View Full Version : tone wood for best old-timey sound....

Feb-06-2004, 11:58am
I'm really starting to dig my teeth into the mandolin now... in large part due to this site! I have a new Gibson A-9, but I'd like to pick up a vintage oval hole mando for a more old-time feel... If you could choose, would you prefer mahogany back and sides or rosewood? Why so?

Thanks for educating me here!


Feb-06-2004, 12:02pm
I'd prefer maple.

But between mahogany and rosewood, I'd choose rosewood for its darker, louder sound.

Don't forget walnut, as well, often described in tone as somehwere between mahogany and rosewood.

Feb-06-2004, 11:36pm
Good wood for an authentic old-time sound? Go Birch!

Feb-07-2004, 8:26am
Thanks for the ideas... I was thinking that I'd hear a chorus of mahogany, with its dry, tight sounds.... I'm looking at two Vega Cyliderbacks... one mahogany, one rosewood, but this birch idea has me thinking....

John Flynn
Feb-07-2004, 8:54am
FYI, most people would never suspect this, but Pete Langdell, the master luthier at Rigel, also specializes in making authentic Vega Cylinderback reproductions. His standard is to use maple, but since its a custom order, I'm sure you could get it with any wood you want. Check out this page, second section down.


Feb-07-2004, 7:35pm

I'll second poymando's suggestion. I've got a 1917 Gibson A-1 in birch, and it would be tough to beat in terms of the "old time" vibe. Although, a nice maple Rigel oval hole would likely give you a new mando with a radiused neck and still provide the tone you're looking for.

Feb-08-2004, 3:40pm
Good wood for an authentic old-time sound? Go Birch!

If old Gibson A's are made of birch, please disregard my previous recommendation for maple.

I always assumed ut was maple.