I'm not gonna lie - I'm pretty spoiled for amazing tone wood here in Tasmania.
To help you get a feel for some of the species that I use, and how they compare to classic tone woods, I've put together a bit of info on appearance, weight, tone, and suitability for different parts of the build.
Some would say this is the jewel in the crown. It's certainly my most requested option.
Tas Blackwood is quickly becoming a sought-after tone wood around the world, for both acoustic and electric instruments.
It looks superb with an oil finish, with colours ranging from golden honey to chocolate brown, and figure that can be a subtle flame or outrageous quilt.
Tone-wise, it sits somewhere between Mahogany and Ash, with a good balance of warmth and snap. It is a dense wood, so solid body models can sit around 10lbs.
Due to it's high stiffness and low movement, it also makes fantastic necks. I feel that it adds a nice low mid growl to the overall tone.
While it may only be a common Eucalypt, it's a great species to work with. It's plantation grown - so it's sustainable, is readily available in quarter-sawn stock, and can often show nice figure.
If Blackwood is chocolate, Tas Oak is vanilla, with a pale straw colour and distinct open grain. It stains well, but also looks fantastic just with a natural oil. It oxidises well, going dark black with the right potion for the "Tux" finish.
Being a lower density than Blackwood, it is a bit warmer sounding - closer to what you'd expect from Mahogany. That also makes for lighter bodies too.
While it can be used for necks, it's not my preference due to a lower stability than some other available wood.
Myrtle is often a red/pink colour, with contrasting darker stripes, but can be found a light honey colour too. The grain has a nice shimmer to it, often looking like silk once finished.
In rare cases, Tiger Myrtle shows striking black stripes, but this stuff doesn't come along very often and commands a higher price.
The closest comparison I can make tone-wise is to soft maple. It gives a brighter sound and is fairly heavy, so it's better off used as a top over something like Alder or Sassafras.
CELERY TOP PINE
This species doesn't get a lot of recognition, being overshadowed by the rarer Huon Pine.
It's often used as flooring, where it's hard-wearing and stable characteristics shine.
While it often contains knots and crazy grain, I keep an eye out for the clear and straight grain stuff, which makes excellent necks. It's light, is a consistent cream colour, and has very low movement once dry. As a body wood it is also very nice, being a good weight and quite resonant.
Stiffness is on the lower side, so I like to reinforce CTP necks with Carbon rods. It makes for a warmer tone that still has some snap.
Highly prized due to it's uniqueness and scarcity. These trees take thousands of years to grow to usable sizes, and they were over harvested early on in our history for use in ship building. It is now protected, so all of the materials available are salvaged from rivers or lakes.
There's nothing else out there like it with super tight grain, depth of figure and unique aroma. It makes for amazing tops, although care must be taken as it is a bit softer than our other species. I have heard of people say it is great for necks due to the high oil content giving it incredible resistance to humidity shifts, but I've never been game to try it.
Currently I do have a few blanks big enough for one piece bodies, so if you're after something very unique this might be a good option. Weight is fairly light, and tone will be on the smoother side.
This stuff has two personalities - the understated "Golden" variety with it's pale straw hue, or the "Blackheart" kind which has splashes of dark chocolate brown through it.
Similar in weight, tone and workability to Alder, it makes a great material for solid bodies. The Blackheart stuff doesn't come around very often, and costs a bit more, so it's a good option for tops.
It doesn't have suitable characteristics for necks though.
OTHER TIMBERS I USE
Aside from all the usual tone-woods - Maple for necks, Mahogany, Ash & Alder for bodies, there are quite a few other species worth exploring.
For necks, Narra is a great candidate. High stiffness and super low movement would make a neck that requires little adjustment year to year.
Camphor Laurel is lighter weight body wood that often shows amazing colours and patterns. It's an introduced species, but is readily available with no environmental impact.
Silver Quandong is an Australian native that has proven itself with bigger manufacturers to be an ideal body wood, with light weight and great resonance.
Sadly, there are very few natives that are ideal for fingerboards. Mulga and Gidgee are incredibly durable, but very difficult to work with. I've toyed with the idea of tempering or resin stabilising Tasmanian Blackwood for fingerboards, but until that happens my fingerboard of choice is Ebony, with Rocklite Ebano being a great sustainable alternative.
If you've got any further questions about timber, don't hesitate to ask!