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Great Lakes Wood for Guitars?

Sean Belt 27 Nov 00 - 12:30 PM
Gary T 27 Nov 00 - 03:03 PM
Gary T 27 Nov 00 - 03:04 PM
GUEST,Big Mick 27 Nov 00 - 03:15 PM
Poo-Twa 29 Nov 00 - 06:18 PM
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Subject: Great Lakes Wood for Guitars?
From: Sean Belt
Date: 27 Nov 00 - 12:30 PM

A non-musician friend of mine recently mentioned to me that she'd seen a piece on the Discovery Channel about violin makers who are reclaiming wood from the bottom of the Great Lakes from which to make violins. Apparently the time underwater does something to the cellular structure of the wood which makes it great for instrument making. All kinds of claims have been made about how quickly the instrument matures in tonal quality, etc. Sounds fascinating!

Does anyone in the Mudcat have any experience with these instruments? Do you know of anyone who's making guitars with this wood? And if so, what have the results been like?

- Sean


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Subject: RE: BS: Great Lakes Wood for Guitars?
From: Gary T
Date: 27 Nov 00 - 03:03 PM

There was a rather intriguing article about this wood in a fairly recent Smithsonian. I would suspect that it's available online (sorry I don't have their URL). Some instrument makers using the wood are mentioned in the article. As I recall, it's quite pricey, so these instruments may not be affordable to most of us.


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Subject: RE: BS: Great Lakes Wood for Guitars?
From: Gary T
Date: 27 Nov 00 - 03:04 PM

Smithsonian Magazine, I meant to say.


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Subject: RE: BS: Great Lakes Wood for Guitars?
From: GUEST,Big Mick
Date: 27 Nov 00 - 03:15 PM

I listened to an NPR segment on this subject. They explained two things that make this wood very special in the making of instruments.

First, it dates back to a time when there was a great deal of old growth, hence the annular rings were very close together. In other words it was dense and tight ringed. Todays lumber is a result of farming practices and because it is grown in the open (as opposed to under the canopy of the surrounding forests), it's growth rings are farther apart.

Second, because of the time in the water and cold temperature, the cells have hollowed out, in effect producing sound chambers. This, combined with the fact that there are more of them due to the tight rings, create a wood for fiddles and guitars that has extreme resonance and sound.

Then, on a car radio, the moderator plucked a string on a violin. Up until this point I was mildly interested, but when he plucked that string and the note just kept sounding..........on a car radio..........and the clarity was amazing to say the least. I cannot describe to you the wonderful sound and the sustain. I told myself right then that if I get a chance to own one of the guitars made with this wood, I would give it VERY strong consideration. I can't wait to try one of these.

Big Mick


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Subject: RE: BS: Great Lakes Wood for Guitars?
From: Poo-Twa
Date: 29 Nov 00 - 06:18 PM

I read an artical in Scientific American about how Stradivarious wood travelled down rivers from northern Germany to Italy, and that by the time it got there, microbes had eaten away the pulp. This results in hollow tubes of cell walls, and is also what happens with age. The pulp shrinks untill there are hollow tubes. A physisist, Joseph Nyagivari patented a substance that would accelerate this process, and last I know of, the technology was purchased by Yamaha Corp. Of similar interest is some spruce that Lance McCollum has that was salvaged from the mast of a 17th century tall masted sailing vessel, and another builder who aquired a piece of spruce that was 2,000 years old, and had fallen over a river gully and was preserved from rotting by hanging in the air. Enjoy!


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