#1
So I'm looking at getting a warm-bodied guitar primarly for fingerstyle in alternate tunings but I don't want a full on acoustic just yet. After much lurking at the warmoth site, I've decided on the VIP body style which is similar to a double cut PRS.

I'm wanting a chambered body and I'm wanting to use a different wood than what's on my other guitars. Right now, the only less common woods in the drop down menu are Black Korina, Walnut, and Indian Rosewood which is a bit out of my price range. I'm pretty much set on Walnut but I figure I'd ask if this is a terrible wood to go with for semi hollow or chambered builds.

I'm trying to keep the price of the whole thing down which is also what steered me toward walnut. It's a beautiful wood and doesn't need a colored finish. Also I plan on using gold hardware, gold frets, white pickups, and a white nut. Warmoth rates thwalnut on the brighter side of the scale but not as bright as maple. Hopefully the guitar will end up with a H-S-S config with two carvin single coils going in and a to-be-determined humbucker.

I just sent Warmoth an email about this same thing but I figure somebody here would know about this. The amp(s) it will be played through are currently a Crate VFX5212 and in the future a Carvin V3 and a Sansamp PSA-1 rackmount preamp.


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Last edited by SYLrules88 at Jul 18, 2010,
#2
Well... you've not actually said what it is you want to know. Kind of hard to give advice when you don't say what it is you need advice on. Though I'll throw this in to start: Those Carvin pickups aren't going to fit properly. Carvin's pickups are slightly odd dimensions and Warmoth's routes are done for the typical Fender Strat style single coil, the Fender Telecaster single coils or the EMG single coils - the Carvins will be too large for the EMG and Tele routes and will be a little small for the Strat routes, so you'll either have to rout more wood out yourself or you'll be left with large, obvious gaps. It's not something I would advise either way.
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#3
oh damn thanks for that bit of info. that could have potentially sucked.

basically i was wondering if walnut is a suitable wood for a semi hollow or in my case, a chambered body. i dont really have any specific tones in mind, i just want a good warm sound and a wood that suits fingerstyle playing pretty well. im not wanting to use one of the more common woods warmoth offers like basswood, alder, poplar, maple, or mahogany. i suppose i could go with ash but im trying to stick to darker woods on this build. the indian rosewood looks beautiful but im trying to keep the cost down on this one. neck will be wenge and fretboard will either be figured ziricote or jet black ebony.

i normally dont buy into the belief that the woods have a tremendous effect on a guitars sound, but i figure it does matter in a hollow/semihollow/chambered instrument.


7 String+ ERG Legion!!

LTD Snakebyte
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Warmoth Swirled 7
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Frankentele
Laney Ironheart 60w + Avatar Cab

#4
Wood doesn't matter so much at the low-end where everything tends to sound the same (i.e. crap) but once you get into higher quality wood, yes, it does make a massive difference. Actually more so in solid body guitars, but it makes a lot of difference to chambered and hollow guitars as well. The wood of any guitar makes far more of a difference to tone than any other part of the guitar.

Anyhoo, since Warmoths are bolt-ons most of the tone will come from the neck shaft wood and fretboard wood. Wenge and either ziricote or ebony will make for quite a bright tone, and do remember that jet black ebony is barely any different visually from regular ebony but costs considerably more, so if money is an issue for you I would recommend you stick to standard ebony - I've got a standard ebony fretboard from Warmoth and it's entirely flat black, if appearance is what you're worried about. A Goncalo Alves neck with an ebony fretboard will give more warmth while retaining the articulation of the ebony; it also requires no finish, has smoother grain than wenge and costs the same. The only downside is it has a rather unique appearance which isn't to everyones' tastes. But to me, when you build a guitar using Warmoth parts you need to weigh price vs looking good. They'll always sound decent but you really do pay a premium for Warmoth's best looking woods and if it's important to you to keep the cost low then I would suggest you give up on how it looks and make your purchase purely on feel and tone.

For the body, chambered walnut will be alright. A lot of semi-hollow archtop guitars are made with maple, even brighter than walnut, yet manage to be warm and full-toned in the end. I thnk Warmoth actually overstate how bright walnut is, in my experience solid walnut bodies are barely any brighter than solid ash bodies. Remember, as well as the chambered body there is also the hollow body option (well, they list it as being a hollow body but it's actually semi-hollow). This will warm up the tone even more. It would also be worth considering a different top wood, such as rosewood - a walnut back with a rosewood top costs the same as a walnut back & top does, but would have a considerably warmer tone (even if the guitar was just chambered or even solid) .
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#5
did lots of thinking and went over to the unofficial warmoth site where people post photos of and talk about their warmoth builds. it seems like the wenge shaft and ebony board were pretty common among those with VIPs. also several people with semi hollow VIPs. didnt find a whole lot of walnut bodies but one guy had an all walnut tele with maple neck and fretboard and said it was overall too bright.

i like your idea of a rosewood top. that would look beautiful and would go along with me wanting darker woods. ive also considered changing the body to ash. ash body with rosewood top is quite a bit cheaper than a walnut body. i do have one ash guitar, my 8 string, and even with the maple neck and fretboard, its probably the darkest guitar i own, and the sustain is amazing. though that could be partly due to the longer scale length.

how many warmoth guitars do you have? was that you that got that blue telecaster several months ago? would you mind posting photos of the one with the ebony board at least? as long warmoths regular ebony is fairly dark id be fine with going with that and not paying extra for the jet black ebony. thanks for your advice so far.


7 String+ ERG Legion!!

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#6
The wenge and ebony combination is popular more for playability than anything else, plus the UW lot tend to go for a more even tonal balance rather than specifically bright/warm/dark/whatever. It's definitely a great forum and they've helped me work a lot of things out before myself but just remember that everyone likes different things and just because a lot of people in one place like something doesn't mean it'll suit you. I'm not saying that they're wrong, just that it's not as simple as "so-and-so use this so it must be good."

Ash would give a slightly darker tone than walnut. Ash tends to exaggerate the highs and lows, although I've found it to be quite balanced when used for semi-hollow guitars (hence why many Thinlines are made of it). The only thing with ash is that it would of course need a hard finish, which means it'll cost a little more.

I've got two Warmoths currently (hard ash Telecaster and a black korina Thinline). I've had six others pass through my hands that I made up for friends and I've got a third being planned for myself right now. Warmoth aren't the only custom company I've dealt with though, I've also used a couple of local guys that do the same sort of thing. So I consider myself quite well versed in picking the right type of build and the right parts to achieve a certain tone.
I've got one picture of my Tele with an ebony fretboard in my profile (click the Warmoth Telecaster) but it's just a snapshot - currently it's rather late here and that Tele is in storage so no other pictures just yet. I could take some close-ups of the fretboard by tomorrow night though. In the meantime you should check out the galleries on UW, most people on there go for plain ebony fretboards and they often post lots of good, high-res and close-up pictures.
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