All North American wood guitar questions

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
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tateharmann
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Re: All North American wood guitar questions

Post by tateharmann » Fri Sep 15, 2017 6:32 pm

It's looking like pine is slowly gaining popularity - GSI just got a Blochinger in pine and there are is a vid of Mr. Romero playing it. I don't think its North American pine...but it's pine nonetheless :)

Update - it's pine from 1492!
"Speed is the enemy of emotion." - Emilio Pujol Vilarrubi

Marshall Dixon
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Re: All North American wood guitar questions

Post by Marshall Dixon » Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:32 pm

tateharmann wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 6:32 pm
It's looking like pine is slowly gaining popularity - GSI just got a Blochinger in pine and there are is a vid of Mr. Romero playing it. I don't think its North American pine...but it's pine nonetheless :)

Update - it's pine from 1492!
From 1492! That is slow to gain popularity.

If we look at selecting a top where mass, stiffness, stability, vertical grain, no runout are the issues then the only criterion that would be considered "incorrect" would be the cosmetic. The preconception of how a guitar should look is a big issue. I've heard the admonition to not use anything but spruce/EI rosewood because they make the "best" guitars.

I heard my guitar played in a duet with a cypress/spruce flamenco. I closed my eyes and couldn't distinguish which was which.

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tateharmann
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Re: All North American wood guitar questions

Post by tateharmann » Sat Sep 16, 2017 1:09 am

I agree with you there - people have certain expectations of what a classical guitar should be built of but I would bet that in a blind audio test most wouldn't be able to tell different woods apart. It seems as people are starting to accept alternative wood for the B+S but not so much yet for the top. I have a guitar that is wenge back and sides and really love it. I see many other builders using it as well - as for the top...it's still mostly spruce, cedar, and the occasional redwood. Here's a look at that pine top salvaged from a beam that was used in 1492:
pine.jpg
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Brian M
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Re: All North American wood guitar questions

Post by Brian M » Sun Sep 24, 2017 11:47 pm

Somewhat tangential to classical guitars per se, but when I stopped into my local large-chain guitar retailer, I noticed quite a few steel-strings from the better mass-market manufacturers with tops made of spruce with quite a bit of "character", and you know what, once I adjusted my eyes a little they started looking good to me. It's largely a matter of taste and fashion and what we're used to. That 1492 pine Blochinger looks really good to me, and if you haven't yet looked up the videos (on a large West Coast retailer's site), you should: the guitar sounds beautiful. I would gladly take it off their hands if they can't find anyone else who wants it!

Brian M
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Re: All North American wood guitar questions

Post by Brian M » Sun Sep 24, 2017 11:48 pm

Brian M wrote:
Sun Sep 24, 2017 11:47 pm
Somewhat tangential to classical guitars per se, but when I stopped into my local large-chain guitar retailer, I noticed quite a few steel-strings from the better mass-market manufacturers with tops made of spruce with quite a bit of "character", and you know what, once I adjusted my eyes a little they started looking good to me. It's largely a matter of taste and fashion and what we're used to. That 1492 pine Blochinger looks really good to me, and if you haven't yet looked up the videos (on a well-known West Coast retailer's site), you should: the guitar sounds beautiful. I would gladly take it off their hands if they can't find anyone else who wants it!

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tateharmann
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Re: All North American wood guitar questions

Post by tateharmann » Mon Sep 25, 2017 1:46 am

I think it was already on hold even before it arrived to their store haha!
"Speed is the enemy of emotion." - Emilio Pujol Vilarrubi

Ben B
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Re: All North American wood guitar questions

Post by Ben B » Sun Nov 05, 2017 8:03 pm

I think the reference to ostrya virginiana previously mentioned, is somewhat mixed up with ostrya carolinia.
I recently aquired some small ostrya virg. logs, and its an "ironwood" where the bark is similar in appearance to that of cedar. Also called "hophornbeam". The musclewood "name", i believe goes with the other local "ironwood", ostrya caroliniana. Which has smooth bark. On that note...I recently confused this with some serviceberry(shadbush,juneberry), that I found. I am quite tempted to make my bridge from the serviceberry(i think ive got downy serviceberry)...
Here's a pic of the hophornbeam and serviceberry.. ..
hophornbeam.jpg
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Alan Carruth
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Re: All North American wood guitar questions

Post by Alan Carruth » Mon Nov 06, 2017 3:22 am

My tree book says that Eastern hophornbeam is O. virginiana. It has scaly bark and is also sometimes called 'American hornbeam' or 'muscle wood'. The smooth barked species, Carpinus caroliniana it called 'American hornbeam' in that book, with local mnames of 'Blue beech' or 'water beech'. It is still quite interlocked, but the wood has a similar ray pattern to beech. Sorry about the mix-up.

mlau
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Re: All North American wood guitar questions

Post by mlau » Wed Nov 08, 2017 12:19 am

Paul,

I totally understand where you're coming from.
Fresh cut, Osage orange is an obnoxious bright fluorescent yellow/orange.
After UV exposure, it turns into a very lovely rich brown.

IMO, if I ever make an Osage Orange guitar, I'll hire out a tanning salon for the guitar.

Paul Micheletti
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Re: All North American wood guitar questions

Post by Paul Micheletti » Wed Nov 08, 2017 4:30 pm

mlau wrote:
Wed Nov 08, 2017 12:19 am
IMO, if I ever make an Osage Orange guitar, I'll hire out a tanning salon for the guitar.
My first thought was that this was a wonderful idea. Then I looked locally for tanning salons, but they are all spray tan now. I guess they don't have UV tanning booths anymore? I sure wouldn't want my guitar to be subjected to spray tans and look like a Kardashian or a Trump. :lol:

Alan Carruth
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Re: All North American wood guitar questions

Post by Alan Carruth » Wed Nov 08, 2017 6:42 pm

I've tried UV, and any light you can stand to be in the same room with won't do much in a useful length of time. Try fuming the guitar in ammonia. I put a sample of Osage in a bag with some household ammonia (10%)for a few days and got the equivalent of ten or fifteen years of darkening. The R.H. never went over 70%, so it's not wonderful, but should not hurt glue joints either. You could put in a silica gel pack to absorb the moisture. The color penetrates fairly well, but I'd fume the completed instrument after it's final sanding and before finish. I've done that with white oak and it works well. I'm told that you can get 'stronger ammonia' from cleaning suppliers. I tried getting some blueprint strength stuff, but the chemical supply house would not sell it to me.

Paul Micheletti
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Re: All North American wood guitar questions

Post by Paul Micheletti » Wed Nov 08, 2017 7:27 pm

Hi Alan, How long does it take for the Ammonia smell to go away after fuming? I would hate to have a guitar that forever smelled like a cat litter tray. Do you neutralize with vinegar or any other step required after fuming?

I guess taping over the rosette to block the soundhole should keep most of the ammonia out of the box. It would be a shame to use good aromatic PO cedar for bracing and then have the smell negated by ammonia.

Alan Carruth
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Re: All North American wood guitar questions

Post by Alan Carruth » Thu Nov 09, 2017 5:11 pm

I didn't notice any residual odor. Remember, the ammonia is reacting with tannin in the wood to produce the color change; once you take it out of the bag there should be none left in the wood. Neutralizing it might cause other color changes that you would not like.

As with any new finishing method, you will need to experiment a bit with scrap before you try it on a guitar. Don't just take my word for it. Why not put some cedar pieces in with the test strips of B&S wood and see what happens?

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