Old Wood Question

Discussion in 'Historics & Reissues' started by JimmyAce2006, Feb 13, 2017.

  1. JimmyAce2006

    JimmyAce2006 V.I.P. Member

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    This is bound to start a few arguments. LOL

    At what point is wood considered to be old?

    Much of the music many of us grew up on / learning guitar on was recorded in the late 60s / early to mid 70s. Think Led Zeppelin, for example.

    Jimmy Page used a 1959 Les Paul to record much of the music from LZ. And certainly used one in much of the live footage that is famous.

    Consider, 1973 when the movie The Song Remains The Same came out.....Page's burst was only 14 years old.

    So the same can be said for many other artists from the late 60s / 70s.

    I have a 1994 59 reissue. It is nearly 23 years old.

    I know, I know, everyone is about to say, "but Gibson dried their wood much more back in the 50s" and "the lacquers they used were much more thin and allowed the wood to breathe" and "the thick finish and plasticizers they use on modern guitars does not allow the wood to ever dry like it should"....and "the wood from the 50s was old growth wood vs modern guitars that use newer growth wood"....will my 23 year old R9 ever become so revered as long as it is stock? In 100 years? (ROFL)

    But come on! LOL

    Okay, on an unrelated topic, I need to go pop some popcorn.

    Back in a few! Ha!


    ..........
     
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  2. jenton70

    jenton70 Premium Member

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    I think about that a lot. When bursts were being used to record the music for which they are most famous, they weren't "vintage" anything. They were just used guitars.
     
  3. THDNUT

    THDNUT Senior Member

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    It takes about 15-20 years for the resin (sap) in the wood to dry into a crystalline "shellac" like material. When that happens, it is "old" wood. :thumb:
     
  4. rclausen

    rclausen Senior Member

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    I think it comes down to the wood that was used in the 50's came from old, naturally grown trees from the forest, growing for 100+ years vs the wood that nowadays comes from tree farms where the trees are only able to grow for a decade or two at the most
     
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  5. alnico59

    alnico59 Premium Member

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    If you really wanted to sit back and enjoy that popcorn you should of asked about the good wood years.
     
  6. lvrpool32

    lvrpool32 Premium Member

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    wood doesn't breathe......
     
  7. mudface

    mudface Senior Member

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    This is my take on this as well. As far tree farms go.........i don't know. The old growth trees are getting much harder to find or even purchase these days. The myth of wood sitting around for 50 years in Gibson's factory before the Les Paul was even conceived is exactly that...a myth.
     
  8. jerry47

    jerry47 Premium Member

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    Here's a little something i have about The woods that were used back in the 50s, A huge % of it came here straight from Mexico. But that aside here's the info.
     

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  9. jerry47

    jerry47 Premium Member

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    More sorry if there not in order or hard to read but i don't have time to fix this up.
     

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  10. Crotch

    Crotch Members Only Premium Member

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    My favorite subject!!! 100 times better than Pickguard on/off, top wrap, string guage, relic.
     
  11. jerry47

    jerry47 Premium Member

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    more
     

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  12. jerry47

    jerry47 Premium Member

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    *
     

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  13. bulletproof

    bulletproof aka tarddoggy Premium Member V.I.P. Member

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    +1 :naughty: :laugh2: :laugh2: :laugh2:
     
  14. KenG

    KenG Senior Member

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    I read that the size of Mahogany trees required to produce 1 piece LP bodies takes approx. 80 years to grow. I think years ago the woods had been cut and stacked to dry naturally for many years where today they are kiln dried.

    Not air no but they do absorb and release moisture! It is this process that is referred to as "breathing".
     
  15. jenton70

    jenton70 Premium Member

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    Good wood years! Tremendous value, 'uuuge tone! Winning tone in those years, believe me. Buy my 2003 and you'll get so tired of winning. It's really the best wood.
     
  16. Crotch

    Crotch Members Only Premium Member

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    Duh, everyone knows it was 2003 :)
     
  17. indravayu

    indravayu Senior Member

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    The following is taken from Gil Hembree, "Gibson Guitars: Ted McCarty's Golden Era", interview with golden-era Gibson employee (I don't have the name):

    There was a kiln, an old one down in the basement, just up the ramp, next to the machine shop. There was a kiln, right at the very back. Were they using that in the 1950s and '60s?

    They had that old kiln going in the 1950s. They had lumber in there when I first went there (1957). They had that kiln running, to keep the lumber. When they put on that first addition (1960), that's when they put on a new lumber yard, and then they started buying lumber that was already kiln dried. Up in Grand Rapids, and out on the west coast, we got to the point that we wanted everything kiln dried before we got it. Because in 1960 we got so big, that old kiln would not put out enough stuff to keep us going. We had to start buying stuff that was all kiln dried.

    So that's what you called the 'old kiln' and it sounds like they used that up to about 1959?

    I would say so, yeah, exactly.

    So every guitar built in the '50s probably had wood that went through that kiln?

    Yes, sir. It had to be because that was the only way Gibson had to dry the wood and keep it stable, until they could start getting other people (suppliers) to start kiln drying the wood. [Note: Prior to 1960, and particularly prior to 1950, Gibson also air dried wood in wood storage areas.]

    Do you ever remember that old kiln being in a backlog? Or were they pretty good about keeping the wood available?

    Back then, it seemed like we had wood all the time. You could get all the wood you wanted. There was no problem with the wood.

    Then they didn't use that old kiln anymore after 1959?

    No (they didn't use it as a kiln anymore). They started to just store stuff in it. They had shelving put up to store stuff in.
     
  18. yamariv

    yamariv Senior Member

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    ^^As Above^^

    I think the only part of "old wood" is ever referring to is Old Growth wood. Old growth wood had grown over hundreds of years naturally in thick dense forests resulting in less sunlight and slower growth from year to year therefore changing the wood density. Modern tree farms can't recreate this type of growing environment anymore unfortunately. I think the only way to do it is to plant some lovely mahogany in untouched forests and wait 2-300yrs before harvesting.

    So having a 20 year old LP cut from modern wood would never qualify as Old Wood in my books. Has to come from old growth, not the age of the guitar being built.
     
  19. Dica

    Dica Senior Member

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    Not old wood!
    But rather hard wood.
    That what gets the strings going.
    You want the energy to "exit" in the strings and not have the neck vibrating.

    The only thing that the magnetic field "sees" is how the strings vibrate.
    They dont give a damn about wood.
     
  20. Tim Plains

    Tim Plains Senior Member

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    Same here. Old wood refers to the age of the tree, not how long it's been a guitar for.
     

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