Jump to content

New Build: Asking For Advice


Recommended Posts

Hi, I'm new to this forum and I'm building a guitar soon.

I know you guys get asked this all the time but I'd like some advice on my wood selection. I'd appreciate it.

I currently own an Ibanez GAX70 all mahogany body guitar. It has a maple neck and rosewood fingerboard. I put grovers on it and a tone pros bridge. The pickups are a BL500R - neck and Dimarzio Tone Zone - Bridge. I've got 1 meg volumes and a coil cut. The reason I'm describing this is because it's important to what I'm looking for in my new guitar. One day I decided to try something experimental. I cut a walnut block for under the bridge and tailpiece of the guitar. released the thumbscrews so that the bridge was against the top. This defined the guitar and nearly doubled my sustain. I was surprised at how much better it sounded. It's now twice the guitar it was. Anyway, I've decided that I like the sound of my current guitar but I thought I would take it a step further and have more sustain, a better playing guitar and a more complex tone. I mostly play cult metal and rock now but I also like to play some blues.

I'm looking for a very rich sounding resonant and versatile guitar with lots of sustain, vibrant tone, bell-like highs with compressed and complex mids and tight bass. I like the compressed mids that mahogany gives but I like a little less mud and more definition. I was thinking of the following combinations and I was hoping I could get your advice on these combo's. Likewise I'd appreciate any other combo sugestions. I'm thinking Korina for the body because of it's similarity to mahogany and resonance.

#1

Body: Korina

Neck: Korina/glued in

Fretboard: Pauferro or B. Rosewood

Cap: Maple

#2

Body: Korina

Neck: Maple/glued in

Fretboard: B. Rosewood/Pauferro

Cap: None

#3

Body: Korina

Neck: Korina/glued in

Fretboard: B. Rosewood/Pauferro

Cap: Walnut

#4

Body: Korina

Neck: Walnut/glued in

Fretboard: Ebony

Cap: none

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm looking for a very rich sounding resonant and versatile guitar with lots of sustain, vibrant tone, bell-like highs with compressed and complex mids and tight bass. I like the compressed mids that mahogany gives but I like a little less mud and more definition.

You seem to have set your mind on Korina.......I would advice you to do search for "tonewood" on this board and see what comes up.

Describing sounds of tonewood is always very difficult and very subjective. Korina is described as the ultimate mahogany.....still I have read some people whom have build Korina guitars saying they were little disappointed with it's sound.

Don't get my wrong....not trying to move you away from idea of Korina....I'm building Korina JS, Korina LP and Korina RGT as we speak......no of them finished so soundwise I can't help you. I do advice you to read up on Korina and other tonewoods.

Walnut or Alder maybe option too........Basswood/Maple combo....the possibilities are endless.....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm looking for a very rich sounding resonant and versatile guitar with lots of sustain, vibrant tone, bell-like highs with compressed and complex mids and tight bass. I like the compressed mids that mahogany gives but I like a little less mud and more definition.

You seem to have set your mind on Korina.......I would advice you to do search for "tonewood" on this board and see what comes up.

Describing sounds of tonewood is always very difficult and very subjective. Korina is described as the ultimate mahogany.....still I have read some people whom have build Korina guitars saying they were little disappointed with it's sound.

Don't get my wrong....not trying to move you away from idea of Korina....I'm building Korina JS, Korina LP and Korina RGT as we speak......no of them finished so soundwise I can't help you. I do advice you to read up on Korina and other tonewoods.

Walnut or Alder maybe option too........Basswood/Maple combo....the possibilities are endless.....

I've done more research on tonewoods than I'd like to admit (here and everywhere else). Unfortunately the way they're described is as isolated pieces and not how they sound when together. I don't really have my mind made on korina up perse. It's just that I tend to really like the sound of mahogany bodied guitars and korina seems like a way to get that sound with a little more resonance and better tonal range. But, that's why I'm asking here. I'm trying to get responses from people who have built enough to know how my ideas might work. Does anyone know which woods filter out which frequencies and how the woods complement one another?

To be honest I'm a little petrified of buying expensive tone woods and not liking the sound of the damn thing once it's done. I've done a lot of guitar work in the past and I've been a shop carpenter for many years. I've even hand sanded a compound radius ino a neck. So, you see, I'm ready to build from scratch but I'm a little hesitant because of the unknowns.

It would be great to have a tone wood reference that gives each wood and point by point their resonance value, weight per sq2 in., frequency response, compressed frequencies, canceled frequencies, stabillity, etc... anyway, I guess I keep dreaming for now and ask if anyone here can tell me anything about my selected combinations.

After reading a bit more I'm thinking:

body: Korina (for compressed mids, tighter than mahogany lows and resonance)

neck: Korina

cap: Palisander (for definition, better frequency response and glass shard treble attenuation)

fretboard: Pauferro (definition)

-symetrical design

-symetrically chambered body

-glue in neck or neck through

-24 3/4 scale

-laminated neck with rosewood stripe and large fretwire

-custom HB in bridge incorporating a split coil P90

-A more traditional sounding HB split coil in neck

I think this will give me resonance. Attenuated but articulate highs. No mud in the lower registers/resonant and tight lows. smooth articulation and versatillity.

Edited by Scrappy_Squirrel
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Unfortunately the way they're described is as isolated pieces and not how they sound when together.

Well that's where custom building comes in......the great quest for the ultimate guitar. B)

To be honest I'm a little petrified of buying expensive tone woods and not liking the sound of the damn thing once it's done.

Expensive tonewoods mostly goes for the really exotic woods.....and some quilted/burl/flame tops. Your average Alder/Mahogany/Basswood shouldn't set you back that much. Korina all depends on availability in your area.

I've done a lot of guitar work in the past and I've been a shop carpenter for many years. I've even hand sanded a compound radius into a neck. So, you see, I'm ready to build from scratch but I'm a little hesitant because of the unknowns.

Do your research.........read up on knowledge available......but there simply comes a time people won't be holding your hands anymore...and you simply have to dive in.......in search of anwsers to your questions.

It would be great to have a tone wood reference that gives each wood and point by point their resonance value, weight per sq2 in., frequency response, compressed frequencies, canceled frequencies, stabillity, etc... anyway, I guess I keep dreaming for now.

Yes, you are... :D

and ask if anyone here can tell me anything about my selected combinations.

The combos you chose.....are not your most complex combos.

You just should do (extensive) search on Korina, and Walnut.......

Main sound of guitar will come from body wood. So research on that. Korina in your case.......With maple cap/top you can brighten this up a little.....Fretboard choice is mostly cosmetic choice......

There are few questions that are more important, then actually wood choice question.

See....if you would chose Korina or Walnut neck.......you probably would want to go for finish on your neck. A maple neck could be tung-oiled.

Personally I don't like feel of painted neck so I will pick maple neck over any other....

next to this....I think maple has great feel and look when combined with bubinga/wenge/ebony laminates. But this is just personal preference.

Same with fretboard. I like Rosewood feel.....but like Ebony (cold wet wood feel) even better.......I already have rosewood neck guitar, so I went for Ebony in JS-7 build......again....reason....to try it, and as it will brighten up the guitar.....and it will look great with body color and chrome hardware.....(Again....tone of wood being one, but not main reason for choice)

Also in warm Mahogany type guitar you would like to off-set the darkness of one wood with the brightness of other wood. Kinda do you SWAT analysis on wood combo. Alot depends what kind of guitar you are after. LP style or more RG-ish...

Another question would be your neck type; set-neck, neck-through or bolt on. In two first option the wood color of the neck would sound more through then in bolt on option. So on neck-through your maple neck will sound differently than your bolt on maple neck. (oh, so is the theory as few have ever built two exact same instruments to find out. And if you would build two...you have to make sure that wood comes from same log(s) as wood blanks can differ from piece to piece.)

Another question you have to ask is readily avialability of wood. Can you drive around the corner and get nice piece of Limba (Korina) or do you have to custom order from Africa........

I'm lucky to have health supply of Korina available to me. (I'm located in Holland)....In one LP style guitar I'm planning/building....I had planned a Korina body with maple neck, with Walnut top. Again.......Korina/Walnut combo based on research on possibly being great combo. As I'm going for set-through neck...I chose for Maple neck.....because of sound idea....but also because of feel. (Tung-Oil.)

See, now I have my Korina body cut and worked out.....but now I have a harder time locating good Walnut top......and this makes me contemplating gong for "regular" maple cap......Availability reason.

So, again.....there are plenty of choices.......

And then we haven;t even touched pups. As I think that Blaze bridge in your mahogany guitar will make same guitar sound differently than your TZ (br).

So again........get feel for components......see how they "might" work together......

but if they do, or don't ....you can only test by actually building it.....and once you start building you never will built only one. Cause dreaming up guitars goes pretty fast.

:D

Edited by RGGR
Link to comment
Share on other sites

#3

Body: Korina

Neck: Korina/glued in

Fretboard: B. Rosewood/Pauferro

Cap: Walnut

I built one of these: Myka Guitar #001

I personally love this combination. The korina is excellent and is just what you describe as being like mahogany but with more brilliance. Get a nice midweight piece that rings when you tap it. Feel if the piece has the sustain you want. The overall tone of my #001 guitar is a dark, jazzy tone. It can also do blues and heavy fusion style as well but it is a dark guitar. The walnut cap makes it that way. It dampens the tone like maple but it doesn't really offer much snap into the mix like maple does. I used Claro walnut which is a bit softer then east coast walnut, which seems more like maple. Anyway, I love it and if you get a nice piece it is the most amazingly beautiful wood grain. I finished it with a base coat of amber shellac and clear nitro over the top. Pickups are Seymour Duncan Jazz neck and JB bridge. I may swap these out for a Rio Grande Texas/BBQ set as they have a bit more grit to them. It depends on what you want but this particular combination is pretty good in my opinion. In fact this guitar is my own personal electric.

~David

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks a lot for the input! What do think about a palisander top as apposed to walnut? I was thinking it would give it similar definition to walnut, more resonance and keep the highs sweet, smooth and oily. But the korina would still keep it dark. Although if I use palisander I might have to make the fretboard B. rosewood instead of pauferro. The one thing I was worried about with walnut is how close it is to korina in hardness, resonance, etc... Did you chamber your korina body to lighten it up? what is your hardware setup and what about your neck (laminated/through/glued in?)? Do you think your guitar would benefit from a maple neck, or would it detract from the compressed, dark tonality? I like dark sounding (compressed mids) guitars, like gibsons. But I also love more resonance and tighter lows than what mahogany gives. The highs of mahogany are fine as I prefer less shards. I'm also wanting a split humbucker with a P90 and I think a korina/gison-like combo would be awesome with a P90.

This is one good tonewood reference that I've been following. Although there isn't much about rosewood/palisander as a body cap.

http://www.jemsite.com/axes/htm_features/wood.htm

Here's what I'm thinking now:

body: Korina (for compressed mids, tighter than mahogany lows and resonance)

neck: Korina

cap: Palisander (for definition, better frequency response and glass shard treble attenuation)

fretboard: Pauferro (definition)

-symetrical design

-symetrically chambered body

-glue in neck or neck through

-24 3/4 scale

-laminated neck with rosewood stripe and large fretwire

-custom HB in bridge incorporating a split coil P90

-A more traditional PF alnico sounding HB split coil in neck

Edited by Scrappy_Squirrel
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The one thing I was worried about with walnut is how close it is to korina in hardness, resonance, etc... Did you chamber your korina body to lighten it up? what is your hardware setup and what about your neck (laminated/through/glued in?)?  Do you think your guitar would benefit from a maple neck, or would it detract from the compressed, dark tonality?

The korina is not as hard as walnut, at least the pieces I used. It seems to be that way though. I did chamber the korina for a slight resonance boost. It made the guitar more resonant for certain. The bridge is a TonePros tune-o-matic with a wooden tailpiece that the strings wrap over and go through the body. It is an excellent setup for great sustain and a good solid bridge. A similar guitar may have benefited from a maple neck if I wanted a bit more snap and brightness in the tone. This particular guitar has a great smoky jazz tone and I would not change a thing. I would make another with a maple neck and expect good reults though. But korina is not really a dark wood, at least not so much as mahogany. It has a great sparkly high end.

So you are thinking palisander rosewood for the top? I think it would be a great choice for what you are looking for. I would still use Brazilian if you have it though to mellow out the attack a bit. I appreciate the glass shard idea but no one likes to have that amp facing their way in a band.

And, yes, start building :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would sugest using a flamed bubinga top. I made a guitar out of mahogany and bubinga and it sounds WAY better than anything I've ever played (doesent look as good because of my crappy build though :D ) Here is an example of what bubinga looks like. (this is the guitar I built)

07170651.jpg

I might also sugest a cocobolo neck. They sound great and look better than anything IMHO

Here is an example also from the guitar I built

neck

It's darker and reder in real life.

Edited by Godin SD
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Everyone will have their favorite......that's why I said "START BUILDING".

You seem to have done your research on the wood part.

Now concentrate on type of guitar and building process........and start buying the Korina body wood blanks....so you can get your feet wet.

(Might wanna practise your techniques on cheaper woods, but as you have some wood working experience....I don't see it necessairy)

It's all about that voice in the back of your head...."How will it sound with this set-up, what will happen if I change this, or that......what, if, when, how????

There simply is only one way to find out. Build the darn thing!!!!!!!

Not saying you should rush things.......but you CAN research this forever........

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Everyone will have their favorite......that's why I said "START BUILDING".

You seem to have done your research on the wood part.

Now concentrate on type of guitar and building process........and start buying the Korina body wood blanks....so you can get your feet wet.

(Might wanna practise your techniques on cheaper woods, but as you have some wood working experience....I don't see it necessairy)

It's all about that voice in the back of your head...."How will it sound with this set-up, what will happen if I change this, or that......what, if, when, how????

There simply is only one way to find out. Build the darn thing!!!!!!!

Not saying you should rush things.......but you CAN research this forever........

You're right, I could research this forever and in many respects it feels like I have. I've been wanting to do this for years and it's finally come down it. Thanks for the push guys. Time to pull the trigger.

My next question is in regard to purchasing:

Is kiln dried lumber ok or should it be air dried?

Since I live in the desert (Tucson, AZ) it's difficult to find good wood so Ill be ordering on line. Are there any good sources for quality lumber matched with great prices?

The ones I've found so far:

http://advantagelumber.com/

http://www.galleryhardwoods.com/pricing.htm

http://www.lumberlady.com/listing___alphabetical_order.htm

http://www.gilmerwood.com/instrument_wood-parts.htm

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You're right, I could research this forever and in many respects it feels like I have. I've been wanting to do this for years and it's finally come down it. Thanks for the push guys. Time to pull the trigger.

Yeaaaah.

mark_desert_eagle_pistol.gif

Knew that NRA membership was good for something. ;-)

Are there any good sources for quality lumber matched with great prices?

Somewhere there was this great thread pinned with all these great links to all major online/offline suppliers.......Can some re-cap that post??

Oh, shoot....that's what the Search button is for, hey?

http://projectguitar.ibforums.com/index.ph...l=wood+supplier

And post some pics while you're building. That's why we all keep coming back here.....to see other cool projects.

Edited by RGGR
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You're right, I could research this forever and in many respects it feels like I have. I've been wanting to do this for years and it's finally come down it. Thanks for the push guys. Time to pull the trigger.

Yeaaaah.

mark_desert_eagle_pistol.gif

Knew that NRA membership was good for something. ;-)

Are there any good sources for quality lumber matched with great prices?

Somewhere there was this great thread pinned with all these great links to all major online/offline suppliers.......Can some re-cap that post??

Oh, shoot....that's what the Search button is for, hey?

http://projectguitar.ibforums.com/index.ph...l=wood+supplier

And post some pics while you're building. That's why we all keep coming back here.....to see other cool projects.

Great, thanks!

Why is it when someone posts an image I get text "user posted image" instead of the actual image?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You're right, I could research this forever and in many respects it feels like I have. I've been wanting to do this for years and it's finally come down it. Thanks for the push guys. Time to pull the trigger.

Yeaaaah.

mark_desert_eagle_pistol.gif

Knew that NRA membership was good for something. ;-)

Are there any good sources for quality lumber matched with great prices?

Somewhere there was this great thread pinned with all these great links to all major online/offline suppliers.......Can some re-cap that post??

Oh, shoot....that's what the Search button is for, hey?

http://projectguitar.ibforums.com/index.ph...l=wood+supplier

And post some pics while you're building. That's why we all keep coming back here.....to see other cool projects.

Great, thanks!

Why is it when someone posts an image I get text "user posted image" instead of the actual image?

Oddly enough I'm seeing the image on my work computer but not on my home computer! Anyway, when I start the build I'll be sure to post pics for sure. Thanks for all your help guys!

Edited by Scrappy_Squirrel
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I often find it comical how people refer to tone. I would say 90% of the tone of an electric guitar is the pickups. The other 10% is pure voodoo.

That being said the real tone idea is in density. The denser a piece of wood the less it will vibrate and the more sustain you will get. (because the string's energy is not being lost to the vibrating body) The lighter or less dense the wood is the more it will vibrate and the "warmer" the tone becomes (and conversely sustain goes out the window). But on an electric the only person that "feels" this is the player. Because the subtle vibration differances are "felt" and not heard.(argue this if you want but its my take from a physics standpoint)

Now the real funny part is these vibrations are transfered through glue and wood to the guitar strings then from the strings, then are magnetically picked up by a coil then amplified and reproduced by a paper cone. Now how much of the initial tone is reproduced faithfully?

Try this experiment

Listen to a conversation/music through a wall or door using a coffee mug to the wall. Now listen to the same thing using a plastic cup. The difference may be semi-noticable.

now lets do the same experiment only this time record it using a microphone and then play it back. Blindfolded you would be hard pressed to tell the two apart.

Just my take on it, you don't have to agree.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I often find it comical how people refer to tone. I would say 90% of the tone of an electric guitar is the pickups. The other 10% is pure voodoo.

That being said the real tone idea is in density. The denser a piece of wood the less it will vibrate and the more sustain you will get. (because the string's energy is not being lost to the vibrating body) The lighter or less dense the wood is the more it will vibrate and the "warmer" the tone becomes (and conversely sustain goes out the window). But on an electric the only person that "feels" this is the player. Because the subtle vibration differances are "felt" and not heard.(argue this if you want but its my take from a physics standpoint)

Now the real funny part is these vibrations are transfered through glue and wood to the guitar strings then from the strings, then are magnetically picked up by a coil then amplified and reproduced by a paper cone. Now how much of the initial tone is reproduced faithfully?

Try this experiment

Listen to a conversation/music through a wall or door using a coffee mug to the wall. Now listen to the same thing using a plastic cup. The difference may be semi-noticable.

now lets do the same experiment only this time record it using a microphone and then play it back. Blindfolded you would be hard pressed to tell the two apart.

Just my take on it, you don't have to agree.

So then why don't we all just make guitars from aluminum and acrylic resin and forget about wood altogether?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

yeah i bet theres no way in hell you could tell what a guitar is made out of by hearing a recording or even wot pup, but people still go to great extents(and costs) to find their perfect combonation of woods.

anyone heard of the placebo effect?

thats not to say im gunna make a plywood gat im a firm believer in placebo

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I often find it comical how people refer to tone. I would say 90% of the tone of an electric guitar is the pickups. The other 10% is pure voodoo.

But don't you love all that voodoo!!

That being said the real tone idea is in density. The denser a piece of wood the less it will vibrate and the more sustain you will get. (because the string's energy is not being lost to the vibrating body) The lighter or less dense the wood is the more it will vibrate and the "warmer" the tone becomes (and conversely sustain goes out the window). But on an electric the only person that "feels" this is the player. Because the subtle vibration differances are "felt" and not heard.(argue this if you want but its my take from a physics standpoint)

It's a little more complex than just density story. Woods like Wenge or Ash have alternating layers of higher and lower density. These complex structures contribute to the tone. Where as Mahogany or Alder are more uniform in density.

Cause if your reasoning was correct the heavier wood should produce a more bright tone.....and I think that;s not always the case.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For acrylic you can add colorants to make any color you want. Aluminum may be stabe for bodies but I have a friend who has an aluminum neck Travis Beam and an Aluminum neck Kramer and he tells me they shift and move with temp. That doesn't sound very good to me. So, all said, it would be best to use alum for the body and resin for the neck. MDF would be an interesting project but it would have to be sealed really well (polyester resin or urethane). MDF is pretty sensitive to moisture. I've heard good things about Reverend guitars and they're made with composites and alt. materials.

Edited by Scrappy_Squirrel
Link to comment
Share on other sites

So then why don't we all just make guitars from aluminum and acrylic resin and forget about wood altogether?

Actually aluminum and acrylic would be incedibly stable materials however they are not as pretty and are much more expensive than wood.

Been thinking of building an mdf one but thats in the distant future

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...