 9:19 am

It wouldn't be bad to add in a neck section as well as add a couple more woods that are options: bloodwood and cocobolo.
We are entitled to our own, wrong, opinions.

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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby Omsong » Wed Aug 21, 2019 6:42 pm

UnexplodedCow wrote:It wouldn't be bad to add in a neck section as well as add a couple more woods that are options: bloodwood and cocobolo.


Good suggestions; I'll work on it when I get a chance (after the grandkids go home for the evening - :lol: ).
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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby Omsong » Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:47 pm

Another good source: LINK
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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby Srini » Sun Sep 01, 2019 7:18 am

Very nice! This validates my decision to use a mahogany neck for balance purposes, as well as a rosewood board, although the amounts of wood are so small in this case. Thanks very much!

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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby UnexplodedCow » Sun Sep 01, 2019 10:55 am

I've never encountered any Carvin or Kiesel with a balance issue. They are either balanced at the forward strap button, or further back, even headless models with heavy woods.
We are entitled to our own, wrong, opinions.

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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby Omsong » Sun Sep 01, 2019 2:32 pm

Srini wrote:Very nice! This validates my decision to use a mahogany neck for balance purposes, as well as a rosewood board, although the amounts of wood are so small in this case. Thanks very much!
Srini


It is surprising (to me) that genuine mahog is actually 30% lighter than hard maple, and hardly any heavier than alder. So choosing a hog body over alder will add hardly any additional weight to a guitar. (Of course, there can be a great variety in density and weight between any two pieces of wood of the same species, so it's a bit of a crap shoot as to what you'll end up with!)
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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby spudmunkey » Sun Sep 01, 2019 3:27 pm

Some types of mahogany are heavier than others. In my own experience, the cheaper the wood, the heavier it is. While Les pauls are often heavy, they also just simply have more wood than a stratocaster.

In his Q and A videos, whenever people ask about the lightest combination of woods, Jeff's answer is usually a swamp ash body, with a mahogany neck.

I wonder if the ash that is on that chart is the type of ash that is normally used for baseball bats, which is supposedly heavier than the Southern swamp ash that Kiesel uses. All I know is, the regular solid ash that we normally provide for one of my customers for their desktops, is darn near as heavy as Hickory.

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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby HarlowTheFish » Sun Sep 01, 2019 6:32 pm

Northern Hard Ash AKA White Ash (the baseball bat kind) is crazy heavy and super dense. Southern Swamp Ash can be really dense or really light, it depends on the part of the tree it comes from (the light stuff comes from the bottom of the tree, and ends up underwater for long periods while the tree grows, while the heavy stuff is what sticks out of the water).

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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby Srini » Sun Sep 01, 2019 7:05 pm

HarlowTheFish wrote:Northern Hard Ash AKA White Ash (the baseball bat kind) is crazy heavy and super dense. Southern Swamp Ash can be really dense or really light, it depends on the part of the tree it comes from (the light stuff comes from the bottom of the tree, and ends up underwater for long periods while the tree grows, while the heavy stuff is what sticks out of the water).


I don't know about Hard Ash, but I have a Frankenstrat with a Warmoth body and USACG neck (about 25 years old at this point). The body is a gorgeous one-piece swamp ash specimen, and it weighs practically nothing. Even a little guy like me can strap it on and forget I'm wearing a guitar. The best of it, though, is that you can feel it resonate against your ribs when you play.

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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby Srini » Sun Sep 01, 2019 7:08 pm

Omsong wrote:
Srini wrote:Very nice! This validates my decision to use a mahogany neck for balance purposes, as well as a rosewood board, although the amounts of wood are so small in this case. Thanks very much!
Srini


It is surprising (to me) that genuine mahog is actually 30% lighter than hard maple, and hardly any heavier than alder. So choosing a hog body over alder will add hardly any additional weight to a guitar. (Of course, there can be a great variety in density and weight between any two pieces of wood of the same species, so it's a bit of a crap shoot as to what you'll end up with!)


I have an alder USACG strat that is significantly heavier than my swamp ash strat, and noticeably heavier than a chambered mahogany/redwood USACG strat. Many moons ago I had a real Fender Strat Plus, which was just a shade lighter than a Les Paul. So, I'm not completely sold on the lightness of alder.

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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby UnexplodedCow » Sun Sep 01, 2019 7:29 pm

I've had light and heavy ash bodies on carvins. My Z6X is around 7 pounds, so not light for its size. That's fine by me. My Bolt+C is 12+ pounds, and the body wood is the heaviest piece of ash I've encountered in an instrument. But that guitar has some crazy resonance and sustain. My old DC135T was pretty light, around 7ish pounds with an ash body.

Swamp ash (southern soft) is just highly variable in the same tree. Personally, I like heavy ash, as it has more mineral inclusions, and will take more abuse, plus have less sympathetic vibration. The weight is the tradeoff.

I also find Mahogany more durable in some ways. While screws will strip out more easily, it's less affected by weather changes. My V6 is made from mahogany and maple. I also like what mahogany does to nightburst finish.
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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby Srini » Mon Sep 02, 2019 4:41 am

UnexplodedCow wrote:I also find Mahogany more durable in some ways. While screws will strip out more easily, it's less affected by weather changes. My V6 is made from mahogany and maple. I also like what mahogany does to nightburst finish.


I just love the tone of mahogany.

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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby UnexplodedCow » Mon Sep 02, 2019 7:35 am

Srini wrote:
UnexplodedCow wrote:I also find Mahogany more durable in some ways. While screws will strip out more easily, it's less affected by weather changes. My V6 is made from mahogany and maple. I also like what mahogany does to nightburst finish.


I just love the tone of mahogany.


In an acoustic, I do, too, but I don't believe in tonewood in a solidbody electric. The electric components have far too much tolerance to reliably say a wood species sounds good or not. Wood is even more variable even from the same tree. I chose different woods for weight, aesthetic, feel, or construction differences. I've worked on many guitars over the years, and experimented even more with my own. In the end, I stopped believing in tonewood. But some of it is really pretty. I love Ash under a tinted clearcoat. The rawtone finish feels so comfortable to play, but I never bought into it changing the instrument's sound in any appreciable way.

My advice is functionality and durability first, aesthetics second. My last guitar was built with function in mine, including the color choice (transparent pink). Body is ash, with cocobolo neck. It's a Z6X, and I have seen too many cracked post holes for vibratos, so I wanted a more durable wood. The neck choice was due to wanting a heavy, dense piece of wood that is unlikely to change, and effect sustain as little as possible. The pink color is unique and fairly anti-theft.
We are entitled to our own, wrong, opinions.

Guitar theorem: G=X+1 where G= guitars one needs, and X = guitars one has.

Do or do not; there is no understand.

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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby Omsong » Mon Sep 02, 2019 9:38 am

I suspect that the Ash that shows up in the online wood spec. charts is the run-of-the mill (no pun intended) Northern variety.
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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby Omsong » Mon Sep 02, 2019 9:44 am

UnexplodedCow wrote:My Bolt+C is 12+ pounds
:shock:

Picked up an American Standard Tele at GC (believe they have ash bodies) the other day and it felt like a cinder block. OMG; it would kill my back.
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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby Srini » Mon Sep 02, 2019 11:50 pm

UnexplodedCow wrote:
Srini wrote:
UnexplodedCow wrote:I also find Mahogany more durable in some ways. While screws will strip out more easily, it's less affected by weather changes. My V6 is made from mahogany and maple. I also like what mahogany does to nightburst finish.


I just love the tone of mahogany.


In an acoustic, I do, too, but I don't believe in tonewood in a solidbody electric. The electric components have far too much tolerance to reliably say a wood species sounds good or not. Wood is even more variable even from the same tree. I chose different woods for weight, aesthetic, feel, or construction differences. I've worked on many guitars over the years, and experimented even more with my own. In the end, I stopped believing in tonewood. But some of it is really pretty. I love Ash under a tinted clearcoat. The rawtone finish feels so comfortable to play, but I never bought into it changing the instrument's sound in any appreciable way.

My advice is functionality and durability first, aesthetics second. My last guitar was built with function in mine, including the color choice (transparent pink). Body is ash, with cocobolo neck. It's a Z6X, and I have seen too many cracked post holes for vibratos, so I wanted a more durable wood. The neck choice was due to wanting a heavy, dense piece of wood that is unlikely to change, and effect sustain as little as possible. The pink color is unique and fairly anti-theft.


Functionality is key, no doubt. I realize it's unwise to wade into a tonewood debate, but I do know this much. I have a swamp ash/maple neck and board strat and a traditional aldermaple/RW board strat; both with the same Zexcoil pickups, and I can hear a definite difference. Whether that comes down to the woods or not, who can tell, but they each seem to fit the ballpark descriptions for that combination of woods. In any event, here's a good video to demonstrate tonewood differences - I've come to like these!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7k_A8GhN0L8&t=269s

I agree with you about the effect of finish on tone. That's getting into guitar voodoo and, for me anyway, there's so much you can do with EQ while recording that minute differences, if any, are probably irrelevant.

Srini

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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby HarlowTheFish » Tue Sep 03, 2019 2:11 am

IMO it's not that wood doesn't make a difference, just that the difference between two pieces of the same wood can have a more pronounced difference than across types, so you just need to take each piece/instrument for what it is and work with its strengths.
As far as finish goes, the hardness, mass, and penetration do make a difference in resonance, which is why cheap guitars resonate like farts: they have chunky heavy poly all over. Caparison swapped finish techniques several years ago to a new kind that penetrated less and was thinner by about 0.3mm than their old type, and having tried both, there's something to it. Whether it's audible or not is going to depend on your pickups - something lightly potted or unpotted that's directly mounted to the wood will react more to the wood you have, whereas any "modern" humbucker (hot, midrangey, heavy potting) is barely going to notice any of that.


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