Pages: [1] 2   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Lacewood or Sycamore?  (Read 5386 times)
Zohn
Gold Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2463




Ignore
« on: January 21, 2009, 05:50:33 AM »

The "NAAM 2009 Teaser" thread prompted me to start this one. The Lacewood parlor shows remarkable similarities to Sycamore as this picture of a Santa Cruz H-13 shows.
I have never seen a real example of either, are they related in any way?

[attachment deleted by admin]
Logged

"To me...music exists to elevate us as far as possible above everyday life." ~ Gabriel Faure
ronmac
Gold Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 4051


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2009, 12:03:18 PM »

Hi Zohn,

We are often at the mercy of marketing departments that assign names to different wood species that may not be accurate. The H13 does look like what is called sycamore in the US, but is it really?

You can scroll down to my posts in this thread. There is a link that wil take you to a site that reviews the confusion between these wood species.
Logged

Ron

Zohn
Gold Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2463




Ignore
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2009, 12:50:51 PM »

Hi Zohn,
We are often at the mercy of marketing departments that assign names to different wood species that may not be accurate. The H13 does look like what is called sycamore in the US, but is it really?
You can scroll down to my posts in this thread. There is a link that wil take you to a site that reviews the confusion between these wood species.
Thanks Ron,
I found different bits on Sycamaore, and apparently it is different from Lacewood which is more related to silver oak : "Sycamore - Platanus sp. Hard to find commercially, and largely under-appreciated." - source http://www.lutherie.net/model_hh.html
Elderly has a Dread made from the same wood. I remember reading somewhere the Santa Cruz guitars were all made from a tree that was felled near their shop.
http://www.elderly.com/vintage/items/20U-10741.htm
"Northern California Sycamore – some of this wood came from within miles of the Santa Cruz guitar factory."
Some more pics of the same guitar...

[attachment deleted by admin]
Logged

"To me...music exists to elevate us as far as possible above everyday life." ~ Gabriel Faure
tuffythepug
Global Moderator
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 5348



« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2009, 03:58:14 PM »

Last summer when I toured the Santa Cruz Guitar Co. shop Richard Hoover showed me several examples of Sycamore sets and guitars in production.  He really likes this wood.  He told me that it was all harvested locally.   Then he showed me a piece of Sycamore that had washed up on the beach near his old shop.   He was saving that piece for a few special guitars.  That H-13 may be one of them.  What struck me most about the wood was how much it looked like animal skin or pelt. You can see that in the pictures of the H-13.    Here's a picture of Richard with his prized hunk of Sycamore which was washed up on the beach.  He thinks it may be hundreds / even a thousand years old or more.



[attachment deleted by admin]
Logged
naboz
Gold Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1431


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2009, 04:20:33 PM »

That is a beautiful parlor!  I wonder how hard sycamore is; does that H-13 have the neck also in sycm?  So, tonally what end of the spectrum?  (Dont just say between RW and mahog!)
Logged
ronmac
Gold Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 4051


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2009, 04:28:43 PM »

That is a beautiful parlor!  I wonder how hard sycamore is; does that H-13 have the neck also in sycm?  So, tonally what end of the spectrum?  (Dont just say between RW and mahog!)

Well, since it looks like animal pelt maybe it's more like between chicken and beef. 

The H13 is a very nice looking guitar.
Logged

Ron

Stephen Basil
Senior Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 503




Ignore
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2009, 04:47:51 PM »

What does a sexy little strumming kitty like that go for?
Logged

OM-03R 2008 Twelfth Fret SE 5/12
LSV-03R 2009 Forum III 55/78
jeremy3220
Gold Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 4598




Ignore
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2009, 05:24:23 PM »

Didn't Hoover say it was a great alternative to mahogany in both sound and stability?
Logged

tuffythepug
Global Moderator
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 5348



« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2009, 05:39:25 PM »

Didn't Hoover say it was a great alternative to mahogany in both sound and stability?

Yes...  or at least words to that effect.  He seemed very much enthused about it.  Also he appreciates the fact that the source is right there in his backyard.
Logged
Zohn
Gold Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2463




Ignore
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2009, 05:41:02 PM »

What does a sexy little strumming kitty like that go for?
Rather steep - that one is up for 6 big ones. a Braz H-13 fetches about 1 more.
Wow Tuffy, it must have been great speaking to Richard Hoover - a very well respected (master) Luthier with endless experience, and also a custodian to many other successful modern luthiers like South Africa's own Marc Maingard.

And yes, Naboz, the neck is also Sycamore - BTW, if the H-13 is the "beautiful parlor" you refer to, it is in fact a "deep" 00 body, built  like the famous Gibson Nick Lucas Model, with the exception of the neck joint at the 13th fret, and the H-13 has a longer scale length.
As for the tonal properties, I searched the net, and came upon these two threads of Paul Hostetter from the Acoustic Guitar Forum. His H-13 has a redwood top, and Sycamore  b&s.




[attachment deleted by admin]
Logged

"To me...music exists to elevate us as far as possible above everyday life." ~ Gabriel Faure
Zohn
Gold Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2463




Ignore
« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2009, 05:58:59 PM »

Rather steep - that one is up for 6 big ones. a Braz H-13 fetches about 1 more.
I searched the net, and came upon these two threads of Paul Hostetter from the Acoustic Guitar Forum. His H-13 has a redwood top, and Sycamore  b&s.

From the same forum, another member Rick Davis, has the following to say about Sycamore: "I've been building with sycamore (American, from PA) for about 10 years. In smaller-bodied guitars, it seems to have a lot of the sweetness of mahogany but with more punch. There are lots of little secrets to getting the most out of it, but in general it's a forgiving and easy wood to work."

a Photo of Paul Hostetter's H-13 : (from AG forum)

[attachment deleted by admin]
Logged

"To me...music exists to elevate us as far as possible above everyday life." ~ Gabriel Faure
naboz
Gold Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1431


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2009, 08:10:22 PM »

Boy, what's not to like?  Mahog-like sound and that grain...I will have to search out and play one.
I'm sorry, was it, is it , determined that Lacewood and Sycamore are different woods?
Logged
Stephen Basil
Senior Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 503




Ignore
« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2009, 08:16:18 PM »

This must be what is meant by a "Pearlor"... thanks for the visuals and info Zohn!
Logged

OM-03R 2008 Twelfth Fret SE 5/12
LSV-03R 2009 Forum III 55/78
naboz
Gold Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1431


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2009, 08:25:47 PM »

Oh...I read your links, ronmac.
I wish dealers would be thorough...hence so much confusion.
Logged
Zohn
Gold Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2463




Ignore
« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2009, 05:23:47 AM »

Boy, what's not to like?  Mahog-like sound and that grain...I will have to search out and play one.
I'm sorry, was it, is it , determined that Lacewood and Sycamore are different woods?
From what I could find, they are different and by no means related as a species.  It does seem however as if lots of people are fooled by its appearance, and won't know them from one another - that includes me
Logged

"To me...music exists to elevate us as far as possible above everyday life." ~ Gabriel Faure
Zohn
Gold Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2463




Ignore
« Reply #15 on: January 22, 2009, 05:48:03 AM »

From what I could find, they are different and by no means related as a species.  It does seem however as if lots of people are fooled by its appearance, and won't know them from one another - that includes me
OK, so here is the whole story about Platanus or Sycamore trees from: http://www.botgard.ucla.edu/html/MEMBGNewsletter/Volume5number2/Speakingtheplanetruth.html

"Plane trees are members of Platanus, the only genus in the plane tree family (Platanaceae). At present experts recognize about eight species plus an interspecific hybrid, although the number of published scientific names of extant species exceeds seventy. In our country there are three native species: P. occidentalis, called the sycamore, buttonball tree, or the American plane tree; P. wrightii, the Arizona sycamore; and P. racemosa, the California or western sycamore. Forms of all of these species also occur in Mexico, as do several other currently recognized species, P. chiapensis, P. oaxacana, and P. rzedowskii. At least two other species are indigenous to Eurasia, including the highly variable oriental plane tree, P. orientalis, and a very bizarre, fully evergreen species with narrowly elliptic leaves, P. kerrii, discovered in tropical forests of Laos and Vietnam. Platanus orientalis is a native of southern Eurasia from west central Italy eastward to Persia.

The London plane tree is the popular interspecific hybrid, widely cultivated from the Avenue des Champs-Elysées to Bruin Walk. Platanus x acerifolia-elsewhere called P. hybrida, P. hispanica, and P. intermedia-was long suspected, and is now confirmed with DNA analysis, to have arisen as a cross between P. orientalis of Eurasia and P. occidentalis of eastern North America. Allegedly from a fruit obtained from Montpellier, the original parent was probably grown at the Oxford Botanic Garden in England during the 18th century, and was first named by Aiton in 1789. Other interspecific hybrids have been created within the genus.

The temperate species are winter deciduous, although around Westwood you will find California sycamores that retain some leaves throughout the year. Nevertheless, growth of new shoots on California sycamores is one of the first indicators that spring has sprung on campus, beginning in mid-February. At least I treat it-el aliso-as UCLA's harbinger of spring when the velveteen leaves first emerge from dormant buds.

Species of Platanus have alternate, simple and palmately lobed leaves, and the stem is often somewhat zigzag, bending slightly to the right, then the left, then the right, and so forth, as each leaf is formed. Each node is noticeably swollen just below the petiole. Remarkably in plane trees, the petiolar base is hollow and dilated (expanded), completely covering and hiding the axillary bud. The conical bud is eventually revealed when the leaf abscises and falls off, leaving a circular scar. Above each node occurs a prominent pair of fused (connate) stipules, which encircle the stem, and when the stipules fall off ringlike (annular) scars remain on the twig. The petioles (2.5 to 8 centimeter long) become bent, thereby changing the permanent orientation of the leaf blades and repositioning them to receive the highest possible lighting."

From http://www.hobbithouseinc.com/personal/woodpics/lacewood.htm, the following article was extracted: (at this source are plenty photos of Lacewood)

"Lacewood: in the USA, this term is generally, and most accurately, used to refer to any of:

   1. Cardwellia sublimia (also reported as sublimis) of the family Proteaceae [the same family as South American lacewood], which also has the common name (Australian) silky oak, which is its common designation in most of the world outside the USA. In the USA it is called lacewood or Australian lacewood
   2. Platanus hybrida of the family Platanaceae, the plane or sycamore family, which also has the common name "European plane" but is NOT the wood that is normally meant by "Europan plane" (more on that below) and is also called European lacewood. This wood does NOT look like sycamore or planetree, but DOES look like both Australian and South American lacewood.
   3. Roupala brasiliense (also reported as Roopola brasillensis) of the family Proteaceae [the same family as Australian silky oak], which is from South America and is properly called South American lacewood or Brazilian lacewood. It is also called leopardwood, but it is NOT the wood that is normally meant by the name "leopardwood" (more on that below)

      As far as I can tell, these three woods are difficult to tell apart with the naked eye, although European lacewood tends to have a finer grain and smaller flakes than the other two. Also I have read that you cannot fully trust any of the designations "South American lacewood", "Australian lacewood", and "European lacewood", as vendors tend to get them confused, with there being a particular tendancy to call everything Australian lacewood whether it is or not.

Grevillea robusta of the family Proteaceae has the common name (Australian) Southern silky oak and "yellow lacewood" and "yellow silky oak" but is also called lacewood in the US, although it is significantly different than the three lacewoods that I have listed above, is not easily confused with them, and to my mind should NOT be called lacewood. There is ENOUGH confusion with the three I've listed.

leopardwood: this is Panopsis rubellens of the family Proteaceae, the same family as both South American lacewood and Australian lacewood, but is easy to distinguish from them with a small amount of experience --- it is darker brown in color and is harder and heavier and with a noticibly finer texture. It is sometimes called lacewood, as the lacewoods are sometimes called leopardwood. Although a small-flake lacewood and a large-flake leopardwood can have larger flakes on the leopardwood than the lacewood, the leopardwood will not produce flakes as large as what can be obtained on lacewood and will generally have smaller flakes and flakes that tend more towards the circular than the oblong that sometimes occurs in lacewood.

sycamore There are two woods that are commonly called sycamore:

   1. Platanus occidentalis of the family Platanaceae, the plane or sycamore family --- although in the same family as South American and Australian lacewood, it would never be confused with them as it is a significantly different color and generally has much smaller rays. It is what we mean in the USA when we say "sycamore"
   2. Acer pseudoplatanus of the family Aceraceae is totally unrelated to any of the other woods discussed here (it's a maple) and is called sycamore or harewood in England and is also called (European) plane or planetree both in England and in the USA. It does NOT have the ray flakes associated with American sycamore or lacewood, and in fact is not readily distinguished from any other curly maple, as you'll see on the hard maple page of this site. The name lacewood seems to be normally limited to the quartersawn cuts of this wood, and I have no idea why it is applied, even there. Note that even the NAME means "false sycamore" and nothing about its appearance suggests lacewood.

      It is unfortunate that these two woods get confused at all with any of the lacewoods, since it is really only the NAMES that get confused --- the woods themselves would never be mistaken for any lacewood or leopardwood."
Logged

"To me...music exists to elevate us as far as possible above everyday life." ~ Gabriel Faure
ronmac
Gold Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 4051


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #16 on: January 22, 2009, 12:30:03 PM »

The real truth of this matter is, for me, what the wood is called is irrelevant. I have read all of the articles and I still don't have a clue what the SC guitar sounds like, and I never will unless I sit down and play it. At that time, and only at that time, will it prove its worth as a musical instrument.

Fun to speculate though...
Logged

Ron

rockstar_not
Gold Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2313


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #17 on: January 22, 2009, 04:59:52 PM »

Probably 'goes against the grain' for this thread, but I think those guitars are actually kind of ugly  blush

But diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks - so I understand.

-Scott
Logged

2000 L-03-E
2012 Epiphone Nighthawk Custom Reissue
1985 Peavey Milestone
2004 SX SPJ-62 Bass
2008 Valencia Solid Cedar Top Classical
2015 Taylor 414ce - won in drawing
2016 Ibanez SR655BBF

My Sound Cloud
ronmac
Gold Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 4051


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #18 on: January 22, 2009, 06:21:21 PM »

I know it isn't everyone's cup of tea, but I love the way Australian Lacewood has an almost sculpted look.



The first time I saw this bass hanging in the store I couldn't help but wonder why someone would have chiseled the face. When I got closer I could see that it was a very smooth finish. It was the look that caught my interest, but once I plugged it in the sound sealed the deal. And that is what really matters!
Logged

Ron

rockstar_not
Gold Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2313


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #19 on: January 22, 2009, 07:53:27 PM »

I'm sure these guitars look better in person than in photos.

At first glance in the photos, it looks like someone has destroyed a perfectly acoustic guitar with a 'leopard skin' wallpaper/contact paper!

Now, it's not that I don't like patterened woods - I love the appearance of Koa and Curly Maple, Bird's-eye Maple, etc.  I suppose it's the strong color contrast between the various layers of the wood.  It seems artificial, even though I understand that it isn't.

With the other patterned woods, it seems the pattern that's visible is from light refraction rather than actual color differences between layers.  The actual color differences look quite like finished plywood actually - particularly seen on the horn of the bass in the photo above.

-Scott
Logged

2000 L-03-E
2012 Epiphone Nighthawk Custom Reissue
1985 Peavey Milestone
2004 SX SPJ-62 Bass
2008 Valencia Solid Cedar Top Classical
2015 Taylor 414ce - won in drawing
2016 Ibanez SR655BBF

My Sound Cloud
Pages: [1] 2   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to: