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Pine vs. mahogany


 
4/10/2000 3:44 AM
Randy Pine vs. mahogany
ALL THINGS BEING EQUAL,WHICH GUITAR WOULD HAVE MORE SUSTAIN AND/OR A FATTER TONE:ELECTRIC GUITAR WITH A PINE BODY OR ONE WITH A MAHOGANY BODY. MY AMPS SOUND BEST WITH PINE CABINETS BUT I'M TRYING TO LEARN ABOUT GUITARS.THANKS!
 
4/11/2000 3:14 AM
Jeff S

As far as I know, pine has never been used to make guitars--it is a softwood and contains sap, and would therefore not be a candidate for a guitar wood (at least thats the current wisdom). Moreover, pine is very soft, lightweight, and generally considered to be garbage wood (its basically the cheapest stuff around). So, the mahogany body should rule supreme over the pine one. Take care.  
 
Jeff S
 
4/11/2000 1:58 PM
Mark Hammer

Trouble is that it's hard for all those things to be equal. *IF* you could find pine without any knots, and with a consistent enough grain, approximating the grain density of mahogany, then to my mind it would simply be a question of durability. Both could be made to sound as corpulent as you desire.  
 
Trouble is that commercially available pine does tend to be - as suggested - "garbage wood". Conceivably, there are outlets where you could find top-notch softwoods in plank or log form, but the odds are that a couple of bookmatched or near bookmatched hunks of mahogany with consistent grain will be much easier to obtain. Your speaker cabs may not care about the consistency of the grain, but your strings will.  
 
In its favour as well, mahogany tends to machine a little easier, a bit like the difference between trying to drill plastic or cast aluminum.
 
4/11/2000 2:32 PM
GFR

I know termites prefer pine... it's softer and sweeter...
 
4/11/2000 3:17 PM
CBS
Hi,  
Do you guys consider spruce to be a pine?  
I think that John Benedetto built a jazz box with lumber yard pine, knots and all, saying he could tell no difference in tone between it and a guitar built with european aged cello engleman spruce.  
CBS
 
4/11/2000 8:49 PM
Mark Hammer

I guess your question is really: would virtually ANY well-chosen softwood be acceptable for a guitar body, and the answer is...SURE!  
 
I have a book illustrating the guitars of Danny Ferrington. One of the instruments in there is a 60-minute guitar made from plywood or something (been a while since I looked at it), that Danny traced from a P-bass or something, cut out, stuck a crappy homemade bridge, a Tele neck and Tele pickup on. This thing makes EVH's old tape and spraypaint jobs look like a Collings or PRS Dragon. Ferrington was forced to give it to Ry Cooder, who loved it, and recorded with it that day or something.  
 
You can make guitars out of ANYTHING, folks. The question is, will all the parts you've selected complement each other, will it be playable, and will it be durable.
 
4/11/2000 11:45 PM
JC

There are actually lots of "pine type" trees, the sequoia is one of them, I believe...  
 
Cypress, fir, spruce...  
 
Here in Spain the tops of the classical / flamenco / concert guitars are always made with one of these pine type woods (never exactly with what we know for real-plain pine, of course), which vary a lot in price from one tree wood to another.  
 
The pine wood has to be "bleeded" we say over here, that is, the resin in the wood has to be previously taken out, I don't know how they do it.  
And the wood has to be aged a few years, the older the better.  
 
Slow grown pine type trees can have a nice very tight year rings, although the wood is a much softer and delicate wood compared to alder, etc.  
 
And yes, termites love this wood, especially the "bleeded" one.  
 
JC
 
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