Category Archives: Tonewood

Tasmanian blackwood makes it to the top of the Taylor tree

taylor ps tb1

The latest Taylor Guitars Wood & Steel magazine (Vol. 93 2019 Winter, p. 28) shows us that Tasmanian blackwood has finally made it to the peak of Taylors model range.

https://www.taylorguitars.com/wood-and-steel

Fifteen years after introducing Tasmanian blackwood into their limited production and three years after introducing blackwood into their regular production in the 300 series models, Tasmanian blackwood is now included in Taylor’s top-of-the-line Presentation Series (PS) models.

The Presentation Series are an annual limited edition series of guitars that feature premium woods and premium appointments.

Our Presentation Series celebrates the finest in materials and craftsmanship detail. This year we’re thrilled to introduce the wood pairing of figured Tasmanian blackwood and Adirondack spruce to the collection. Tonally, we love blackwood — it’s loud, responsive and warm, yet with a clear focus. The sets we’ve selected boast a beautiful blend of variegation, figure and grain structure reminiscent of Hawaiian koa, featuring golden-brown and dark amber ribbons of color. Together with a top of creamy Adirondack spruce, this guitar is no mere showpiece; its dynamic voice is ripe for the picking (or strumming). Or, if you prefer the rich, dark variegation of a sinker redwood top, the option is yours. We’ve also shifted from a beveled armrest to our radius contouring, which ensures comfort for players of all sizes. Our elegant suite of aesthetic appointments saves the understatement for other models, tracing the lines of the guitar with sparkling paua and other eye-catching ornamentation, including our intricate Nouveau fretboard/ peghead inlay. From every angle, these guitars deliver stunning aesthetic appeal.

Tasmanian blackwood Presentation Series models to become available are: PS12ce, PS12ce 12-Fret, PS14ce, PS16ce, PS56ce, PS18e.

These guitars are so new they haven’t yet made it onto the Taylor website. Stay tuned!

https://www.taylorguitars.com/guitars/acoustic/features/series/presentation

Prices for Presentation Series guitars start around $US9,000. These are top-shelf guitars for people with deep pockets.

Even despite the inevitable “koa’s poor cousin” comparison, Taylor are obviously confident they are making progress getting Tasmanian blackwood accepted into world guitar markets.

Congratulations Taylor Guitars!!

For Tasmanian farmers to get their product into the top of the market should be an occasion for recognition and celebration.

Unfortunately that is not how wood markets operate.

Is this extraordinary market achievement resulting in more Tasmanian blackwood being planted by Tasmanian farmers?

Surely it should!

Utilising market forces (price, supply, demand, achievements, etc.) to help drive the future of the blackwood industry should be the backbone of industry and Government policy.

Unfortunately market demand just helps the Tasmanian Government/Parliament justify logging native blackwood forest in our Conservation Reserves.

Thankfully this is not where Taylor Guitars source their blackwood timber, which comes from Tasmanian Tonewoods salvaged from Tasmanian farms.

https://tasmaniantonewoods.com/

But in the opaque world of the global timber trade politics and greed often confound good intensions.

So here’s the take home message:

Tasmanian blackwood timber achieves another major international market milestone (thanks Taylor Guitars!!!), but no Tasmanian farmer will learn anything about this achievement, let alone be moved to invest in planting blackwood for the future.

Are you beginning to understand the problem we face?

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Taylor Tasmanian Blackwood Guitar Alert!

Taylor 712ce LTD 12 fret

Ok. Here is a Taylor Limited Edition special.

A 2018 Taylor 712ce LTD 12 fret with Torrified Sitka and [Tasmanian] Blackwood.

It’s not often that Taylor put out a 700 series model featuring Tasmanian blackwood.

This one is a beauty!

Here’s one for sale on Reverb but there are a few others around:

https://reverb.com/item/14352660-2018-taylor-712ce-ltd-12-fret-w-torrified-sitka-and-blackwood

Made using farm-grown Tasmanian blackwood from Tasmanian Tonewoods:

https://tasmaniantonewoods.com/

2012 Martin Custom Shop 000 Tasmanian Blackwood

MartinCS000TBa

https://reverb.com/item/13292794-2012-martin-custom-shop-000-tasmanian-blackwood

Just LOOK at the fiddleback Tasmanian blackwood on this one-off CF Martin guitar!

https://www.martinguitar.com/

It’s currently for sale on Reverb from Brothers Music Shop in Wind Gap, Pennsylvania, USA.

Price is $AU5,900.

Carpathian spruce top, 14 frets, Waverley tuners, herringbone binding and the popular Martin 000 size. What’s not to like?

The detailing is equivalent to a 28 series Martin 000.

Very nice!

MartinCS000TBb

 

Maton Guitars Tonewood Guide

MatonTonewoods

Maton Guitars of Melbourne, Australia has released a stunning new brochure on tonewoods.

https://maton.com.au/timbers

But does the marketing work?

Is it the message for the 21st century?

Whilst we acknowledge and have a deep respect for traditional tonewoods, we are also excited by the potential we have discovered in non-traditional (alternative) woods.

The musical instrument making community is becoming increasingly concerned about the lack of availability of some of their favorite traditional tonewoods. … it would be environmentally irresponsible to keep utilising these timbers without looking for alternatives.

We are fortunate enough to have the support of many of Australia’s most knowledgeable and skilled timber gatherers and continue to try new species….

This last statement completely bowls me over!

Maton still don’t get it do they?

Tonewood is about hunting and gathering??? WTF!!

I thought we had left those days behind. I thought this was the 21st century.

If you want tonewood for the future you need to plant, grow and harvest trees. It is not about hunting and gathering! Those forests have gone!

In the 21st century the future of tonewoods is about THE GROWER – who manages the forest, who plants the trees!

To their credit Maton devotes a beautiful two page spread to blackwood. But the idea that we should be actively growing blackwood for tonewood production still hasn’t entered Maton’s conscience.

MatonTonewoodsBWD

In all 15 tonewoods are described, but very little about where the wood comes from, who grows it or whether is it sustainable. Once upon a time I would have mentioned certification (PEFC/FSC) but my faith in forest certification is gone.

In today’s market it’s not enough to just say “it’s not rosewood” or “it’s alternative”.

The whole point of the “alternative tonewoods” story is not just to demonstrate the woods have good acoustic and aesthetic properties, but that they come from ethical, sustainable, profitable (for the grower) sources.

Maton needs to demonstrate commitment not just to using alternative tonewoods, but to supporting those who grow these quality timbers.

“Gathering” isn’t good enough.

Maton Guitars was a pioneer in the use of alternative tonewoods long before they became important.

It’s now time for Maton to take the next step in their commitment.

Unfortunately this glossy brochure just doesn’t do it!

PS. In their defense most other guitar makers are on the same page as Maton.

 

Taylor 358e LTD

Taylor358eLTD

I haven’t done a guitar feature for ages so here we have the latest from Taylor Guitars featuring farm-grown Tasmanian blackwood courtesy of Tasmanian Tonewoods.

I wonder who were the lucky Tasmanian farmers who grew this premium product?

https://tasmaniantonewoods.com

This is a limited edition Grand Orchestra 12 string model in the 300 series.

This guitar was introduced at the 2018 Winter NAMM show in Anaheim, California.

It’s so new it isn’t even featured on Taylor’s website yet.

https://www.taylorguitars.com

In 2016 Taylor Guitars introduced Tasmanian blackwood into their regular production in the 300 series, becoming the first major guitar company to do so. The 300 series is the entry level series featuring all solid wood bodies.

To date the 300 series has not included an Orchestra Model in the line up. I guess this is Taylor testing the market to see if there is demand for a large body 12 string model in this price range. Currently 12 string Orchestra Models are only available in the 400 and 800 series.

Here’s a great review of the guitar from Alamo Music:

If you are after a big guitar with a BIG sound this is your axe!

Enjoy!

PS. I do like that shaded edge-burst on the blackwood back and sides. Good one Mr Taylor!

The Future of Wood

Future of Wood

The latest Martin Journal (Vol 8. p. 58) has an interesting article called The Future of Wood.

https://www.martinguitar.com/about/martin-journal/

It’s a soft-message article about sustainable forest management and sustainable tonewoods.

It’s such a soft message I’m not sure what the take home message is supposed to be.

I wonder how many guitar company stalls at the recent NAMM show had the word “sustainable” on display?

From my watching on social media the NAMM message was the same as usual – “come and see my new exotic, glamorous guitars!”

I didn’t see any presentation or review that mentioned “sustainable”.

Martin’s sentiments are similar—the company has a lot riding on the hope that the tonewoods they’ve built their business around [ebony, rosewood, mahogany] will still be around in another 185 years and that consumers will embrace alternative woods as well.

“We are a six-generation family business,” Davis-Wallen says. “We are going to try to do everything that we can to continue to go on, but we need help from consumers.”

So far I think the message has been so soft it isn’t even getting on the radar let alone getting any response from consumers.

The message needs to be laser sharp and LOUD…..to the point of being irritating.

Message to CF Martin – keep up the good work……BUT TURN UP THE VOLUME!!

Happy reading!

DW Drums Debuts Pure Tasmanian Timber at NAMM 2018

DW_Tasmania Kit20

Here is an update on the previous story.

Drum Workshop Inc. has announced the debut of their limited edition DW Collector’s Series® Pure Tasmanian Timber drumsets. Handcrafted in DW’s California Custom Shop located in Oxnard, CA, these exceptional drums feature a core of incredibly resonant Australian Blackwood with an outer layer of highly figured Blackheart Sassafras. Finished in a Quick Candy Black Burst to Natural Lacquer which is perfectly complemented by DW black nickel hardware, these distinctive drums are completed with a specialty “Limited Edition DW Pure Tasmanian Timber” badge.

https://www.namm.org/thenammshow/2018/exhibitor-news/dw-drums-debuts-pure-tasmanian-timber