Wood Specifications

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Srini
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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby Srini » Tue Sep 03, 2019 10:04 pm

HarlowTheFish wrote:IMO it's not that wood doesn't make a difference, just that the difference between two pieces of the same wood can have a more pronounced difference than across types, so you just need to take each piece/instrument for what it is and work with its strengths.
As far as finish goes, the hardness, mass, and penetration do make a difference in resonance, which is why cheap guitars resonate like farts: they have chunky heavy poly all over. Caparison swapped finish techniques several years ago to a new kind that penetrated less and was thinner by about 0.3mm than their old type, and having tried both, there's something to it. Whether it's audible or not is going to depend on your pickups - something lightly potted or unpotted that's directly mounted to the wood will react more to the wood you have, whereas any "modern" humbucker (hot, midrangey, heavy potting) is barely going to notice any of that.


It would be interesting to see some kind of an impact chart/graph of each factor to tone. With no particular scientific thought, I'd venture to say pickups(various types of alnico and ceramic magnets, wire, single, HB in series/parallel/split), scale length, wood type (body/neck/board), joint type (set neck/bolt-on/thru) and finish...in that order. I'm leaving out external components like pedals and amps, of course, and I'd also say that perhaps the biggest gap is between pickups and scale length. Oh...I left out strings....and bridge type (whammy, hardtail)..

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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby HarlowTheFish » Tue Sep 03, 2019 10:33 pm

I'd probably say scale length first, because it fundamentally changes the harmonic composition of the note that is produced in a way that no other component really can; then pickups (type/components/wiring); then neck joint/chambering, strings, body wood, bridge, and finish, in that order. After pickups it's really more a matter of how the sound responds than of how it objectively sounds, in that you'll have different attack transient responses, different rates at which individual harmonics decay as a note sustains, note bloom, and a million other variables that you can't hear individually but make up the distinct character of each specific instrument. IMO those are honestly the most important things in a good instrument - there's a million billion pickups to cover every taste, flavor, sound, and output level, with midrange richness, low-end punch, treble sweetness, hot, cold, spicy, umami, whatever, that if you can find an instrument that has a character you like and are drawn to, you can pretty easily make it sound however you want with a pickup swap/new wiring/a preamp/whatever else gadget.
I don't own a lot of guitars: I have my CL6 and Strandy that get the 95% of my play time, my Ormsby HypeGTR for when I need something lower than Drop C, and my Ibby RGR652 that I used for all my cleaner stratty-type stuff but needs new wiring, all of which I got because I'd played them and like their character or because I could make some educated guesses based on other stuff as to what their character would be, and I've yet to go wrong on that. Every guitar can sound good in basically any context, as long as you understand what's good about it and play to its strengths. If it's got an interesting and unique character, it's a lot easier to do that - and you'll find yourself wanting to do that.

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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby canon_mutant » Tue Sep 03, 2019 11:15 pm

Of course, this does NOT explain why my claro over walnut with maple and walnut 5 layer neck weighs nearly 14 lbs. Should weigh about 9 by this chart . . .

Oh well, :think: I still love the guitar anyway! It just does NOT make sense . . . kinda like me most of the time.

Image

with the new SDs . . . um did not change the weight

Image

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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby HarlowTheFish » Tue Sep 03, 2019 11:23 pm

canon_mutant wrote:Of course, this does NOT explain why my claro over walnut with maple and walnut 5 layer neck weighs nearly 14 lbs. Should weigh about 9 by this chart . . .

Lace Alumitones would drop about a few ounces, but that's 'cause there's uh. . . basically no pickup
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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby Srini » Wed Sep 04, 2019 8:54 am

Holy mackerel!! What a beauty!!

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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby Omsong » Wed Sep 04, 2019 9:06 am

canon_mutant wrote:Of course, this does NOT explain why my claro over walnut with maple and walnut 5 layer neck weighs nearly 14 lbs. Should weigh about 9 by this chart . . .


Guess that's why the guys at Kiesel, when asked about body wood weight comparisons, usually say: "It depends...". :D
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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby UnexplodedCow » Wed Sep 04, 2019 8:34 pm

Srini wrote:Functionality is key, no doubt. I realize it's unwise to wade into a tonewood debate, but I do know this much. I have a swamp ash/maple neck and board strat and a traditional aldermaple/RW board strat; both with the same Zexcoil pickups, and I can hear a definite difference. Whether that comes down to the woods or not, who can tell, but they each seem to fit the ballpark descriptions for that combination of woods. In any event, here's a good video to demonstrate tonewood differences - I've come to like these!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7k_A8GhN0L8&t=269s

I agree with you about the effect of finish on tone. That's getting into guitar voodoo and, for me anyway, there's so much you can do with EQ while recording that minute differences, if any, are probably irrelevant.

Srini


Oh lord, the Zexcoils!

I kick myself every time I hear/see info about Zexcoils, as I'd basically drawn up that design when I was 17 (in the year 2000), but never finished building the proper prototype, and had zero money to file for a patent. The soundclips I heard of them, and the reviews aligned rather closely with how my cobbled-together one worked. That thing was lost to time in the deep woods of WV. Not kidding on that, but it's awesome to see that someone else has been able to push that design to market. I'm sure that I'll eventually purchase one...someday...when I stop kicking myself at my youthful hubris.

As to the differences in the guitars, I would easily chalk that up to the tolerances in the pots and capacitors. Pots are + or - 20% tolerance from their rating, and capacitors can be, depending on design. A 500k pot can read anywhere from 400k to 600k, and those differences will absolutely change a pickup's resonant frequency and peak. Some of it is psychological, and how we have been marketed to, or how our expectations are regarding a wood.

I have two headless guitars; one a neck thru, fixed bridge Vader with a zero-fret. Maple and mahogany 5 piece neck, mahogany body. Fishman Fluence Modern pickups. The other is a Zeus X (vibrato) with one piece Ash body and one piece Cocobolo neck/fretboard, bolt-on joint, also using the Fluence Moderns. The guitars sound identical, with a slight edge to the Z6X on sustain, likely due to the density of the wood. The tones....I can not hear a difference between the two, and they're about as opposite as it gets. It's all anecdotal, and we all hear differently, and I think we've all been fed some serious lines from excellent marketing teams. All that aside, like my signature says, we're entitled to our own, wrong, opinions. :)
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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby Srini » Thu Sep 05, 2019 4:00 am

I guess it's a shame you didn't produce and market that pickup design, Cow! I must say, those Zexcoils are remarkable. Do they sound exactly like vintage Strat pickups? Who knows....but they sound like great single coils, and they're my absolute favorite "Strat style" pickups. I'm hesitant to use the term vintage anything, because, as you say, hearing is so subjective. Besides, I'm not so sure I even like the real vintage tone anyway!

I'm sure you're right about pot tolerances and such....hmmmm....I'm not sure I like the way that comes across! Like I said, they do sound the way I've heard they're supposed to sound, so maybe I've psychologically bought into the marketing hype, who knows! But one surprise to me was how heavy the alder Strat turned out to be. I attribute some of it to the whammy, with the block and springs and all, while the chambered mahogany/redwood Strat has a surface mounted Hipshot hardtail, very much like the HH2 I imagine, sans the tuners.

I'm wondering how much heavier an extra thick mahogany neck would be on the HH2 - I'm still pondering that option. If the extra weight doesn't affect balance, I'd like to consider it

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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby Omsong » Thu Sep 05, 2019 9:15 am

Fender's Custom Shop take on body woods and tone: YouTube

Take away: Alder - mids and highs, Ash - more pronounced lows, also typically lighter than Alder (opposite from the chart!).
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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby UnexplodedCow » Fri Sep 06, 2019 1:24 pm

Srini, the thick neck option is...I think, 0.040" thicker, so plan on a couple ounces, at most, over the span of it. Balance won't be affected. I've not tried their thick neck, and have always been super happy with the standard dimensions. There will be minor shape differences, as the necks are finish sanded and such by hand, but that's extremely minor. The primary manufacturing is done via some very large Hass CNCs that are meant for metalwork, but basically have an easier life dealing with wood. Because of that, their precision and consistency is pretty amazing. I've personally never seen a bad Kiesel, and their previous Fadal machines made excellent guitars as well (though I think the newer ones are just a bit tighter tolerance).
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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby spudmunkey » Fri Sep 06, 2019 2:50 pm

UnexplodedCow wrote:Srini, the thick neck option is...I think, 0.040" thicker


.03", actually. ;) =/- tollerances due to hand-sanding.

Overall neck weight would have to also take into consideration finish thickness (a thick crackle or metal flake finish would likely weigh more than a clear or tung oil finish), fretboard radius (the flatter the radius, the more wood there is on the edges of it) and fret size (taller frets = more stainless steel). All would be pretty minute differences.

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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby Srini » Fri Sep 06, 2019 4:48 pm

Cow, Spud, thank you so much. The HH2 neck is slightly thicker anyway, so I wonder if should I leave well enough alone. That said, from what you guys are pointing out, seems like an extra 0.03" won't impact balance, especially with a matte satin finish. Something to think about....

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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby HarlowTheFish » Fri Sep 06, 2019 4:51 pm

I feel like I've mentioned this on your other thread too but do consider a tung oil finish. It's sooooo good, and I honestly wouldn't buy a Kiesel without one. I'm looking at getting a short-scale Vader bass and want to see if they'll do a tung-oil body finish too.

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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby Srini » Fri Sep 06, 2019 10:14 pm

HarlowTheFish wrote:I feel like I've mentioned this on your other thread too but do consider a tung oil finish. It's sooooo good, and I honestly wouldn't buy a Kiesel without one. I'm looking at getting a short-scale Vader bass and want to see if they'll do a tung-oil body finish too.


Yes, you've mentioned it before and I have definitely not ruled out a tung oil finish. One concern is maintenance, since I have never owned a tung oil finished guitar before. Also I thought I read somewhere that a satin finish offers better protection, but it's possible my memory is failing me.

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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby HarlowTheFish » Fri Sep 06, 2019 10:52 pm

Satin gives you a little more protection, but if it dings, scratches, or dents you need to get the entire guitar stripped and refinished. Tung oil is as durable as the wood it's on, but if you get any imperfections or damage you can sand just the area affected, steam the wood back up, and just add some more oil. The only special maintenance tung oil needs is rubbing in a little more oil once like once a year.

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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby spudmunkey » Sat Sep 07, 2019 12:30 am

HarlowTheFish wrote:I feel like I've mentioned this on your other thread too but do consider a tung oil finish. It's sooooo good, and I honestly wouldn't buy a Kiesel without one. I'm looking at getting a short-scale Vader bass and want to see if they'll do a tung-oil body finish too.


Until maybe a year to a year and a half ago, the answer would have been "no". The limitation was their logo

Even if you got an all-tung oil guitar, they would still shoot clear satin on the headstock to protect the logo. The exception MIGHT have been the gold "Carvin" logo. It was made differently than the rest. This is why you could get an all-tung Holdsworth headless.....if you got that one gold logo, because you just cant shoot a spot of satin over the logo on the body.

Now, we come to models that cant have the Carvin logos either because they were officially re-branded or just were launched as Kiesel. Up until that timeframe I mentioned above, no Kiesel logo could be used without being sealed in under raw tone satin (which they now use instead of the normal satin).

Then, they came out with a black chrome or mirrored logo. I'm not sure exactly what they call it, but it can be applied to a tung oiled body. So in theory, you should be able to get an all tung Vader, but know that you will have one logo choice: no drop shadow, no gold, no abalone.

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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby Srini » Sat Sep 07, 2019 1:07 am

HarlowTheFish wrote:Satin gives you a little more protection, but if it dings, scratches, or dents you need to get the entire guitar stripped and refinished. Tung oil is as durable as the wood it's on, but if you get any imperfections or damage you can sand just the area affected, steam the wood back up, and just add some more oil. The only special maintenance tung oil needs is rubbing in a little more oil once like once a year.


Ahh...yes, now I remember, thanks! Hmmm...tung oil....one more ponderable thought for the next couple of months....

In terms of pickups, I think I'm going to shoot for the Gambale neck and Beryllium bridge - if they'll let me.

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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby UnexplodedCow » Sat Sep 07, 2019 5:56 am

Thanks, Spud! I knew it was around that kind of difference.

Second the tung oil finish, and I'll get technical here. To my knowledge, Kiesel uses Minwax tung oil finish, which is a tung oil-containing wiping varnish. I've had very similar results with other oil finishes when making some furniture parts. It's an easy way robber a more natural feeling finish. It also repairs easily. I have a bunch of "teak oil" finished stuff. If it's damaged or worn out, just clean and apply a couple coats to that area, and lightly blend in. It holds up well, and to date I've not had to refinish any of my tung'd necks' Satin finishes *will* turn glossy over times. I've had this happen on two different necks.
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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby canon_mutant » Wed Sep 11, 2019 12:45 am

Omsong wrote:
canon_mutant wrote:Of course, this does NOT explain why my claro over walnut with maple and walnut 5 layer neck weighs nearly 14 lbs. Should weigh about 9 by this chart . . .


Guess that's why the guys at Kiesel, when asked about body wood weight comparisons, usually say: "It depends...". :D


Ha, your mileage may vary? :think:

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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby Srini » Wed Sep 11, 2019 2:34 am

So now, based on the consensus (I think!) that practical considerations far outweigh perceived effect on tone, I'm seriously considering a plain maple top over a chambered mahogany body and neck, and rosewood FB. With a hardtail, I'm guessing this will maximize the odds of the HH2 balancing well, and any excess brightness can be twisted away with the tone knob.

Make sense to you guys?

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