I was thinking that it might be a helpful resource to the readers of TheArtOfLutherie.com if I started listing and talking about the different suppliers I have found to be good for the various types of tone wood that I use and prefer for my guitars. I am kicking off the Guitar Tonewood Supplier series with a hardwood specialist here in St Louis: Hibdon Hardwoods.
Last Spring I had the pleasure of visiting Hibdon Hardwoods, one of the top guitar tone wood suppliers in the US right here in my hometown of ST. Louis Missouri. I had met Bill Hibdon at the 2000 Great Midwest Guitar show and ended up visiting back then and finding some amazing snake-wood there as well as a few other treasures that I stocked up on.
At the beginning of this year I bought a Honduran mahogany neck blank from Hibdon and when the neck blank came in and I opened up the box I knew right away it was something special. It was one of the best pieces I have ever had. Just the right density and great stiffness. Very clean beautiful grain, well quartered, and not fuzzy when carving or cutting. I didn’t even select it myself; Jerry Hibdon chose it for me and did a great job.
I am picky about neck wood. I think many luthiers get obsessed over the top and back and forget about the major tonal and structural importance of the neck wood.
My Visit to Hibdon Hardwoods
I only live about 15 minutes away from Hibdon, so after seeing that beautiful neck blank; I thought I would take a trip down and check out the other woods they have. I was very impressed with the quality of all their tone woods. The combination of quality, huge selection, and great customer service while I was there was awesome.
I had a great time with Jerry looking for just the right set for an upcoming fan fret steel string project. He even had some sets already pulled for me when I got there which was great because it can take a long time to go through that much wood. I think one of the most impressive sights is the huge collection of African Blackwood that they have in stock. You can see some of it in the photos.
Jerry showed me the African blackwood fingerboards they have too; the tone was amazing, and I hope to try one on a guitar someday soon. I’m thinking it could be interesting to do an archtop with all African blackwood fittings, might be tonally someplace in between the sound of a rosewood fingerboard and an ebony fingerboard I am imagining, just based on the way it sounded when I tapped it.( If you already tried it tell me in the comments below, I would love to know how it went)
The Spirit Of Lutherie
I can’t recommend Hibdon Hardwood enough, whether you are just building your first guitar or looking for something really special for a custom one of a kind instrument. The guys there are no exception to the fact that in the field of lutherie, most people are just really nice, helpful, and supportive of one another.
That is one of the many reasons I am proud to call myself a luthier and be counted among the likes of you luthiers who are reading this right now. Let’s make sure we keep the spirit of helping one another and supporting each other as part of the legacy of our craft, as well as the skills and the artistry we all share and treasure.
To learn more about Hibdon Hardwood or to check out their guitar woods, visit their website here: Hibdon Hardwood & be sure to share your discoveries and tips with me in the comments below!