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Black Walnut


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I found an awesome price for some gorgeous black walnut that can be used to for building an acoustic, but I have no idea what it would sound like. Has anyone else here used black walnut for a guitar, and what kind of tone will it give me? Is it similar tomahogany, rosewood, koa, anything? Or is it unique? Suffice to say, I am EXTREMELY interested, and would appreciate any help or advice you have to offer.

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Walnut is sort of a cross between maple and mahogany. It's got closed pores like maple, and it's nearly as hard, so you get a lot of that nice growl to it, but it's got a bit of the lower-midrange warmth of mahogany, without getting that overly mid-heavy pronounced "honk" that mahogany is known for.

I think walnut would make a great choice for back and sides of an acoustic, but i'm not sure it'd make a great top wood. I don't really care much for the sound of acoustics with maple tops, and i don't think i've ever seen one with a walnut top.

But it might make an interesting experiment.

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It's got closed pores like maple

Walnut has open pores like Mahogany, Rosewood.

I think walnut would make a great choice for back and sides of an acoustic, but i'm not sure it'd make a great top wood. I don't really care much for the sound of acoustics with maple tops, and i don't think i've ever seen one with a walnut top.

Why would you use it for a top? You'd use a softwood such as Englemann/Sitka Spruce, or Cedar.

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Sorry about that, guys... i could have sworn that i read walnut was a closed-pore wood ages ago. I stand corrected. But the pores are definitely not as open as mahogany... the wood is very, very smooth when sanded.

I didn't necessarily suggest using it as a top wood... people build acoustics with maple tops, why not walnut? The original question was vague, so i didn't know what the intentions were.

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that wood is nice nonetheless. but i think he photoshops his images alot.

that pic is EXTREMELY contrast adjusted. helps bring out the grain alot more. but it wont be extreme of blacks when you get it in person.

hmmm... kind of wrong when its a 200$ piece of wood huh?

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A few things...

1) Yes, CAWOODNUT does indeed enhance his pics. A LOT. I've bought from him before, and it really looks nothing like those pics in person. Asm is absolutely correct, thay 'are' highly contrasted. He is not dishonest tho. I think he is truthfully trying to show you what is in the wood that 'can' be enhanced if you know what you're doing. He is showing you the possibilities in the piece, which I consider maybe not quite 100% fair, but his honesty and his wood make up for any 'enhancement negs' he might receive.

It's like this: if you work with wood, you already know what walnut looks like. So it's perfectly fair to experienced buyers, they know what's going on. It's the newbs that might feel shafted, if they had never seen a piece of real walnut before.

BUT...having said that, his Walnut has no superior. His goods really are top of the line, but no wood looks like a freaking tropical fish, hehehe.

ALSO, if he says it's quartersawn...then it is.

If it's partially quartered and partially rifted, he'll say so, so you can trust his descriptions, they are accurate.

He is a tremendously nice and fair guy who has some really spectacular Walnut.

2) Nowhere in your description of your black walnut did I see the word quartersawn mentioned. I would seriously hope that you know what you're buying, and you already know that all acoustic build woods need to be 100% quartersawn wood.

If you're not aware of that fact, you better do some studying up first, that is a prima basic first-grade level acoustic fact.

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Quartersawn wood is certainly preferred over any other cut but there are exceptions. One would be the case of a quilted maple acoustic guitar. Quilt figure is almost always flatsawn. Another may be that you have slightly off quarter wood. This is usually fine if it is dried properly. I used to not know anything about wood grain, flat or quartersawn, etc and my old acoustics are still fine. They also did not have cases for most of their existence. If you can get it go with quartersawn if not use what you have and just build guitars.

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When did people start using hardwood for tops? I've seen at least 4 references to it in this thread, and in my experience, it doesn't result in a very good acoustic guitar. I've seen spruce, cedar, redwood, and even select old-growth pine used to good effect, but I've never heard a hardwood top that didn't look better than it sounded. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that a great-sounding acoustic can't be made with a hardwood top, I don't know - all I know is that all the hardwood tops I've played over the last 30 years didn't sound anywhere near as good as a standard spruce top. I don't build acoustics, I just play 'em, so consider the source.

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I have played only 2 instruments that I can remember with hardwood tops that really sounded good. One was a maple top and the other was a mahogany topped 1950s Martin, a really nice sounding guitar. Most sound sort of dull though. Way back in the early days I made a 3 piece maple/rosewood/maple topped hollowbody. I sounded pretty awful (I didn't know it at the time though).

Spruce is such a beautiful acoustic material that can produce great overtones and high end sparkle. I can't imagine why after trying it you would want to use anything else (or something similar like pine, cedar, redwood, etc). Just my opinion though. Some all Koa guitars sound really good if you like that Hawaiian treble thing.

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