Here are some of the back and sides we use
many more available
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It is important that the material used for the backs and sides be from a good tone wood as it has a direct effect on the sound of the guitar. We use only the finest woods available and hand select them for their acoustic properties and their beauty.

 

Again, we enjoy locating unusual woods and take advantage of the art that is already in the tree. However, there is no such thing as a "typical example" of wood since each piece is different, even out of the same tree! That is one of the many fun things about making (and owning) hand crafted guitars.

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Topwoods Backwoods Rosettes Heads Tails Inlays

 

East Indian Rosewood   (Dalbergia latifolia)

 

One of the most used back and side material in guitar building today, East Indian Rosewood became popular in the 60's. When  the Brazilian government stopped the export of Brazilian Rosewood, it was fortunate that there was plenty of good quality East Indian. (Many builders prefer it to Brazilian for its sound  quality and workability)

 

The color ranges from red to light brown with golden streaks. More often though, we find that the color runs in the purple-brown shade which will oxidize to a rich brown color.

 

We find East Indian Rosewood to be a beautiful tonewood that produces a clear, bright tone.

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Maple   (European)   (Acer pseudoplatanus)


European Maple is the lightest of the Maples in color usually a creamy white. The material we look for is highly figured (flame figured shown). The flame or "fiddleback" figure is quite striking (we get a lot of nice comments when we pull one out of the case).

 

One of our personal favorite sounding wood combinations is Maple back and sides with a Western Red Cedar top. These guitars have a lot of power, big fat bass tones that in no way overshadow the clear mids and bright trebles.

 

Chose a contrasting binding like Ebony or Rosewood and you have guitar that is as appealing to the eyes as it is to the ears.
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Maple (Big Leaf)   (Acer pseudoplatanus)

 

Quilted figure Maple is almost beyond description but we'll try. We look for extreme figured Quilted and it resembles little pillows or clouds whose appearance changes as the guitar is rotated.

 

Besides being a piece of art, this is a very fine tonewood that makes great sounding guitars.

 

The owner of this guitar asked for an extreme figured bearclaw Sitka Spruce top and the combination made an excellent sounding guitar that continues to improve with age. It looks pretty wild with the Ebony binding contrasting these two awesome pieces of wood.

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Macassar Ebony  (Diospyrus celebica)

 

This material makes some of the finest sounding guitars crafted today. It is very dense and tends to project well with a sound that is bright well defined.

 

This particular piece is pretty unusual with the dark middle band resembling a black butterfly  (everyone sees something different). It does represent well the colors we look for when selecting this wood with its black and tan stripes.
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.Black Walnut  (Juglans california)

 

This wood grows near by us and on up into Oregon. In fact, we recently purchased some of the most exotic looking Black Walnut we've ever seen from a mill in Oregon (pictures are comming).

 

Walnut produces a stunning instrument with a crisp tone and strong fundamental. We look for unusual woods with a lot of figure and interesting colors (chocolate, tans, grays, reds and you name it). Again, each piece is different and is a piece of art in itself long before we come along and fashion it into instruments.
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Oregon Myrtle  (Umbellularia californica)

 

A wood with many names (California Laurel, Bay Laurel, our supplier and most of the locals call it Pepper wood) Myrtle is quickly becoming one of our favorite woods.

 

There is a tree growing just down the hill from our shop that must be hundreds of years old and the longest distance of it's irregular shaped trunk is at least 15 feet!

 

This is a wood that we will no doubt be seeing more of. It has been used for classical, flamenco and steel-string guitars with great success. We love its beautiful golden colors with dramatic inking separating the different shades of tan, green, gold and nearly everything else you can think of.

 

Many have raved about its projection qualities, comparing it favorably to any of the traditional woods.
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Paduak  (Pterocarpus soyauxii)

 

We've often wondered why you don't see more Padauk (pa-dook) guitars. Is it too wild of a color? Sort of a fluorescent orange with golds and browns running through it. It ages to a warm golden orange/brown. It's really beautiful!

 

Good looks aside, some of the best sounding guitars we've ever made have Padauk back and sides. You almost don't need amplification for this material. But it is not just thunderous and vibrant, the tones are so even and beautiful. We've only heard raves about this material (looks and sound).

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Bubinga  (Didelotia africana)

 

Bubinga or African Rosewood is another fine tonewood that is harder and heavier than either Brazilian or Indian Rosewood. It produces a brilliant and distinctive tone. If it wasn't such a pain to work with there would probably be a lot more guitars made out of this material (It's difficult to bend, difficult to cut, difficult to sand or scrape...I think you get the idea)

 

It's interlocking grain when lacquered gives the most amazing visual effect. The mottled "Bees Wing" figure produces a kind of holographic look when the instrument is slightly rotated.  The beautiful mauve color ages into a gorgeous brownish-red.

 

Despite our "love-hate" relationship with this wood, we do offer it as standard equipment because of its tonal quality and beauty.
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Rick Micheletti  |  Micheletti Guitars  | 19590 Shafer Ranch Road  |  Willits, Northern California, 95490
707.459.0820   |  rick@michelettiguitars.com  |  Fax: 707.459.5476

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