Out of an average samle of ebony and an average sample of rosewood,
(each about 1/8 inch thick), which one is:
a) least likely to split from natural drying out
b) least likely to break from repeated flexing
c) least likely to split or break from an impact accident?
The piece will get some slight flexing for the coming years, and may
be subject to the occasional accidental impact. I'm not sure how well
seasoned the piece will be when I receive it. I just want to maximise
my chances of making the best choice.
Authoritative answer: "the _other_ one."
Serious answer: 'insufficient data'.
the missing information:
_how_big_ a piece?
how much 'flexing'?
how hard an impact?
over how big an area? (a blunt blow is significantly different than a
just for starters.
Comment: a glue-up of 5 or more plies of veneer is probably going to be far
superior in durability, over a solid lumber piece, regardless of which wood
I'm willing to stick my neck out, having worked with both of these woods
a fair amount. All else being equal, I say:
a) rosewood, definitely
b) rosewood, definitely
c) rosewood, definitely
That said, with care, both can be put into excellent service. Rosewood is
a lot less fussy, though.
You surprise me. I thought ebony would be much stronger. But I bow to
your greater experience. I'm glad you said rosewood though, because
that'll match the rest of the job better.
Now I'll reveal what the item is (I could have done that before
really, couldnn't I?). Ever seen the metal arm rest on a banjo? (The
thing designed to stop the player's forearm touching the surface of
the head.) Well I'm looking at the guitar version of this. (Not many
people even know they exist.) Invented by English folk guitarist John
Pearse. For an illustration, see:
I'm not sure how it'll be fixed to the side of the guitar. Possibly
double-sided tape. Possibly screws. Not sure yet. I'll probably uses
something "different" like silicone. We'll see...
Thanks for the help
You need to meet a couple of criteria to sell something
like this to a musician. It's got to be needed, it's got to not damage
the instrument or finish, and it has to not impede the accoustics of the
instrument. Might I suggest taking a look at how the chinpiece is attached
to a violin - kind of a clamp, across the side of the instrument type
of arrangement; sounds like a very similar application to what you
describe. By using felt padding, you can make it not wreck the finish
(as silicone would), damage the wood (as screws would), or affect the
accoustics (as both would - silicone would have a serious dampening effect
on the top's resonance). The sides are pretty inflexible in compression,
so a clamp arrangement would keep the forces in a direction that won't
interfere with the top's (and back's) movements.
I'm not sure I'd buy one, myself, but if it was comfortable, looked nice,
and doesn't involve modifying the instrument to use it, I think you might
have something here.
That is the point I can't get by. I can understand why on a Banjo or a
Violin you would want one (as both have extremely sensitive sound boards -
and rely on resonance from the top of the instrument), but a guitar? A
guitar top does resonate but not nearly as much as the other two. Just my
.02 as a musician.
Actually, the top on a guitar is doing quite a number of interesting
resonances simultaneously - it needs to to make the sound. Without
it, an accoustic guitar would be as loud as an un-powered electric
guitar (not very, in other words). In order to find many (any) people
willing to try this, it'd have to take that into account.
Frank, if you're planning to buy a John Pearse armrest, I'd say you'll be fine with
one and they will help the sound of your guitar by preventing your forearm from
the top. I have a rosewood one that matches the sides and headstock of my guitar and
looks great. Most people use ebony, to match the fingerboard and bridge. But the
rarity makes my rosewood one that much better, to me. You can't go wrong either way.
They are attached using double sided tape. It's a no-brainer to put them on.
Ebony is heavier, harder and more dense, but also more brittle, harder to
dry and more prone to splitting. In the 1/8" thickness that you
mentioned, the difficulty drying shouldn't pose a problem, though.
Which species are you using? Both Santos or Honduran Rosewood are a joy
to work, although extra dust protection is recommended. I can't say about
Brazilian, personally, as I've never had a good enough excuse to afford
Rosewood should do very well. In ebony, the overhanging tips of the
inside curve *might* chip if the grain were oriented carelessly and the
part received a healthy bump there. However, from the looks of it, just
about any hardwood should do.
It depends on a lot of things, not the least of which is whether it was
legally harvested. I have seen smaller pieces of "pre-ban" Brazilian
rosewood in greater thicknesses go for over $85bf, and have heard of even
higher prices. Sometimes, a special piece of wood can't be priced in the
usual way, as it really is not a commodity. In these cases, the price is
whatever the market will bear.
No!!! Don't do it Frank! Use that silicone anywhere near a guitar or other
wood instrument and you're hearby shunned. Nasty, nasty stuff. And that
includes all the foolish products out there like string-ease (sp?) that are
silicone based. Silicone will permanantly ruin the finish of the wood. It
is next to impossible - really, it's impossible to get this stuff out of the
grain once it's on there and refinishing is about impossible should it ever
be required. Silicone also dampens the resonance of the wood.
Place your feet together and click your ruby red slippers three times and
repeat, "I will never use silicone or any silicone based product on a nice
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