martin taylor, luthier

 

If you would like to order a Martin Taylor Guitar contact us on the link below.

email: luthier@martintaylorguitars.com.au

Tonewoods

Martin Taylor Guitars are made exclusively from Australian tonewoods. Australian tonewoods rival any of those that have been traditionally used for instrument making in the rest of the world. The timber is all harvested from ecologically sustained sources and produces rich tones, excellent sustain and is beautiful.

The availability of some of the timbers varies due to the rarity of the species used and the sustainability standards that Martin Taylor Guitars demands from its sources.

 

recycled timbers

Here at Martin Taylor Guitars we believe that timber is both an over resourced and under utilised product. Timber can be used and re-used many times. We have been experimenting with recycling timber from various sources and have been encouraged by the results so far. Some old furniture was made with timbers that perform as great tone woods so as long as the timber was originally prepared in an appropriate manner for musical instrument making then it is an opportunity to give it a new life. An example of this can be seen in our recent Silky Oak build in the gallery. This was originally a small sideboard from approx 1910 that had outlived its usefulness. It was beyond practical repair but yielded a beautiful back and sides. If you have some old timber that can be turned into a guitar why not contact us.

 

Soundboards

Soundboards need to be made from timber that has a tight grain and enough flexibility to receive and amplify the vibrations of the strings. Traditionally the timbers used for soundboards are varieties of Spruce. Australia produces several alternate species that soundboards can be crafted from. King William (Billy) Pine, Bunya Pine, Huon Pine are all Australian native timbers that can make Master Grade tonewoods suitable for soundboards.

King Billy Pine

Athrotaxis selaginoides.
King Billy Pine is an extremely beautiful coloured wood and is often compared to Western Red Cedar. It is light in weight yet stiff which makes for a great responsive soundboard. It produces a warm tone and is one of the most sought after tone woods.

Bunya Pine

Araucaria bidwillii
The Bunya tree yields an outstanding soundboard timber - probably the best Australia has to offer. Bunya has an earthy, wild, evocative tone, a change from the conventional - but with the volume, tone and beauty to stand up in its own right. Bunya is a sustainable guitar making soundboard, reaching maturity in 80 years. Compare that to the 300 plus years it takes to grow Spruce.

celery top Pine

Phyllocladus asplenifolius
Celery top is a natural, durable and tough, fine grained timber. The wood is creamy white when freshly cut and darkens to a mellow rosy gold hue over time and with exposure to sunlight. Slowly grown, it has a hardness, strength, and density not normally associated with conifers. It is light, stiff and produces a responsive soundboard.

back and sides

Backs and sides need to be made from "harder" timber. Traditionally the timbers used for backs and sides are mahogany or rosewood. Australia produces many alternate species that are suitable for backs and sides. One popular Australian timber that is gaining a reputation as a great tonewood is Tasmanian Blackwood. But there are many more, West Australian Sheoak, Tasmanian Tiger Myrtle, Black Heart Sassafras to name a few. These are all beautiful timbers that produce unique instruments ensuring a custom individual guitar.

Tasmanian fiddleback Blackwood

Acacia Melanoxylon.
Tasmanian Blackwood is one of the most highly valued tonewoods. Tasmanian Blackwood has more density  and has a better tap tone than Koa. Blackwood produces a beautiful lustre, fiddleback and quilted available on a small scale, the variety of tonings range from light golden browns to deep browns, sometimes a reddish tint and occasionally showing black streaks. Acoustically it has warm woody tones similar to that of Mahogany and the brightness of Rosewood. Blackwood is an all around excellent tonewood well suited for various playing styles.

Tasmanian Tiger Myrtle

Nothofagus Cunninghamii.
Myrtle is known for its strength, volume, and balance. Myrtle is a striking wood with rich reds, browns and almost orange tones, the colour is vibrant combining subtle variations in tone with the texture and sheen of wavy and fiddleback features to produce a surface alive with character and individuality. Myrtle is becoming a highly sought after tonewood for acoustic guitars.

Tasmanian Blackheart Sassafras

Atherosperma Moschatum.
Black Heart Sassafras is a beautiful tonewood known for its well rounded open sound and clear treble response.
Of all the Tasmanian Timbers Sassafras has the most dynamic colouring with distinctive golden tones, dark browns, black and even green streaking running through the wood. Few woods on the market can match the striking colour contrasts found in this species.Tonally in the range of the Mahoganies and walnuts with the characteristics of both good balance across the range. Expect an open sound with nice separation and sparkling highs.

West Australian Sheoak

Allocasuarina fraseriana
WA Sheoak occurs in south-west Western Australia in the coastal and hinterland region from Perth in the north to near Albany in the east, where it is an understorey species in the jarrah (E.marginata) forest. There is a small isolated population between Moora and Jurien Bay. WA Sheoak is one of the most striking timbers to use for back and sides. It is tonally superior to blackwood, and produces an incredible instrument that will be the envy of all.

Fretboards and bridges

Fretboards and bridges need to be made from very hard, tightly grained tone woods. Traditionally these have been Rosewood, Ebony and Maple. Australia produces several great tone woods for fretboards and bridges, in fact we believe they not only rival traditional timbers used for this purpose but are even better. We buy all our fretboards and bridges from Loggerheads - Specialists in Outback Timbers.

Mulga Wood

Acacia Aneura.
Australian Mulga wood is a hard tightly grained tmber that has been used by Aborigines for boomerangs, digging sticks, spear shafts and nulla nullas. Mulga has beautiful figuring making it a great choice for Guitar Fretboards and bridges.

Gidgee

Acacia Cambagei.
It is found primarily in semi-arid and arid Queensland but extends into the Northern Territory, South Australia and north-western New South Wales. It can reach up to 12 meters in height and can form extensive open woodland communities. Gidgee is a very hard smooth timber that although harder to work with produces a great finish for Fretboards and Bridges.

 

Some Information on Tasmanian tonewoods is by kind permission of Robert Mac Millan of Tasmanian Tonewoods

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