Weissenborn Guitar Tonewoods
Weissenborn Slide Guitar Co. stocks instruments built from a wide range of traditional, contemporary and select Australian native tonewoods. The below photos and information is just a selection of some of our most commonly requested tonewoods. Many other tonewoods exist — contact us if you'd like information about a particular tonewood not featured on this page.
Every single guitar we sell is different and no two pieces of timber look or sound exactly alike.
Known also as Black Acacia or Tasmanian Blackwood, Australian Blackwood is increasingly becoming one of the most sought after tonewoods in guitar construction as a more sustainable alternative to many of the old world tonewoods. It is a close cousin of Koa, the Hawaiian species of wood found on original Weissenborns, and as such the two share many of the same visual and tonal qualities. Australian Blackwood is available in a number of different gradings from plain to highly figured, with many variations in colour and grain pattern. Readily available to Richard Wilson Guitars and suiting itself perfectly to modern Weissenborn guitars, Weissenborns.com generally stocks a wide range of Australian Blackwood instruments.
One of the most prized tonewoods in the guitar world and also the traditional timber of choice for Hermann Weissenborn's instruments in the early 20th century, there is perhaps no timber that captures the stunning look and tone of a Weissenborn than Koa. A protected species in its native Hawaii, Koa these days is sourced from naturally fallen trees and has the benefit of sometimes several decades of natural aging. Ranging in grain from relatively plain -- as seen on most traditional Weissenborns -- to truly stunning figure, Koa tends to have more varied and bold variation than its Australian cousin.
Its lovely light yellow colour and truly stunning figuring makes Alpine Ash a somewhat unusual but truly stunning choice of tonewood for Weissenborns. With similar characteristics to Australian Blackwood, the tone of Alpine Ash has an edgy warmth that suits its bold appearance.
A timber that is increasingly finding applications in high-end insturments, Tasmanian Myrtle offer a mature, warm tone with unique overtones that offer a different take on the classic Weissenborn sound. Tasmanian Myrtle features very tight grain that gives it a very natural smooth appearance.
Perhaps one of the most evocative tonewoods on the planet, Tiger Myrtle is a rare type of Tasmanian Myrtle that features its namesake dark spotted colouration that is caused by a fungus that affects only a tiny fraction of trees in the wild. A truly prized tonewood, Tiger Myrtle can be paired with a spruce soundboard and ebony appointments for a truly sophistocated Weissenborn.
Often considered Australia's answer to Mahogany, Queensland Maple is a subtle, understated timber that makes for a true all-rounder Weissenborn. Paired with a spruce or native Bunya soundboard, Queensland Maple makes an instrument that has a bright, clean tone. While often plain in its blonde or pinkish appearance, Queensland Maple often features striking-yet-subtle figuring.
Bunya Pine is often found paired with Queensland Maple to build an all-Australian answer to the traditional Spruce/Mahogany steel string guitar, and on Weissenborns it works beautifuly with Queensland Maple to capture a brighter yet mellow sound. Endemic to south-east Queensland where Richard Wilson Guitars is based, Bunya in a readily available emerging tonewood thanks in part to its growth on sustainable forestry plantations throughout the region.
North American spruce is the quintessential soundboard material for steel string guitars, and offers a bright, immediate tone that is an interesting counterpart to the traditional Weissenborn sound. Richard Wilson Guitars typically uses Lutz spruce, a hybrid species from Canada renowned for its stiffness -- always a desirable characteristic of soundboards.