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Here you will find some of the beautiful seasoned tonewoods that I have collected over time.
I get asked many questions about wood and it's relation to tone...
People most often want to know what a particular wood species sounds like.
Unfortunately these types of questions are very difficult to answer.
I mean it requires a vocabulary similar to that used in wine tasting, just to describe it!
I.E. warmth, snap, muddy, brite, thin, presence, woody, airy, etc. etc...
So what does any piece of wood sound like?
To answer this, we need to ask each piece of wood!
Seriously; every piece of wood I decide to use for an instrument, is first tested for tone response, by placing tuning fork to the wood and listening to it's tone.
I listen to each piece of wood, and I decide which side will carry tone better.
This sounds a bit odd, but some cuts of wood will actually carry tone better on one side compared to the other side.
So, if one side sounds better, and if it's a body blank, then the "sweet side" becomes the top.
Or if it's going to be neck wood, then the fingerboard is placed on the "sweet side".
Some wood sounds the same on both sides, so it all depends on the piece.
I believe that these "tone tests" MUST be done on each piece of wood used for an instrument, because even in the same species of wood, the tone will vary greatly.
Some Mahogany's, will be "brighter" (more highs) with a bit more "snap" (upper mid's) then others.
For example: a light weight piece of the same size will be warmer (lower mids) and often more resonant (louder) then a darker heavier piece of Mahogany.
However, these are just generalized guidelines to go by; as each piece has it's own unique tone, in ALL species of wood.
So because of this, when I compose an instrument, I start by considering the wood tones first, then I build an instrument based on the tone the individual wood components will have as a whole.
For example: if I want a warm sounding guitar, with a well balanced snappy midrange, and just enough highs to add excellent definition, I will start with a very airy light weight body wood, such as a nice aged light weight piece of mahogany.
Then, to bring out a nice upper mid range snap, I prefer a well figured maple top plate (bird's eye, flame, quilt, etc), different figures or no figure will play a huge part in maple tone, so this is always considered.
Now depending on the tone of the body with the top glued in place, I will then make a choice of neck woods.
So if a body is still a bit in the lower mid range tone, then I might prefer a maple neck.
The type (grain, cut, figure) of maple neck wood I choose, will depend on the tone of the body.
If I want more "snap" (or high mid's) then I want a harder tighter or heavier maple, so perhaps a quartered tight flame, or even no figure at all, it all depends on the mid range tone I'm looking for.
Once a neck wood is established, then I look for a finger board wood.
This again depends upon the body wood, top wood, and now the neck wood combined.
You should also keep in mind that larger frets as well as stainless steel frets will produce a bit more highs;
so if this is a concern, then perhaps a "darker toned wood" such as Bocote or Goncolo Alves, would be a preferred choice.
{although I personally -really- love the 8kHz to 20kHz tone that the stainless frets bring out of an instruments strings, just as long as it is -balanced out- with nice warm, punchy mid ranged body and/or neck woods}.
If I want even more "snap" and I am satisfied with the briteness (highs), then I will add a maple fingerboard, or maybe if I want just a bit more highs, I can add a Purpleheart finger board, or even an Ebony, even certain varieties of rosewood species as well have more highs then others.
Again it's NOT just dependent on the species, but rather the individual tone of each unique piece wood, that must be considered , before each instrument is assembled.
Because of space I can't go into adhesive tone, hardware tone, and finish tone, but all these are considered, when building an instrument as well.
So with each piece, not only is the tone examined for tonal superiority but the grain, stability, and moisture content are also carefully examined before any specimen gets cut out into the neck, body, top, and finger board blanks.

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