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Our  Tonewoods

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All of our tonewoods are solid wood, and inherently unique. Even within a species, every piece is going to differ some what from one another. The grain pattern, color, shade, weight, and density are all subject to nature. This does not necessarily make one piece better or worse than another, it means that they are simply different and unique. The sonic properties of tonewood vary dramatically between species, weight and density. Generally speaking, the heavier woods sustain well and have a bright and articulate sound which are all good attributes for musical instruments. Extra light weight woods can sound indistinct or muddy. Medium weight woods fall in the middle and are the traditional preference. Compromises may be found by chambering or hollowing the heavier woods, these bodies remain stiff, but light weight for that fat, rich tone with great sustain. Below is a sample of the tonewoods we presently offer, and suggestions for choosing a balanced Body & Top that will  produce optimum tone. If there is something else your after and don’t see, (ie. more exotics) please don’t hesitate to ask, because we may be able to find it for you.

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Mahogany has sometimes been considered a "poor man's choice", but there is now a great appreciation for its unique tonal qualities. It seems that mahogany ages well and its true value may not reveal itself until a few years have passed. This is especially true when it is used as a top wood. Mahogany's trademark tone is a powerful midrange, with great punch and character. Very sought after for its even texture and grain.                         

Our Tonewoods for Bodies

                                                                                     

African Khaya Mahogany looks more like Honduran, but is generally a little softer, but tonally very similar.  It is a medium to heavy weight wood. African Khaya Mahogany is a fine grained wood with great musical properties. The tone is warm and full with good sustain.


Suggested Tops: Mahogany, Maple, Koa, Padauk,  Spruce


      

Primavera sometimes called white or blonde mahogany grows in Central America and Mexico. It is creamy white to yellowish rose, sometimes tinted with pale brown, orange or pinkish stripes. Primavera is strong, medium textured, with straight to interlocking and wavy grain, sometimes with a ribbon or fiddle-back figure or even subtle Mahogany like grain patterns. Tonally Primavera is similar to Honduras Mahogany.  Weighing less than Mahogany, it has been used on many high-end basses and has a very even response and strong midrange tonality.



Swamp Ash is a prized wood for many reasons. It is a fairly light weight wood which makes it easily distinguishable from Hard Ash. The grain is open and the color is creamy. It is a very musical wood offering quick response, firm bass and rich sparkling highs, very nice balance of brightness and warmth with a lot of "pop".                                                                                                                                   

Alder is used extensively for bodies because of its lighter weight and its full sound.  Alder's natural color is a light tan with little or no distinct grain lines. The tone is reputed to be most balanced with equal doses of lows, mids and highs. A clear finish is not recommended, but looks good with a stained, transparent or sunburst finish.                                                                                                                                                          

Most of  our tonewoods are sustainably harvested from planned forestry programs.

Honduran Mahogany (swietenia macropyllia)  

African Khaya Mahogany (khaya ivorensis)

Suggested Tops: Mahogany, Maple, Koa, Padauk, Spruce

Primavera (cybistax donnell-smithii)    

Swamp Ash (fraxinus americana)

Suggested Tops: Maple, Myrtle, Makore, Padauk, Spruce, Walnut

Alder (alnus rubra)

Suggested Tops: Koa, Spruce

Suggested Tops: Mahogany, Maple, Koa, Padauk, Spruce

Our Tonewoods for Tops

Mahogany has sometimes been considered a "poor man's choice", but there is now a great appreciation for its unique tonal qualities. It seems that mahogany ages well and its true value may not reveal itself until a few years have passed. This is especially true when it is used as a top wood. Mahogany's trademark tone is a powerful midrange, with great punch and character.                          

Honduran Mahogany (swietenia macropyllia)

Koa is a very beautiful wood that comes exclusively from Hawaii making supply very limited. Its weight varies somewhat from medium to heavy and is an excellent tonewood for bass. Koa has a warm sound similar to mahogany, but with a little more brightness. Koa is sometimes available in flame figure.

Padauk falls between Rosewood and Mahogany. Bright vivid orange color which oxidizes to a warm brown with use. This waxy feeling wood has an open grain texture similar to rosewood and a tone similar to maple with great mids and attack. This is a heavy to medium weight wood that looks great with an oil finish or clear gloss.

              

Oregon Myrtle and California Laurel are the same species, however the temperate rainforest and high mineral content soil of the South Oregon Coast generally produces a larger tree with a much greater variety of color and grain configuration. It is an extremely hard wood with an interlocking grain. Its density and hardness ranges between Mahogany and Rosewood, its tonal response has a lot of sparkling clarity, definition and sustain, often compared to Mahogany and Koa. Myrtle wood occurs in beautifully figured and burled patterns, and in a wide range of colors. Tonally, it has superb projection and sustain, and a very full and beautifully balanced sound.

Oregon Myrtle (mbellularia californica)  

California Walnut (juglans californica)

African Makore (mimusops heckelii)

Flame, Fiddle-Back or Tiger maple all generally refer to curls (or stripes) as illustrated here. Flame can be tight, wide, straight or crooked. Tonally sharp mids and high ends.

Pacific Flame Maple (acer macrophyllum-pacific maple)   

Quilted maple is a more rare form of figure occurring mostly in western maple. It is distinguished by its billowing cloud or even popcorn appearance. This figure can vary from large, wide billows to tight small blisters. Tonally sharp mids and high ends.

Pacific Quilted Maple (acer macrophyllum-pacific maple)

This figure is only found in the eastern hard maple trees. Birdseye does not usually run deep in the boards, but can be quite striking. Tonally sharp mids and high ends.

Eastern Birdseye Maple (acer saccharum-hard maple)

This wood is actually the product of a dead or decaying tree. The dark lines are created by fungal attack. Each piece of Spalted maple is quite unique. Tonally sharp mids and high ends.

Spalted Maple (acer macrophyllum-pacific maple)

Bearclaw is the name given to the figuring sometimes found in Spruce, as it looks like a bear has clawed it. Usually a sign of the boards being cut fully on the quarter, and therefore a sign of quality. Sitka Spruce is preferred for its strength & tough elasticity. Sitka has a punchy strong focused tone with lower overtones making it less complex, but more direct in its delivery. 

Bearclaw Sitka Spruce (picea sitchensis)  

Most of  our tonewoods are sustainably harvested from planned forestry programs.

Hawaiian Koa (acacia koa)

African Padauk (pterocarpus soyauxii)

Walnut is between Mahogany and Rosewood in tone and timbre. Strong fundamentals plus some of the bottom end of a Rosewood, to the tone you would expect from Mahogany.  Luxurious coloring and grain patterns are the earmarks of Walnut. Whether using an oil finish or a deep clear gloss, the pleasing appeal of Walnut always delivers. Walnut is in the heavy weight category but it's not quite as heavy as hard maple. It has a similar sound to hard maple but it tends not to be as bright.

Makore (pronounced mack-KORE-ray) has a broad, shimmering beeswing figure and ribbony grain lines; a sure fire “eye catcher”. The color is similar to Mahogany, but it is less porous and a little denser, imparting a somewhat deeper tone.

For Ordering or More Info. Please Contact Us  

Blue Note Woodworks

Gold Hill,  OR   USA


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