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GUITAR WOODS: MAHOGANY


Guitar woods mahogany

Mahogany is mainly used in guitar construction for building bodies of both bolt on and neck through instruments and is sometimes used for necks also. The most valuable and rare mahogany is Honduras mahogany (Switenia Macrophilla). Actually the name "Honduras mahogany" is not proper but it's used to distinguish South American species from African species like Kaya for example, being as real Honduras mahogany is a highly rare and protected wood.

Mahogany trees can reach an height of 30 meters with a variable diameter of 1.2 mt to 1.8 mt. Weight is around 540Kg/mt3, so average. Mahogany tone is neutral so it's a fine wood to start building our tone from, matching it with other fine sounding woods like maple tops of various thickness capable of adding brightness, attack and sustain to the neutral and powerful tone of this wonderful wood.

Another feature that has contributed to the wide use of mahogany in guitar construction is its crossed grain which makes it very workable and stable and therefore suitable for building necks as well, where it's warmth and fullness will enhance the tone even more.

Due to its neutral tone mahogany is also used for building the central core of neck through bass "wings", and is joined to a variety of exotic woods to tailor the tone to the customer's needs.

Being a very porous wood mahogany needs to be treated with a filler, rather than sprayed with a sealer, to avoid accumulating too much finish thickness. The filler fills the pores but doesn't add any thickness to the instrument's finish, thus allowing a better tone.

Mahogany colour is medium to dark brown which doesn't make it suitable for solid colours or dark transparent colours like black or cherry even if it is possible to brighten it using particular de-colouration techniques.



 
Galeazzo Frudua

Galeazzo Frudua

As a luthier and lutherie teacher, since 1988 he has been making about 350 boutique guitars and basses priced from 2,900 to 5,600 Euros and repaired and customized thousands of string instruments. His instruments and amplifiers are used by flagship artists, such as Chick Corea, Peter Gabriel, Ennio Morricone, Vasco Rossi. He owns two YouTube channels—where he teaches music—that count up to 25+ million views and almost 140.000 subscribers.

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