Hand Tools

Subject:
I don't know specifically..
Response To:
Tonewood ()

David Weaver
..about names. if the word legitimate is added to tonewoods, I'd say true rosewoods, really good spruce, mahogany, sometimes limba, maple....all associated with transmitting vibrations well, I guess, or in the right amount resulting in the right timbre.

But sometimes woods that aren't that exciting make wonderful tonewoods and sometimes the density or something can be off in others (I've got a limba telecaster made of limba that tapped a wonderful note, but it's not a good match for the string energy on the guitar and it's dead compared to another cannon of a guitar made with less traditional telecaster woods - rosewood and khaya - that's much much stronger).

I think someone who is very good can probably get good top wood on an instrument and not be that dependent on certain qualities from the rest. On the part of an instrument that vibrates (spruce) to push air against the part that reflects it back (rosewood or maple), the spruce is probably much more important.

I'll bet a wonderful guitar or violin could be made of quartersawn white oak back and sides, but we might not ever see it. Change the top from spruce to cedar and things change much more.

I'm not sure if moabi is considered a "tonewood". It doesn't ring like mahogany or good rosewood does, but not every piece of rosewood rings anywhere close to the same, either.

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