#1
I have access to a good selection of yew wood (pacific yew) and I am wondering if it would be any good as a tone wood?

Most likely it would be a very bright-sounding wood, but does anyone know for sure? The wood has extremely tight grain and is very heavy and hard.

Any luthiers with experience with yew on UG?
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gear in profile
#2
I don't know about guitars, but it makes good wand wood.


Sorry, that really doesn't help you at all.
"There he goes. One of God's own prototypes. Some kind of high powered mutant never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die."-Duke
#3
No, I must admit it doesn't.
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gear in profile
#4
In the end it's a question that can only be anwered by testing. Building an instrument and see what it does. Knocking and tapping on the raw material doesn't reveal all, but it can give a good indication.
Two things makes me sceptical; first, no one makes instruments out of yew, while about anything has been tried and tested. I find it hard to believe nobody ever did that before.
Another thing is the common application for this wood. Apart from magical applications (wand making is already mentioned, but it seems that yew is also very suitable for stabbing vampires and werewolfs) it is much appreciated as a supreme material for making bows. It would surprise me if a wood that flexible and elastic makes a good tonewood. Propagating sound waves comes with stiffness, not flexibility.
#5
I've actually seen some acoustics with Yew back and sides - these were £2k handmade ones. I never heard or played them, but they looked mighty fine...
The Laney Thread are big and clever. No exceptions.
#6
Probably not good. They don't mass produce electric guitars made of yew as far as i know...so that makes me think it's not too great...Probably sound shrill, and won't have too good of a sustain....that's only a speculation though.

On acoustics however, they use back and sides on more expensive guitars...as MrCarrot said.
#7
Quote by zwound
Probably not good. They don't mass produce electric guitars made of yew as far as i know...so that makes me think it's not too great...Probably sound shrill, and won't have too good of a sustain....that's only a speculation though.

On acoustics however, they use back and sides on more expensive guitars...as MrCarrot said.


Might be a good material for a cap on the body..
The Laney Thread are big and clever. No exceptions.
#8
only one way to find out.. i highly doubt it will break under string tension because it's used for bow making. So it's really just a case of what it sounds like.
EH


"Show me war; show me pestilence; show me the blood-red hands of retribution..."
#9
Yew is notoriously known to be REALLY strong, and REALLY resitant to aging. I mean they made Castle doors, warships and what not out of them. I mean even in estonia they found a shipwreck from the 1700s and the parts of the ship that were made of yew looked pretty damn new to me. also there's laods of ancient castle's and the yew doors look pretty damn solid..after 500 years.

EDIT: also to add, it's a really really stiff wood. it will be alot of sweat trying to work with it.
Last edited by zwound at Aug 27, 2007,
#10
Are yew serious?

[/lame joke]

If it's THAT stiff, then it might work for a neck. I've seen necks made of oak, cherry and all kinds of random hardwoods.

However, Marcel said it was highly flexible...

It's probably only stiff cos you got a big piece of it.
#11
Quote by sashki
Are yew serious?

[/lame joke]

If it's THAT stiff, then it might work for a neck. I've seen necks made of oak, cherry and all kinds of random hardwoods.

However, Marcel said it was highly flexible...

It's probably only stiff cos you got a big piece of it.

I'd agree with that...
i've never seen a small peice of yew...usually it's a huge one...like a gate to a castle
#12
Quote by zwound
I'd agree with that...
i've never seen a small peice of yew...usually it's a huge one...like a gate to a castle

Yew can make a lot of necks out of a castle gate...

I say you try to calculate it's density, and compare it to other common woods, especially neck woods like maple or mahogany. Even if it's not resonant enough for a body, I think you can still make a decent neck out of it.
#13
Castle doors would indeed make a good application for a very flexible wood. Imagine trying to batter such a door and then being bounced back instead of cracking it.
A quick google revealed that a good, straight piece of yew is rare these days. It seems that warfare demands depleted all but the croockiest trees of which all current specimens are decendants. One site mentioned lute bodys among the applications listed, together with furnature inlays and objects d'art. I can imagine that a guitar with yew back and sides would be very beautifull, indistructable as well as expensive. It seems that mrCarrot's suggestion to make it into a decorative top layer is worth considering.
#14
A misconception will now be corrected: Yew is not springy and elastic like people say in this thread. The reason it was (and is) used for bows is its excellent compression resistance, which will also make it very suitable for a guitar neck. When bows are made from yew, the heartwood makes up the main part of the bow, while the sapwood (which is extremely flexible) is at the outside, providing the flexibility.
Last edited by Pikka Bird at Aug 27, 2007,
#15
^also my mate used ash for building a bow aswell (and he knows good thing or two about wood) and as we know that's an extremley good guitar wood.
EH


"Show me war; show me pestilence; show me the blood-red hands of retribution..."
#16
Sounds like it's bloody heavy and pretty strong, hence it's popularity in castle doors and the like. Perhaps we could run some steel rods through it and make some speaker cabs, with a medieval style portcullis grill instead of tolex on the front. Challenge Pete Townshend to smash that.
Quote by The devil at the crossroads
E|-------------------------------------------1--
B|-----------------------------------1--4--
G|-------------------------1-3-4--
D|------------------1-3----
A|--------1-2-3----
E|-1-4-----

Just move it around the fretboard
#17
Quote by Cosimo_Zaretti
Perhaps we could run some steel rods through it and make some speaker cabs, with a medieval style portcullis grill instead of tolex on the front.

That's fckn metal!
#18
Which brings us back to the well known magical properties of this material;
Being the stuff to make wands that cast deadly spells, daggers that can stab the undead to death from trees that, if grown into hedgerows, can keep the hounted souls fenced inside graveyards, it must be pretty good for making the deadliest of death metal.
Only try some more benign fantasy rock first to see if you can handle it.
#19
I'm guessing they don't do mass-produced guitars out of it because it's prohibitively expensive, but that's just a guess.
Quote by corduroyEW
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#20
Well if you can get your hands on some for cheap the best thing to do is try it, even if you don't end up with a good guitar, you'll have the experience to make an even better one next time.
#21
it seems to me that it is that it is hard to work with and its easier to mass produce guitars with woods such as maple and alder...

but it may still sound amazing...I personally dont know. But it sounds like it would sound very bright, and if its heavy maybe a lighter cut, like an SG. If it has tight grain it also maybe hard to stain. But keeping it a natural finish may give it an amazing unique look.

I would recommend some of the people that hang out in the gear building and customization thread. Theres some people that hang out in there that know their ****. But I think if you did get everything cut right, and put some time into it, it might be an amazing, unique quitar that will be able to withstand through some rough times.

my two cents
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