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Walnut........black walnut?

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I was thinking of getting some Walnut and was just wondering what the difference is between the black and standard.I saw a few guitars of black walnut and it looks pretty much like all of the standard walnut I've seen or even lighter in color.

Is the "black" just a tree name and not meaning the color tone of the wood?

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The two main kinds of walnut there are are Claro and Black Walnut. Where I live, Black is considered "regular" and Claro is completely unknown.

The tone is apparently quite different too. Black walnut is a very "dark" sounding wood, with clear bass and mids, but slightly lacking in the highs (nothing an ebony fb can't fix though!) I've never heard or used Claro, but I've heard it described as being balanced and "sweet" sounding.

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walnut, or even black walnut can either be really dark, or a large % of sapwood and light tanish.

ive seen some 'black walnut' that was pretty light colored.

claro is the nice stuff. georgeous figure to it, but quite pricey. good thing about it though, unlike rosewoods usually, you can find it in large lengths and widths. walnut trees are common and big. and the claro ones that are popping up for sale now are really old stuff 200-300 years old. pretty common to see 8ft diamater trees in claro.

but, it does cost for the nice stuff, almost up there with a true rosewood or cocobolo, ect.

keep that in mind.

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I did some research and found the following:

Black Walnut  (Juglans nigra)

The black walnut tree is one of the scarcest and most commercially valuable trees in the eastern hardwood forest.


The walnut genus Juglans (from Lat. Jovis glans =nut of Jove) is the largest and most widely distributed genus of the family. The dark timber of the black walnut ( J. nigra ), found in hardwood forests in the eastern half of North America, and of the Persian, or English, walnut ( J. regia ), native to W Asia, is unusually hard and durable and is valued for furniture, interior paneling, gunstocks, musical instruments, and other uses. Black walnut has been the foremost cabinet wood of North America since colonial times.

The closer-grained English walnut, usually sold as lumber under the name Circassian walnut, is widely cultivated in S Europe and the Orient and has been introduced with great success into California, now the major producing area of the world. The nut of this tree is more easily extracted from the shell than that of the black walnut and is the one usually sold commercially for use as a table nut and for confectionery, flavorings, and sometimes pickling. A decoction of the leaves, bark, and hulls has been used for a brown wool dye and the crushed leaves for an insect repellent.

The butternut, or white walnut ( J. cinerea ), of approximately the same range as the black walnut, has a sweet and oily nut that is gathered locally but is not of commercial importance. The butternut is also timbered; the wood is softer than that of the black and English walnuts. Sugar is sometimes obtained from its sap, and the hulls yield a yellow to gray dye that gave color to the homespun of pioneers and to the “butternut” uniforms of some Confederate soldiers. The inner root bark, called butternut bark, has been used in domestic remedies, as have the hulls of the English walnut. Other American and Old World walnuts are also used and esteemed locally for timber, dyes, and food.

Claro Walnut (Juglans hindsii)

Claro is a Spanish term meaning clear, light, or bright. Bright certainly describes the wood since it exhibits such an assortment of colors, from reds to golds, mixed with tans, grays, black, and browns. Claro Walnut was discovered, as far as the oldest records show, growing in three localities in California: 

- The valley of Walnut Creek in Contra Costa County.

- The banks of the Sacramento River, particularly at Walnut Grove. 

- The Wooden Valley east of Napa. 

It was from these original groves that in the mid 1800's the famous pioneer John Bidwell began propagating California Claro Walnut at his Rancho Chico Nursery in Chico California.

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If you want, I have some black walnut that needs a good home. You can see the slabs at Eds World of Guitars. Scroll down and click on the Black Walnut guitars. Three of the slabs are still available. Each slab is enough wood for two guitar tops, but they are not thick enough for a body on their own.

Depending on what you want to do, you can either book match them or use them as a solid top. Tommy at USA Custom Guitars did my bodies for me as solid 1 piece tops.

Take care,

Guitar Ed

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i make black walnut strat type neck... this is yesterday's work..

i love walnut's color .. so i choose that.. & stable.. than maple..

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Im currently using 6/4 with a neck thru for a guitar. If you cant find the dimensions, a nck thru may be the answer. Oddly enough, I have access to a 12" wide board...


Looks good. Ill pot my own pics once I gt all the finishing work done. Im currently sanding all the tearout from a cherry crotchwood veneer. :D

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