Wood Specifications

General Technical Discussion

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HarlowTheFish
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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby HarlowTheFish » Wed Sep 11, 2019 7:49 am

Sounds pretty good to me. I do think you need to take into account the thickness of the maple top as far as solving any balance concerns - there's not a lot of wood there to change the weight.

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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby Srini » Wed Sep 11, 2019 4:07 pm

HarlowTheFish wrote:Sounds pretty good to me. I do think you need to take into account the thickness of the maple top as far as solving any balance concerns - there's not a lot of wood there to change the weight.


That's very true, although it's not a lever I have!I think I've done the best I can with weight distribution....

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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby Srini » Sat Sep 14, 2019 5:38 pm

I ran into a very interesting video that pretty much corroborates Cow's ambivalence about tone woods.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1k9W9QAgE0&t=2324s

If we disregarded the effect on tone and went for practical considerations, would an ebony FB be heavier enough than rosewood to impact balance?

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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby HarlowTheFish » Sat Sep 14, 2019 9:36 pm

Nope. Unless you have a fretless with a steel, glass, or ceramic fingerboard, there's just not enough wood to matter.

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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby Srini » Sat Sep 14, 2019 11:38 pm

So...no impact on weight, no impact on tone....definite positive impact on feel....ebony it is, then!

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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby UnexplodedCow » Sun Sep 15, 2019 3:14 pm

Srini wrote:I ran into a very interesting video that pretty much corroborates Cow's ambivalence about tone woods.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1k9W9QAgE0&t=2324s

If we disregarded the effect on tone and went for practical considerations, would an ebony FB be heavier enough than rosewood to impact balance?

Srini


Unpotted pickups definitely pick up more around them, however, many of those beloved pickups were also mounted on pickguards (in Strats, for example) and on springs, which has a distinctly insulating effect. However, they were freer to vibrate internally and would absolutely howl with high gain. I currently have a Japanese-made Jag thinline that, I believe, has unpotted pickups. Not that they sound bad, but they don't handle high gain without immediately squealing.

Fretboard wood makes so little impact, even with piezo pickups (that actually work by the strings sitting directly on them, as well as any body vibrations). The weight difference between rosewood and ebony is so minimal in a fretboard that it won't matter; go for what feels and holds the frets better (ebony, in this case), though it does have a greater chance at tangential shrinkage and "fret sprout" if not given the right humidity, and can even crack (this is not a warrantied thing with Kiesel).

To get a bit more technical, the greater the density of the object, and partially the hardness, the less vibration it absorbs, which can be reflected. That means a denser wood (IE: a heavy piece of swamp Ash vs. a very light piece) will have slightly different levels of sustain. What I also find interesting is that bolt-on necks consistently test to have greater sustain than neck-thru or set-in/thru. Why? Mass/density/hardness. Those screws absorb less vibration than wood, especially in the neck joint, which has a fairly high amount of clamp pressure. Tighter clamp pressure and closer tolerance machining has also proven to help with sustain; something I've noticed on my own, and almost always convert my necks to machine screws using large inserts. It allows for easier, consistent disassembly, and tighter clamping force, which increases sustain, specifically in the treble response acoustically. This does not necessarily transfer to the amp through magnetic pickups, but can through piezo (mildly). It's all pretty subtle.

I can go on, and on, and on about this, and don't really want to bore people to death, but I always suggest strong woods and designs that are comfortable, pickups that one likes, and reliable electronics. Me? The picture below has been my number one since day one. It's literally that good, and I've received nothing but compliments on its sound and playability, from jazz guys to metalheads to blues noodlers. Figure it was a good time to add a visual anyway :)

Image
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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby Srini » Sun Sep 15, 2019 4:50 pm

Sure is one sweet guitar! Are those Fluences I see?

Thanks for all that detail. I imagine that ebony's potential propensity to shrink and/or crack could be mitigated by oiling every time I change strings, right? I do that now to my rosewood FBs, just to keep them conditioned, and I expect I'll continue doing that to the ebony.

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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby HarlowTheFish » Sun Sep 15, 2019 5:04 pm

Oiling will help stop it from cracking, but to solve the shrinking just let it dry up one winter and take it in to get the fret edges done. It'll stop any shrinking from making them pop out again and won't have a big impact on the playability once it expands again.

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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby UnexplodedCow » Sun Sep 15, 2019 6:15 pm

I've never taken my guitars to have the frets adjusted, and try to keep the fretboards oiled once a year and in a 45-55% humidity environment. Never had a problem in 20+ years of playing mostly rosewood and ebony. I have two guitars with maple boards...not a big fan of a finished fretboard, though.

Srini wrote:Sure is one sweet guitar! Are those Fluences I see?

Thanks for all that detail. I imagine that ebony's potential propensity to shrink and/or crack could be mitigated by oiling every time I change strings, right? I do that now to my rosewood FBs, just to keep them conditioned, and I expect I'll continue doing that to the ebony.

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Yep, those are Fluence Moderns! Ordered that way from the factory, and am forever floored by how good they sound. Excellent volume control, consistent performance, dual voicing. I liked them so much that I stuck a pair in my V6 as well, and set that guitar to D-standard tuning. Despite the build differences, the guitars sound identical.

Of note, that fretboard/neck is Cocobolo. An expensive option, but the best neck I've ever played, on any guitar.

Image
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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby Srini » Sun Sep 15, 2019 7:25 pm

What a gorgeous axe! Unfortunately, I was told that I could order the HH2 with Fluences because there is no room in the cavity for a battery. I'm not sure I believe that, though.

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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby Omsong » Sun Sep 15, 2019 7:53 pm

UnexplodedCow - is your neck one piece of Cocobolo or is the fretboard a separate board and glued on? Just saw a Fender FSR review with a solid rosewood neck built like their maple necks with integrated fretboards.

Edited: was just listening to Jeff's recent live feed and at (apx.) 42 min he talks about neck and fretboard wood effects on tone. :D
Last edited by Omsong on Sun Sep 15, 2019 8:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby UnexplodedCow » Sun Sep 15, 2019 8:17 pm

Srini - Thanks very much. I'm not sure how Kiesel feels about cramming a bunch of stuff in the control cavity of the HH2, and those are a chambered body by default, I believe, which explains why no battery compartment, but I can confirm that it'll at least fit in the standard Vader/Osiris/Zeus compartment, even with a 5 way "super switch" and push/pull pots. Picture for reference is below. I had to attach the battery holder directly to the control cover plate in order to make it fit inside.

Omsong - the fretboard came from the same piece of lumber, essentially the back of the neck, and re-adhered on the front. Acoustically, yes, technically "everything affects everything" but I literally tried hearing a difference between a fixed-bridge, ebony board on maple/mahogany neck-thru with mahogany wings (my V6) and this coco/ash bolt on neck with vibrato with headphones and studio monitors through the same amp sim. Using the same settings between pickups, and on the same tunings, I can't tell a difference in anything other than sustain, of which the pink one seems to have slightly more, based on analyzing waveforms between the two.

The electronics between the guitars are similar enough, and the pots test extremely close to tolerance (low resistance pots are far more accurate than large value). I even tested with the same types of battery at the same volt output to ensure one pickup wasn't being starved. The pickups themselves are much tighter tolerance than a wound coil, and micro-electronics have been high precision for a long time, so I don't question those.


As for that picture of cramming the electronics in a V6, here they are:
Image
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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby Omsong » Mon Sep 16, 2019 1:41 pm

Thanks UnexplodedCow.

I see Kiesel offers Bloodwood fretboards. It looks pretty, so I looked up some wood info. The craftsman HERE states that it tends to warp in thin boards. Makes me wonder how stable, long term, it would be as a fretboard. Since the Citi's restrictions on rosewood for musical instruments has been lifted, I would probably stick with it, unless I hear some glowing / positive reports about bloodwood.
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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby spudmunkey » Mon Sep 16, 2019 3:24 pm

I was at Woodcraft last week, looking for some 6/4 quartersawn walnut (why does nobody sell quartersawn walnut?) and I looked at their exotic craft wood. You know, those racks that have 24" pieces of approx 1/4" x 4" exotic woods. Purpleheard, Cocobolo, bubinga, canarywood, lacewood, zebrano, etc etc etc...and there was one piece of blood wood. You could tell it had been there a while because it was a little dusty, and dented up... but it look straight.

Anecdotal sample size of one = "bloodwood is great, no worries about warping in 100% of the example I've seen" :lol:

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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby UnexplodedCow » Mon Sep 16, 2019 4:02 pm

About a year ago, Kiesel did a headless run with a free option of 3 piece Walnut and Bloodwood necks. My ZB5 has it, and is very stable. I think on its own the wood may warp, but when part of a neck, grains and tensions of wood are supposed to fight each other to prevent warping. It's only been a year, but I'm not worried about it.
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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby Srini » Mon Sep 16, 2019 5:23 pm

Thanks for the great control cavity picture, Cow. You set the battery up beautifully. But, as you point out, the HH2 cavity is a lot smaller and may preclude that kind of thing.

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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby UnexplodedCow » Mon Sep 16, 2019 8:31 pm

There still may be a way. Fishman makes a vibrato cover that contains a lithium battery, charges via USB, and replaces a normal Strat style back plate, which should fit the HH, as it now uses the "X" vibrato, and not the previous Steinberger-esque design.

Looking at pictures of the cavity shape, I'm certain that a battery could also be stuck to the cavity cover, like I did to my V6. Will the factory do that? Probably not. Replacing the battery is slightly more tedious than a battery cavity, but Kiesel uses brass inserts on the cavity cover, so it's not likely to wear out anytime soon.

Options always exist, including taking it to a luthier if the stock pickups don't wow you, but I honestly think they're also fine. I'm just one super-picky person, and that doesn't make me better, or more refined than anyone. But I'll happily try to help someone find their best, too, and apologize if I come across as a know-it-all; my intention is always to help and inform. In any case, I hope this, too, helps you.
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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby Srini » Tue Sep 17, 2019 7:25 am

First of all, you don't come across as a know it all by any means. On the contrary, I'm very impressed by how much you and everyone I've met here so far seem to know - and who doesn't love getting into the nitty gritty of guitar building, right? I love these discussions no end!

So..on to the battery. I agonized over the rechargeable trem cover for a while, and finally decided to stick with a fixed bridge. I figure if a hardtail is good enough for Larry Carlton it's good enough for me..:) Seriously, I never learned how to use a whammy like Jeff Beck, so what's the point? This means the control cavity is the only option, other than getting my tech to route out a battery cavity.

So I've decided to just keep it simple for now and go passive. Of all the demos I've seen, I think I like the Berylliums the most, with maybe the Gambale neck being a tad warmer. That said, my buddy disagrees and thinks the Beryllium neck actually sounds warmer in the clip I sent him. But then, I may just pop in a set of HighOrder humbuckers from another guitar which needs to be retired. I have two sets of HOs, and in my humble opinion, they are by far the best PAF style humbuckers I've ever heard - and that includes Suhr and Lollar and all those high end guys. Then again, it's a personal opinion, and those pickups respond to my playing perfectly. The only thing is, they don't split as well as I'd like, although when you put two of their splits in parallel (as in neck and bridge split in parallel), they sound outstanding. I guess they're wound to do one thing and do it exceedingly well. Hopefully I'm allowed to do this, but here's the HO site:

http://www.highorderpickups.com

If you go down a bit, you'll see two clips from me (under "Sweet Redwood Tone", I believe), and a description of how Jeff wound them.

That said, I'd like to spend some time with the Berylliums - I might end up liking them a lot. If I need to tame some brightness, I might get the tech to swap out the volume pot for a 250K, maybe even make it a push-pull and split the pickups independently. And, as Harlow likes to point out, that's why there's a tone control!

Anyway, please, please don't stop giving me advice - heaven knows I need it more than most!

Srini

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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby Omsong » Tue Sep 17, 2019 9:35 am

Trying to compare woods is a relative nightmare when it comes to published specifications. The variability even between two pieces of identical species makes qualification difficult. Plus, the naming convention of common wood types can be misleading. Unless a manufacturer (like Kiesel) specifies a wood's scientific name, it's almost impossible to accurately identify exactly what kind of wood they are actually using.

Alder is a perfect example (as some woods called alder are actually Birch), Mahogany is another confusing mess: check out THIS LINK. There is an "Inner" or true group of mahogany species, then an outer type (specifically African Mahogany) that isn't exactly mahogany, but extremely close. Then there is another group of woods typically called Mahogany that are actually different species.

With some frustration, I've been trying to compare the relative weights of Alder, Swamp Ash, Mahogany and Black Limba. But not knowing the species Kiesel uses by their scientific name makes it nearly impossible to find accurate weight specifications. There might be a reason why manufactures are vague about this. It gives them flexibility when procuring wood based on availability and/or price, without having to change their product's (wood) specifications: (African) mahogany is (Honduran) mahogany is (Cuban) mahogany, take you're pick. Kiesel advertises "genuine" mahogany which should only be Sweitenia, either Honduran or Cuban.
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Re: Wood Specifications

Postby Omsong » Tue Sep 17, 2019 4:03 pm

Body Wood tone performance by type: LINK

and THIS SITE

Body Woods: Guitar Player, BTW, Korina is the same as Limba

Everybodies got an opinion: Seymour Duncan

And if you're not sick of this discussion: Wired Guitarist Actually, this gives one of the best recommendations, IMO.
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