Walnut offers smooth playability and a bright tone, but with just the right amount of low and mid emphasis to sound balance and relatively transparent. A Walnut and Sapele Gift Box Before starting any project I make sure everything works out in SketchUp. Being a novice in guitar playing, I have not yet posted on guitars in my blog, but I believe this year I will. It tends to lose clarity when it’s driven hard, so tends not to be favoured among those who generally play hard with a pick. Koa will not necessarily suit plectrum players due to its pronounced brightness, but finger-pickers who use the pads of their fingers or those that like to strum with their thumbs should definitely consider Koa. Your email address will not be published. Because of this, the choice of fretboard wood is one of the most important things to consider in terms of feel and playability. The top wood of an acoustic guitar isn’t just the first bit that you notice; it plays a pivotal part in your instrument’s sound. This makes it a good choice for live performance because the clarity of tone cuts through the mix well, and feedback is less likely to be problematic. Mahogany topped acoustic guitars are not especially common but have been around since the ‘20s. Thanks! It’s closer to Rosewood than Mahogany is but it’s much more similar to Mahogany than it is to Rosewood. EIR is generally pretty easy to spot as being different, although the colouring is often a similar dark chocolate brown. Light and unassuming in appearance. Here’s a breakdown of some of the most popular choices for acoustic guitar tops: If there is such a thing as an industry standard top tone wood, then Spruce would have to tick that box. The Brazilian variety tends to have the more striking appearance of the two, with a dark brown complexion with rich orange hints, and fine black lines in the figuring. January 8, 2016 at 6:24 pm. Glossary of Terms. If the wood is less dense, the sound will have more space in the grain to move around in, so you can expect a darker resonance with increased sustain! I do have guitar back and sides sets in rosewood, mahogany, sapele, maple, cherry and walnut, so I can tap to my heart's delight. The main reason for this is that it suits just about any and every style of playing. In my opinion both are great tonewoods anyway and if you like the tone of your 000-15, that’s the main thing! Walnut Flute Stand BedfordAvenueFlutes. Post Apr 11, 2007 #7 2007-04-11T04:12. I was looking for wood textures and came across sapele when looking for mahogany. Overall, spruce delivers a broad dynamic range, with a crisp and immediate articulation of sound and little harmonic complexity. That said, the density of each particular piece will to a certain extent. Different manufacturers have different approaches to this. Similar in appearance and tone to Genuine Mahogany, Sapele exhibits a powerful midrange, great punch and bright and airy trebles. I was also more of a Martin guy before starting this website but over the last couple of years Taylor have become equals for me. Its tonal brightness, woody midrange and dark, rich appearance have proven popular among numerous luthiers; for many, it’s something of a departure from the usual suspects, resulting in a uniquely beautiful instrument that remains versatile and playable. The wood used to form the back and sides of an acoustic guitar sound chamber does a lot more than simply look good and create an enclosure. I am thinking of buying a Talor gs mini and did not know if sapele was a real wood or a man made product( I know that sounds dorky but I never heard of the word before). View all of our Learn articles by clicking below: Ebony is a very dense and heavy but smooth tonewood. http://acousticletter.com/join BUY NOW (more info): https://musicvilla.com/collections/taylor Interested? Sapele: Janka Hardness 1,410 lbf (6,280 N) The hardest of the three options. Everything you need to know about the acoustic guitar tonewood options available on the market today! You may have seen some guitars that have Sapele back and sides or Mahogany back and sides or Mahogany tops but you might wonder what the difference is. While employing solid wood is more expensive, it arguably yields superior results. Although Mahogany is more commonly found being employed as a back and sides wood, it is used as the soundboard on some models. Koa can sound very bright right out of the box and need a good amount of ‘playing in’ before the tone reaches its sweet spot. Sapele Tonewood goes is a great all-purpose tonewood that works for many different applications. Both varieties offer a clear, bright sound with a fairly even response across all frequencies. I realized that the 25th edition is made of Sapele both top and back, while the original Backpacker is made of Sitka Spruce and tonewood. Bought my first uke and it was made a sapele and was curious what it was. Rosewood is popular for fretboards thanks to its smooth feel, but its durability is also crucial. It is well known for making an instrument sound bright and loud, and generates a tight, focused tone with little overtone presence. With a rich dark reddish-brown colour, mahogany is very easy to spot. You’ll see a number of species of used in acoustic guitar construction, the most common being Sitka, Engelmann (also known as European) and Adirondack (also known as Eastern Red Spruce). Sapele is a hardwood tree native to central Africa and is obtained from sustainably managed forests. Reply. It definitely had the strong mid-range of the D18 (which I eventually inherited, selling the Taylor). This of course doesn’t mean better or worse – it’s just to illustrate in terms of tonal characteristics how Sapele fits between Mahogany and Rosewood. Through eliminating or amplifying different frequencies produced by the strings, these tonewoods can have a considerable effect on the overall tone generated by any given guitar. your information on both Mahogany and Sapele tone woods was very helpful. Sitka’s combination of strength and elasticity translates into a broad dynamic range, yielding crisp articulation and allowing for everythi… Koa (Acacia koa) Why people love it: Figured Koa is probably among the most stunning hardwoods on the planet. Traditionally used on classical guitars, cedar is becoming increasingly common in steel-string instruments. ... Walnut. The distinctive patterns created by the wood’s varied colors and graining make for an eye-catching door. It has a relatively high velocity of sound, and the highest strength to weight ratio than any other wood. Although I’ve been a die -hard Martin guy, I find that Taylor is now producing some very high quality, affordable guitars. Walnut sort of takes the cake as far as presentation. It’s not a particularly common fretboard wood for acoustic guitars, more often seen on electrics. It has become a perennial favourite and features on the comfortable majority of steel-string acoustics available today. I am not a musician; I am a 3D enthusiast. Some people are good at distinguishing the difference. How do I love thee, mahogany? The issue here is there are many species that get lumped under the African Mahogany moniker. Required fields are marked *. My cynical mind tends to think sapele has a negative reputation, deserved or undeserved, and now the name of Okoume as a mahogany is exotic enough for people to take a chance on it. It has a straighter grain pattern than its Brazilian counterpart with less striking figuring, and it can include hints of purple, red, and grey highlights. The name sapele comes from that of the city of Sapele in Nigeria, where there is a preponderance of the tree.African Timber and Plywood (AT&P), a division of the United Africa Company, had a factory at this location where the wood, along with Triplochiton scleroxylon, Obeche, mahogany, and Khaya was processed into timber which was then exported from the Port of Sapele worldwide. Of course, this hardness isn’t the only thing that determines the sound qualities. Mahalo. One of the most common reasons for this practice is so that the guitar can feature an attractive natural grain on the surface without needing to use a thicker piece of wood. It has high natural oil content, meaning that it can be left unfinished. Henk. This allows me the opportunity to make any changes as well as virtually disassemble the project and layout all of the pieces in an efficient way that they will be cut according to the material I … If you do buy a Koa guitar, bear in mind that it will seem very bright at first and will need some attention and use over time to mellow out. The only real way to tell would be b ya visual inspection if you were familiar with the how the woods differed in looks. The deep, pronounced grain is very reminiscent of mahogany but sapele tends to be a little lighter red/amber coloured and can often be striped between large dark and light patches (sometimes an inch or more in thickness). 2,192 3. A dark, luxurious appearance with fine black lines in the grain. African Mahogany (scientific names – Khaya anthotheca, Khaya grandifoliola, Khaya ivorensis, Khaya senegalensis) is harder than Honduran Mahogany and is considered to be the lesser version of Honduran Mahogany. Maple is a very dense hardwood, and this physical characteristic results in a relatively quick note decay. They’re not exactly the same, tonally, but they are close. As discussed earlier, walnut has a striking, rich appearance when used for acoustic guitar backs and sides, and would stand out in a similar fashion if used for the fretboard. Lester. Wenge is a darker wood with black and brown striping. There are several reasons for this, but its appearance certainly isn’t one of them; maple tonewood can boast numerous different figuring patterns, all of which can look absolutely stunning! These changes were implemented by CITES (short for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) to protect species from drastic reduction in numbers, and it meant that any guitar using these woods required CITES certification to be traded across borders – naturally, building guitars became a lengthier process and increased prices. Usually, when someone asks what Sapele is, the answer is invariably – “it’s like Mahogany”. You simply use the thicker, more expensive piece of wood. As mentioned earlier, there are two types most commonly used: Indian and Brazilian. The wood is also naturally oily so it doesn’t need its own finish, meaning it feels extremely soft and natural under the fingers. Sapele. Sapele just smells better. You’ll likely notice the difference when used as a top wood – but not so much for the back and sides. Walnut is beautiful and has nice tonal character on the sides and back though. There are actually a couple of different woods that are referred to as Mahogany, when talking about tonewoods for guitars. Like Mahogany, Sapele is used as both a top wood and a back/sides wood. Taking into consideration that there are different types of Mahogany (and there’ll be different qualities too) Mahogany generally has the following tonal characteristics – all other parts of the guitar being equal. Is it truly just a different type of mahogany or is it closer to a sapele? I agree that Taylor is making some really nice guitars. From shop ArcadianSunflower. Learn, © 2020 Andertons Music Company I am hoping for sound quality similar to Taylor guitars. Leave a comment below and share your thoughts! Its instantly recognisable dark appearance is both subtle and striking at the same time. Ranging from cinnamon, through honey brown, and onto light chocolate in colour, cedar is relatively easily identifiable as being a darker brown than spruce. The top (also referred to as the soundboard) is one of the components that stands in between your strings and the bulk of the guitar’s body, so the wood used has to be carefully considered. Yeah it’s hard to know if yours is Sapele or Hog. It was interesting to find this information about the sound qualities as well as some other qualities discussed here. Thank you so much for the information btw! Mahogany’s sound can be described as “earthy” “strong” “beefy”. Caramel colour with contrasting patterned grain. Below are listed the relative hardness for numerous wood species used in flooring. It can be a rich dark chocolate brown color, sometimes broad, dark lines. It’s been used to very good effect for decades, and there are two main varieties that have been employed throughout this time: East Indian rosewood, and it’s more elusive and expensive alternative, Brazilian rosewood. )Prices are per board foot and discounts are given at quantities of 10 board feet and 100 board feet. I ended up with an Eastman all solid sapele guitar which, I believe delivers stonger output from the high strings that the D15 I played, presumably because it’s a harder wood than tropical mahogany. The midrange is where it differs, however, with a healthy bark that puts it somewhere in between rosewood and mahogany. This article was very helpful in making my decision ! Light, golden colour with a rich variety of distinct grain types. Better vibration means better sustain and better tone! Because there is less stiffness along the grain, it’s also relatively quiet compared to some other tonewoods. Naturally, the pieces of wood that are used to make acoustic guitars are thin, as they need to be manipulated into a shape that works with the intended design. This is partially due to changes in regulation that restrict the circulation of certain rare woods, most notably affecting rosewood, granadillo and bubinga. While it’s common knowledge that some woods sound brighter, darker or fuller than others, not everyone necessarily knows why! Many people have been charmed into spending their hard-earned cash on a guitar with maple back and sides almost purely thanks to its spellbinding aesthetics. Hi, I too feel your article on the comparison of the two Woods is highly educational. It should also be noted that Sapele on one guitar (with different materials and construction) will sound different to Sapele … Finding and Buying a Door. Many argue that solid wood also offers a more resonant tone, again due to the uniform grain and thickness. Sapele comes from West Africa and its scientific name is Entandrophragma cylindricum. East Indian Rosewood (often referred to as EIR) is easier to produce and therefore considerably cheaper. From shop BedfordAvenueFlutes. They used those woods interchangeably for those models as far as I know. Because wood is an organic material, it changes shape and density as it grows; with age, wood develops deeper grains that change almost immeasurably during its lifespan. So, in the battle of Sapele vs Mahogany, which is the better tonewood? Some people prefer the look of Sapele, and others prefer Mahogany. Modac X. <