DEAR EMILY: THE TONEWOOD EVERYONE OVER LOOKS

Posted by cfmartinguitar

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Let’s talk about Walnut for a second.  Let’s talk about how poor Walnut is often overlooked.  Everyone has seen English Walnut, Claro Walnut, all the beautiful looking Walnuts.  But what about boring old Black Walnut?  A little lack luster in appearance, it’s often passed by as a mediocre tonewood.  And it isn’t harvested in some exotic location like Central America. It’s from Eastern USA, right in Martin’s backyard.  Don’t be fooled though, Black Walnut kicks some serious butt and will surprise you. 

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Every year, we take some of our favorite in-house builds to the NAMM Show.  In 2017, my favorite was a Black Walnut Dreadnought that we’ve been calling the “Clarence Walnut."  Inspired by the humongous sound of the Clarence White model from years ago, this thing is a boomer!  The Adirondack top paired with forward shifted Golden Era braces, a large soundhole, and Black Walnut all add up to an amazing, huge sounding guitar. 

What I like so much about this guitar is that its a cannon but its balanced.  That can be hard to find!  Sometimes huge sounding guitars quickly lose balance and complexity in the search for sheer volume and power.  If you’re strictly buying with your ears, this might be your new favorite. 


Emily has worked at Martin Guitar for 10 years. She has been cross-trained in every aspect of guitar building and currently serves as the Martin Guitar Custom Shop Administrator. Dear Emily is an advice column that will appear bi-monthly on the Martin Guitar Blog.

Topics: Ask Emily

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