Beech as a body wood


Senior Member
I'm asking mostly because if I ask the right folks, I can probably in time get some *hayuge* sections of beech burl.

There's not a lot of info out there about using it, one thing of note is it's got one of the highest shrinkage rates of available woods, and also a higher than most ratio of tangential:radial shrinkage. On the other hand, it's not hugely more than maple. The really low shrinkage hardwoods are, of course the ones best known for acoustic tonewoods, rosewood and mahogany.

Since electric axes change dimension so much more slowly than their acoustic sisters, the higher shrinkage rate of say rock maple clearly works fine ~ 4.8, 9.3 vs the far lower numbers for mahogany ~ 2.5, 4.5.

So I'm thinking the high rate for beech ~ 5.5, 11.9 is probably not going to keep a guitar body from working well. except for being easier to work with, it seems like it would be close to maple for tone properties.

I made a bass body out of beech about 47 years ago. Reasonable to work with but it was a school project that got stalled for some reason. Probably I had to study dovetails and Chippendale the furniture rather than the other variety. So it is so long ago I cannot really say much more about, in terms of guitars, it but it was a common wood used for desks and that type of thing.
PhilHill said:
This might help.......

Yes, I have that page open right next to the u/w forum pg, beech isn't mentioned.

Sadie-f said:
PhilHill said:
This might help.......

Yes, I have that page open right next to the u/w forum pg, beech isn't mentioned.

I see it but here it is...

Beech could be a decent choice for back and sides wood if one does not mind it's light and bland appearance. I've cut firewood from it that rings like a bell when one piece hits another. It is medium to high in density, with a 1300 Janka rating. There is a question on its stability. If steamed, that should solve the problem (if it exists). Mostly lIght colored, but with dark streaks in places, it stains well. Flame is possible, but rare. It bends and works easily. Don Sharp has used it in guitars.
Oh!  Thanks, I was looking at the main page, didn't note the -details-a-b in the url.

Cool, about what I was thinking, I'm going to pursue getting that burl.
amigarobbo said:
PhilHill said:
This might help.......

I now want a guitar made out of Beefwood.  :headbang1:

I have a beautiful acoustic featuring Victorian Blackwood and I have owned a guitar that had a Koa neck, the comparisons made between the two woods in that listing for Blackwood is pretty accurate. Also, their description of Bunya is how I recall it when I played a Maton guitar with a Bunya top. I can't say Bunya was for me, but I can see others using it in preference to a more expensive Spruce top acoustic, especially when playing live. Good luck finding any Beefwood though!