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You can. It's called Poplar. (for the body anyways). It's dirt cheap, and is similar to Alder (what they use extesively on fender strats). And besides, a 1X4 is good enough for a neck (in some conditions). And some home depots DO sell hard rock maple, the standard for building guitar necks.

Oh, and btw, at home depot they call Poplar "whitewood". it's just a matter of looking. Poplar is dirt cheap. If my memory serves me correct, for like 15 bucks i coulda gotten enough wood for two bodies? maybe more? Hard rock maple is a bit more expensive per square foot, but it's not too much. And btw poplar is not good for necks, not stiff enough, i think. Not 100% sure on that last one...

-John

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Lonewolf, I had the same question too.

Here is what I got as a response. Believe it or not certain woods only grow certain places. So, depending where you live dictates wood prices.

I live in PA, where maple and oak are predominant. But try to find alder, HAHA forget it. Needs to be shipped in, and the mills charge shipping plus.

I suggest buying wood on ebay, sometimes you will get great buys late at night on ebay, while the world sleeps. Some ebay sellers still have no idea that if they post their auctions to end at 8:20 pm PST, they would increase their auction nets by 30%. 3 to 5 am pst is the best BUYING Time.

One seller has been doing alot of body wood and his auctions have been ending for 1.00 , $3.00, some as low as $0.01. Where can you go wrong.

Try to find KOA wood in the mid west. If you do buy me a tree of it..

Hope I was of assistance.

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Another thing to take into account when it comes to certain woods used in the construction of guitars is the amount of time it takes to properly dry them.

Good aged and dry wood allows you to work either planning it or just cutting a straight line with a better chance it will not bend, warp or twist on you in the future as the remaining moisture of it changes.

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for mail order reasonable prices try

www.woodworkerssource.com

This is just one person's experience with them but here it is:

I orderd some black limba from them a while ago (before I knew of an instrument wood supplier that had it). A week went by with no delivery. I called once and left a message. I never got a call back but another week later the wood showed up. Black Limba is probably a worst case scenario but the wood was just awful. Nowhere near instrument grade. I'd be surprised if anyone could recognize it as black limba actually. I can't totally blame them though. They had no idea what it is intended for and probably just grabbed whatever they had and shipped it out.

That's why I like buying from places that are intended for instrument building. That doesn't guarentee good wood in itself but it at least gives you cause for trying to return it if you're not happy. Some instrument wood suppliers will handle a lot of the "squaring up" work for you, some will not.

As for the question on pricing - what types of wood were you looking at? For hard maple, the prices are about the same at my local lumber yard as the instrument suppliers. I can't get alder, ebony, and some rosewoods locally though so I can't compare those.

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...and the supply and demand law creeps into it too.

The world has been deforested of a lot of the premium woods over time, so there are fewer stands of the good stuff, and the trees aren't nearly as big as they used to be. The ones left are not allowed to grow as large as 'the old ones' once grew. And the export prices and labor prices to forest them have also gone up.

Look at a lot of tables made 100-150 years ago, sometimes a tabletop will have a single piece of wood that could be 8' wide and harvested right here in the states. Trees used to be FREAKIN HUGE!

Those kinds of trees of that size and quantity just don't exist much anymore.

Look at the ban on Brazillian Rosewood...we've almost made it extinct...

So the swinging scales of supply and demand also set prices.

Look at the jewelry market. If all the world's diamond suppliers dumped their stores on the market at once, they's be almost worthless, so they hold back great stores of product to keep demand (and prices, and intrinsic value) higher.

Look at the prices of old Fender and Marshall amps...there are plenty of good amps besides those, but there has been created a 'market' for them, a greater consumer demand for them as opposed to other amps just as good from a technical or tonal viewpoint, but consumers and word of mouth has made 'them' the amps in demand...thus demand goes up, supply is limited and finite, price and value goes up with it.

The demands of the consumer actually help drive the price up also since it is now 'in demand', so the supplier can set whatever, and as high as, price the market will bear...his product is a very 'wanted' product, and if he holds back the supply, or there just isn't much to go around, the supply is limited. But countries exporting wood are also trying to fuel their own economies with the profit made from the export of their trees.

OK, economics 101 over now :D

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I bought a Alder 2 piece glued and planned blank for half of that price, it was dry and made a good looking shellac finish product, from Stewmac .

I live in Italy , so now I am trying out some local woods , and they cost nothing compared to those prices, but you buy the lumber , that needs cutting , planning , and glueing ( ask the to prepare it for you ), and mostly all this needs to be done when the wood is well dried out, or else it will most likely warp and even crack ( I know for experience on a ash laptop i built ! ).So put the blanks in the place you will be working it, and let it sit there for a wile ( i leave it al least 2 weeks ) maybe sometimes i put some shellac on the edges to avoid it from cracking , or some other product.

I was interested in some Exotic woods, and the prices were crazy, so for now I stick to the local supply, at least untill I have more cash to buy expensive wood

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