Pine for top of guitar?

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
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Anthony Campanella
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Re: Pine for top of guitar?

Post by Anthony Campanella » Mon Mar 07, 2016 7:13 pm

Brian McCombs wrote:Quality pine is hard to come by around here too, it must be the location....
I like the looks of yellow pine ... .
"Clear" pine is available in HD NJ - prime plain sawn with a few rift in the mix
The specialty lumber yards carry clear Qtr cedar
Long leaf yellow pine is nice - Lots of it in the SE

Scot Tremblay
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Re: Pine for top of guitar?

Post by Scot Tremblay » Mon Mar 07, 2016 8:39 pm

The Spanish and Portuguese builders in the past often used Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L) and many of the Portuguese still do for their "folk" instruments like the Viola Beiroa. I find it a lot like Carpathian Spruce or Adirondack Spruce in looks but with more pronounced and often wider growth rings, about the same weight to stiffness, a mellower tone although more glassy than most of the Spruce varieties. Pitch pockets often plague those building with pine but the Scots pine seems to be significantly less prone to these.

Here is an all Scots pine instrument (top, back, sides, neck...) in action (a Viola Beiroa)...kind of pretty sound, I think.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UoP4Fin3voI
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RedCliff
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Re: Pine for top of guitar?

Post by RedCliff » Mon Mar 07, 2016 9:06 pm

I have a couple of 'swiss pine' tops in my wood pile - or at least that is what they were labelled as by a UK luthier supplies company in 1982. But they are definitely spruce... I think.
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tom0311
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Re: Pine for top of guitar?

Post by tom0311 » Mon Mar 07, 2016 10:45 pm

I've had Swiss pine from a UK supplier as well, low grade tops bought last year.
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Michael.N.
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Re: Pine for top of guitar?

Post by Michael.N. » Mon Mar 07, 2016 10:58 pm

It was very common in the 70's to refer to spruce as Swiss pine. I'm pretty sure the Welford book refers to it as such. I even remember tonewood suppliers calling it Swiss pine. It was spruce of course. All adds to the confusion. Perhaps if a real piece of pine came out of Switzerland they would call it Swiss spruce, just to p us all off.
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printer2
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Re: Pine for top of guitar?

Post by printer2 » Tue Mar 08, 2016 2:52 am

Brian McCombs wrote:Quality pine is hard to come by around here too, it must be the location. Most of the stuff they sell on the higher grade racks at Home Depot or Lowes in my neighborhood is good by pine standards but its not all that great, they must sell the higher grades off to someplace else.

I like the looks of yellow pine if you can get good clean examples of it. It develops a very nice golden brown patina once it ages.
I search through the high grad racks every time I end up at our big box stores. Most of the time there is nothing useful for us but every once in a while there is the odd decent piece. Seems I can't pass them up if I do see them.

Image

A couple of the 9"x8' ones in the picture, I left a couple in the store.

Image

Plan on using the stuff for soundboard testing and possibly laminating on the inside of the sides. The guitar in the picture was a test of baking wood, found you can see the difference between the spruce and the pine, more deposits on the surface of the pine. Or at least that is my theory for now. Some of the narrower ones have a grain count that looks to be double the ones in the picture.
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Marshall Dixon
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Re: Pine for top of guitar?

Post by Marshall Dixon » Wed Mar 09, 2016 7:54 pm

sugar pine 1.jpg
This big sugar pine was infested with the pine bark weevil that is decimating the forests in southern Oregon. My friend had hundreds of boards that were milled into 1' X 12" X 16' pieces. I was helping him install some shelves with this wood when I tapped on a piece and noted it's nice, bell like ring. I went through the pile and found all the vertical grained boards I could.

The Wood Database lists the characteristics for hardness, stiffness, stability, etc as between cedar and spruce.

from The Wood Database (http://www.wood-database.com)

"Pinus lambertiana

Comments: Sugar Pine is the largest of all species of pine, attaining heights of over 200 feet; it’s sheer size, coupled with its thick and massive branches, have lead some botanists to also describe it as the most majestic species of pine as well.
The wood of Sugar Pine is classified as white pine: this group is sometimes called soft pine, in contrast to the harder yellow pines found in the eastern United States. (The other two primary soft pine species are Eastern White Pine and Western White Pine.) Sugar Pine is significantly lighter and weaker than the species of Southern Yellow Pine, though it has excellent dimensional stability, and is frequently used in the production of patterns/templates and applications where stability is important."
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Doug Ingram
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Re: Pine for top of guitar?

Post by Doug Ingram » Wed Mar 09, 2016 8:12 pm

Pine can make excellent tops! A few years ago I made aan FE17 using Eastern White PIne, it turned ouot very well and I would duse iti again should opportunity present itself.

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=47175&hilit=doug+i ... 17#p507616

Jim Frieson
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Re: Pine for top of guitar?

Post by Jim Frieson » Thu Mar 10, 2016 2:50 am

Pino abeta , Pino means spruce , abeta I assume refers ot Abies - Spanish term for spruce in which the word pine is used .
Ezo matsu , Japan Hokkaido spruce where I live - Matsu means pine . Same use of the word pine .
Pine as a term for soundboards referring to spruce .

I used pine for a few guitars . Sabicas played one of them and he said " How does he make it so sweet ? " . But maybe he was in a good mood - I don't think pine is an optimum wood for tops .

Marshall Dixon
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Re: Pine for top of guitar?

Post by Marshall Dixon » Sat Mar 12, 2016 5:47 pm

glassynails wrote:I was reading through an old "Classical Guitar Magazine" online and noticed an ad for a guitar with a "solid pine top". I never thought or have heard of a top made out of pine. Sounds interesting.
Well, you got me thinking about this wood I've had around for several years. One of the things that stopped me was the thought of having to resaw it by hand, as my bandsaw is limited to a cutting height of 6 inches. It just occurred to me to take off the top blade guide and have 7 1/2 inches of clearance.
sugar pine resaw.jpg
here it is book matched.
sugar pine bookmatch.jpg
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Brian M
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Re: Pine for top of guitar?

Post by Brian M » Sun Mar 13, 2016 9:10 pm

Michael.N. wrote:Bouchet's very first guitar had a pine soundboard. It does seem to sound a little different but not in a bad way. I quite like the sound of it. Visually the soundboard certainly has the look of pine, wide grain. What we would call a grade C soundboard. Tonewood dealers stop at grade B.

http://www.guitarsalon.com/store/p4893- ... uchet.html
Yowza, that guitar sounds sweet, especially for someone's very first guitar. I think this Bouchet guy's got potential. And the visual appearance of the top wood doesn't bother me even a tiny bit.

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Michael.N.
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Re: Pine for top of guitar?

Post by Michael.N. » Sun Mar 13, 2016 9:38 pm

I like wide grain, if only because I'm bored of looking at so many guitars with tight grain.
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Chris Sobel
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Re: Pine for top of guitar?

Post by Chris Sobel » Mon Mar 14, 2016 1:43 am

Brian M wrote:
Michael.N. wrote:Bouchet's very first guitar had a pine soundboard. It does seem to sound a little different but not in a bad way. I quite like the sound of it. Visually the soundboard certainly has the look of pine, wide grain. What we would call a grade C soundboard. Tonewood dealers stop at grade B.

http://www.guitarsalon.com/store/p4893- ... uchet.html
Yowza, that guitar sounds sweet, especially for someone's very first guitar. I think this Bouchet guy's got potential. And the visual appearance of the top wood doesn't bother me even a tiny bit.
I don't know if he'll make it though, the market is pretty saturated right now with good luthiers…
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Stephen Faulk
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Re: Pine for top of guitar?

Post by Stephen Faulk » Mon Mar 14, 2016 1:52 pm

You gonna drink that coffee? Cause if not I will.

I have a pine back and sides set saved to make an evil guitar for blind tests. I want to ask payers to see if it sounds good without knowing what is is before hand. Probably just help me make more enemies. :)
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Marshall Dixon
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Re: Pine for top of guitar?

Post by Marshall Dixon » Mon Mar 14, 2016 4:08 pm

Stephen Faulk wrote:You gonna drink that coffee? Cause if not I will.

I have a pine back and sides set saved to make an evil guitar for blind tests. I want to ask payers to see if it sounds good without knowing what is is before hand. Probably just help me make more enemies. :)
Sorry, I needed that coffee to get the rosette done. :chaud: But if you're ever in SW Oregon drop me a line and stop in for a cup. Cafe Mam. French roast.

Here's the caffeinated result. With some local western broad leaf maple that I'll use for the back and sides.
sugar pine rosette.JPG
Brian M wrote:
Michael.N. wrote:Bouchet's very first guitar had a pine soundboard. It does seem to sound a little different but not in a bad way. I quite like the sound of it. Visually the soundboard certainly has the look of pine, wide grain. What we would call a grade C soundboard. Tonewood dealers stop at grade B.

http://www.guitarsalon.com/store/p4893- ... uchet.html
Yowza, that guitar sounds sweet, especially for someone's very first guitar. I think this Bouchet guy's got potential. And the visual appearance of the top wood doesn't bother me even a tiny bit.

Sweet sound, indeed! Just what I have in mind.

Some observations regarding the wood:

After bookmatching it lays FLAT.

It planes nicely, with a smooth resulting surface. Any raised edges left by the plane blade are harder to sand out than would be in cedar or spruce - it seems to have a natural abrasion resistance and clogs sandpaper more than the others.

Unlike cedar or spruce it has open pores in the surface and will need to be filled prior to the finish.

I used an up cutting spiral router bit on a dremel tool to cut the rosette channel. This gave a clean cut, whereas with spruce or cedar, I'll use a circle cutter to scribe the inner and outer edges to prevent tearout.
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