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Thread: Solid Honduras Mahogany VS regular mahogany

  1. #1
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    Default Solid Honduras Mahogany VS regular mahogany

    Was wondering if there is much of a difference sound wise when Honduras mahogany is used. Or is it used just for looks?

  2. #2
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    Wood differs from tree to tree and region to region even in the same species.
    Is the tree itself old growth, or new growth?
    Throw in the variations due to drying, and manufacturing, bracing and build, the possible differences are endless.
    But wait, it gets worse. How old is the instrument?
    No hard answers, I suspect.
    Wood is a wild creature.

    Find an ukulele, play it, and judge if you like the sound.

    Others will have different opinions.
    Playing my Magic Fluke and grinning like a fool!

  3. #3
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    Honduras Mahogany is “regular” Mahogany. With the technical name “Swietenia macrophylla”, it is the true genuine Mahogany and has been the gold standard for decades.

    Current popular substitutions are Sapele and Sipo, both often referred to as “African Mahogany” or simply “Mahogany”.

    In my experience, yes... there is a difference. I find genuine Honduran Mahogany to produce a more complex, sweeter tone than the others, as well as being lighter in weight.


    Scooter
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScooterD35 View Post
    Honduras Mahogany is “regular” Mahogany. With the technical name “Swietenia macrophylla”, it is the true genuine Mahogany and has been the gold standard for decades.

    Current popular substitutions are Sapele and Sipo, both often referred to as “African Mahogany” or simply “Mahogany”.

    In my experience, yes... there is a difference. I find genuine Honduran Mahogany to produce a more complex, sweeter tone than the others, as well as being lighter in weight.


    Scooter
    The original mahogany was "Cuban" (swietenia mahogani) that was used in the old Martin ukuleles possibly into the late 20s, and may have contributed to their superior tone. This small-leaf mahogany was then substituted with the "Honduran" big-leaf variety, which is now grown on plantations in Asia. But many ukulele (and also guitar) manufacturers have substituted similar looking African varieties (Sipo, Sapele, Khaya) that often are harvested by clearcutting and other poor logging methods, and can be marketed as "mahogany". They may sound fine, though some people can have skin reactions with them, and they can often be distinguished by their striped/figured look and other microscopic characteristic. If you want a mahogany instrument and you see intense ribbons or other figures then it's likely not mahogany.

  5. #5
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    Well, some info on the mahogany can be found in the wood database website.



    https://www.wood-database.com/wood-a...s-the-lowdown/

    I donít have much knowledge on the topic but I know thatís only a handful of makers using genuine mahogany such as Ken Timm who is using the Cuban Mahogany. And Martin is using, I suppose Honduran Mahogany as they only describe their mahogany ukuleles as Genuine Mahogany.
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  6. #6
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    Striped sapele

    175742614.jpg
    John

  7. #7
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    I never knew that african mahogany was not mahogany.
    Well, it is still pretty in my Anuenue tenor.
    Ohana SK30M mahogany super-soprano, Cort UKEBWCOP Blackwood concert, Anuenue African Mahogany Tenor, Fluke Koa Tenor, Hora M1176 spruce Tenor

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by merlin666 View Post
    The original mahogany was "Cuban" (swietenia mahogani) that was used in the old Martin ukuleles possibly into the late 20s, and may have contributed to their superior tone. This small-leaf mahogany was then substituted with the "Honduran" big-leaf variety, which is now grown on plantations in Asia. But many ukulele (and also guitar) manufacturers have substituted similar looking African varieties (Sipo, Sapele, Khaya) that often are harvested by clearcutting and other poor logging methods, and can be marketed as "mahogany". They may sound fine, though some people can have skin reactions with them, and they can often be distinguished by their striped/figured look and other microscopic characteristic. If you want a mahogany instrument and you see intense ribbons or other figures then it's likely not mahogany.
    ...and if you look at an old Martin made with Cuban mahogany, which I never knew about before viewing my 1st 1920s Martin, the grain of Honduran mahogany is as different from Cuban mahogany as Sapele mahogany is from Honduran.

  9. #9
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    I wonder how many people could discern the sound difference between a 1920 Martin and a 1930 Martin?
    Playing my Magic Fluke and grinning like a fool!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by maki66 View Post
    I wonder how many people could discern the sound difference between a 1920 Martin and a 1930 Martin?
    It's likely that the things that happened to the ukuleles in the 80 to 100 years since they were born might contribute more to any differences than the wood ...

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