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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-17-2012, 09:59 PM Thread Starter
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Default Cheap Tonewoods

I've been researching building acoustic guitars and I understand that the traditional woods used in building them are mahogany, rosewood, maple, spruce, cedar, along with some other domestics like cherry, walnut, etc. I know that there is a whole string of both domestic and exotics that guitar builders tend to favor, but my question is, what are some good inexpensive woods to experiment with when building for the first time? I would like to have some material to mess around with so that if I screw up that I'm not out a bunch of money. Any help on this would be great, thanks.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-18-2012, 02:42 AM
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I believe that you can get a good sounding guitar from almost any wood. They will not all sound the same, but the sound is a matter of taste anyway. Taylor Guitars made a guitar from an old shipping pallet once, using what they called "pallet grade oak". They didn't even bother to pull out the nails, so they are still visible in the guitar. Obviously they didn't really know what kind of wood being used for the top. However, the guitar sounded as good as any of their guitars, according to Taylor himself. I couldn't find it on their home page any more but make some google search and you will find it. (I tried to include a link here, but that didn't work.)

I think that the most important things are to choose a wood that is not to soft for the back, sides and neck, that is quarter sawn and well seasoned in accordance to the climate where you live.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-18-2012, 08:03 AM
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I thought about trying to make one once. It's very obvious to me that abergguitars has tons more experience then me on the subject, and if I were you I would take his advice seriously.

But if it was me, I'd just start with pine and/or poplar, both inexpensive woods, they work well, and you won't be out much if you screw up. Which reminds me, I still have a banjo in the shop only half finished; once it's finished it will contain (unknown) pallet wood, dogwood, holly, plywood, oak, pine, I think poplar, probably at least one popsicle stick, I believe a piece of door skin, along with possibly one or two screws, and monofilament fishing line for strings. Then I'll have to learn how to play it.

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-18-2012, 09:26 AM
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Cedar is a great choice--and if you don't "screw it up"--you may have a very mellow sound when you're done. Keep an eye on your local Craigslist, after a year of watching i got close to 1500 bf of rough sawn cherry (50%), ash (40%), oak and sassafrass (the last 10%) for $500 last weekend. Most was 8" to 12" wide and at $0.35/bf--i couldn't buy particle board. Saw another ad for soft maple and poplar on Sunday for $1.00 and $0.60/bf but i'm out of space (and money!!) or i'd have jumped on some maple.

If you've got a mill nearby (or reasonable distance), sometimes they will mis-cut a milling order and great wood can be had for less than market.

Good luck!!
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-18-2012, 10:13 AM
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Hello friends,

The most trying wood that I have used to any extent is Brazilian rosewood. The stuff loves to warp while it is sitting on the shelf, and, once installed in a bender, is capable of almost anything. Brazilian can be so squirrelly that an occasional side may have to be discarded, since trying to sand out the ripples would leave the wood paper thin. We might expect this from the dregs of Brazilian that are left today, but I bought wood thirty years ago that was just as bad. Once made into a guitar, Brazilian rosewood frequently checks and cracks for no apparent reason. If it wasn't for the incredible premium that the wood demands, I don't believe anyone wood use it today. The stuff is grossly overestimated.

Thanks a lot
Tramond krick
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-23-2012, 10:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abergguitars View Post
Taylor Guitars made a guitar from an old shipping pallet once, using what they called "pallet grade oak".
I got curious so looked it up. Might be cheap wood, but the guitars weren't. Nice. http://www.laguitarsales.com/pages/3...hop_Pallet.htm

There's a lot out there about these guitars. I guess they really upset some people, but I like it myself. Gives me inspiration to finish up my banjo.

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-23-2012, 10:14 AM
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-07-2013, 10:07 PM
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Hi

I built my last acoustic from recycled wood found at my Dads house,
I made the top from a recycled roof truss ,it was hoop pine and yes 1/4 sawn ,
Back and sides from Queensland maple , the neck from liquid amber, the bracing from Atlantic cedar , fretboard and bridge from mulga ,
I used the bandsaw to rough cut it all,
this saved me a packet of money and taught me it doesn't need to be expensive to be good,

Greg
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