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PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2022 6:23 pm 
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Walnut
Walnut

Joined: Sat Mar 07, 2020 11:09 am
Posts: 13
First name: Patrick
Last Name: Wilson
City: Victor
State: NY
Zip/Postal Code: 14564
Country: USA
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
I've been away from a lot of my lutherie plans for years but have collected a good deal of wood for some future projects and I was wondering what the forum thinks about pairing different top woods with back/side sets.

I've got hard/glassy/brittle sets (Cocobolo, Ziricote, Chechen, Wenge) and also have some lighter woods (Mahogany, Imbuia, Red Maple, Sycamore, Claro Walnut). I also have some Padauk and Pau Ferro that seem to fall somewhere in-between.

For tops, I've got Sitka, Englemann, Redwood and Western Red Cedar.

Would anyone give some suggestions for which tops might go well with certain backs/sides and for a particular style of build? I know that I'm looking at making a Maple/Sitka jumbo and possibly a jumbo 12 string. Gotta love those old Guilds. I'd also like to make a Claro Walnut/Redwood OM-sized guitar for some fingerpicking and light strumming. Any other thoughts that have worked well for you?


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2022 11:08 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
Brazilian Rosewood

Joined: Sat Jan 15, 2005 12:50 pm
Posts: 3708
Location: United States
Generally I don't put much stock in these 'magic wood' threads. There's enough variation within any species to produce a lot of overlap between them, so you really have to work 'to the piece'. That said, I feel that pairing a low-damping top wood, such as the usual redwood or cedar top, with a higher damping back, such as walnut, or cherry, works well. I don't like the look of cedar tops on maple B&S, but that would be OK if you like it. Other than that it's mostly a matter of getting the top 'right' and making it work well with the back.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2022 11:10 am 
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Walnut
Walnut

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2022 11:11 am
Posts: 19
First name: Michael
Last Name: Bradley
Country: United Kingdom
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
George Lowden seems to do well with a Walnut/Cedar combo.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2022 11:24 am 
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Contributing Member
Contributing Member

Joined: Sat Sep 14, 2013 9:46 pm
Posts: 549
Location: Napa Valley
First name: David
Last Name: Foster
State: CA
Zip/Postal Code: 94558
Country: USA
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
What Allan said, it's more about the building technique than which woods.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2022 8:57 am 
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Walnut
Walnut

Joined: Sat Mar 07, 2020 11:09 am
Posts: 13
First name: Patrick
Last Name: Wilson
City: Victor
State: NY
Zip/Postal Code: 14564
Country: USA
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
I'm in total agreement with the aesthetic no-no of matching a Cedar top with a Maple Back/Side set. Doesn't sit right with me either.

I guess that over the next few years I'll go with my gut as I build. I've listened to many, MANY recordings of different wood combos and from what I can tell, lots of successful builds have been made with all sorts of combinations. I suppose that frees me up to match woods as I see fit and use good building practices.

Also, mikeyb2, I do appreciate how George Lowden offers a heck of a lot of different wood combinations in his line. His guitars have always stood out to be following the beat of their own drummer.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2022 4:25 pm 
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Contributing Member
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Joined: Tue Dec 17, 2013 10:52 pm
Posts: 2493
First name: Don
Last Name: Parker
City: Charleston
State: West Virginia
Zip/Postal Code: 25314
Country: USA
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
In general, I think it is best to downplay the importance of species, and emphasize instead the characteristics of the actual pieces of wood used. You get some players who have developed this belief that one species gives X sound, and a different species gives Y sound. I think that we should shepherd players away from that way of thinking. Just my opinion.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2022 4:39 pm 
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Contributing Member
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Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2006 7:37 am
Posts: 4656
doncaparker wrote:
In general, I think it is best to downplay the importance of species, and emphasize instead the characteristics of the actual pieces of wood used. You get some players who have developed this belief that one species gives X sound, and a different species gives Y sound. I think that we should shepherd players away from that way of thinking. Just my opinion.


Yes!


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2022 6:14 am 
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Koa
Koa

Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2013 10:00 pm
Posts: 605
First name: Josh
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
I agree with Don, Alan, James et al!


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