ash on walnut body
ash on walnut body

ash on walnut body
ash on walnut body

1/1

WOODS

Our look is all about the wood. So here's some more about the woods we like to use.

Over the last few years we've been researching and networking with a small group of timber merchants and suppliers from around the world to be able to offer you the most unique and beautiful woods we can find.

In the UK we work with suppliers who mill stunning indigenous woods.  In London our partners are often able to provide quite specific information about a wood's provenance - and we think it's pretty cool to know exactly where and when a guitar grew.

Scroll down for a breakdown of the woods we normally use for builds. Included are links to the excellent Wood Database for anyone who really wants to research weights, hardness and other data.

TONEWOOD

Tonewood - a  topic of endless debate amongst guitarists - the extent to which the wood that your guitar's made from affects its tone.

 

In the notes below we've referred to some of the generally perceived qualities of some of the woods used in guitar building. And we recognise that sometimes differences in tone can be obvious and may be attributed to a guitar's body or neck wood.

Be aware though that there are very many others variables that can affect your guitar's tone - EQ, amplification, playing style, pickups, strings, capacitors, nuts, pots and whether a body is hollow, solid or chambered all contribute to shaping an electric guitar's tone. And some or all of them combined can easily negate any differences between the characteristics of individual 'tone woods'.

Consequently, when it comes to choosing the woods for our guitar builds, we place equal importance not only on how woods are likely to shape your guitar's tone, but also how they look, how easy they are to work, how they finish differently, and of course how heavy or light a body they will make.

yellow-poplar-400x400.jpg
london-plane-s-400x400.jpg

walnut

sapele-400x400.jpg
english-yew-s-400x400.jpg

Tulipwood /Poplar is related to rosewood and is a popular choice for lighter weight guitars. Some pieces can have stunning green or purple stripes and swirls, but others can be fairly dull and uninspiring, though similar to maple at times  - so Tulipwood is often the choice for guitars that end up having a painted finish. We like to combine plainer tulipwood bodies with other more decorative or figured tops.

The Tonewood Datasource says tulipwood has "loud, warm and good separation of notes;  astrong bass, rich overtones and a sustained resonance."

 

Average Dried Weight: 455 kg/m3

Janka Hardness: 540lb/f (2,400 N)

One of our favourite suppliers in London has large stocks of London Plane from the recent clearing of St James Gardens London, in preparation for the expansion of London Euston Station. St James Gardens had originally been planned and planted in the late 1780s, so the more unusual London Plane makes for a unique, 200 year old guitar body!

London Plane (also known as Lasewood or Leopardwood) is very similar to sycamore in how it works and finishes. It's a pretty dense, straight grained, fairly hard wood that takes a variety of finishes well.

 

The Tonewood Datasource says that London Plane  has "pronounced low-mids, clear high-mids, slightly dark, warm and round. The sound warms as it ages and falls between Maple and Claro Walnut with a good treble."

Average Dried Weight: 560 kg/m3

Janka Hardness: 940lb/f (4,180 N)

The British walnut we are normally offered in the UK is one of our favourite woods to work with, as it's easy to shape and looks fantastic with practically every finish, especially oiled or satin finishes.  Walnut produces stunning chocolate coloured solid bodies and combines beautifully with contrasting tops for double-wood bodies.

 

The Tonewood DataSource says that walnut is "an excellent tonewood falling sonically between the warm dark sounds of East Indian Rosewood and the bright bell-like ring of Maple."

 

Average Dried Weight: 640 kg/m3

Janka Hardness: 1,220lb/f (5,410 N)

We're sometimes offered Sapele by our suppliers as an alternative to Mahogany  - both have heartwood that is golden to reddish brown (there are at least half a dozen commonly available types of mahogany with varying colour tins and grain patterns), and the colour sometimes darkens with age, of course dependent on finishing. 

 

Sapele and mahogany are often indistinguishable, but those who follow the 'tone wood creed' will tell you that Sapele produces more treble tones. We tend to use mahogany / sapele as a body wood combined with a more interesting or figured top, as we think it's a little dull to look at!

 

Average Dried Weight: 670 kg/m3

Janka Hardness: 1,410 lb/f (6,280 N)

A rare wood and an  unusual choice for guitar building, yew is actually an evergreen  softwood but with a density higher than many hardwoods.

 

The Tonewood DataSource says yew "is excellent tonally with a maple-like clarity, tight bass, but with very sweet, intimate and appealing overtones."

Average Dried Weight: 675 kg/m3

Janka Hardness: 1,520-1600 lb/f (6,760 N)

Ash has been a traditional choice for many guitar builders since Fender began using it on many modes from the early 1950s. Today however, ash is increasingly rare and difficult to source in large production quantities - so much so that in 2020 Fender announced that they planned to phase out the use of ash throughout their entire guitar range. At present we are still able to source ash body blanks for individual guitar commissions, so it remains a traditional solid body wood with a recognisable grain pattern and look.

 The Tonewood DataSource says ash "provides a surprisingly loud and bright tonal character, with a strong midrange and a crisp and warm bass.."

Average Dried Weight: 680 kg/m3

Janka Hardness: 1,480 lb/f (6,580 N)

Screenshot 2021-01-27 at 17.04.51.png
english-walnut-400x400.jpg

mahogany / sapele

london plane

tulipwood

yew

ash

oregon-ash.jpg