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Thread: Which wood is lightest?

  1. #1
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    Which wood is lightest?

    Hi everyone, trying to get an understanding of wood weight. Have done research on tone but want to get a sense of which wood would be the lightest?
    Mahogany
    Korina
    Swamp Ash
    Alder
    etc...


    thanks so much

    www.jeremymitchellband.com

  2. #2
    Plank Spanker justmund's Avatar
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    This is a pretty good table

    http://www.apsimplepsaltery.com/material_densities.htm

    Obeche is about 390kg/m3
    Korina/Limba is about 530kg/m3

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    thanks, will check it out

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    Senior Member Audie's Avatar
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    Weight is determined by the wood's density. It is in the density that wood derives it tone qualities. The exception being acoustic guitar, harp and piano soundboards, (read evergreen spruces) which have a cellular structure and density that is different from other woods. More specific to your question is that relative to guitar woods, bass wood would be the lightest. Bass wood is a hobby grade wood that found great success because it is a renewable wood source and bountiful, and more importantly cheap. Ibanez has done well promoting bass wood guitars because of the profitability in using bass wood. Dont know much about Korina, but the next lightest would be your alder and ash, followed by the mahogany. Keep in mind that geographical location and the environment the tree was grown in plays a part in it's density.

    Long long time ago, Cuban Mahogany was the most prestigious for its beauty and consitent density. If it is not extinct, it is darn close. Have not heard about availability of cuban mahogany in decades. Should cuban mahogany ever become available, the age and environment would be my first question to determine it's potential use for musical instruments.
    If you google search the pouplar wood name or it's botanical name, you can easily find the average density of the wood. This is your truest way to determine what the weight would be of an equally cut peice of lumber of each tree would be. Density maximizes volume and sustain. Hope I helped.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Audie's Avatar
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    Justmund put up a great location to see densities while I was typing. This is what you need to reference. Thanks Justmund, that is great.

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    excellent, appreciate the response & insight

    Somehow a basswood PRS just does sound right... they did make those Mira X that were super light though.

  7. #7
    Plank Spanker justmund's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Audie View Post
    Density maximizes volume and sustain.
    Interesting. Check out the TGS "unplugged" vids in the dealer section:

    http://prsguitars.com/forum/showthre...-ACOUSTIC-DEMO

    The Obeche bodied guitars (very low density) are louder in comparison to the more dense mahogany bodied guitar. There's also anecdotal evidence from some other members than Obeche is louder acoustically than mahogany, and also has more sustain.

    Perhaps this is true for solid body guitars?

    I don't understand enough about strings vibration/energy to postulate on why this could be true. Perhaps someone with a deeper understand can chime in?

  8. #8
    Senior Member Audie's Avatar
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    I saw the video and was not going to go there as there are so many variables.. Here is the deal as I opin. The Obeche with the stoptail and rosewood neck was the loudest, (the last guitar played). The rosewood neck is denser (equals more volume and sustain). The other necks were mahogany. The stoptail has more wood than the trem ones, hence more density ( gains more volume and sustain). The player eluded that one would think the trem would have more volume. I dont know why. Less wood, more going on with trems parts, hence more interruption with sound trasfurence. I assume they all had the same gauge strings. Also he was noodling and not doing the same thing with each guitar and his attack was not completely consistent. Overall, far from consistent and far from scientific, which was not his extreme point, but to show the guitars volume ability and somehow went somewhere else it with it. What I get anyway from the video is confirmation of what I posted above. I dont know much, but I feel good about this stuff. Now, for added pleasure, throw a 2011 signature series with the sinker mahogany neck in the mix and it will probably be right there with that obeche rosewood axe.

    I find only subtle difference in most tonewoods. I beleive it is there. I just dont know if it is a big a difference as it is made out to be. A higher density is my choice for all guitar necks, acoustic and electric. Higher density for back and sides on acoustic and electric guitar bodies. Just my 1 cent.
    Last edited by Audie; 03-07-2013 at 11:29 PM.

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