Author Topic: The state of ebony and Taylor Guitars as explained by Bob Taylor  (Read 8921 times)

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Offline Ken Nagrod

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Enlightening video on ebony.



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Offline skunkeye

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Thanks for posting that.

Offline Brice Burrell

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Okay, they pay the same for streaked ebony as pure black, I'd guess that raised the price of the streaked stuff considerably.  In theory, it could be as much as the pure black stuff.  Somehow, I bet the value of the pure black ebony isn't what it was when they left the streaked stuff on the forest floor. I'm guessing the price has sky rocketed.  So let's look at what they're doing.  They've got more ebony than ever, the streaked stuff is more valuable than ever and the price of the pure black is surely worth more than ever since they're forcing it on the consumers.  Sounds like a win, win to me.  Don't get me wrong, I like what they're doing.  They've found a way to make the best out of a ever worsting situation.  Good for them.   
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Offline Jesse Cloud

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Thanks Ken, for posting that very interesting video.  Its sad to see so many woods disappearing. 

I try to use only sustainable woods, and when (rarely) there is a firm need for scarce wood, I use veneer to make it go further.

And, if you aren't making a guitar, but just want a jet black color, there are lots of ways to 'ebonize' other woods, India Ink being one of the simplest and most effective.

Offline Ken Nagrod

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Thanks for posting that.

You're welcome.

Okay, they pay the same for streaked ebony as pure black, I'd guess that raised the price of the streaked stuff considerably.  In theory, it could be as much as the pure black stuff.  Somehow, I bet the value of the pure black ebony isn't what it was when they left the streaked stuff on the forest floor. I'm guessing the price has sky rocketed.  So let's look at what they're doing.  They've got more ebony than ever, the streaked stuff is more valuable than ever and the price of the pure black is surely worth more than ever since they're forcing it on the consumers.  Sounds like a win, win to me.  Don't get me wrong, I like what they're doing.  They've found a way to make the best out of a ever worsting situation.  Good for them.  

Brice,

I understand what you're getting at, but isn't it true that the 'B' grade ebony was mostly left on the ground, not even coming to market?  No demand, so no supply.  I would think that felled trees could be salvaged now.

Offline fritter63

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Interesting. I only have one guitar with ebony bridge/fingerboard (an 30 year old Yamaha I bought while in college).

For the ones I build, I prefer to use Rosewood, since I do like the look with color. Maybe I'm just shifting the problem there.... but there it is.

Ebony isn't used as a tone wood on guitars, it's used because it's so dense. The purpose of the bridge is to transfer, without loss, the vibration of the strings onto the soundboard (contrary to popular belief, the sound hole is just an outlet!). For the fingerboards you just need a long wearing surface.

So for that matter, I can't help but wonder if bamboo would make a suitable replacement for bridges and fingerboards? You'd have to work through how to make it look good while carving through the laminations, but it would also be dyed to be darker and look more like rosewood. But it is harder than maple, and maple has been used for both those functions.

Offline Zacharytanner

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THANKS KEN................Very interesting and informative

Frank
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Offline fdengel

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Ebony is heavily used in lots of other instruments too, such as violins...

Offline Reiska

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I wish everyone had the economic opportunity to do sustainable forrestry and farming. I've effectively shifted to buying mostly natural grown food from local farms if possible and try no to use any endangered species of wood in anything I do. I'm still a bit embarrassed for using Doussie as our parquet floor material, but the missus had a say in it... :-(
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Offline nydesign

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I understand what you're getting at, but isn't it true that the 'B' grade ebony was mostly left on the ground, not even coming to market?  No demand, so no supply.  I would think that felled trees could be salvaged now.


The ebony left on the forest floor should be fine to use, ebony is so dense I don't think anything eats it.

Offline JLB builders LLC

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Re: The state of ebony and Taylor Guitars as explained by Bob Taylor
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2012, 02:20 AM »
As a guitarist ... I had several guitars, 14 @ 1 time and dozens more though out the years. Maple necks are brighter and work great with Tele and Strats. I am down to two guitars and both have ebony necks. 1 is a 1 of 500 '07 Gibson Les Paul's and the other a USA 2007 Deluxe Fender strat. I sold my maple neck strat because the ebony had a better feel and warmer tone.

I had a 1986 Charvel model 4 with a rosewood and that sounded good also. A lot of guitars have to be played first to see if they have that feel and something special for the player.

I'm looking for a new Tele and might go with a Fender Select because I am a sucker for a violin color Maple Glame top.

All that being said I know some die hard black ebony board guitarist on Rig-Talk.com they refuse to have a Les Paul with anything but. This will raise the price of used gibsons and some other brand guitars while slightly affecting new guitar sales. PRS who has a shop 10 miles up the road is known for bidding on fallen trees and stock piling wood for custom, Private Stock or special runs.

I'm glad Bob Taylor is doing this. We need to conserve our resources. I would like to see 2 planted for every one cut down to help bring it back in the future and that goes for other species as well. That was a great vid. Thanks, I enjoyed watching it.
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Offline fritter63

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Re: The state of ebony and Taylor Guitars as explained by Bob Taylor
« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2012, 02:58 PM »
As a guitarist ... I had several guitars, 14 @ 1 time and dozens more though out the years. Maple necks are brighter and work great with Tele and Strats. I am down to two guitars and both have ebony necks. 1 is a 1 of 500 '07 Gibson Les Paul's and the other a USA 2007 Deluxe Fender strat. I sold my maple neck strat because the ebony had a better feel and warmer tone.


Just a minor correction to what you wrote, JLB. The entire necks aren't made out of ebony, just the fingerboard (or fretboard).

In the case of your Les Paul, it's probably a mahogany neck with ebony fingerboard, while the fender likely has a maple neck with ebony fingerboard.

The fingerboard is only about 1/4" in thickness (at the center only due to the radius profile) and is glued onto the neck, which can be up to 3/4" thick in some places.

Here are a few pictures from some of my builds showing rosewood fingerboards (with curly maple binding) being fitted to the mahogany neck blanks. The neck blank is then carved down to match the edges of the fingerboard.

53246-0

53248-1

53250-2

53252-3

Offline JLB builders LLC

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Re: The state of ebony and Taylor Guitars as explained by Bob Taylor
« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2012, 05:19 PM »
Yeah wasn't meaning the neck itself. Guess I should have read what I typed. Working 7 days a week in this heat has my brain scrambled lol.
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