Walnut (Claro, Black) Tonewoods
Walnut has a very even response curve. From the dramatic curly figure of claro walnut to the straight grain of black walnut, this tonewood offers a strong, clear fundamental, with clear harmonics. Tight lows, strong mids, with fat, even treble tones and lots of sustain. Warm and earthy with the overtone depth of rosewood the clarity of mahogany. Brighter than mahogany, but not quite as bright as maple. Coloration varies from black and orange contrasts to the usual chocolate walnut tones.
Walnut (Claro, Black) - Background as a guitar tonewood
While the race to make the best guitars has been on for centuries, people have made use of many different types of tonewoods. The reason for that this is that with time, people have become choosier about the type of looks their guitars should have and more importantly, how the completed instrument sounds. Some players believe that guitars define their personality in an almost spiritual way. This hunt for the best tonewoods to use for guitar building has led people to explore the Black Walnut tonewood.
About the Tonewood
The Black Walnut (juglans nigra) or California Walnut tree is also sometimes called the Claro Walnut (juglans hindii). It is a native of Northern California. Some people also know it by the name Hinds’ Black Walnut because it belongs to the family of the walnut tree. Historically, this treess comes from the Sacramento Valley and San Joaquin Valley. It spreads across the Inner Northern Californian Coast Ranges and in the Northern Parts of California at the San Francisco Bay Area.
Sometimes, the tree grows in the Riparian woodlands in mono-species or sometimes mixed with other species like the Fremont cottonwood (Populus fremontii) trees and California Oak Tree species (Quercus species).
The tree grows as tall as 30-60 feet, and is a large and substantial presence in a forest. It has a single erect trunk with a wide crown that grows to a width of 5-6ft. The leaf can be as long as 1ft and has dentate margins. The vein has tufts of hair, which makes the Black Walnut different from the Southern California walnut. Its nut has a brown, smooth, and thick shell and contains edible nutmeat.
Why It’s the Wood is Goodgood for Guitar Building
Aesthetically, it is great for using in guitar builds because it has light pale brown heartwood, which gives it a somewhat chocolate brown color with darker streaks. Occasionally, the grain patterns are burl, crotch, and curly. It looks very attractive in guitars and the color tends to vary in shades of gray, red, and purple. The sapwood is white. When grafted with the English walnut (Juglans regia) it can have a marbled appearance.
Black Walnut has a distinct mild odor, is very durable and rot resistant, but may be susceptible to insect attacks. However, with varnish and proper maintenance, the wood can look remain amazing looking for many generations.