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Ukecaster
05-17-2017, 04:36 PM
Anyone heard of rotten wood? Doesn't sound appealing, but paired with a Engelmann top? Maybe!

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Sharpshin
05-17-2017, 05:15 PM
I have seen the words "rotten wood" used to describe ukes before...I concluded that "rotten" was intended to translate as "spalted". They could have called it "hurt wood" as my treenware mentor used to refer to any carving wood with a injury or fungus.
Anyway, that is my best guess!

Tenor
05-17-2017, 05:26 PM
Spalted/Rotten... I see it called "Deadwood," also.

Photo: 23" Professional Engelmann Top
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bazmaz
05-18-2017, 12:13 AM
I've seen it used too for spalted wood. Not a fan of spalted woods myself, and certainly not on tops of instruments in solid form which you occasionally see. The black lines are essentially damaged wood through fungus - why you would want that on a soundboard I have no idea..

Nickie
05-23-2017, 02:57 PM
Or maybe the writer was pissed at his boss.

dhbailey
05-24-2017, 12:02 AM
The black lines are essentially damaged wood through fungus - why you would want that on a soundboard I have no idea..

Why would anybody want any wood on a soundboard? Because they either like the sound or they like the appearance (hopefully both at the same time). So the use of spalted wood may originally have been merely an experiment but the sound was something the maker liked. Or it looked very nice and people wanted to buy the instrument. Or both. In any event, by the time the wood is made into a soundboard the fungus has died (so has the wood!) so it's not as if someone with a spalted wood soundboard is potentially introducing harmful fungus into other woods in the house.

13down
05-24-2017, 03:42 AM
It's hilarious that they're calling it "rotten" but I imagine they started doing it because people kept asking what "spalted" meant.

In any case, this is also a sign that it's laminated. Doesn't make a difference how rotten the wood is if it is reinforced by lamination.

bazmaz
05-24-2017, 09:27 PM
Why would anybody want any wood on a soundboard? Because they either like the sound or they like the appearance (hopefully both at the same time). So the use of spalted wood may originally have been merely an experiment but the sound was something the maker liked. Or it looked very nice and people wanted to buy the instrument. Or both. In any event, by the time the wood is made into a soundboard the fungus has died (so has the wood!) so it's not as if someone with a spalted wood soundboard is potentially introducing harmful fungus into other woods in the house.

What I mean is, with solid wood, those black lines are damage in the wood. On a soundboard, tone comes from the wood being structurally sound and the wood fibres doing their job. I discussed spalting with a couple of well known luthiers and they agreed - terrible material for making soundboards. Laminate perhaps, but not as solid tonewood. It's like using a sheet of tonewood with a crack in it (is how one described it to me)

anthonyg
05-25-2017, 04:10 AM
Yes to Spalted. Funny thing is that my favourite Kala ukuleles ARE the Spalted Maple ukuleles. When I mentioned this to a Luthier he said it was probably because most Kala's are overbuilt but the weakness from the rotting Maple means that the top can move despite being overbuilt.

Anthony

dhbailey
05-25-2017, 01:24 PM
What I mean is, with solid wood, those black lines are damage in the wood. On a soundboard, tone comes from the wood being structurally sound and the wood fibres doing their job. I discussed spalting with a couple of well known luthiers and they agreed - terrible material for making soundboards. Laminate perhaps, but not as solid tonewood. It's like using a sheet of tonewood with a crack in it (is how one described it to me)

This I think gets into the whole "laminated vs. solid" discussion. I understand your point about spalted not being good as a solid tonewood. I didn't know it was ever used as a solid tonewood -- I've only seen it used in laminated ukes.

Nickie
05-25-2017, 04:34 PM
Yes, I concur, at least for one instrument. A friend has a "spalted" wood ukulele from Lanakai. Pretty though it is, it is rather dead sounding. She loves it, and it's her only uke, so I would never tell her I don't like its tone.

bazmaz
05-25-2017, 08:15 PM
This I think gets into the whole "laminated vs. solid" discussion. I understand your point about spalted not being good as a solid tonewood. I didn't know it was ever used as a solid tonewood -- I've only seen it used in laminated ukes.

Yes to be fair, most are laminate but every so often a brand pops up with a solid top version. They are the ones I'd run a mile from. Sorry for not being clear.

Snargle
03-13-2018, 07:46 AM
(Reviving this old thread...)

I see that the Asian (Chinese?) builder VTAB is now offering a concert ukulele made from "deadwood", either as all deadwood or with a solid spruce top. I assume from looking at the photos that deadwood is what we normally refer to as spalted wood. Since the all-deadwood instrument is cheaper than the one with the solid spruce top, I'm assuming the deadwood is a laminate, rather than solid. To my mind, using the term deadwood is a poor choice for a musical instrument where the last thing you want is something described as dead! :rolleyes:

https://meivie.com/collections/2017-vtab-ukuleles/products/vtab-24-deadwood-concert-ukulele?variant=36280658130

Regmon
03-14-2018, 03:00 PM
Anyone heard of rotten wood? Doesn't sound appealing, but paired with a Engelmann top? Maybe!

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I've got plenty of it in my hissing cockroach bins :-)

Joe King
03-14-2018, 08:21 PM
(Reviving this old thread...)

I see that the Asian (Chinese?) builder VTAB is now offering a concert ukulele made from "deadwood", either as all deadwood or with a solid spruce top. I assume from looking at the photos that deadwood is what we normally refer to as spalted wood. Since the all-deadwood instrument is cheaper than the one with the solid spruce top, I'm assuming the deadwood is a laminate, rather than solid. To my mind, using the term deadwood is a poor choice for a musical instrument where the last thing you want is something described as dead! :rolleyes:

https://meivie.com/collections/2017-vtab-ukuleles/products/vtab-24-deadwood-concert-ukulele?variant=36280658130

I too would run far and fast from any musical instrument with the word "dead" in the description.

Also, I hate the look of spalted anything, but that's just me.

I feel that the language used is sometimes intentionally misleading, and "marketing speak" rather than otherwise meaningful.

Croaky Keith
03-14-2018, 11:53 PM
Not my cup of tea at all! :biglaugh:

I like to see fine grain wood pattern, & little to no bling. ;)

Booli
03-15-2018, 03:18 AM
Not my cup of tea at all! :biglaugh:

I like to see fine grain wood pattern, & little to no bling. ;)

Brother Keith - You and me both. :music:

kissing
03-15-2018, 05:15 AM
I think spalted with a good gloss finish gives it an exotic look.
But the problem is, most of these are on inexpensive and dead sounding laminate ukes (Ibanez uses spalted a lot too).
And this sorta makes me assume a spalted top uke would sound a bit dead.

But I guess to someone who isn't all that familiar with woods and instruments, it'll just look pretty - and hence their appeal.

Ukecaster
03-15-2018, 06:07 AM
I think I'll go and finish my breakfast now...a rotten egg and burnt piece of toast :uhoh:

bratsche
03-15-2018, 06:41 AM
I don't know whether I'd really like the look if the spalted pattern was a result of strengthening and tone-enhancing grain lines, or if I've always been put off by it because I knew it was rot/fungus.
:)

bratsche