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Thread: All walnut top, back sides, and neck

  1. #1
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    Nov 2017
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    Default All walnut top, back sides, and neck

    I am getting ready to build a "Knutsen Inspired" concert. I have some beautiful crotch walnut that I have been dying to use. Does anyone have experience with a walnut sound board?

  2. #2
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    Jun 2020
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    I built a tiny 9 7/8" scale length uke with an all walnut body. It sounds great. It was straight grained quartersawn wood. I wouldn't hesitate to do all-walnut on a bigger instrument based on that experience. I have used walnut a lot as a back/side wood, but that was the only time as a soundboard.

    How stable is the crotch grain walnut you have? I've cut plenty of crotch walnut for furniture and fancy laminate tops on solid body guitars and basses, and it has been among the least stable wood I've ever worked with. It seems to have a mind of it's own once cut, even if it was well dried and carefully handled. I've had pieces twist up, or develop checks years later.

  3. #3
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    Oct 2014
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    Little River, California
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tukanu View Post
    I am getting ready to build a "Knutsen Inspired" concert. I have some beautiful crotch walnut that I have been dying to use. Does anyone have experience with a walnut sound board?
    I used walnut once as a top and to be honest I didn't care for the result. The sound was dark and dull. But this might not have had anything to do with the wood but with my construction. If I did it again I would go much thinner to get a better response...

    Dwizum is right on about using crotch wood too. Looks great but beware of checking and movement.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwizum View Post
    I built a tiny 9 7/8" scale length uke with an all walnut body. It sounds great. It was straight grained quartersawn wood. I wouldn't hesitate to do all-walnut on a bigger instrument based on that experience. I have used walnut a lot as a back/side wood, but that was the only time as a soundboard.

    How stable is the crotch grain walnut you have? I've cut plenty of crotch walnut for furniture and fancy laminate tops on solid body guitars and basses, and it has been among the least stable wood I've ever worked with. It seems to have a mind of it's own once cut, even if it was well dried and carefully handled. I've had pieces twist up, or develop checks years later.
    I have had the pieces for about 5 years, and no movement, or checks. The pieces were dressed down to about an 1/8" back then.

  5. #5
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    Hudson, MA
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    I did an all walnut body concert uke and I really like it. It does sound more mellow like a mahogany uke. Not bright like a spruce top or koa.
    I found changing to fluorocarbon strings really perked up the sound (started with aquilla).

  6. #6
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    Nov 2017
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    Quote Originally Posted by ksquine View Post
    I did an all walnut body concert uke and I really like it. It does sound more mellow like a mahogany uke. Not bright like a spruce top or koa.
    I found changing to fluorocarbon strings really perked up the sound (started with aquilla).
    I was wondering if the sound might be too mellow. I thought about using a torrefied spruce, but aesthetically a walnut sound board would look the best.

  7. #7
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    Canada Prairies, brrr ....
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tukanu View Post
    I was wondering if the sound might be too mellow. I thought about using a torrefied spruce, but aesthetically a walnut sound board would look the best.
    California Claro Walnut is supposed to have similar stiffness to Mahogany or Koa so likely would also have similar sound. I would find an all walnut uke very appealing as I have a guitar with walnut fretboard and neck that feels and plays fantastic.

  8. #8
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    Apr 2020
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    West Michigan
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    Am building a Concert In Walnut at the moment. Black for The sides and back and American/English for the soundboard and neck. Soundboard is 1.9 mm thick. Will report in a few weeks if fit is a player or a wall hanger.

  9. #9
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    Nov 2017
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    I'm be interested to hear your thoughts. At this point, it looks like I am going to go with the walnut soundboard.
    DSCF0124.jpg

  10. #10
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    Jan 2010
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    Cool. I love the look of walnut. I have heard of some makers doing walnut instruments with great success.

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