This post is also available in: 日本語 (Japanese)
Older woods are prized when making guitars and other musical instruments. But they are usually at most a century or such as 300 years ago. However, there are guitars and violins made from outrageously old wood that is about 5,000 years ago in the world. What do they sound like?
Articles on this site about classical guitar materials and the instrument itself are summarized in the following article:
Made from the Jomon period wood
About 5,000 years ago in Japan is the Jomon period. It is about the same age as the pyramids, which means that the wood is about the same age as the pyramids.
Why do woods from such an era remain? It is because they are fossilised.
These are buried woods called “Bog Wood”. They can hold their shape in muddy water, or be buried in the ground and subjected to pressure and heat for many years. It appears to be half carbonized.
Speaking of old wood, Masaki Sakurai’s Kiju model (commemorating his 77-year-old) has become a hot topic. This is because it uses a 300-year-ago Jacaranda.
But 5,000 years ago is an order of magnitude older.
Gary Southwell has made a guitar from wood that is about 5,000 years ago
Guitar luthier Gary Southwell has built a guitar from this precious 5,000-year-ago wood.
He uses black bog oak (buried wood “Bog Wood”) for the back and sides of the guitar. The guitar he made has a radical design rather than a pure classical guitar.
You can check out how it looks and sounds on YouTube:
This guitar is featured on Gary Southwell’s site, but the price is unknown. It just says “Limited Edition”.
It is no doubt quite expensive.
There are also violins made from “Bog Wood”
Guitars are not the only instruments made from bog oak.
Inspired by Gary Southwell’s guitar, a bog oak violin has also been made:
There is a little concern about the skill of the player, but the instrument itself seems to be sounding well.
Like the guitar, bog oak is used for the back and sides of the violin.
It would be difficult to mass produce, but I’m curious about what it sounds like
There are very few woods that remain like this for thousands of years. For this reason, I think it is even more precious than a guitar made of Jacaranda.
In fact, the wood used for the violin above was found in 2012. The wood was over 1.25 meters in diameter and 13.4 meters long. It was excavated by a specialist in drying and preserving buried woods.
So it would be difficult to try playing a guitar made from “Bog Wood”. But I wonder what it sounds like.
However, the fact that musical instruments can be made from wood that has been preserved like a “Bog Wood” will expand the possibilities of artificial wood, as rosewood-type wood is becoming more precious.
We already have an artificial hard wood called “kebony”. As this type of wood becomes more available, the possibilities for guitars are likely to expand.