Life after rosewood

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
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Gorn
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Re: Life after rosewood

Post by Gorn » Fri May 05, 2017 6:57 am

In my experience, Ziricote is the best sounding wood I ever played. I don't know, if it's very rare or in danger of being extinct, but the sound - for my ears - is far better than rosewood. I've taken part in Hanika's "Test-the-best" project, where 24 "identically" built spruce top guitars were combined with 24 different backs & sides. There was - amongst others - Indian and Madagascar Rosewood, Pau Ferro, Cocobolo, Ziricote, some middle european fruit trees, Maple, Cypress, Koa, Imbuya, Wenge, African Blackwood, Red Gum Tree and some I can't remember. I. & M. Rosewood was loud, but the midrange frequencies were underrepresented, kinda HiFi-Sound (maybe other strings would have helped, it was the SAVAREZ blue/red carbon mix set). Cocobolo was a little better, Pau Ferro a little more but: Ziricote beat them all. Perfectly balanced sound, no lacks, no peaks, very assertive. The sound of maple was very close, but with a little less dynamic range (was my 4th choice after Pau Ferro). But: my second choice after Ziricote was Koa, which sounded a bit more aggressive (little peak at 2 kHz) than Ziricote.

simonm
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Re: Life after rosewood

Post by simonm » Fri May 05, 2017 8:52 am

My next guitars will all be mainly cypress, walnut or maple. Simple. I haven't bought rose wood for 6 or 7 years and swopped the last one I bought for something else.

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rojarosguitar
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Re: Life after rosewood

Post by rojarosguitar » Fri May 05, 2017 10:12 am

My dear friend Sebastian Stenzel ventures into alternatives to RW long since, and I personally like to play his maple guitars more than anything in rosewood I have played. Also a guitar made from walnut he had built recently was (to my ears at least) absolutely on par with all RW. Recently he also sent a witty pear (sorb tree) and another made from quilted maple guitars of stunning beauti and sound qualities over to GSI...

I think, apart from habits, there there is no reason to whine about rosewood slowly disappearing from luthiery.
Music is a big continent with different landscapes and corners. Some of them I do visit frequently, some from time to time and some I know from hearsay only ...

Douglass Scott
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Re: Life after rosewood

Post by Douglass Scott » Fri May 05, 2017 5:13 pm

rojarosguitar wrote:
Fri May 05, 2017 10:12 am
My dear friend Sebastian Stenzel ventures into alternatives to RW long since, and I personally like to play his maple guitars more than anything in rosewood I have played. Also a guitar made from walnut he had built recently was (to my ears at least) absolutely on par with all RW. Recently he also sent a witty pear (sorb tree) and another made from quilted maple guitars of stunning beauti and sound qualities over to GSI...

I think, apart from habits, there there is no reason to whine about rosewood slowly disappearing from luthiery.
Hi Robert,
Do you know what Stenzel used for bridges on these instruments? Being attached to a rather traditional design paradigm myself, the most difficult piece to substitute is the bridge.

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attila57
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Re: Life after rosewood

Post by attila57 » Fri May 05, 2017 5:42 pm

Hi there,

Talking about life after rosewood, have you ever thought of what world may come after cocobolo, maple, spruce, cedar, even boxwood? I guess the world of plywood. And after plywood? The world of man-made stuff... And will that be environmentally friendlier than wood? If yes, why don't we only make such guitars now? If no, why do we rush towards that direction? I think, we should make fewer instruments, but only the best quality stuff. Anything but that is worthless scrap, and as such, pure waste. Just think: the sheer amount of guitars available actually makes the guitar as such, within easy reach to everyone, less valuable.

Another thing: in the old days people had one guitar. Now everyone has lots, and no one's ever satisfied, and never ever will be. So what's the point of making new instruments, especially inferior ones? :?: Using thousands of tons of scrap to produce similarly worthless scrap, destroying nature in the process... I think it is mass production that threatens the future of the guitar. If only hand-made, quality instruments were built, guitars would be more expensive, luthiers would prosper, people would have fewer, better guitars, probably they would be more satisfied and less scrap would be produced. Actually, I prefer breathing new life into old, discarded or forgotten instruments. There's so many out there...

BTW, the shown instrument looks great. :bravo:

Attila, worried about the future of the guitar and the musical instruments in general.
Music to hear, why hear'st thou music sadly?
Sweets with sweets war not, joy delights in joy...

William Shakespeare, Sonnet 8

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Waddy Thomson
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Re: Life after rosewood

Post by Waddy Thomson » Fri May 05, 2017 6:28 pm

Here is a Walnut/Cedar with Walnut neck. One of my best guitars ever.
Image
Image
Image

Sycamore
Image

Padauk
Image
Waddy

Link to Build Albums - See Profile

bftobin
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Re: Life after rosewood

Post by bftobin » Fri May 05, 2017 7:49 pm

I think price has a lot to do with perception. Back in the early 1970's, Brazilian rosewood cost $2.00 more than Indian and the main consideration was visual appearance. Around $10.00 to $12.00 per set. There were no different grades. Any rift, flat or irregularity in grain and it was firewood. There were a lot of really bad Braz. rosewood guitars.
If Padauk, Bubbinga, and Ovangkol were $350.00 a set, they would suddenly sound a lot better. Lol. I'm reminded of someone asking Sergei De Yonge
what his favorite wood to build with was. Hi answer ? "The kind that grows on trees".

Brent

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Paul Janssen
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Re: Life after rosewood

Post by Paul Janssen » Fri May 05, 2017 10:54 pm

She's looks beautiful Trevor. I'm a huge fan of Australian Blackwood for guitars. The luthier who made my steel string (he is well know to you Trevor - until recently was based in Melbourne and his initials are P C-C) uses Blackwood a lot in his guitars. He also builds very highly regarded ukuleles out of Blackwood.
Douglass Scott wrote:
Fri May 05, 2017 5:13 pm
Hi Robert,
Do you know what Stenzel used for bridges on these instruments? Being attached to a rather traditional design paradigm myself, the most difficult piece to substitute is the bridge.
Hi Douglass, the bridge and fretboard on my steel string guitar were made out of an Australian species called mulga (acacia aneura). I don't know whether it would work in classical guitars. There could also be a little pushback because aesthetically it is a lighter colour than rosewood. However, it's supposed to have a similar density to Ebony? Perhaps that would make it too heavy for bridges? Trevor you could probably comment better on this?

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Trevor Gore
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Re: Life after rosewood

Post by Trevor Gore » Sat May 06, 2017 1:09 am

Paul Janssen wrote:
Fri May 05, 2017 10:54 pm
She's looks beautiful Trevor. I'm a huge fan of Australian Blackwood for guitars.
Thanks, Paul. I think Aus. blackwood is a fine wood for any type of guitar and could easily become the new standard material replacing the rosewoods. Functionally, it's properties overlap those of the rosewoods, so the only difference is the colour!
Paul Janssen wrote:
Fri May 05, 2017 10:54 pm
Hi Douglass, the bridge and fretboard on my steel string guitar were made out of an Australian species called mulga (acacia aneura). I don't know whether it would work in classical guitars. There could also be a little pushback because aesthetically it is a lighter colour than rosewood. However, it's supposed to have a similar density to Ebony? Perhaps that would make it too heavy for bridges? Trevor you could probably comment better on this?
There are quite a lot of timbers beyond the rosewoods that are suitable for classical bridges. I tend to avoid the higher density timbers (e.g. mulga, gidgee to name a couple of Aus woods). I've used American black walnut, Aus. Queensland walnut, padauk and of course Aus. blackwood, amongst others. The bridge on the guitar featured at the top of this thread is made from American black walnut, and weighs in around 12 grms. It has some CF reinforcement in there and bushings on the tie holes.

Here's a figured blackwood bridge on a cedar top:

Cedar neo top.jpg

This one is stained walnut (QLD, iirc) on a redwood top:

DSCF8957s.jpg
(with another alternative B&S wood).
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Trevor Gore: Classical Guitar Design and Build

mmapag
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Re: Life after rosewood

Post by mmapag » Sat May 06, 2017 1:30 am

rojarosguitar wrote:
Fri May 05, 2017 10:12 am
My dear friend Sebastian Stenzel ventures into alternatives to RW long since, and I personally like to play his maple guitars more than anything in rosewood I have played. Also a guitar made from walnut he had built recently was (to my ears at least) absolutely on par with all RW. Recently he also sent a witty pear (sorb tree) and another made from quilted maple guitars of stunning beauti and sound qualities over to GSI...

I think, apart from habits, there there is no reason to whine about rosewood slowly disappearing from luthiery.
I agree with Simon and Robert. I think Maple, Cypress and Walnut are wonderful alternatives to RW. Although some dispute this, the back and side wood is a minor factor in the overall sound of a guitar in the hands of a good luthier. It's all about RW and tradition. But back 100 or more years ago, cypress and maple were probably the most often used.
Last edited by mmapag on Sun May 07, 2017 5:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
'13 Esteve 7 SM
'75 Takamine 132 S
'99 G.V. Rubio Estudio, Cedar, Palo Escrito

mmapag
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Re: Life after rosewood

Post by mmapag » Sat May 06, 2017 1:35 am

Waddy Thomson wrote:
Fri May 05, 2017 6:28 pm
Here is a Walnut/Cedar with Walnut neck. One of my best guitars ever.
Image
Image
Image

Sycamore
Image

Padauk
Image
Love the look of the walnut with the Sapwood! Glad to hear it sounds great
'13 Esteve 7 SM
'75 Takamine 132 S
'99 G.V. Rubio Estudio, Cedar, Palo Escrito

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rojarosguitar
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Re: Life after rosewood

Post by rojarosguitar » Sat May 06, 2017 10:22 am

Douglass Scott wrote:
Fri May 05, 2017 5:13 pm

Hi Robert,
Do you know what Stenzel used for bridges on these instruments? Being attached to a rather traditional design paradigm myself, the most difficult piece to substitute is the bridge.
I know for sure that he often uses non-rosewood material for bridges, but I can't precisely remember what, and also I'm not sure if he would want me to talk about it. But I can ask if he's willing to share that. I know that he prefers lighter (in terms of weight) bridges recently (though not always). The bridge of my recently acquired maple/spruce Stenzel is made from Madagascar RW.
Music is a big continent with different landscapes and corners. Some of them I do visit frequently, some from time to time and some I know from hearsay only ...

Douglass Scott
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Re: Life after rosewood

Post by Douglass Scott » Sun May 07, 2017 5:11 pm

rojarosguitar wrote:
Sat May 06, 2017 10:22 am
I know for sure that he often uses non-rosewood material for bridges, but I can't precisely remember what, and also I'm not sure if he would want me to talk about it. But I can ask if he's willing to share that. I know that he prefers lighter (in terms of weight) bridges recently (though not always). The bridge of my recently acquired maple/spruce Stenzel is made from Madagascar RW.
Thanks Robert. I'd be very interested to know what non-rosewood species Stenzel uses for bridges. But it's considerate of you and I certainly understand if he'd rather not have it blabbed about.
Paul Janssen wrote:
Fri May 05, 2017 10:54 pm
Hi Douglass, the bridge and fretboard on my steel string guitar were made out of an Australian species called mulga (acacia aneura). I don't know whether it would work in classical guitars. There could also be a little pushback because aesthetically it is a lighter colour than rosewood. However, it's supposed to have a similar density to Ebony? Perhaps that would make it too heavy for bridges? Trevor you could probably comment better on this?
I know almost nothing about the woods you have in Australia, but considering the range of climates I'd bet there are a fair number of good prospects for guitars. I love non-rosewood backs and sides, but for traditional bridges have been challenged trying to make walnut, torrefied maple, or anything else local fit the bill. I'll get there. Ecologically the motivation is there, it's nice to see and chat about what other makers are doing. Very nice work Trevor and Waddy.

Alan Carruth
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Re: Life after rosewood

Post by Alan Carruth » Sun May 07, 2017 6:37 pm

I've used a lot of American black walnut for bridges. It may not be quite as strong as a rosewood, but since it has lower density you can make the bridge a bit wider, with a deeper tieblock, which gets the strength back and can still keep the weight down below rosewood. It also has the advantage of a larger and deeper gluing surface on the top, so it's less likely to peel up, particularly on cedar and redwood, which have low peel strength.

Some years ago I built an almost-matched pair of Classical guitars using BRW and oak for the B&S. They were not all that different in sound. The quartered oak back had curly grain, which made it denser and less stiff along the grain than it could have been, and it ended up a bit heavier than the rosewood one. This may have contributed to slightly lower mobility of the top in the rather simple measurement I was able to make at the time (no computer!). The oak guitar also seemed to have a bit less output in the high treble range, which could possibly be attributed to the higher damping of the back wood. Over all, though, they may have been about as 'alike' as any two I've made since from 'matched' wood. Given the price differential between the woods used I wondered at the time if it was really worth it, and that differential has just increased in the 20 years since. You can read about it in the Catgut Acoustical Society 'Journal', Vol. 3, #5, pp24-28, May of '98.

cfxguitar
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Re: Life after rosewood

Post by cfxguitar » Thu May 11, 2017 3:45 am

Beautiful guitar! I'm a newbie luthier and definitely curious about life after rosewood - also, terrific website! the Falcate bracing concept is very intriguing!
Regards,
Christian Nguyen

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