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Lashing spends way too much on wood. All lumber is hand picked and thus we pay hand picked prices. While I'd like to order a truckload for cheap, the lumber industry at wholesale level is shaky. It pays to deal with local trusted sources for us small guys. Of course we pay for it. It is not cheap for lumberyards so this is just fine with me. When I pick my few pieces from the pile they still have to sell the rest and I pay for the privilege. Of course I am always happy to hear from private sources, retiring builders, etc. I buy wood. There is much hype about "green or FAS" wood. Its a joke to make people feel warm and fuzzy while paying another 20% on top for the added bureaucracy. Some of the woods I regularly use:
This is the one we get asked about all the time. Yes, we have Brazilian available and actively buy it. If you are selling Brazilian Rosewood email me firstname.lastname@example.org. I buy fairly and do not muck around.
Brazilian is a fabulous tone wood. All Brazilian Rosewood was not created equal. Often what is on the market is low end cuts or fake substitutions. Some projects demand it therefore we actively seek it. Top quality Braz is very expensive. This mysterious wood has a mystique more and more out of hand everyday. That said there is a reason it was everyone's top choice before it became unavailable. Its simply the best rosewood in my opinion. We do not deal it. We buy it and welcome offers to sell. I do have a large quantity of acoustic sets that I would sell or trade for good raw Braz lumber as my uses is mostly fingerboards and neck blanks. Because or rarity lots of games are being played with Braz. Jacaranda for instance is not Brazilian Rosewood. Its an Asian cousin. Those old Ibanez, TAMA, etc acoustics from Japan are Jacaranda. Great guitars but not Brazilian.
Great Brazilian rosewood substitute. At times even the visual is very close. It looks good, sounds good and is a little easier on the tools. Its a close cousin of Brazilian but its own valued RW. Also getting rare and hard to find of top quality.
Also a nice substitute for Brazilian. In good qualities its very nice wood with pretty much all Braz has to offer. It has no smell and the visual is plain in comparison to Braz. Sound wise it's great. Getting expensive and again - mostly due to hype from those selling and environmental alarmists. I dont mind the "green" people but 99% of them have no clue what they are talking about. I don't pretend to know everything either, especially when it comes to politics and that's all the green movement is in my opinion. Another false economy driven by greed and the gullible.
Used on some late 60's Stratocaster and thus Lashing uses it on those replica projects. Not the first choice. Top grade Indian rosewood sounds very nice and can look nice too. It has a rather harsh smell - not very rosy! Nothing wrong with Indian, in fact top grade Indian will outperform low end Brazilian. Its just not my personal favorite. As with all lumber - quality is a big issue.
Another lovely rosewood. Fender used Mexican Cocobolo in the early 60's. Some of the necks people love and thought were Brazilian are indeed Cocobolo. Its also a great substitute for Brazilian. More colorful and extremely dense, its sound is somewhere between Ebony and Brazilian. A great choice for a vintage slab board neck and can be visually stunning. The older stock is much better then the new smaller trees being harvested. You can tell these by the orange/violet/uglyness.
Lashing Fender style necks are all made of Hard Canadian Maple. Maple is relatively cheap and abundant. The best cuts are used for stability. Flamed and birds eye can be expensive. For tone, I prefer plain white hard rock maple over the flamed or figured. Most vintage correct necks are flat to rift sawn. Quarter sawn is available. I have never determined with any accuracy that quartered maple is better than flat for necks in any wood type. I use curly soft maple for tops. Love figured maple but I don't pretend its better - just pretty.
Our Lesters use old growth Honduran mahogany. The old growth is worth it as the trees available 50 years ago were much larger than what's harvested today. Nothing beats old growth mahogany. This is the same lumber Gibson used in the 50's and 60's. Some will insist on Honduran only but the reality is its impossible to get old growth wood that's been sitting around and know for sure which country it came from. Especially when these countries are side by each. So many experts - so little time. The term "Honduran" is used for hype all to often. These people need an atlas. South America is South for one, not Central. A lovely wood in all ways and the standard to which other woods are measured. I really like solid mahogany guitars. Watch out for Peruvian - heavy! Of course lots of Ebay sellers call it Honduran. I can see the confusion from close regions like Nicaraguan. But South American, African .... this is fine wood too, just not Honduran. People are calling everything Honduran. Its beyond repair.
OK there is no such thing as Korina. Gibson coined the term for African Limba. Limba is nice. Like Mahogany but brighter. I call it "Pine Mahogany".
For Strat and Teles Alder is a great choice and the only choice for replicas in the 59+ eras. Alder is one wood where old growth means little in my opinion. Alder does have a good electric guitar sound. Other than that it does nothing for me personally. One of those woods asking for a solid color. That would be why Fender Sunbursts had the yellow target formation when they switched over from ash. Plain grain and often has small knots. Nice to work with.
Sounds a little brighter than Alder and of course the only "correct" wood for Fenderish guitars of the 50's. Light swamp ash is a shop favorite. The lighter - the more it will cost. Old Fender stuff was all over from boat anchor to featherweight.
Who can leave Pine out? Well actually I don't like working with it much as it has lots of resin that builds up on my planer and saw blades. But Pine is a fine tonewood. Its no softer than Basswood for those who think screws will not hold. Oddly enough its no longer cheap either. Clear pine costs me as much or more as clear Alder and more than Hard Maple. That is crazy. Such is the lumber world. Pine Tele - sweet.
Fancy woods do not sound better
Take an old Les Paul Jr with its one p-90 and slab mahogany construction and it will win vs any Les Paul Burst in my opinion. Flame maple can be real pretty to look at but it doesn't do much for the ears. In my experience figured woods don't do jack for tone. I can get you flame maple that's much nicer than most of old burst tops right now off the shelf. Those old pauls have a nice thick Honduras mahogany neck - that's where the tone lives. The top can actually inhibit some of the mahogany's growl. The same guys that go on about the top would never buy a laminated guitar - yet that's exactly what a flame top Les Paul is. Its laminated - its a sandwich with a glue line running the length of the body. When Gibson got cheap in the 70's and started gluing thin slabs of mahogany together to make body sized pieces, people called that garbage. Yet its the same concept when you glue on a maple top. Its now a laminate body. Laminate bodies can sound just fine - just a rant of awareness. Like a beautiful woman - there's makeup and then there is the woman.
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