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Barking Spiders

Why are some manufacturers still using mahogany, ebony etc

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I'm looking to buy a 5 string very soon, for around £500,  and in my research was surprised to find quite a few budget models - e.g. under the Sire, Yamaha and Ibanez brands - have mahogany for the body and / or rosewood fretboards. I've a feeling there was a thread on sustainable woods a while back but I cant find it. Anyway I'm ruling out any model not made from sustainable woods . Some instrument makers are more concerned about using sustainable materials than others. Isn't it about time those still using endangered woods were called out? Some will say 'but  the amount of wood used by guitar manufacturers is relatively small'  but that's like a defendant on a burglary charge claiming in their defence they only robbed one house and not a whole street's worth.

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I'd guess that there's Mahogany and Mahogany. I'd like to think the basses you're talking about are probably made from a more sustainable variation of Mahogany. I'd do a bit more research if I were you before ruling out some decent instruments.

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It might be its not Mahogony or Rosewood at all, but its described as such for marketing purposes. 

If you tick the "leather" option for any new VW now, you'll get a plastic fake leather which definitely isn't the same and isn't as nice!

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3 minutes ago, paul_c2 said:

It might be its not Mahogony or Rosewood at all, but its described as such for marketing purposes. 

If you tick the "leather" option for any new VW now, you'll get a plastic fake leather which definitely isn't the same and isn't as nice!

I’ve noticed an increasing amount of products being described as leather when in fact they are ‘PU’ leather. Why can’t things be accurately labelled? Do VW charge the same for their new ‘leather’ upgrade as before I wonder....

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I'm no expert, but I think woods come in families and genus...es and so forth. I think that genuine mahogany covers three or so species, and there are many other woods which can be referred to as mahogany. I think Honduran was the one that was endangered and made illegal to use, but there are other 'mahoganies' which are still usable, probably even sustainably.

I can't be any more specific than that without a bit of Googling, but someone out there will know properly!

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Isn't mahogany an incredibly fast growing wood, making an abundant supply, which is why it became so popular for furniture many years ago? I would suggest watching the last series of Poldark as that is why my mahogany knowledge comes from, and stay away from any produced by the chap who becomes Poldark's nemesis in that series, he was a bad'un. 

  • Haha 3

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JL is right different, species of the same genus some are endangered others are not.

Can't see that the wood in an electric makes a blind bit of difference you'd be as well with a lump of ply with a pretty wrap on it but spend the cash on electrics. Acoustic on the other hand are a whole different game, and the tone wood can make a huge difference. to my ear Acacia is the mutt's.

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The comments are true re: different species of Mahogany. For example, Dingwall use Khaya for their D-Bird/D-Roc bodies.
 

According to Wikipedia:

Quote

Khaya is a genus of five species of trees in the mahogany family Meliaceae. The timber of Khaya is called African mahogany, and is valued as a substitute to genuine mahogany (of the genus Swietenia).

 

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Cocacola, sorry, cocobolo belongs to rosewoods, namely it is Dalbergia Retusa. It is cultivated to instruments, although the wood is endangered in its natural habitat, somewhere in Amazon. You can get it, but the price is high.

Not all woods are the same, Honduran mahogany and certain ebony is endangered, but not all. If you have a factory and start to build instruments from something illegal, the production is quickly turned down. Customs may cut the import/export to zero in no time.

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On 14/07/2020 at 08:33, Barking Spiders said:

I'm looking to buy a 5 string very soon, for around £500,  and in my research was surprised to find quite a few budget models - e.g. under the Sire, Yamaha and Ibanez brands - have mahogany for the body and / or rosewood fretboards. I've a feeling there was a thread on sustainable woods a while back but I cant find it. Anyway I'm ruling out any model not made from sustainable woods . Some instrument makers are more concerned about using sustainable materials than others. Isn't it about time those still using endangered woods were called out? Some will say 'but  the amount of wood used by guitar manufacturers is relatively small'  but that's like a defendant on a burglary charge claiming in their defence they only robbed one house and not a whole street's worth.

If a company is making basses and selling them internationally you can be sure that they are fulfilling all the criteria laid down by the CITES agreements. Therefore these basses are using sustainable woods.

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3 hours ago, ClassicVibes said:

Fender introducing a new range of MDF basses... "It's the best sounding Fender yet!"

I did see (apologies if this has been covered elsewhere on a thread I've missed) that Fender have in fact been pretty active in replacing rosewood with ebony.  Obviously this has been prompted by CITES, and they neatly explain that they are using  ebony with white streaks in it because it's cheaper  a far better ecological choice as most ebony isn't completely black

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Organisations the size of Yamaha, and the companies that make instruments for Ibanez, will hold huge stocks of tonewoods. Some will be bought to season for 10 or 20 years prior to use. So even though there is a ban, it seems reasonable to me for companies to use up existing stocks.

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1 hour ago, fretmeister said:

Best buy a non wood Status then.

What tone non-wood do they use..? :/

...

:lol:

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4 hours ago, pete.young said:

Organisations the size of Yamaha, and the companies that make instruments for Ibanez, will hold huge stocks of tonewoods. Some will be bought to season for 10 or 20 years prior to use. So even though there is a ban, it seems reasonable to me for companies to use up existing stocks.

Pretty much exactly what I was going to say. I visited Alembic in 2012 and they had huge stocks that they probably haven't touched yet.

Edited by jacko

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