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Thread: Quirky little idea

  1. #1
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    Default Quirky little idea

    Hey guys, I want to build a mandolin, so I was thinking how to make my mandolin as visually striking as possible, and then I had this crazy idea. If you know how bookmatching works, I was wondering if I could bookmark two different woods for top and back. Would it mess up the sound quality? I think it would be cool and unique.

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    Default Re: Quirky little idea

    Good Idea! But, I kind of think that this is pretty common---you know, using a book matched maple back with a spruce or cedar book matched top. Perhaps I am missing what your intentions are--could you clarify?

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    Default Re: Quirky little idea

    Quote Originally Posted by pelone View Post
    Good Idea! But, I kind of think that this is pretty common---you know, using a book matched maple back with a spruce or cedar book matched top. Perhaps I am missing what your intentions are--could you clarify?
    I meant instead of bookmatching, use two different types of wood and glue them together as if they were being bookmatched. I wanted to use two tonewoods from the sound spectrum. Specifically, Cocobolo and Maple. It would look like a half and half kind of thing on top. I want to do the same thing on the back too.

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    Default Re: Quirky little idea

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	WB_MilkandWhite_1024x1024.jpg 
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ID:	164935 Kinda like this lol

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    Registered User George R. Lane's Avatar
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    Default Re: Quirky little idea

    It has been done before, mostly with top woods like spruce and cedar.I am not sure Cocobolo would make a good top wood, but those with more knowledge than me will soon chime in.
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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Quirky little idea

    It's been done, have at it. If you're going to go to that much trouble enjoy it.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Default Re: Quirky little idea

    Quote Originally Posted by George R. Lane View Post
    It has been done before, mostly with top woods like spruce and cedar.I am not sure Cocobolo would make a good top wood, but those with more knowledge than me will soon chime in.
    Can you please attach a picture? I have never seen it before and I would like to. I am not set on Cocobolo, but just want two different looking and sound woods. Thanks.

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    Default Re: Quirky little idea

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    It's been done, have at it. If you're going to go to that much trouble enjoy it.
    Would it really be that much harder than normal bookmatching? It's pretty much the same thing, with another piece of wood.

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    Default Re: Quirky little idea

    It's just gluing two pieces of wood together. Most tops and backs are two pieces of wood. I would stay with woods that are traditionally backs and traditionally tops. Cedars and spruces on the top and hardwoods on the back.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Default Re: Quirky little idea

    I've wondered about mahogany and spruce. Both used for top woods and would certainly look different, how would it sound?

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    Default Re: Quirky little idea

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandoplumb View Post
    I've wondered about mahogany and spruce. Both used for top woods and would certainly look different, how would it sound?
    Yeah I was thinking any woods that look different. I am curious as well. Anybody have experience with this sort of thing?

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    Default Re: Quirky little idea

    Matin's "MTV Unplugged" special-issue guitar had back & sides of half-mahogany and half-rosewood. That was over 20 years ago. They (prudently!) kept with an all-spruce top.
    - Ed

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    Default Re: Quirky little idea

    It may be cool at first, but you may find the cool factor wears off if the mando doesnt sound as good as you wanted. Mahogany and spruce bookmatched? I dunno.

    If all you want is a striking look, why not match 5 pieces glued together for the top and back. Spruce/mahog/spruce/mahog/spruce, for the top. And for the back you could use like walnut/maple combo.

  19. #14
    Registered User John Kelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Quirky little idea

    It is not really bookmatching you are talking about, I think, but just having top and back with half-and-half different woods. Bookmatching is done to get the grain pattern mirrored on the axis of the centre line of the top (or back) it requires that the two halves come from the same wood and it is sawn to thickness so that those two pieces are like the pages of a book opened down the spine. This could not be done using, for example, mahogany and spruce.
    Fscotte's suggestion of multiple pieces is seen on bowlbacks quite a lot and can be very appealing to look at.
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  20. #15
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    Default Re: Quirky little idea

    You could get the same effect on the top by finishing each piece of the two-piece top differently. Since the top's the main acoustic vibrating surface, probably safer to use two pieces of a normal top-tonewood, rather than, say, spruce and mahogany.

    What you do with the back's pretty much up to you. Martin's 1990's MTV-1 "Unplugged" guitar, cited above, went with mahogany and rosewood for a two-piece back. I thought it looked distinctive, but not in a good way...
    Allen Hopkins
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    Default Re: Quirky little idea

    I saw something like this done with the builder using finger joints down the seam. I have no idea how it sounded, but it looked really good.
    Steve



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