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Thread: Petrified Wood

  1. #1
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    Petrified Wood

    Over the last year or so a lot has been made about the use of petrified woods in guitar building. This is the wood that suppossedly has sat at the bottom of the great lakes for centuries. Personally, I'm not biting on it but I'm curious what others think.

    So...do you think there is anything to the hype?
    The prices are HIGH, would YOU pay that much?
    If the wood sat at the bottom of the Great Lakes fo so long how come it hasn't become water logged or even rotted away?

    What's your take?

  2. #2
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    I have a Tacoma EK36C. It is an acoustic guitar with supreme 5A Solid Koa back and sides and a Cedar top. From the certificate that came with the guitar:
    "The top on this guitar came from a tree in Washington's Clearwater-Salmon River area. This tree was salvaged from a swampy flat about ten miles inland from the coast. It had been totally submerged for over 600 years. Tacoma knows this because it had a 600-year-old tree growing on top of it. The tree was over 2000 years old when it fell. It had a slight left-handed twist in the trunk, which meant it was non-phototropic, grew more slowly, and packed its growth tightly. The tops in the EK36C average over 35 rings per inch, have an indescribably clear tap tone, and required no cutting of old growth timber. "
    This isn't the petrified wood you read about - it is just an incredible piece of cedar coupled with some supurb Koa that forms a very special guitar.

    They only made 150 of these.

    It is an exceptional guitar. And not to get all religious, but to think the wood on this top was a nearly 600 year old living tree when Jesus walked the earth, well, you just cannot dismiss that away.

    All I can say is, I am a certified wood nut. I love what Mother Nature offers up, and I completely love what builders like Tom Anderson and others can do with it. The Tacoma I have is one of the most incredble guitars I have ever played - it just rings and has an exceptionally clear tone.

    Just my experience with this one guitar and this old wood on it.
    -- Scott Peterson

    My Website
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    My Gear:

    Guitars: Melancon, Hamer
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  3. #3
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    Here is my initial review on my Tacoma from The Gear Page... with pics!

    http://63.151.115.106/board/showthre...threadid=33652
    -- Scott Peterson

    My Website
    MySpace Music Page

    My Gear:

    Guitars: Melancon, Hamer
    Amps: Atomic
    Cabs: Tone Tools
    Effects: Xotic, Paul Cochrane, Blackstone
    WCR pickups, Bayou Cables, TonePros, Tremol-No

  4. #4
    tom is offline Supreme Commander of the Anderson Empire
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    i'd have to agree that i am one blessed human to be able to work with the materials that father nature has provided me. you have no idea how fun it is to go through a batch of just arrived figured maple tops, seeing them for the first time. you would think that after all these years, i'd have seen it all. that would be highly underestimating the creativeness of the creator.
    i was sent some of the lake superior(i think it was that lake) wood by a customer. it was maple, and it was super heavy and very nastily stained. i refused to make guitars out of it. it really would not have sounded good. that is not to say that all submurged wood is bad, i could see how scott's cedar top could benefit from the experience. wood is good!

  5. #5
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    Speaking of "old wood"...have you guys see THIS? I'm not sure of the definition of petrified (as far as how many years), but.....

    http://www.langcaster.com

  6. #6
    tom is offline Supreme Commander of the Anderson Empire
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    yikes!!!! his cobra sure looks different than ours. that's one wild headstock too.

  7. #7
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    Tom, do you have any sort of Trademark on the Cobra name for guitars?

    BTW, TA Cobras look much better, those headstcoks on the Langcaster are a little bit too ornate for me.

  8. #8
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    Scott,

    Very COOL info about your Tacoma. In your opinion do you think the age/underwater effects of the wood is better than if "conventional" woods had been used? In other words do you think the effects of the aged/distressed wood contributed more to the tone of guitar than the craftsmanship?

  9. #9
    tom is offline Supreme Commander of the Anderson Empire
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    no trademark on the name.
    stan, i think to answer that question about the wood, you'd have to ask someone who has made a quantity of the same guitar with varying woods.

  10. #10
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    i think to answer that question about the wood, you'd have to ask someone who has made a quantity of the same guitar with varying woods.
    Excellent point, Mr Tom. I was just curious on what the perception of an end user was.

    BTW Tom, if this wood has been submerged for so long why hasn't it rotted or become so waterlogged that it can't be used?

  11. #11
    tom is offline Supreme Commander of the Anderson Empire
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    i am no expert, but i suspect the temp is cold enough to slow down the critters. the japanese submurge spruce logs in the ocean to preserve them till they are needed.

  12. #12
    tom is offline Supreme Commander of the Anderson Empire
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    i wasn't scolding about the evaluation, it's just that we have to be really careful about what we say is responsible for a guitar's tone. i've had too many people get a guitar and declare that it is the ... that is responsible for it's great tone. unless you are comparing like animals you can never be sure. also even in the same species wood can vary wildly.

  13. #13
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    I have no clue if the top wood is the reason this guitar sounds so good; but the previous owner thought it was nice, but not as good as his Breedloves. All subjective and all just personal perspective and opinions.

    My opinion is that this wood has a noted past, is storied, I love the history of it and feel very honored to own it. One thing, I have played other makes with this basic same wood setup (Taylor) and found their guitar to be very bright. But I find most all Taylors too bright (I have owned dozens of them, so don't think I am bagging on them. Tastes change). This guitar just does NOT compress no matter how hard you strum; it is a unique experience.

    Swamp Ash (true swamp ash) spends its life underwater too. Some woods just seem to deal with water; if the wood is buried deep enough - with no bacteria and no critters/nature/organisms to eat it away - then it can indeed survive.

    The tree stood for 2,000 years. That just kills me.

    But on topic, it is not petrified wood like your thread title. That is a seperate thing; where the wood is replaced by minerals and actually turns to stone. I like to rock, but don't need my guitar made of it!
    -- Scott Peterson

    My Website
    MySpace Music Page

    My Gear:

    Guitars: Melancon, Hamer
    Amps: Atomic
    Cabs: Tone Tools
    Effects: Xotic, Paul Cochrane, Blackstone
    WCR pickups, Bayou Cables, TonePros, Tremol-No

  14. #14
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    I heard something about the old european master violin and cello makers soaking their wood in salt water for years to enhance the tone somehow. If I recall, some of the current archtop builders do the same thing.

    What effect would that have on tone?

  15. #15
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    Originally posted by Scott Peterson
    I like to rock, but don't need my guitar made of it!
    Scott...it's not nice to ridicule my LP Artisan.

    Where's my bathroom scale? (herniated disks...)

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