#1
Hey guys, I'm about to start building my first guitar, I've all the tools I need because my uncle is a woodworker (I've got a bit of experience with woodworking myself), I've also got the guitar plan and all. Now I've to find the right wood for it, the thing is : I'd like to use local wood that I can find in my area (I live in Italy btw). Unfortunately we don't have wood like mahogany, ebony and rosewood here, all I can find in my zone is ash (it's very common and easily attainable), alder, maple and basswood (this one is a lot rarer than the other two thou). Considering that I wanna make this guitar a mean metal machine only (with EMG active pick ups, floyd rose and all)...which wood would be the best choice ? And which one is the easiest to work with anyway ? Mind you I'm going to make a V guitar (which usually I find totally ugly guitars ) just because I think they're way easier to make for a beginner than a Les Paul/Superstrat body guitar.
#2
Caro amico,
Choosing the timber for a guitar is not related to the available timbers in the area, but to the guitar's shape and the kind of sound you want to get from it. Wood is essential, because, no matter which pickups you use, the sound comes when the string vibrates above them: a vibration which depends largely on the wood.
There are also two kind of V-shaped axes. Those crafted after the first generation of Gibson's Flying V, and those cratfed after the '68 Reissue. The first generation of Flying Vs was made in Korina: a dense, but light wood, very resonant. Its resonance compensates V's odd shape. Second generation was made in Mahogany, which gives a darker sound, and it required higher output pickups (EMGs 85 and 81 seem the best choice).
If you want to use other types of wood, you must think of the consequences in terms of sound and guitar's weight. Alder is commonly used for the body of countless replicas: some of them sound good (check Hamer Vector XF Series, but pay attention, Hamer has glued an alder cap to the body!), some don't (most of them). Basswood is light and neutral in terms of sound, so it isn't very good for Vs, because they are prone to defective sound, and this must be compensated by the quality timber. But if you want to play metal, basswood might be an alternative, given the active pickups you'll install.
The neck can be made in maple. But I think I haven't seen a Flying V with a maple fingerboard yet, not even the meanest metal machines, perhaps maple's warmer and denser reply doesn't cope with body's resonance. I'm afraid you must find a piece of Rosewood, it goes well with maple necks.
There is one more option for the body you might find in Italy. It's Eastern Poplar. I've played on some Flying V replicas made by Vintage Guitars in Eastern Poplar, and they sounded just as good as Gibson's Korina-made Flying V.
Good luck. Ti auguro buon lavoro!
#3
what kind of V shape? if its a rhoads style then you could do an alder body and a maple neck, since thats what jackson does for all of their high end rhoads.
My Guitar Rig:
Peavey 6505+ Head
Peavey 6505 slant cab
MXR Smart Gate
MXR Noise Clamp
Ibanez ts-9 tubescreamer
Ibanez RGA72tqm with EMG 81/85

Other Guitar Gear:
Fender Vibro Champ
TTM Guitars Devastator
LTD EC-200
#5
Quote by rv_phoenix
Caro amico,
Choosing the timber for a guitar is not related to the available timbers in the area, but to the guitar's shape and the kind of sound you want to get from it. Wood is essential, because, no matter which pickups you use, the sound comes when the string vibrates above them: a vibration which depends largely on the wood.
There are also two kind of V-shaped axes. Those crafted after the first generation of Gibson's Flying V, and those cratfed after the '68 Reissue. The first generation of Flying Vs was made in Korina: a dense, but light wood, very resonant. Its resonance compensates V's odd shape. Second generation was made in Mahogany, which gives a darker sound, and it required higher output pickups (EMGs 85 and 81 seem the best choice).
If you want to use other types of wood, you must think of the consequences in terms of sound and guitar's weight. Alder is commonly used for the body of countless replicas: some of them sound good (check Hamer Vector XF Series, but pay attention, Hamer has glued an alder cap to the body!), some don't (most of them). Basswood is light and neutral in terms of sound, so it isn't very good for Vs, because they are prone to defective sound, and this must be compensated by the quality timber. But if you want to play metal, basswood might be an alternative, given the active pickups you'll install.
The neck can be made in maple. But I think I haven't seen a Flying V with a maple fingerboard yet, not even the meanest metal machines, perhaps maple's warmer and denser reply doesn't cope with body's resonance. I'm afraid you must find a piece of Rosewood, it goes well with maple necks.
There is one more option for the body you might find in Italy. It's Eastern Poplar. I've played on some Flying V replicas made by Vintage Guitars in Eastern Poplar, and they sounded just as good as Gibson's Korina-made Flying V.
Good luck. Ti auguro buon lavoro!


Thank you Phoenix, great post. Anyway I was referring just to the body of the guitar, I will buy the neck separately from a website (probably a rosewood one), I don't think I've the skills to make a guitar neck/fretboard still. Anyway you're right we have eastern pople here but it's not so easy attainable (especially where I live), I think I'll go for the alder/rosewood combination. As for weight, how much should it weigh ? tone-wise the heavier the better I assume.
Last edited by francesco18 at Jan 25, 2012,
#6
well jackson also uses alder bodies with maple necks on their king v's, so i would try that.
My Guitar Rig:
Peavey 6505+ Head
Peavey 6505 slant cab
MXR Smart Gate
MXR Noise Clamp
Ibanez ts-9 tubescreamer
Ibanez RGA72tqm with EMG 81/85

Other Guitar Gear:
Fender Vibro Champ
TTM Guitars Devastator
LTD EC-200
#7
Francesco, you need reosewood only for the fretboard. Alder weighs almost as much as Mahogany, so it tends to be pretty heavy, like a normal, non-chambered Les Paul. But you'll see the shape makes the guitar be wonderfully balanced when standing, it's great for gigging.
Go for the alder, then. You'll get a brighter sound, but active electronics can balance that. Please make sure you get good volume/tone pots, they can make a whole difference, if the initial sound is too thin or too thick.
I personally enjoyed the sound of the Hamer I've mentioned above. They've made an alder body, but, exactly as in the construction of a Led Paul, glued an alder cap on top of it, thus gaining much consistency.
#8
Francesco, you need rosewood only for the fretboard, the body needs no rosewood at all.
Alder weighs almost as much as Mahogany, so it tends to be pretty heavy, like a normal, non-chambered Les Paul, perhaps 500 grams less or more. But you'll see the shape makes the guitar be wonderfully balanced when standing, it's great for gigging.
Go for the alder, then. You'll get a brighter sound, but active electronics can balance that. Please make sure you get good volume/tone pots, they can make a whole difference, if the initial sound is too thin or too thick.
I personally enjoyed the sound of the Hamer I've mentioned above. They've made an alder body, but, exactly as in the construction of a Led Paul, glued an alder cap on top of it, thus gaining much consistency. It sounds well balanced, which is the base for you to build your metal sound.
#9
Quote by rv_phoenix

Go for the alder, then. You'll get a brighter sound, but active electronics can balance that.


Maybe I'm wrong as I've never played active pickups but I've always thought that active EMGs have already a bright, tight, aggressive sound.
As for the neck, I think I'll go for the maple neck/rosewood fingerboard combination.