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Tonal Characteristics of Cherry?

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Tonal Characteristics of Cherry?

Postby Jeff Brooks » Wed Oct 24, 2012 4:51 pm

:geek: Hello All,
Just joined the forum. You guys are awesome.
Planning to build my first few basses soon. Currently in the design phase. Was curious if anyone could give me a good definition of what tonal properties cherry has when used for a solid bodied bass? Planning a 6-string thru-neck and considering cherry with some maple sandwiched in. I have read that cherry makes a good neck wood, and that it generally produces warmer tones. Any thoughts?
Jeff Brooks
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2012 5:30 pm
Location: Tennessee

Re: Tonal Characteristics of Cherry?

Postby Terry Mashek » Fri Oct 26, 2012 11:25 am

Welcome to the forum, Jeff.

To me cherry sounds very similar to walnut, which sounds very similar to maple. For solid bodies I'm of the opinion that wood probably does influence the tone, but the electronics and scale length are much bigger factors. Use sound construction techniques and quality electronics/hardware and your instrument should sound good.

That being said, I've used cherry for parts of five different instruments. It is beautiful and works pretty well. Burns rather easily so you have to be careful (or learn to enjoy sanding.) It is relatively inexpensive compared to exotics and is available locally to most people. Despite these advantages, cherry is overlooked by most mass produced guitar manufacturers so your instrument will differ in that way from what is hanging in the guitar stores, which is what most builders desire.

I'd say go for it.
Terry Mashek
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Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2012 9:39 am

Re: Tonal Characteristics of Cherry?

Postby Jeff Brooks » Fri Oct 26, 2012 12:24 pm

Thanks Terry for the info. It is much appreciated. Sounds like the cherry i have will work nicely for my six stringer. Currently designing a walnut 5 string, and an ebony 8 string as well. I have a nice piece of cherry already, and was hoping it would work. Sounds like it will sound exactly as i hoped it would. Had read about the burns... Guess that will call for sharp tooling, huh? Good excuse to pick up some new stuff! Thanks for the reply. :geek:
Jeff Brooks
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2012 5:30 pm
Location: Tennessee

Re: Tonal Characteristics of Cherry?

Postby Chuck Tweedy » Wed Oct 31, 2012 11:31 pm

Same answer as in the other thread Jeff.

Leo Fender build guitars from flatsawn maple planks and alder blocks because they were cheap and easy to get - now people think that there is something magical about the combination. Really speaks to the "tradition" thread going on next door.
Likes to drink Rosewood Juice
Chuck Tweedy
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Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 6:25 pm
Location: San Diego, CA

Re: Tonal Characteristics of Cherry?

Postby Joel Nowland » Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:08 am

Many builders have discovered what I have, which is, that cherry is a wonderful tonewood for back & sides of acoustic guitars. If you can find perfectly quartered stock it has a wonderful cross grain silking.

It is also especially nice for neck material and has become my neck wood of choice and I have used it on over a hundred guitars now. I did several tests with many samples of cherry as compared to mahogany and cherry tested a bit more stiff, more stable and only slightly heavier and it does not need to be grain filled.

The only drawback with cherry is it's considered a common wood and not as desirable as other more exotic or highly figured woods.

It's interesting to note though that some European and especially Asian builders love using North American cherry and consider it rare/exotic and not common at all.

Joel Nowland
Joel Nowland
Posts: 81
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 6:01 pm

Re: Tonal Characteristics of Cherry?

Postby Romeo Suave » Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:15 pm

There are no Tonal Characteristics of Cherry, even wood from the same tree is different. This of course we are talking about solid body electric guitars.
A good little explanation is Roger Seminoffs book on electric guitar construction. Most mfgs today are indebted to him and his patents or for tapping and he goes into it in the book, but basically any hardwood is good to make a guitar. There is also a good discussion here on mimf with an interview with Marvin Hiscock on wood choice. Anyway you choice of wood will have little direct effect on the resulting sound, however technique, amp, construction, amp speaker have a demonstrable effect on the resulting sound, so use what ever you want including cherry. The choice of wood for an electric is based on availability and appearance.
Romeo Suave
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Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2012 3:04 pm

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