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Author Topic: No respect for sapele?  (Read 9976 times)
huladude456
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« on: May 29, 2009, 01:13:34 AM »

While I've enjoyed many of the conversations here on this site I can't help but notice many members making a point out of not having a Larrivee with sapele back and sides.  It's always rosewood not sapele or mahogany not sapele.  It's making me feel like my L-03 is the ugly duckling of the Larrivee line!    Does sapele have a sonic characteristic all its own or is it just a cheaper more plentiful hog substitute?  And, while we are speaking of it, what is sapele?
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ffinke
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« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2009, 01:19:51 AM »

I hope the botanists will jump in to let us all know what Sapele is. I've learned that it is a form of mahogany and on my L-03 it is the prettiest sounding wood I've ever had on a guitar. The color, tone and overtones are incredible. I just hope the word never gets out because I'm thinking a step up to an -05 might be very nice.

fred
 nice guitar

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morrow22
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« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2009, 01:20:26 AM »

Got this Sapele description from another guitar makers site:
This exceptional, mahogany-like wood grows throughout the tropical rain forests of Nigeria and the Ivory Coast of Africa. As a tonewood, it's denser and harder than mahogany, so it has a crisper, clearer, brighter, "pop"-ier sound than its more familiar counterpart. Loud and robust, with a lovely ribboned grain, sapele has been used by Spanish guitar makers for many years.
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knowspicker
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« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2009, 01:27:11 AM »

I've got an all Sapele OM-03 so I'm in double trouble  I like it just as much as all Hog... I rather be a Sap than a Hog  bigrin

Sapele is in the Mahogany family and from the looks of some of the guitars that I have seen advertised as solid Hog [not Larrivee but some of the Guild GAD and Parkwood] I wouldn't be surprised if some are Sap.
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« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2009, 02:03:58 AM »

Sapele is a great tonewood.  I think Larrivee's take on it is better looking that Martin's.  After I sold my 000-15S all-hog Martin I had the chance to play a 000-15S all-sap version and actually liked the latter more than my former.  Didn't buy it, but it got my attention.
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bluesman67
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« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2009, 02:21:44 AM »

I love sapele...and mahogany...it's all good!
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bluesman67
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tadol
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« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2009, 02:26:46 AM »

The biggest problem with Sapele is public relations - It was introduced as a "replacement" for mahogany since good mahogany stock is getting harder to find, and the Sapele is less expensive. Well, when people get the idea that Sapele is less expensive, and mahogany is scarce, then alot of people think that the mahogany MUST be better - If someone had been smart, they would have marketed it as even better than mahogany, and charged alot more for it, then people would be clamoring to buy the rare and unusual material -

But as you have pointed out - it is similar, but has its own characteristics, and is an exceptional tonewood. As musicians, we should be very happy that this high quality material is going to be available to build exceptional instruments at very fair prices for many years beyond our lifetimes -

Tad
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« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2009, 02:30:15 AM »

       I would not have a sapele, while true hog can be found. I just don't care for the lack of warmth compared to hog.
        If I want crisp and bright, I'll buy a maple git.
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gusto5
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« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2009, 02:49:20 AM »

       I would not have a sapele, while true hog can be found. I just don't care for the lack of warmth compared to hog.
        If I want crisp and bright, I'll buy a maple git.

I second this. Between Mahogany and Sapele, I would definitely go with Mahogany. Then again, I don't like either =)
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noyage
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« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2009, 02:56:13 AM »

I played an OM-03 and OM-03SP back to back and found the sapele warmer sounding...
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LawDogStrgsAttach
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« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2009, 04:26:03 AM »

The biggest problem with Sapele is public relations - It was introduced as a "replacement" for mahogany since good mahogany stock is getting harder to find, and the Sapele is less expensive. Well, when people get the idea that Sapele is less expensive, and mahogany is scarce, then alot of people think that the mahogany MUST be better - If someone had been smart, they would have marketed it as even better than mahogany, and charged alot more for it, then people would be clamoring to buy the rare and unusual material -

But as you have pointed out - it is similar, but has its own characteristics, and is an exceptional tonewood. As musicians, we should be very happy that this high quality material is going to be available to build exceptional instruments at very fair prices for many years beyond our lifetimes -

Tad

Sorry...hog does consistently sound better.  But sapele does make for good wall pannelling and veneers!   
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lone eskimo
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« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2009, 04:51:21 AM »

Sorry...hog does consistently sound better.  But sapele does make for good wall pannelling and veneers!   

I have an 0M-03 w/sapele and everyone who plays it thinks it sounds great- even convinced one guy with a lot of nice gits to get one himself- in fact just last night I was at an open-mic and one guy who doesn't like Larrivees said it sounded great... so much for your theory! I have 2 Guilds w/mahogany and they are wonderful- so is this Larrivee-

Mike
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« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2009, 05:03:28 AM »

No offense against Sapele, but give me Mahogany any day.

Sapele may have a better image had it not been classified as a "replacement" for Mahogany, as mentioned earlier...  Just as Mahogany had to fight off the rap as a "cheap" tonewood which had been cultivated almost since the beginning of time.
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fongie
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« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2009, 05:08:32 AM »

Hey Dude, this thread have been debated in the past. Hog and Sapele are closely related, so you've got yourself a great git.  , and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
Anyway, who cares, a Lav. git is a Lav. git, hog or sapele, I'll have either or both.
cheers
fongie
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BenF
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« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2009, 06:02:10 AM »

I note that Patrick James Eggle, probably the best known UK based acoustic guitar maker, uses Sapele as standard on his guitars, with prices starting from well over £2000.  These are not cheap instruments, and he apparently considers sapele to be the benchmark, with other woods as options, not necessarily upgrades.

What is good for such a great maker is good for me.  My OM-03SP remains the nicest guitar I have ever heard.
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bluesman67
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« Reply #15 on: May 29, 2009, 06:11:29 AM »

       I would not have a sapele, while true hog can be found. I just don't care for the lack of warmth compared to hog.
        If I want crisp and bright, I'll buy a maple git.

Yes, if you want bright and crisp, go for a maple.  Respectfully Danny, I don't think your ears could tell the difference in a blind test between mahogany and sapele in the same model guitar. 

Sorry...hog does consistently sound better.  But sapele does make for good wall pannelling and veneers!  

...and your mother is ugly too!   
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bluesman67
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Zohn
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« Reply #16 on: May 29, 2009, 06:49:56 AM »

Hey Dude, this thread have been debated in the past. Hog and Sapele are closely related, so you've got yourself a great git.  , and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
Anyway, who cares, a Lav. git is a Lav. git, hog or sapele, I'll have either or both.
cheers
fongie
I won't be surprised if you don't already 
Sapele is Africa's best kept secret - please don't tell the others.... And it has an aroma to die for - every time I open my Taka's case, the endorphins flow...
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fongie
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« Reply #17 on: May 29, 2009, 07:00:26 AM »

I won't be surprised if you don't already 
Sapele is Africa's best kept secret - please don't tell the others.... And it has an aroma to die for - every time I open my Taka's case, the endorphins flow...

No I don't believe it or not, not a sapele or have I? How can I tell  Can someone tell me, please?
cheers
fongie
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Queequeg
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« Reply #18 on: May 29, 2009, 09:34:14 AM »

No I don't believe it or not, not a sapele or have I? How can I tell  Can someone tell me, please?
cheers
fongie
one thing to look for-
while both mahogany and sapele can exhibit striping, the mahogany stripe will generally be broken up along its length, running only a few inches while the sapele is a contiguous stripe along the length, spanning the distance of the body of the guitar.
Nothing wrong with sapele in my estimation.
I've got my eye on this quilted sapele L-09...


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fongie
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« Reply #19 on: May 29, 2009, 10:54:52 AM »

one thing to look for-
while both mahogany and sapele can exhibit striping, the mahogany stripe will generally be broken up along its length, running only a few inches while the sapele is a contiguous stripe along the length, spanning the distance of the body of the guitar.
Nothing wrong with sapele in my estimation.
I've got my eye on this quilted sapele L-09...




Thanks Queequeg and that is one awesome looking git your eyeing there, if this is what sapele looks like, I really don't know what all the fuss is about.....'Beautiful'
cheers
fongie
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