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Solid body wood choices

Postby Anonymous » Fri Jun 15, 2012 11:25 am

Hey y'all!

I have a very old bolt-on neck from the 70s. It's actually from the very first electric guitar i ever owned which was a Hondo II Les Paul copy. The body was made of cardboard i think, and the electrics and hardware vile and cra[[y, but the neck is a lovely bit of mahogony with a rosewood board and i do likeit a lot.

I've decided to make a solid body of some shape or the other and use this neck.

I'm thinking about materials. The idea is that i have lots of hardware and bit and pieces in the odds and ends box and i'm going to do a bit of a Frankenstein, probably get some new pups though.

Now i'm looking for wood for a body, but i don't want to buy a blank, i want to use something that's laying around.

Pine? I have an old rpound pine table that could go for the chop.. any thoughts on that?

Ash? This would be British ash from the Ashdown forest (nearby) where there's been some thinning work going on, so i could get a good log. I know swamp ash is widely used, but is that so different from regular Ash and if it is, then would regular local Ash be usable.

Any thoughts would be much appreciated.
Anonymous

Re: Solid body wood choices

Postby Andy__D » Sat Jun 16, 2012 6:59 pm

Ash would be a better bet, if you can get hold of it. I tried making a guitar body out of pine once - it was a long time ago, and maybe part of my problem was poor lutherie, but it was a pretty crummy result, which eventually fell apart (literally the body split right down the middle - I think it got too dry in low humidity, and I'd been too impatient and not prepared the wood properly). My guess would be that local ash would need a little prep work, such as drying it for a while, but should make a great guitar, with a nice, full-bodied tone (ash is often used in bass bodies for this reason). Love the idea of making your guitar from necessary thinning: that's a great sustainable source, and gives the guitar a great story - good luck with the project!
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Re: Solid body wood choices

Postby Guest » Sat Jun 16, 2012 7:17 pm

Thanks man, thanks for your thoughts.
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Re: Solid body wood choices

Postby matt keen » Sun Jun 17, 2012 7:30 am

Nothing wrong with pine
The original telecasters were pine
check out Ron Kirn guitars
just uses pine exclusively I think ron kirn's web site
Its his barn busters that are pine - just checked
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Re: Solid body wood choices

Postby Guest » Sun Jun 17, 2012 11:16 am

Interesting, those Barn Busters look gorgeous.
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Re: Solid body wood choices

Postby Frisonic » Sun Jun 17, 2012 12:39 pm

OK. That was an education! I admit I was very sceptical about recommending pine in this thread (brilliant project BTW). I think its important to note that the pine being used here is not the same stuff that people use to make cheap contemporary furniture but of a more indigenous nature, and seasoned for 100 years +. All the same, I now want a Barn Buster with a Bigsby!

BTW does anybody know the reasons why Leo Fender switched from pine to ash, back in the early days between the Broadcasters and Telecasters? This is news to me.
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Re: Solid body wood choices

Postby zenguitar » Sun Jun 17, 2012 12:46 pm

Yep, pine is a fine tone wood. Not used that often because because it is vulnerable to knocks and dents. It will work as a cap on another wood too.

Ash is a very good wood. Swamp Ash is the same species but the swamp conditions make it grow faster and is a less dense wood.

Walnut, fruitwoods, Sycamore are all established tonewoods that you can find in the UK. However, whatever you choose, you need to make sure that the wood has properly dried out and seasoned before working with it. If you do get a suitable piece, you need it to be a couple of inches oversized in all directions. Put it somewhere on some thin sticks to get airflow all around, and in a shed/garage or under cover outdoors. It might take a few months to dry out, and once you start working it it might need to settle again.

I would go to your local timber yard and pick a nice piece of wood that has seasoned naturally over a couple of years or has been properly kiln dried. It will save you a lot of time in the long run unless you are happy to wait and have somewhere suitable to season the woods you can pick up.

Andy :beamup:
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Re: Solid body wood choices

Postby Guest » Sun Jun 17, 2012 4:26 pm

Thanks. I saw some olive-wood bodies, they look absolutely lovely. Ever heard any of those?
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Re: Solid body wood choices

Postby zenguitar » Sun Jun 17, 2012 5:07 pm

I think I recall seeing some of those a few years ago and I am fairly sure that olive wood is used in some Greek and Turkish instruments. Certainly looks good, and as it's a fruit wood I'd think it would certainly be worth a try.

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Re: Solid body wood choices

Postby russ123 » Sun Jun 17, 2012 9:52 pm

Olive is in the same family as ash believe it or not, along with lilac and jasmine.

Swamp ash or green ash is the species Fraxinus pennsylvania whilst white ash is the species Fraxinus americana. The former generally grows in the mid to southern areas whereas the latter in the mid to northern but not exclusively. These are the main species but no doubt others are used and sold using the name ash.
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Re: Solid body wood choices

Postby Frisonic » Tue Jun 19, 2012 11:49 am

I'm sure there is a very good reason, like it sounds awful or is too hard or something, but why isn't hickory used much by guitar makers? After all it is abundant and indigenous to north America, being the hardest hardwood that grows there. Its a wood of choice for drum sticks, partly for its tonal qualities. There were a few Gibsons I stumbled upon just cruising the internet for 'hickory guitars'. Certainly the bodies if not the necks. So its not impossible, but its not popular! Anybody got any idea why?
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