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Discussion in 'Electric Instruments' started by rugerpc, Jan 31, 2016.
Musta been a rice bread hot pocket....
Ok, focus peeps..
Wood, short scale and tone.
African ribbon mahogany body, maple top, Peruvian or Honduran mahogany neck, Madagascar rosewood fingerboard.
My best sounding guitars have had the african ribbon 'hog and Peruvian or Honduran 'hog necks. I like the Madagascar rosewood because it's got a nice combination of warmth and snap, regardless of whether it's a stoptail or trem guitar.
Scale length and the difference in tone:
The shorter scale length sounds a little fatter to me, and some players find bending strings a little easier.
The longer scale length tends to have a little crisper low note stuff.
Tossup. Play a few of each and then decide.
There is a lot of psychology involved with guitar wood. The guitar companies want you to believe that these ultra exotic woods affect guitar tone. My opinion....exotic woods can be more detrimental to guitar tone than beneficial. One of the basic principals of marketing is to create a need that people weren't aware they had. ALL high end guitar companies are guilty of this. We are seeing zebrawood tops now and all other sorts of weird stuff. I've not played much in terms of exotic woods but from what I've played, stuff like koa or korina doesn't do anything to further a guitars tone above mahogany, mahogany/maple cap, or alder.
To argue this point, PRSh has talked about different woods that he would love to build a guitar out of but has said that nobody would buy it because it isn't the traditional mahogony/maple/alder/ash/etc
I'm leaning heavily towards a ribbon mahogany for the back if I don't do a figured maple back.
I'm still hung up on the neck, though. I don't want to kill the tone, but I want something figured like cocobolo. Maple is probably out because I think it might be too bright for me. IPITE.
For the fretboard, it's probably between cocobolo and a nicely figured Madagascar rosewood.
For the scale length, easier bends and a slightly fatter tone would be pluses fot me. I have a couple of Lesters here, I should spend some time on them just fingering and fretting.
We have different takes on the level of conspiracy involved in the more exotic woods. I believe that the higher cost is directly associated with rarity and finding blanks in sufficient sizes for building. I'm firmly in the "wood matters" camp. I'm not going to say exotic woods aren't suited, I'll allow that they probably are different.
As to enhancing or killing tone, that is what I'm asking. I have maple, mahogany and Koa acoustics. I can tell you that each has their own personality. Not bad or good - just different. I'm interested in hearing how the tone changes from wood to wood in the experience of members who have played the rare stuff.
This is a fairly famous and an absolutely accurate quote from the man, but does anyone know what woods he was talking about?
How can you admit you don't have much experience with "exotic woods" and then be able to form the opinion that they're "detrimental"?
I mean, you're welcome to your opinions but they should at least be informed opinions before passing judgement.
My korina guitars sound different than my alder guitars that sound different from my mahogany guitars that sound different from my mahogany and maple guitars. None of them sound "worse".
Oh, I figured you were half joking, but I'm also aware of disdain for piezo.
Out of curiosity, why did you have them put the piezo in your TG at all???
Right. Every korina wood guitar I've played has had similar attributes. Many times I was able to play a hog and korina of the same model back to back.
I second all of this. I don't prefer the MRW myself, I hear it as having a drier attack than BRW or ABW, my two faves. I really think African is where its at for backs especially combined with a peruvian neck, that being said I do have a magical PS with a SA mahogany back. I'll add that all of my preferences are based on PRS trem equipped guitars, the stoptails are a different animal.
Edit: I would especially go with the African mahogany back if doing anything with a short scale other than a Santana. The longer necks of the santana seem to impart a different resonance than the short scale 22 fretters.
I'm going to answer this in parts, because I might get long winded - then you can see the pattern and ignore me.
Just get the ribbon mahogany. It is the standard for PRS and it will look fantastic. You know exactly how it will impact the sound of the guitar: it will be the standard PRS sound. Go to the vault and they will spray water on some samples to give you an idea what it looks like finished. It sounds like a gimmick, but it really is a good representation of the result.
Using a maple back can be nice, but you now have 3 layers so unless you really want that maple back, it is an unnecessary complication. Save the maple back for a hollow body.
What about a semi-hollow body (1f hole)? Because that's not off the list for this build yet.
Part 2 of my answer: the neck stuff.
Cocobolo will not kill the tone. It will sound great. A bit darker than the mahogany standard, but not to the extreme of Brazilian rosewood. The density profiles would suggest they would almost identical, but I find the cocobolo slots nicely between mahogany and Braz.
It is fair to characterize a maple neck as being brighter than mahogany. It favours the higher harmonics and several comments you've made indicate that you prefer the balance more to the bottom end. That would suggest staying away from it on what might be your only private stock.
Rather than get really wordy, I'll give you a link to a write up I did of various necks and fingerboards some time ago. I think I started a thread about it here back in the cards days, but am too lazy to search it out.
And about the fingerboard. I really don't think you will notice a difference between cocobolo and Madagascar rosewood for the fingerboard from a tonal properties point of view. Pick the board the looks best to you and it will serve you well. I would favour a cocobolo fingerboard if I used cocobolo for the neck - but that's just a personal bias with no real substance behind it.
P.S. if you don't know if you would like a rosewood neck, try to find somewhere that you can try one and see how it feels. I don't keep any of the exotic woods in PA anymore so can't bring one over. If you can't find anything local, you are welcome to come and try some of mine: about a 9 hr drive or 1 1/2 hr flight.
I have a Rosewood Artist 513 from when the first introduced the model and a MCRosie. Since I also have several mahogany necked guitars, I'll play all of those back to back with the idea that cocobolo would be in the middle.
And I remember that sapwood cocobolo neck. Drool.
Is this the thread you're thinking about?
Yes, you could do that and I've seen a couple of builds like that. For me the difference (a personal bias) is that the thickness of a hollowbody makes the 3 layers natural. PRS carves the top and back so it fits nicely together. A semi-hollow with an f-hole is solid body thickness, so the middle layer will be pretty small - probably on the order of half the thickness of the middle of a hollowbody. My semi-hollow is at home so I can't measure.
To me, the semi hollow is on the wrong side of the threshold where the middle layer makes sense. Admittedly a personal bias. I haven't played one enough to give any meaningful comments on what the maple sandwich does to the tone of a McCarty - with or without the f hole.
Good idea playing them back to back. The pickups differences will have some impact, but it should give you a sense of the impact of the neck on the tone.
Yes, that was the thread.
That does favour the 24.5. I don't expect you will find the scale is different enough to impact your fingering/fretting. It might be hard to judge on a Lester because the neck has other characteristics that might make it less comfortable in general. If you play them making note of whether or not your fingers are finding the wrong notes rather than if it is as comfortable as your longer scale PRS, I think you'll have a good idea what the shorter scale will do for you.
Yeah, that was my plan. Just looking at the fret to fret distances and how my fingers fall for cord shapes. I'll try to ignore this back of neck carve.
Part the last of my response.
So far, you haven't really indicated consideration of any woods that are off the beaten path, so you are on solid ground. As far as the woods on the body are concerned, you will find that the choices there have much less impact on the sound of the guitar than is the case with an acoustic. I was very surprised how little impact a rosewood top had on the sound of the guitar. I was afraid it might be very dark and as a result be for specialized use, but it ended up looking very different, but not sounding much different than a maple top with similar characteristic in other design elements. This and a spalt top (on the other extreme of top density) led me to believe quite strongly that the choice of neck woods have a much greater impact on the tonal character of the guitar. And if I rationalize: much more of the string is over the neck than what is over the body.
Well, I didn't order the guitar with a piezo.
I got a call one day while the guitar was being built. Evidently someone had misread the spec sheet for the guitar, and installed one by mistake; did I want them to finish the guitar, or did I want them to start over?
Though it was pretty darn cool of them to call and offer to start over, I had been lucky enough to have Jack Gretz and Paul Smith hand tap and pick my woods. Really, I thought, how could something that wouldn't change the acoustic tone of the guitar be an issue?
So I told them, "No worries, just finish it, I'll take it with the piezo." It didn't concern me at all.
You'd be surprised to discover that I'm a pretty easy guy to deal with.
I did give the piezo a shot on a track, too. One day it might be useful to run the acoustic through a pedal or something. Who knows?
Now I hope you can see that I'm mainly employing dry humor over this piezo stuff.