I posted here a little while ago asking if people thought pecan wood would work well as a tonewood, and now I think we're looking at building the instrument completely from logs we've cut down ourselves. We have access to...

pecan (relative of hickory)
persimmon (relative of ebony)
red oak (we're talking about southern red oak, that's quercus falcata instead of quercus rubra, the more common one, if that makes any difference)
and maybe poplar.

What do you guys think? Which woods would work best in what part of the instrument? We were thinking of using the pecan for the top, and maybe the persimmon for the fretboard. I think the oak will probably be too tight to use for anything but the neck, but I'm hardly experienced in this area at all.

Ultimately, we can order different wood if we need to. We just have this stuff already there, and we'd like to make it with what we have. It's all solid wood from the farm, and we have all the equipment we need to bend, shape, plane, sand and everything all right here. Only components we'd need to buy are the little things, like the tuners and a truss rod and that sort of thing.
Last edited by Epi g-310 at Apr 11, 2012,
If you want to stick with just those woods, this is what I would do. Mind you, I only make electric guitars but I know a bit about wood.

If you have enough persimmon, make the entire neck out of it. Just stick the frets right into it like its a maple fender neck. That stuff's hard, it will make a great neck. As far as the oak, I dont hear about that being used for guitar making often. Martin has used german oak to make some acoustic bodies but I really dont know what to say about red oak. It would probably make a fine body and sides of it. As for the top, I'd go with pine if you can get some but if you want to stick with local woods just make the whole things out of oak.

Dont use the poplar. Its hideous and sounds lifeless to me. And the pecan, I have no idea. Thats on you lol, Ive never used it before.

TL;DR make the whole thing out of oak, cept for the neck. Use the persimmon for that
You don't think the oak would be too tight? I'd imagine it would make great bracing, but I dunno. The pecan looks great though, I think we'll probably use it for the top. It's sort of a theme since this is a pecan farm we're making it on. I'd like to use it for at least something.

We were also thinking the poplar might make a good neck or fretboard since it's pretty stable.
poplar is an ok wood, its cheap and ugly though. As a fretboard, Ive never seen it used. Necks need to be hard, thats why theyre usually maple. Ever seen a les paul with a broken headstock? that happens because the necks are mahogany. I dont believe poplar is much stronger than mahogany. Use the hard heavy stuff for a neck and you wont have to worry about babying it. Also a hard bright wood will even out the tonal spectrum if you use a medium density wood such as oak. I'd imagine oak would sound similar to mahogany. I'm looking at this as an electric guitar builder though, if you want to try something new and crazy, go ahead, thats how innovation happens lol
Use red oak or the persimmon for the neck, then make the fretboard out of persimmon. I'd use the pecan and red oak for the body. Sounds like a great idea as long as you stay away from the poplar. Poplar is like particle board compared to those other woods.

For people unsure about oak, I'm making a guitar out of it, and it works great! I find it similar to ash, but just be careful as it is very dense. It is easy to work with if you are very gentle and very patient. Otherwise it will splinter, you'll have many screw ups, and you can possibly get injured.

Good luck.
I think we'll probably give the poplar a miss then. We haven't milled it yet anyhow, so that will save some work.

So, I'm thinking red oak for the back, sides and maybe the neck, persimmon for the fretboard and maybe the neck, and then the pecan for the top. What kind of finish do you guys recommend? The guy I'm working with says boiled linseed oil might work well, but I'm wondering if we ought to go a more traditional route.