• Guys, we've spent considerable money converting the Les Paul Forum to this new XenForo platform, and we have ongoing monthly operating expenses. THE "DONATIONS" TAB IS NOW WORKING, AND WE WOULD APPRECIATE ANY DONATIONS YOU CAN MAKE TO KEEP THE LES PAUL FORUM GOING! Thank you!

What kind of mahogany is used in historics?

gnugear

New member
Joined
Nov 7, 2001
Messages
279
Honduran or African?

Also, what kind of rosewood is being used for the fingerboards?
 

TomTaco

Member
Joined
Nov 9, 2003
Messages
363
I think the standard is African, Honduran would be a special instrument and likely advertised as being Honduran (and a lot more $$). Not sure about Brazilian, I think they were used on some years, and designated as such by SN#, but I'm no expert.
 

Brownie

New member
Joined
Jul 12, 2003
Messages
1,886
As far as I've ever known, Historic LPs are made with Honduran, or mahogany that comes from that region of the world. African mahogany is aka korina, and there are probably other varieties of African mahogany that don't have the characteristic color of korina. Korina would be a special order item, at a premium price. Good korina is quite scarce lately.
Aside from limited runs of brazilian, most of the production rosewood fretboards are Madagascar.
 

1954Gold

New member
Joined
Nov 7, 2003
Messages
1,888
My luthier told me my R7 was Honduran, which he said was the least expensive variety.
 

TM1

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 27, 2003
Messages
8,186
That species of Mahogany comes from Peru & Central America.
 

Tim

Active member
Joined
Jul 15, 2001
Messages
1,839
"Swietania Macrophylla, same type of Mahagony used since the late 80's"

No wonder the historics don't sound like the ones from the 50's.
 

les strat

New member
Joined
Aug 22, 2004
Messages
5,194
So, if I have a guitar made from Honduran mahogany, the wood itself is worth a good bit even thought it's not a Gibson?
 

andreja marovic

New member
Joined
Jun 1, 2004
Messages
2,688
les strat said:
So, if I have a guitar made from Honduran mahogany, the wood itself is worth a good bit even thought it's not a Gibson?
I don't think so!
Gibson is the name for the one we all pay the extra $$$.
And Henry knows it well!
 

GeetarGoul

Active member
Joined
Jul 25, 2001
Messages
5,044
http://www2.fpl.fs.fed.us/TechSheets/Chudnoff/TropAmerican/html_files/swiete1new.html

Swietenia macrophylla
Family: Meliaceae

Honduras Mahogany
Caoba








Other Common Names: Caoba (throughout Latin America), Acajou (French-speaking areas).



Distribution: Southern Mexico southward to Colombia, Venezuela, and parts of the upper Amazon and its tributaries in Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil. Plantations have been established within its natural range and elsewhere.



The Tree: Sometimes 150 ft in height and 6 ft and more in diameter above the heavy buttresses; boles are clear from 60 to 80 ft.



The Wood:

General Characteristics: Heartwood reddish, pinkish, salmon colored, or yellowish when fresh; deepening with age to deep rich red or brown; distinct from the yellowish or whitish sapwood. Luster high and golden; texture rather fine to coarse; grain straight to roey, wavy, or curly, often with an attractive figure; odor and taste not distinctive.
 

535faultless

New member
Joined
Feb 14, 2002
Messages
1,644
My luthier told me my R7 was Honduran, which he said was the least expensive variety.

Honduras mahogany is definately NOT the cheapest mahogany out there. If it was, every Epiphone would be made out of it.
 

GeetarGoul

Active member
Joined
Jul 25, 2001
Messages
5,044
I'm reading deeper and I guess the mahogany used in the 50's was indeed different! They currently use Swietenia macrophylla

They used to use: Swietenia Humilis

Honduran Mahogany S. humilis and Caribbean Mahogany S. mahagoni, which once supplied mahogany markets, are both are considered commercially extinct throughout much of their ranges. Increased action is required to ensure that S. macrophylla does not suffer the same fate.
 

55Custom

New member
Joined
Sep 5, 2003
Messages
6,251
GeetarGoul said:
They used to use: Swietenia Humilis

Honduran Mahogany S. humilis and Caribbean Mahogany S. mahagoni, which once supplied mahogany markets, are both are considered commercially extinct .
So that means they used Swietenia Humilis prior to the Late 80's? and going back through the Norlin era to the '50's?
 

GeetarGoul

Active member
Joined
Jul 25, 2001
Messages
5,044
55Custom- That would be my guess. With the selection of better/larger/older/lighter S. Humilis being more available the earlier you go. By the late sixties and early seventies, I'm guessing most of the good S. Humilis trees were gone. Which would maybe explain why 50's and early 60's Gibsons consistantly sound so good. It was probably harder and better stuff. They knew this and went for it first. ?

Articles say that basically S. Humilis was totally mismanaged and ALL of the DNA from the good large trees is basically gone. :toobad
 

55Custom

New member
Joined
Sep 5, 2003
Messages
6,251
How did you find out they used S. Humilis? And is that the original wood they called "Honduran Mahogany"?

I didn't know about S. Humilis. This changes a few things considerably. It also clarifies what I found regarding use of old mahogany on new LP's versus the old LP's, that while both groups use old mahogany, they are different. I thought the differences were just because of local botanical environments, but a different species - that takes it a step further, if true.
 

Progrocker111

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 10, 2003
Messages
4,005
Was the mahogany used in 70s the same type like in 50s and 60s, only lower grade?
 

GeetarGoul

Active member
Joined
Jul 25, 2001
Messages
5,044
http://www.traffic.org/mahogany/cites.html

Long renowned for its beauty and durability, Big-leafed Mahogany Swietenia macrophylla is currently the most commercially important of the American mahoganies. Exploitation of S. macrophylla has shifted among range States as wild stocks have declined. S. macrophylla populations in Mesoamerica are now largely depleted, the South American countries of Bolivia, Brazil and Peru now supplying the majority of mahogany in trade. Honduran Mahogany S. humilis and Caribbean Mahogany S. mahagoni, which once supplied mahogany markets, are both are considered commercially extinct throughout much of their ranges. Increased action is required to ensure that S. macrophylla does not suffer the same fate.
 

GeetarGoul

Active member
Joined
Jul 25, 2001
Messages
5,044
South American Mahogany = Swietenia macrophylla
Central American Mahogany aka Honduran = Swietenia Humilis

The wood is different and is from a different part of the world. i did not know this until today.
 

55Custom

New member
Joined
Sep 5, 2003
Messages
6,251
Excellent find, GeetarGoul. :yay

Here's info from another site. (So much for the virgin forest theory .....)

"The history of mahogany logging is also a history of deforestation in the Caribbean and Central and South America. The wave of logging that began in the 1500s and has expanded out from the original point of European invasion of the Americas and continues to this day is nearly identical to the expansion of the mahogany frontier.

Swietenia humilis, known as Honduran mahogany, is found on the Pacific coastal region of Central America. Both of these species are listed under the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species known as CITES which means that countries trading in this species need to verify that sources are legal and sustainable."

S. Humilis was listed on the CITES list on July 1, 1975. Interesting that Gibson went to maple necks right at that time. Coincidence? :hmm
 

BobbyS

New member
Joined
Oct 9, 2001
Messages
761
I was told years ago by a well known luthier that my 52 goldtop was made out of Cuban Mahogany. Dunno if that's true but I do know that Cuban mahogany (and other central american mahogany) is very difficult to obtain now and if you do find some is very expensive. Korina is not the same as so called African mahogany. African mahogany is not Swietenia at all (nor is Korina which is also called Lemba if I remember correctly).

Interestingly, some wood experts claim that pre world war two Gibsons sometimes used African mahogany.
 
Top