Just wondering if anyone here has made an instrument with unconventional woods like poplar, walnut, cedar or mahogany?
I want to make another cigar box and wanted to experiment with a carved top and back as opposed to a simple box shape, as well as play with different woods.
Any comments are appreciated! Thanks kindly!
yes all sorts of woods have been used, also cherry I think if you do a search on the net you will find some info on this.
Ive seen ash used. Im thinking of building one with Olive wood for back, sides, and neck.
On cello, ive seen sycamore used.
Poplar, birch, and beech are conventional, just not as common as maple. Cedar gives a very warm sound.
Barry Dudley makes some amazing instruments using exotic woods - http://www.barrydudley.com/instruments.html
Awesome! Thanks so much for all the info folks! I really appreciate it!
I am going to make a series of "cigar-box" fiddles like this one I made below so I can play around with wood types and see how they look and sound.
For the first one I am thinking Koa back/sides/neck and a bearclaw spruce for the top. Has anyone used there before? Or have any ideas on how it would sound? I understand that using these woods in a cigar box vs a real violin will already put them at a disadvantage but thought it would be a fun summer project anyways!
Thanks again all!
Here is a five-string fiddle I built not long ago, of curly Koa, and Port Orford Cedar:
Bearclaw Spruce is commonly used in violin-family instruments, so there is nothing to fear, there.
Koa, of course, is frequently used in ukuleles and guitars, so I think you are in good shape all around.
That is quite the beautiful fiddle Chet! The Koa looks great! I'm glad to hear that it sounds well too! I love the look of the uke's made with it so I thought why not a fiddle!
Thanks for sharing!!
Edited by - Mitch on 03/23/2017 14:27:12
I built my flattop with a cedar top and pine back. Not very conventional but sounds OK. Still new and the strings are $1.00 a set but overall not too bad.
You can check my video
I have built two fiddles and a cello from cherry and four or five fiddles from walnut. My first 6 fiddles used close-grained western red cedar instead of spruce for the soundboard. They were within the range of sound I get from curly maple and spruce fiddles. Here are links to a few videos. My playing skills are very poor, but I think the sound of the instruments can still come through.
Sorry-- wasn't thinking clearly on my previous post-- that one was Koa and Spruce, not Port Orford Cedar.
This one is Oregon Myrtle and Port Orford Cedar:
It is a superior instrument, in terms of tone. I will not "fight city hall" on the traditional instruments. Violinists are pretty set on Maple and Spruce-- especially European maple and spruce. So when I make an orchestral instrument, I use European maple and spruce...and yes, they probably are best, at least for violins. But on non-traditional instruments, I feel no such obligation. :-)
Cigar box? Go wild! :-)
'Default Window' 10 hrs
'Re-gluing a finger board' 2 days
'Poll: Second choice' 3 days
'Gospel Fiddle' 4 days
'Mississippi Sawyer' 4 days