A visit to Brook Guitars......

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KalimnaKalimna Frets: 606
Greetings folks,
As mentioned in a couple of other threads, I am going to visit the chaps at Brook to discuss the building of a 12 string, probably Tavy but to be confirmed. As part of the process, I have asked them if it is OK to provide some of the timber for the guitar. I have collected a small selection of acoustic back and side sets, and some interesting topwood. Anyway, tomorrow my wife and I are heading down to Devon from Stirling. And these are the sets I am taking for their assessment. Let me know your thoughts.

First up is some Australian top wood - Huon Pine and King Billy Pine. None of the grain is straight, but it has a wonderful aroma, and some *very* interesting bear-claw-on-steroids figuring. Also lightweight and a pleasing tap tone.

https://i.imgur.com/RITRQ4d.jpg

With a flash to highlight the figuring

https://i.imgur.com/C7e0Asw.jpg

Next, the back wood, from left to right : Flamed myrtle, ?grenadillo?, lace she-oak. You really cant see the patterning on the she-oak, but it is stunning.

https://i.imgur.com/2uGjpFh.jpg

And lastly, some Tazmanian blackwood,(not unlike Koa) and cocobolo. The cocbolo in particular has a bright, glassy tone when handled, and just oozes 'build me'.

https://i.imgur.com/Y5qH2tm.jpg

So there you go. The reason I'm taking it down is that I will never get around to building with all the wood I have as a hobby, so I might as well get it used by experts...

Cheers,
Adam
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Comments

  • Andy79Andy79 Frets: 96
    edited November 30
    Back and sides maybe but a top drawer build would probably need more mainstream woods for the top. I’d be surprised if Brook agree to use pine.
     If it’s staying natural in colour you will likely have some crazy run-out and/or knots. 
    Go spruce ontop and be done. 
    I’m a back n sides oak fan though 
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  • mgawmgaw Frets: 3372
    +1 for spruce top    would be surprised if pine brought as much to the table, so to speak, as quality spruce
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  • earwighoneyearwighoney Frets: 2126
    I'd never supply a soundboard to a guitar builder, it's one thing they need to pick out the one with the tap/properties they would think would work best for their builds.

    As for the back and sides I absolutely love Koa type guitars, so the Tazmanian Blackwood would be my first choice especially for a 12 string.  The Cocobolo would be superb for an OM though!
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  • KalimnaKalimna Frets: 606
    Thanks for your comments, especially regarding the top. (Though im edging towards cocobolo or myrtle for the back/sides)

    To clear a couple of things up, im not going with a 'this is my timber and you must use it' mentality - i have too much respect for craftsmen to do that. More a 'i would like you to use this, if you think it is suitable' frame of mind. If Brook feel that it isnt, then i am absolutely happy with that.

    Also, whilst pine is in the name, neither are true pines. In the same way that Spanish Cedar is neither cedar nor Spanish. In fact, Huon Pine is harder than Sitka (according to Janka scale).
    Both were bought from this place, which irritatingly seems to be undergoing site maintenance right now.....

    https://australiantonewoods.com/index.php?route=common/home

    Out of interest, Andy, why do say more mainstream woods should be used? For potential resale or tone? Im curious, is all.

    Either way, I'll find out on Monday :)

    Adam
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  • GTCGTC Frets: 47
    A very interesting, varied and rather beautiful selection of sets. The guys at Brook will be able to give you some good advice.

    However good a more unusual topwood might be tonally, I could see it could have a detrimental effect on the resale value just because of market fear of the unfamiliar. 
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  • KalimnaKalimna Frets: 606
    GTC - thanks for the comments, at some point i hope to do them all justice, musically.

    To be honest, resale value for me is an absolute non-event. This guitar is being purchased as a 10th wedding anniv gift (my wife got an eternity ring), so the value is in what it represents - it will never be sold by me. And this is also why im aiming for a more 'personal' instrument. 

    Cheers,
    Adam
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  • GTCGTC Frets: 47
    The top wood has a greater contribution to the tone and general response of a guitar than the back and sides so I guess it is wise to proceed with caution here rather than venturing into the little known.

    Have a great trip and make sure you go for something really special - but something in which you can be confident in that it will sound as good as it looks.
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  • earwighoneyearwighoney Frets: 2126
    Kalimna said:
    GTC - thanks for the comments, at some point i hope to do them all justice, musically.

    To be honest, resale value for me is an absolute non-event. This guitar is being purchased as a 10th wedding anniv gift (my wife got an eternity ring), so the value is in what it represents - it will never be sold by me. And this is also why im aiming for a more 'personal' instrument. 

    Cheers,
    Adam
    Unknown soundboard = properties for stability unknown, for thickness/bracing/tension for 12 string.  As they are not familiar with the soundboards (I presume so) then there's a chance they might over compensate and keep the soundboard thicker than they would for a Euro Spruce soundboard as they know how that would react for the tension of 12 strings.

    Also none of the soundboards are quartered as well, which might not be an issue for some makers but it is for some - again issues for stability.

    But again it is your commission and if you want Brook to proceed with the choice of the soundboard then it's your choice.

    If you want something a little different that can you can source then Salvaged Redwood is pretty special.

    For good old spruce as well, there are some subtle variations that aren't very commonplace that are very good as well, personally I myself would rather source out some old growth Red Spruce or high grade Euro Spruce - for the latter, there's the somewhat controversial Austrian Moon Spruce that I have a few guitars with which is truly incredible stuff.
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  • KalimnaKalimna Frets: 606
    Briefly (on the M6 as i type - my wife driving!) - i want to reiterate that i will wholly take Brooks advice regarding the soundboard. I have absolutely no intention of compromising the commission for vanity. Whilst visually interesting, i actually think spruce might perhaps look better anyway.
    I take the point about stability/deformation undee tension etc especially with a 12 string. However, i have had these boards for at least 10 years and they havent moved at all. 
    Its almost impossible to tell the degree of quartering from the views i have given - i'll take some more photos when i get a chance.
    What is this Moon spruce you mention? Harevsted during a particular moon phase?

    Again, thank you for your comments, they are appreciated.

    Adam

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  • earwighoneyearwighoney Frets: 2126
    Kalimna said:
    Briefly (on the M6 as i type - my wife driving!) - i want to reiterate that i will wholly take Brooks advice regarding the soundboard. I have absolutely no intention of compromising the commission for vanity. Whilst visually interesting, i actually think spruce might perhaps look better anyway.
    I take the point about stability/deformation undee tension etc especially with a 12 string. However, i have had these boards for at least 10 years and they havent moved at all. 
    Its almost impossible to tell the degree of quartering from the views i have given - i'll take some more photos when i get a chance.
    What is this Moon spruce you mention? Harevsted during a particular moon phase?

    Again, thank you for your comments, they are appreciated.

    Adam

    Stability is a different thing, even a well seasoned soundboard can have issues with stability as for a guitar there are so many different conditions to impact the soundboard being humidity/several hundred pounds of tension on the soundboard/bridge etc etc.

    If you do want something visually interesting but superb sounding, then Sinker Redwood has both. 

    Moon spruce is harvested when there is no moon down to issues for sap I think.  I have no idea whether it contributes but I think the sellers who do sell it have a very good product nonetheless.  IMO, great spruce is great spruce.  Some guitar makers sell it as an upcharge but the two guitars I have with it didn't specify it but was standard spec.

    Another variety of spruce I overlooked is Lutz.  Lesser known one but highly regarded.  Hybrid of Sitka and White Spruce, supposed to have the best of Sitka and Euro Spruce for sound qualities.
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  • GTCGTC Frets: 47
    If you do want something visually interesting but superb sounding, then Sinker Redwood has both.  
    When I was selecting the woods for my Taw at Brook, they had a lovely Sinker Redwood set there. I have a small bodied Avalon with a Sinker Redwood top and Bog Oak B/S and it is a really different and mellow (but not dull) sounding instrument.

    According to Simon at Brook, Redwood generally takes a lot more playing in to open up and can sound it bit "wet" until it does - with the effect being more noticeable on larger bodied guitars.
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  • KalimnaKalimna Frets: 606
    A quick update - my wife and i spent a good couple of hours or so, chatting to Simon, Andy (and briefly Jack) about guitars and suchlike. After a lot of discussion, with advice given, we settled on the following

    Their take on a Gibson 185 jumbo shape
    640mm scale
    Cocobolo b&s
    Huon pine soundboard
    Mahog neck
    Anjan fretboard (same as my Tavy)
    No cutaway
    Gloss finish

    They were quite happy with all of the timber i took down, and voiced no reservations about the sounboards. So, im entirely happy to trust them with that.
    All i have to do now is wait 6-8 months for completion!

    Cheers,
    Adam
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  • GTCGTC Frets: 47
    A lovely selection - it'll be great.
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  • TJT1979TJT1979 Frets: 44
    Personally I am glad you can continue with 'your' top. It'll make the final product much more personal.

    I am going to build an acoustic with a quartersawn yellow pine top (longleaf I believe), which was in a family barn as a beam for a long time. It was probably cut down 100-200 years ago. There is a risk it won't work well, but worth the risk in my opinion. Building myself (with help from a friend who's definitely an expert!) there is admittedly less financial risk but still I am quietly confident....
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