Friday, October 21, 2005

Lack Of Wood

For the past week or so there's been an ongoing discussion at the UMGF about Martin Guitars move away from mahogany necks.

Much to the chagrin of traditionalists (i.e. any Martin guitar owner) Martin has started describing their neck material as 'Select Hardwoods.' What does that mean? Well at the moment, most likely 'Spanish Cedar,' though if you order a Martin right now there's a variety of wood that might be used...

According to Martin's wood buyer:
Currently, all necks are either solid Mahogany, Mahogany with wings on the headstock, solid Spanish cedar, solid sustainable Cherry, 2 piece (glued up the center) Hard Maple, flame red maple 5 pc. (3 piece barrel with wings on the headstock) on the Archtops, or Stratabond (laminated birch - natural or color dyed) on the X series. There are even a few solid Indian rosewood necks out there.

The truth is, Martin is finding it difficult to get the wood it needs. Necks have traditionally been carved from a single block, but that can mean using a 4" x 4" square block of about three feet long. That's a big piece of wood.

The Taylor Guitar company changed their neck design a couple of years ago. The pegboard is now fingerjointed to the neck. This allows them to use much less wood to make a neck.

But it's harder for Martin to make such changes since they are a company with a long history.

But other realities are intruding. Witness this report about a new survey which shows that the Amazon rain forests are being decimated at a greater rate than previously thought.

Revealed: the true devastation of the rainforest.

The Amazon rainforest is being destroyed twice as quickly as previously estimated, according to a satellite survey of the region.

Scientists have discovered that previous satellite photographs of the Amazon have missed a form of surreptitious logging that is equally destructive, but not as apparent from space.

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