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chile

Mahogany Or Sapele?

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Mahogany comes in ribbon grain like that,too...could be either one,but I am betting mahogany since that is what the description says...if it were sapelle they would crow it from the rooftops.

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African Striped Mahogany is what it looks like. I agree they are saying it is mahogany and not Sapele.

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Actually I think it's Sapele. I have used a lot of mahogany and a lot of sapele, both of them ribbon grain patterns, and that looks like it has the wider sapele bands to me than it does mahogany.

But I could be wrong. It happens all the time.

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I've used mahogany that looks like that before. It's african mahogany and not genuine or "honduran" mahogany, though.

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I've used mahogany that looks like that before. It's african mahogany and not genuine or "honduran" mahogany, though.

Yep they call it African Striped around here. :)

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if i'm right prs (of wich I'm big fan) always talk about honduras mahogany, never heard of african mahogany... isn't it a little obmission?

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if i'm right prs (of wich I'm big fan) always talk about honduras mahogany, never heard of african mahogany... isn't it a little obmission?

Its not sapele. If it was they would be making a very big deal of it. Factory built guitars usualy have a lot of the same materials in them due to the cost savings from buying in massive volume. the vast majority of PRS guitars are mahogany based, So its a good bet it is mahogany.

As to honduras mahogany. Real honduras mahogany comes from Honduras - or at least it did untill it was almost wiped out. To buy it in quantities that would make large scale guitar production viable would not realy be feasable anymore. So I seriously doubt the claims of any builder producing in large numbers that they are using genuine Honduras mahogany. Usualy if you do a bit of digging & find out where it was grown, you find its from somewhere else.

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So I seriously doubt the claims of any builder producing in large numbers that they are using genuine Honduras mahogany.

i absolutely agree... I've said honduras but I mean swietenia...

here in italy sapele (sapelli) is common called sapele mahogany or african mahogany... same thing appens with sipo and other "similar to mahogany" african woods...

the known truth is that every african mahogany isn't real mahogany (the "holy" swietenia) but all (swietenia,sipo, sapelli, khaya etc) are from the big Meliaceae family... that said why the bigs can call mahogany the khaya but absolutely not mahogany the sapelli? that's discrimination! :) or fu**ing marketing...

ok, just late night thougs :)

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Agreed. People should really stick to unambiguous nomenclature, ie. species names. In my humble opinion nothing should be called Mahogany unless it is in fact either Swietenia macrophylla or Swietenia mahagoni. This obviously will not happen because there is a consensus reality on what the word "Mahogany" means now, which serves the "bigs" quite well. I wonder if they caused this. Hmm. Everything else is just a species with similar characteristics, such as African "Mahoganys" ie. Sapele, Khaya, Utile, Sipo, etc. Even delineating the two with reasonably specific language such as "genuine Mahogany" or "African Mahogany" makes a clearer distinction however I feel "Sapele" means more to me than the term African Mahogany. Sapele is Sapele. Personally I have found African Mahogany quite different to work compared to Swietenia both in terms of hardness and cross-linking of grain.

Late night thoughts? It's 12:34 PM. :huh:

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No matter What you want to call it, at least its allergies don't include a swollen scrotum, unlike East Indian Satinwood. :killinme

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No matter What you want to call it, at least its allergies don't include a swollen scrotum, unlike East Indian Satinwood. :killinme

I regularly count that as a benefit, yes. In fact every time I use it. :killinme

ROTFL!!!

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I've seen enough grain variation that I won't confidently identify any of the 'Mahoganies' based on sight, particularly not under a finish.

The true mahoganies are by far the most pleasant to work - easier to plane, finer grain, and to me the nicest color (in general). This is S. Mahagonii and Macrophylla

The Africa 'mahoganies' vary hugely from piece to piece, with the Khaya species being the most variable, generally the lightest, followed by Sipo and finally Sapele, which tends to be the hardest, heaviest. All very frequently display ribbon figure, and coloration seems to vary from almost pink/red to slightly grayish. I've got a fairly large stash of hard and fairly heavy ribbon striped sapele which serves me very well as neck wood and will cut up for acoustic sets (dead quartered material), as well as a reasonable supply of Khaya (again, ribbon stripe, different coloration, much lighter) that will make great electric bodies, and a smaller selection of honduran, some of which is plain, some striped, that will likely end up as necks and maybe a solid body if I'm feeling decadent. I don't think one species is sonically superior to the other in any significant manner. Not in electric guitars.

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If it's a solid body Sapele then I'd hate to be the one that had to wear it for a gig! Super heavy, tone deficient crap wood if you ask me... at least in the world of acoustics. I'd burn every piece of it at our factory if I could. However, with the diminishing availability of good mahogany, it's likely the "mahogany substitute" for all manufacturers of any actual size.

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I agree on Sapele being somewhat of a cheap perhaps tonally underwhelming wood, however it is a damn sight better looking than the majority of crap sitting out there on the amateur builder's market like Basswood and the like. I would however disagree about the weight as I have had some relatively airy lightweight stuff in the past, plus the boards I have in store aren't giving me nightmares thinking about their weight will stack up as instruments. Do you have any background on the general world sourcing of Sapele such as the quality that passes through major dealers, etc? I get the impression you might and it would be interesting to know more about the bigger picture.

Funny how you knock back Sapele on the basis of it being an acoustic wood (back and sides I take it?) as surely that has far less of an impact on tone than the top....or is it being used in the necks also?

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The tone is fine,based on the one guitar I built with it.It does move quite a bit more than mahogany though and I can't see seeking it out again.

I agree it's a damn sight better than basswood,poplar,etc.My piece of it isn't particularly heavy.

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Super heavy, tone deficient crap wood if you ask me... at least in the world of acoustics.

Martin, taylor and others are using sapele on some model... i'va also heard that Steinway & sons use sapele for their pianos...

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I just got a bunch of Sapele body blanks in from a Spanish vendor and they are superheavy. I make thinner bodies than your standard LP guitar fรถr my standard models but for something like that (LP) there will need to be some weight reduction done to make comfy guitars.

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Hmmm. What's the general weight for Sapele in "our" terms, ie. dried wood for luthiers? I'll compare with my stashed stuff.

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I'm aware of this, I work for Martin and I'm forced to work with it every day because we use it as our "certified" wood. It helps keep us FSC certified. As mahogany gets harder and harder to legally obtain (CITES and FSC certified) we are moving to Sapele. We use it mostly for back and sides but have been testing it for tops as a replacement for mahogany in guitars such as the DM. Guess we'll call it the DS.

I guess in a worl where Richlite is a suitable substitute for ebony, Sapele is not that bad off a wood. At least its actually wood. My take on this lumber is personal and not shared by all of my coworkers. Many of us do not like it but hey, to each their own.

Super heavy, tone deficient crap wood if you ask me... at least in the world of acoustics.

Martin, taylor and others are using sapele on some model... i'va also heard that Steinway & sons use sapele for their pianos...

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Bleh. At least you know what it is, unlike the "mystery meat". It is meat, right?

*plunk plunk plunk*

No maybe not.

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Sapele makes great necks - solid tap tone, very stiff, tap tone is a little glassier than 'true' mahoganies for acoustic thickness woods (none of these things are bad). I certainly would not call it a crap tonewood by any measure. Not ideal for non-chambered solidbodies due to weight, but that's really my only major quibble with it. Then again, maybe the stuff I have is atypical (all from one tree, ribbon striped, quartered). No stability issues with it either.

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