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Santos Mahogany And Segmented (quasi-coopered) Semi-hollowbody

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I'm entering the (hopefully) final planning phase of an ergonomic 28-5/8" to 25-1/2" multi-scaled 7-string. Currently, the plan is to tune it Ab1 to Ab3 in Major 3rds. That's eight semi-tones below the low E of a standard tuned 6-string, but still two semi-tones above that magical F# that so many people talk about with long scale 7-strings. I'd like to get as close to "clear piano-like tones" as possible.

I have more than enough "Santos Mahogany" to make the guitar. This stuff is much deeper red (almost like an old Gibson SG or a glass of Merlot), harder and denser than typical guitar mahogany. It seems harder and denser than all of the maple I have around the house. Anybody with experience how this would work as a tonewood?

The downside of all the wood I have is that none of it is thick enough for your typical "start with a big block and hollow it out" style of building. What if I did something like this:


or this:


{not the stripes, just the quasi-barrel-like (coopered) construction} and then shaped the sides like this:



I'm going for a body style that's somewhere between an Ovation Breadwinner:


, the Forshage Hollow-bodies:


and this Rick Canton mock-up:


. It will be a headless, but the neck will be rotated a bit more towards the 12 O'Clock position, so the guitar sets correctly in the Classical position while sitting, w/o one leg on a footrest.

The other design considerations that affect tone are: The guitar will almost certainly be neck-through, very likely would be hard maple/santos mahogany laminate, an ebony fingerboard and stainless steel frets. I'm also thinking about doing something similar to the "I-Beam" construction that Carvin does with their Holdsworth H2 Hollow-bodies (It's a neck-through, but the portion in the body is thinned so that the top and back of the guitar do not touch the neck. I'd do this only if needed to "help" the tone). I'm open to feedback on any of these ideas.

If this construction method would work, keeping the bass tight, without sacrificing the mids or highs, then the final questions are:

  • How deep should the overall body thickness be?
  • How thick should the side walls be?
  • Ditto for the top and bottom caps.
  • I like the look of an F-hole, and what it does for tone, when it helps, but would that introduce other problems in this design?

I should add, that if this idea is a no-go, or too risky of an experiment, then I'll just go with my original plan of a swamp ash body and in the (highly likely) case I get a piece with an ugly grain pattern, I'll cap it with the Santos Mahogany.


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