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View Full Version : Bunya as a soundboard for Ukulele



M3Ukulele
03-08-2015, 01:42 PM
I'm not sure if this is correct area for this question and I'm not a builder. So what the heck......I'll ask you builders . What is Bunya like as a soundboard. Native to Australia...... Manton and Cole Clark use it for guitars and from what I have read, it's supposed to be a lot like Sitka spruce. Comments from anyone who has had exposure to this tonewood.
Thanks

sequoia
03-08-2015, 05:35 PM
I'm not sure if this is correct area for this question and I'm not a builder. So what the heck......I'll ask you builders . What is Bunya like as a soundboard. Native to Australia...... Manton and Cole Clark use it for guitars and from what I have read, it's supposed to be a lot like Sitka spruce. Comments from anyone who has had exposure to this tonewood.
Thanks

I don't have a clue, but it sounds like the nuts taste good. I don't hear about a lot a ukes being made with the stuff, but I'm not from Australia. This is what Maton Tonewoods has to say about it:

Bunya (araucaria bidwilli )
The Bunya Feast was a regular gathering of indigenous people from around the Bunya Mountains in Southern Queensland. They would gather to feast on the ripe nuts from the Bunya tree and to sing, dance and celebrate. The Bunya tree also yields an outstanding soundboard timber - probably the best Australia has to offer. Maton pioneered the use of this tonewood in the mid 1990's and have made some of our finest guitars from Bunya. 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 also a sustainable guitar making soundboard, reaching maturity in 80 years. Compare that to the 300 plus years it takes to grow Spruce.

anthonyg
03-08-2015, 10:25 PM
I've listened to Cole Clark guitars with Bunya tops. They sounded similar to Spruce to my ears.

Anthony

Titchtheclown
03-09-2015, 02:45 AM
Fluke and flea ukes have hoop pine soundboards and bunya can be sold under the trade name hoop pine. I wish I was joking. Australian timber names and standards are flexible to say the least. When it comes to timber there are sometimes more variations between parts of a tree than there are between different species.
Read the many threads on this forum and other places about how timber species makes very little difference and how people have recycled pallets to make ukuleles and guitars, not to mention the famous papier mache guitar by Torres.
In short build what you like with what you have and if it sounds good you have kicked a goal so build another and if it sounds like duck farts chalk it up to experience and don't listen to someone with "the clown" as part of their name and build a better one next time.

sequoia
03-09-2015, 07:22 AM
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.

I just love earthy, wild, evocative tones with volume, tone and beauty... Whatever you guys are smoking down there in the Down Under, I want some!

bubbly193
03-09-2015, 10:34 AM
... probably the best Australia has to offer.

Funny, I thought Toon was the best Aussie had to offer, funny how opinions vary. It all up to your opinion. Do you think you would want a uke that sounds similar to Manton's and Clark's guitars, or has a spruce-y sound.

Timbuck
03-09-2015, 10:40 AM
There was talk some years back about giving timber specification numbers instead of names ..the same as steel ..so it would be graded on its tensile strength and flexibility and hardness etc:. I don't know how far they got with it ?

Titchtheclown
03-09-2015, 10:54 AM
There was talk some years back about giving timber specification numbers instead of names ..the same as steel ..so it would be graded on its tensile strength and flexibility and hardness etc:. I don't know how far they got with it ?

Construction lumber gets f numbers here in Australia but I think that is about the strength and hardness of it for use in building. There are also resistance to rot numbers, usually on treated pine.

Allen
03-09-2015, 11:27 AM
Personally I hate Bunya Pine for both it's look and sound. As well Bunya Pine and Hoop Pine are not the same species.

I get lots of people asking me to build with these woods. Wanting an all Aussie timber instrument etc. Telling me that Maton and Cole Clark use them so they must be the best.....With very little thought that it's done from an economic stand point. Buying local timber with local dollars as compared to importing and paying transport and exchange rates that have for the most part in the last 50 years been very heavily weighted against us. So take that marketing hype from those manufactures for exactly what it is.....Hype.

bubbly193
03-10-2015, 11:55 AM
Personally I hate Bunya Pine for both it's look and sound. As well Bunya Pine and Hoop Pine are not the same species.

I get lots of people asking me to build with these woods. Wanting an all Aussie timber instrument etc. Telling me that Maton and Cole Clark use them so they must be the best.....With very little thought that it's done from an economic stand point. Buying local timber with local dollars as compared to importing and paying transport and exchange rates that have for the most part in the last 50 years been very heavily weighted against us. So take that marketing hype from those manufactures for exactly what it is.....Hype.

I'd just order Australian Toon and make em deal with it. They want an all aussie instrument, don't they. I'm not sure how popular Toon (also spelled Toona) is in the ukulele world, but it has a nice tone to it. How do various gum trees (Eucalyptus) sound?

Allen
03-10-2015, 03:43 PM
Australian Toon (tonis australis) can be used as a sound board. However the pores in it are HUGE. So you will need about 5 pore filling sessions (ask me how I know).

sequoia
03-10-2015, 07:06 PM
How do various gum trees (Eucalyptus) sound?

I live in Northern California where we are surrounded by groves of Australian eucalyptus groves ('red' I believe it is called, but I don't know eucalyptus). They brought them here from Australia in the 1870's because.... well no one is sure, cured malaria or something, but they have thrived and become quite a nuisance. The only local use is firewood and I always think why I haven't seen a guitar or ukulele made out of eucalypti. I understand when it seasons it becomes too hard to work and then it checks. Never seen a uke around here made of eucalyptus. But I'll bet you Aussie's have tried. Plus it smells like cat piss.