Non traditional woods

Discussion of all aspects of early instruments, lutes, theorbos, vihuelas, Renaissance guitars and Baroque guitars.
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Roberto001
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Non traditional woods

Post by Roberto001 » Wed Aug 15, 2018 7:45 pm

I have this idea about getting a Vihuela entirely built by using native woods from South America.

For me, it makes sense to asume that local luthiers from centuries ago must have built instruments using just what they had on hand. (Is there any evidence of this?).

Has anyone built early music instruments using non traditional woods?

What are your thoughts on this?

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Christopher Langley
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Re: Non traditional woods

Post by Christopher Langley » Wed Aug 15, 2018 7:56 pm

Sounds really cool man, you should do it. :thumbs up:
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Michael.N.
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Re: Non traditional woods

Post by Michael.N. » Wed Aug 15, 2018 8:48 pm

Roberto001 wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 7:45 pm
I have this idea about getting a Vihuela entirely built by using native woods from South America.

For me, it makes sense to asume that local luthiers from centuries ago must have built instruments using just what they had on hand. (Is there any evidence of this?).

Has anyone built early music instruments using non traditional woods?

What are your thoughts on this?
Plenty of evidence. The European renaissance lute makers were using native woods - maple, yew, spruce.
Historicalguitars.

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Roberto001
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Re: Non traditional woods

Post by Roberto001 » Wed Aug 15, 2018 9:05 pm

Christopher Langley wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 7:56 pm
Sounds really cool man, you should do it. :thumbs up:
Thanks.
Michael.N. wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 8:48 pm
Roberto001 wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 7:45 pm
I have this idea about getting a Vihuela entirely built by using native woods from South America.

For me, it makes sense to asume that local luthiers from centuries ago must have built instruments using just what they had on hand. (Is there any evidence of this?).

Has anyone built early music instruments using non traditional woods?

What are your thoughts on this?
Plenty of evidence. The European renaissance lute makers were using native woods - maple, yew, spruce.
Great, but what about non traditional woods?

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Michael.N.
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Re: Non traditional woods

Post by Michael.N. » Thu Aug 16, 2018 6:24 am

Which ones?
Historicalguitars.

simonm
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Re: Non traditional woods

Post by simonm » Thu Aug 16, 2018 11:50 am

Roberto001 wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 9:05 pm
...
Great, but what about non traditional woods?
As Michael said, you need to mention specific timbers. Traditional European woods such as maple, cypress, yew and fruit tree woods were replaced by south/central American woods to such an extent that these (rosewoods and mahoganies for example) are now regarded by many as the "standard woods".

I would imaging that plenty of other south American have been used but may not have found their way out of the local market. I would recommend trying some local makers. A decent music shop should at least be able to tell you the names os some local makers.

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Michael.N.
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Re: Non traditional woods

Post by Michael.N. » Thu Aug 16, 2018 1:07 pm

Well I've recently started to make a vihuela using some 'spare' or off cut bits of wood, so the back is Indian rosewood with a a fairly wide strip of figured maple down the centre. I'm not sure what I'll use for the sides, I think I have some spare rosewood sides or I may use walnut - I doubt it matters very much as historically all manner of woods have been used for the back/sides/bowls of lutey style instruments. I will say that the neck does need to be of a reasonably hard wood so that it offers some resistance to the tied on frets. Either that or it can be a softwood with a hardwood veneer.
The critical selection is the soundboard. String tension on lutes and vihuelas is very low, I'd personally avoid spruce at it's highest density range.
Historicalguitars.

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