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Here are seven more unusual bridge woods

Fall, 2005


These woods were give to me by my friends Charlie Smith and Mike Johnson. Some of the woods are highly unconventional to use as tonewoods, but as you will see, several of them sounded unexpectedly good.

Here's a picture of the seven bridges, a little reduced in size to speed loading. All of them are my current 11-hole design, and all are a little over 4" long.

On the left, top to bottom: (1) an unidentified dark exotic wood, (2) cherry, (3) Bosnian maple, and (4) yew.
On the right: (1) apple, (2) redbud, and (3) hornbeam (ironwood).

picture of seven new bridges

Here are the results:

In the left column:

Bridge #545, the dark exotic: I did not expect much from this wood, as it visually resembled some types that were somewhat disappointing before, such as coco-bolo, lacewood, and teak. However, it surprised me and sounded quite good. Bass, treble, and overall volume were very pleasing, and it was really full and loud. (This is a dark brown wood with narrow, light streaks of spalting. Perhaps someone out there can help me identify it.)
[Added Jan 08: Thanks to Dave Trimble for identifying this wood as apparently Black Palm.]

Bridge 546, cherry: Volume and tone good, but not exceptional. Not as comparable to maple as some other samples of cherry I have tried.

Bridge 557, Bosnian maple: plenty of volume, and a wide, smooth range with plenty of bass. One of the best of this batch.

Bridge 558, yew: I had never worked with yew before, and did not know what an exceptionally beautiful wood it was. Also, it worked crisply and cut cleanly. But the biggest surprise was the sound, which was rich and loud and very pleasing.

In the right column: Bridge 559, apple: A rich-looking wood and an exceptionally good bridge, with fullness and smoothness to go with the volume. Balanced a little toward the bass.

Bridge 560, redbud: Another surprise. I did not expect much from this bridge, but its sound was clear and full, though it delivered a bit less treble than some other bridges.

Bridge 561, hornbeam (ironwood): Since this bridge looked much like oak, I was prepared for a disappointment. However, it was a pretty good bridge. Compared to the mapel and apple, however, the treble was a bit thin and the bass a little dull.

Conclusions: My favorite bridges in this batch were yew, apple, and bosnian maple, all different but about tied in overall response. Several of these bridges turned out to sound really good. Apparently this 11-hole bridge design brings out the best sound in many different kinds of wood.

Thanks to Charlie Smith and Mike Johnson for giving me these woods to try. To email me: click here.

Red Henry.

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