Yellow Cedar body blank?

Discussion in 'Luthiery, Modifications & Customizations' started by jwade, Dec 12, 2016.

  1. jwade

    jwade Doooooooooom

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    Have any of you guys used yellow cedar for an electric guitar/bass body? I was given a large piece of it (58" x 8" x 2") and from what I've read, it's about on par with basswood in terms of hardness/specific gravity/etc. I'm thinking of using it for an 8 string.

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  2. UnderTheSign

    UnderTheSign SS.org Regular

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    http://www.wood-database.com/alaskan-yellow-cedar/
    It's been used for acoustics before, not sure about electrics. Being somewhat soft you might want to think about the finish and preventing dings/scratches but apart from that you should be fine. Guitars have been built out of crappier materials that sounded and played great.
     
  3. MikeNeal

    MikeNeal SS.org Regular

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    Never seen it done before. So you should do it and let us all know how it goes
     
  4. pondman

    pondman Build Whore.

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    ^ I agree with this ^
     
  5. jwade

    jwade Doooooooooom

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    Deal. 8 string Fireman coming up.
     
  6. MoonJelly

    MoonJelly a subtle stinging sensation..

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    And I'll make a hollow body 7 string Iceman from mine ;-)

    That was my secret plan but you gone and 1-upped me.
     
  7. jwade

    jwade Doooooooooom

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    Dude, yes! Hope to see a thread soon.

    I'm really impressed with how well this yellow cedar responds to routing:

    [​IMG]
     
  8. MoonJelly

    MoonJelly a subtle stinging sensation..

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    Dude, I hope I get to it soon. Weather here is super wet and I've put my projects in order of priority with this being number 6 or 7 :wallbash: ahhh if only I could retire from my day job I'd knock 'em out in 3 months. :shrug:
     
  9. jwade

    jwade Doooooooooom

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    Here's another good question about yellow cedar. Should I make a neck out of it too? I was thinking it would work to laminate three pieces of it with two strips of maple. That should lend it enough strength, I'd think.
     
  10. MoonJelly

    MoonJelly a subtle stinging sensation..

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    Haha you foresaw my plans again! I was gonna laminate either maple or bocote in the neck. Bocote it is. I may have to do a bocote top as well just to make it all even.
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    So far it's very tool-friendly.
     
  11. DistinguishedPapyrus

    DistinguishedPapyrus SS.org Regular

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    Very nicely cut, some of the finest lines I've seen on a body in a while.


    Yellow cedar should be ok to use as a neck material when laminated with multiple pieces of another wood if you're brave enough to try it that way, but I'm not sure I'd do it without some CF rods, especially for an 8 string. Probably would also use two truss rods. I'd be curious to see if it's bowed in a decade or so. Consider though that Honduran Mahogany has successfully been used in guitar necks, even as single piece necks, and that the elastic modulus of Honduran mahogany is very similar to yellow cedar according to wood database. Even though it's usually used in acoustics, with shorter and thicker 6 string necks. Biggest thing being a softer wood is that it'd get dinged up easily.
     
  12. jwade

    jwade Doooooooooom

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    I'm definitely no fan of the two truss rod stuff. Doesn't make any sense to me really. Carbon fibre rods might be an ok idea though. I think I'm going to do a test build, just going to make an SG, yellow cedar body/neck, with some maple laminates for the neck. See how it goes. I don't generally play in standard so it's likely to be B, C or D standard with heftier strings, so if it can handle that, then maybe I'll think about using YC for an extended range build at some point.
     
  13. jwade

    jwade Doooooooooom

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    Also, what happened to the Iceman idea, MJ?
     
  14. LiveOVErdrive

    LiveOVErdrive CNC hack

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    Very interested in this.

    Also curious about aspen, since it is so plentiful where I live.
     
  15. MoonJelly

    MoonJelly a subtle stinging sensation..

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    It is definitely soft enough to dent with a fingernail. Despite what the doodle says, I'm planning it as a semihollow 7, rather than an 8. Still undecided whether to make it multiscale.

    Iceman is going to be still done, but I picked a different slab for that one. Ditto on the two truss rod thing, one is enough.
     
  16. jwade

    jwade Doooooooooom

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    I wonder, would doing a five piece laminate impart enough rigidity to the neck? I feel like cutting a slab in five pieces and flipping pieces 2 & 4 before gluing seems like it would be enough.

    I'd really like to be able to build some guitars with very locally sourced wood, and yellow cedar is by far one of the easiest to obtain in a decent size.
     
  17. LiveOVErdrive

    LiveOVErdrive CNC hack

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    I've wondered the same thing. I've read about people using pine before, and I think it works okay.

    You should probably try it.
     
  18. MoonJelly

    MoonJelly a subtle stinging sensation..

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    I know it works for 6 string necks, which is why I'm going 7 this time round. There are a few evergreen/soft woods that have a stiffness that is similar to mahogany, and I've had success with in the past.
    Redwood-my first guitar build, has a one piece quartersawn neck, fender scale. It has a single carbon fiber support and no truss rod, and the neck is still straight ~15 years later.
    Douglas fir-I have a three piece laminate neck with carbon fiber rods and a traditional truss rod, finished in 2013 and no issues except a slight delamination occurred at the headstock. I've been able to repair it with laminates.
    Spanish cedar-a one piece neck with truss rod only, made for a friend about 4 years ago. He's not reported any problems yet. It went onto an otherwise cheap bolt-on LP copy, along with an EMG pickup, I know he has a sentimental attachment to it but he loves it to death. It has the advantage of looking a teenie bit like mahogany, similar color and such.
    This is my first time working with yellow cedar, but the workability is superior so far to anything I've used before. After years on the shelf it's still 100% straight, and after cutting it doesn't seem to flex or move like some hardwoods do. It is the softest of the 4 I mentioned, you can make an indent with your fingernail without difficulty, so I'm planning to finish it with an epoxy to give it a bit more toughness, but it'll still require some care when handling. I get a distinct impression it would handle a 7 or 8 fine as a 3 or 5 piece, as long as you're talking standard light gauge strings.
    Of course, that's just my impressions so far. Wait and see.
     
  19. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire Stage IV GAS

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    I'm all for people using different woods. I think I might try hickory or ash for a neck at some point just because they're readily available near me.
     
  20. jwade

    jwade Doooooooooom

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    I think it'll be fine, I know guys have used sugar pine for the entire guitar and had no issues because they did multi piece necks. Pretty excited, have some shop time negotiated for tomorrow, hope to get some body/neck blanks made up, and get some drill press time to have my Iceman and 8 string projects a little further along.
     

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