Timbers


You may have noticed the distinctive look of the woods used on a Stonefield bass.  With our home base in Christchurch, New Zealand we have an enviable position in the South Pacific that gives us access to an array of timbers that many luthiers simply cannot source.  We've found some effective combinations of unusual and traditional woods that help to give every Stonefield a great sound.

We’ve chosen to create a 50mm thick body.  This not only improves tone but also playability, giving the bassist just a little more breathing space for relaxed and accurate picking, plucking and slapping.  The core of a Stonefield's body is 40mm Salusalu, a beautiful Pacific timber that is surprisingly light in weight and offers superb sonic transfer; a perfect starting point for each Stonefield Bass.  

We know that each bass is as individual as our customer, so we’ve matched our body cores to a wide range of top woods.  Whether the bass is fitted with traditional timbers like maple and walnut, or more unusual woods like Tasmanian blackwood, zebrano, anigre or New Zealand-grown cypress, our attention to detail shows in the joinery; each bass features wooden bindings on the fingerboards and a face veneer on the headstock that matches the body's top wood.  You'll love the natural beauty and individualism that few other instruments can touch.

Check out samples of our top woods on our Flickr Gallery

 

Body Cores

Salusalu

A native of the Fijian islands, Decussocarpus vitiensis is a coniferous tree that grows to 40 metres in height with trunk diameters of up to 1.5 metres.

The wood is straight grained and smooth with a white to yellowish-brown sapwood and a light brown heartwood.  It can have chocolate-brown streaks and a variety of other grain patterns with the occasional board offering an unusual, subtle figuring that almost looks like a series of dents.  We have found the wood to be light in weight, with excellent sonic transfer and tonal characteristics. 

As the only wood we use for our 40mm thick body cores, It is at the heart of every Stonefield bass.

 

Top Woods

Cypress

The wood of Hesperocyparis macrocarpa, commonly known in the US as Monterey cypress and in most of the world simply as macrocarpa, is a species of cypress native to just two small stands found in the central coast of California; one near Pebble Beach, the other near Carmel.

Beginning in the early days of settlement for Australia and New Zealand, macrocarpa was frequently grown as a windbreak tree on farms, planted in rows to create shelter belts form the strong prevailing winds.  Finding more favorable growing conditions than in its native range, and in the absence of many native pathogens, it grows to over 40 mteres tall and as large as 3 metres in diameter at the base of the trunk.

Due to the natural durability of cypress species, traditional uses range from farm fencing and outdoor furniture to siding on houses.  In more refined applications it is popular for fine joinery and furniture.  Finally, it is highly regarded as a hot-burning firewood.  In recent years macrocarpa has found favour with makers of flamenco and archtop guitars as well as other applications within the musical instrument industry.

 

 

Maple

Acer is a genus of trees or shrubs commonly known as maple. Worldwide there are more than 120 species, most of which are native to Asia with several appearing in Europe, northern Africa, and North America.

Most maples are trees that grow between 10 and 45 metres tall, though some species grow as low shrubs less than 10 metres tall.   Most are deciduous, dropping their leaves and running out their sap during winter months.  The seasonal sap run has been noted as a probable reason for the commonly-seen figurings in the wood: flame, quilt, curly among others.  The speculation is that as the as sap runs out of the tree in autumn it physically sags, compressing the wood fibres.  In the following spring as the new sap is created the tree swells and the cycle, year upon year, creates the figures found in the wood.

Among myriad industrial and domestic uses, maple is a noted tonewood.  It is used in numerous musical instrument applications including the back, sides, and necks of most concert grade violins, violas, cellos and double basses.  Electric guitar and bass necks are commonly made from maple and due to its good dimensional stability many drum kits are made from maple, favored for the bright resonant sound.

 

Blackwood

Acacia melanoxylon, commonly known as the Australian blackwood, is an Acacia species  native to eastern Australia.

The trees will grow between to10 and 30 metres tall and up to a metre in diameter that displays a changing bark, which is rather smooth in the trees early life but changing to rough and stringy as the tree ages.

The wood has a moderately open grain appearance and a wide variety of colouration possibilities with sapwood ranging from straw yellow to greyish-white.  There is usually has a clear demarcation line at the transition within the tree to heartwood, with the heartwood appearing from golden to dark brown with chocolate-brown streaks. The timber is generally straight grained but may be wavy or interlocked and will frequently  present an attractive tiger-stripe or fiddleback figure.

In more recent years it has come into favour with luthiers for back and side sets on acoustic guitars, decorative tops on solid body instruments and fingerboards.

 

Black Walnut

Juglans nigra is a species of flowering tree in the walnut family native to eastern North America.

The black walnut is a large deciduous tree attaining heights of 30 to 40 metres and under forest competition it develops a tall, clear trunk.  In open growing conditions it forms a short trunk and broad, spreading crown. The bark is grey-black and deeply furrowed.

The black walnut is prized for its dark-colored heartwood. It is heavy and strong, yet easily split, sawn and worked.  The wood can range from a light yellowy-white sapwood to a dark chocolate brown with darker streaks that are nearly black.  The colour can sometimes have a grey, purple, or reddish cast to it and figured grain patterns such as curl, crotch, and burl are frequently seen.

The same tree that produces this amazingly beautiful timber is also responsible for walnuts, the nut popularly used include ice cream, bakery goods and other confectionery. 

Walnut wood has historically been widely used in applications diverse as gunstocks, fine furniture, flooring.  Black walnut was the preferred wood used for necks on the Selmer gypsy jazz guitars of the 1930's and it has been used throughout in musical instruments as diverse as guitars, pianos and harps.

 

Anigre

Anigre is a name given to the tropical hardwoods of trees originating in the genus Aningeria or Pouteria.   The trees are native to East and West African countries such as Cameroon, Angola, Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Uganda and Zaire.

Typically growing to 55 mteres in height with typical trunk diameter up to 1200mm the trees generally present clear, cylindrical trunk from the ground up to about 25 metres.  The wood has a medium texture with closed pores similar to maple.  The wood ranges from a light yellowish-brown to a pinkish brown and the sapwood is most often indistinguishable from the heartwood.  Growth rings aren’t always well-defined and while the wood can be rather plain-looking, figure such as fiddleback and curly are not unusual as well as some boards having a unique mottled graining.

Common uses for the wood in board rage from boat building, general carpentry and other light construction uses to fine furniture and interior joinery.

 

Zebrano

The wood of Microberlinia brazzavillensis is sourced in central African countries such as Gabon, Cameroon, and Democratic Republic of Congo. Referred to as Zebrawood or Zebrano, the heartwood is a pale golden yellow, distinct from the very pale color of the sapwood and features narrow streaks of dark brown to black. Zebrano is almost always supplied quartersawn in order to get the alternating color pattern, which adds to its value as a great timber for use as a fingerboard.

It is a heavy, hard wood with a somewhat coarse texture, and like many tropical woods has an interlocked or wavy grain. Long standing uses include veneers, wall paneling, flooring, furniture and marquetry. It more recent years it has come into favour with luthiers for back and side sets on acoustic guitars, decorative tops on solid body instruments and fingerboards.

 

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