Sapele’s tonal output is consistent and balanced across the tonal spectrum, making it compatible with a diverse range of playing styles. Utile shows some darker medullary ray lines on a flatsawn surface that can be used to tell it apart from Genuine Mahogany and those darker lines actually add great interest to the board. I like both….mahogany is a fatter tone, more bass, darker…alder is thinner, more trebly, and a sharper tone. Today, though, black cherry outpaces mahogany in the public s preference for furniture, so the look-alike role it once played no longer makes sense.
In addition to our traditional natural finish , we offer a line of stained finishes that help achieve a similar look without the wait time. Like walnut, this wood may be oiled, but generally will look its best sprayed clear. If you can, try to buy wood from a sustainable forest (commercial tree farms that ensure the supply of the wood). Because wood varies considerably in density and grain, even pieces cut from within the same tree may have different tonal characteristics. German spruce is the wood commonly used to build instruments in the violin family.
Mahogany is a good wood to anchor a survey of tones, as a lot of other wood tones can be described in relation to it. Its essential sonic profile is well represented in the midrange frequencies. I look forward to using this wood & have high hopes of some fabulous guitars using this top wood WATCH THIS SPACE!! Other qualities determine whether a particular species of wood is suitable for guitar making, such as stability (most luthiers hope their instruments will last for many, many years without repair), workability and, of course, visual beauty.
This wood is worth mentioning because it is very common at your local home center and it’s so inexpensive you’ll probably be tempted to make something with it. Its interlocked grain make the wood more like mahogany and easy to blend with other types of wood. Natural, clear or light stain finishes work well for species such as pine, while mahogany is better suited for darker stains. The heartwood is salmon pink or pale pinkish brown resembling some types of Philippine mahogany. A laminate may have more than one kind of wood in it, so you can’t generalize on its tonal qualities. Oak has proven to be a top of the line wood when it comes to concert instrument construction.
I would suggest to have a look at the plum tree wood (Prunus domestica) – it looks very nice and could go well together with mahogany, depending on local availability and the quantities you need. Although laminates used for instruments may have a nice piece on top, in general wood chosen for plywood is not the prime selection: it’s more often the less attractive, or ‘seconds’ selection because appearance or flaws aren’t as important. Many woods used by environmentally-conscientious luthiers are certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council’s sustainable wood program.
Different from mahogany: The grain of this species is all over the map: sometimes it’s straight, sometimes it’s interlocked or highly figured. This wood is the exception that proves the rule that the wood species contributes very little to the tone of an instrument. Mesquite Lumber is difficult to cut and dry and downgrading in the process is common, but it does produce a hard and strong wood with high bending and crushing strengths when successful. Watch particularly carefully the grain direction on planing any wood that shows an interlocking grain.
The same species as Brazilian/Honduran Mahogany, but grown under different conditions, gives this timber a nice light weight, yet all the characteristics of traditional Mahogany. As far as stability is concerned, Honduran mahogany has no peers, but tonally there are some good alternatives in the mahogany family. Similar to mahogany: Despite its common name, African Walnut is not closely related to the true walnuts in the Juglans genus.
Recently it has found its way as a mahogany replacement in entry-level Asian-made electric and acoustic guitars. It lacks the exceptional dimensional stability of genuine mahogany, though it is by no means an unstable wood. With a mahogany back contributing some warmth and openness to the brew, this can be a very appealing pairing. It bears the common name of Indian rosewood as opposed to East Indian rosewood and is a much inferior wood.
Genuine Honduran mahogany used to be plentiful but it is now nearing CITES treaty protection. Ipe wood products contains no added harmful chemicals so it can be used near water without potential contamination, although its dust can cause a number of respiratory and contact dermatitis allergic reactions in humans. Mahogany has a straight, fine, and even grain, and is relatively free of voids and pockets. The wood is fine-grained with heartwood of pink-yellow to orange-brown tones and often display fiddleback figure.