Ezo Spruce

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
edcat7
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Ezo Spruce

Post by edcat7 » Sun May 06, 2018 1:08 pm

I get the impression that the "perfect" sound is the warmth of cedar but the clarity of spruce. My Ezo spruce Yamaha sounds darker than my cedar Kwakkel.

Why isn't Ezo spruce used nowadays?
Remember Anthony Weller, please help. Contact myself or Aaron Green for details.

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HNLim
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Re: Ezo Spruce

Post by HNLim » Sun May 06, 2018 1:16 pm

Both my GC30A uses Ezo Spruce. It is listed as least concerned.
1980 Yamaha GC30A - BRW/Spruce
2006 Yamaha GC70 - BRW/ Spruce
2015 Sen #5 - BRW/Spruce
2017 LHN - BRW/Spruce

edcat7
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Re: Ezo Spruce

Post by edcat7 » Sun May 06, 2018 1:27 pm

HNLim wrote:
Sun May 06, 2018 1:16 pm
... It is listed as least concerned.
Sorry, what do you mean by that?
Remember Anthony Weller, please help. Contact myself or Aaron Green for details.

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HNLim
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Re: Ezo Spruce

Post by HNLim » Sun May 06, 2018 1:37 pm

edcat7 wrote:
Sun May 06, 2018 1:27 pm
HNLim wrote:
Sun May 06, 2018 1:16 pm
... It is listed as least concerned.
Sorry, what do you mean by that?
Not endangered.
1980 Yamaha GC30A - BRW/Spruce
2006 Yamaha GC70 - BRW/ Spruce
2015 Sen #5 - BRW/Spruce
2017 LHN - BRW/Spruce

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Beowulf
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Re: Ezo Spruce

Post by Beowulf » Sun May 06, 2018 1:52 pm

Ezo spruce (Picea jezoensis) is still used by Yamaha in Japan. My 1971 Yamaha GC-10 is Ezo spruce as well.
1971 Yamaha GC-10 (Hideyuki Ezaki)
2017 Yamaha GC82S (Akio Naniki/Naohiro Kawashima)

chiral3
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Re: Ezo Spruce

Post by chiral3 » Sun May 06, 2018 1:58 pm

Interesting. I recognized the name "ezo" as another name for the ainu, the aboriginal Japanese. It appears the ainu, particularly in the north, used this asian spruce for building extensively.
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edcat7
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Re: Ezo Spruce

Post by edcat7 » Sun May 06, 2018 2:05 pm

I am aware of older GC Yamahas built with Ezo (I have no idea about the newer ones) but am mostly interested to know if Ezo is used nowadays and outside of Japan?

From what I gather, Ezo is softer than the other European spruces and so have similarities to cedar?
Remember Anthony Weller, please help. Contact myself or Aaron Green for details.

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Beowulf
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Re: Ezo Spruce

Post by Beowulf » Sun May 06, 2018 2:54 pm

http://conifersociety.org/conifers/coni ... jezoensis/ I am not sure about the hardness...I found one reference comparing the hardness to Sitka spruce, which is relatively hard.
Last edited by Beowulf on Sun May 06, 2018 3:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
1971 Yamaha GC-10 (Hideyuki Ezaki)
2017 Yamaha GC82S (Akio Naniki/Naohiro Kawashima)

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Michael.N.
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Re: Ezo Spruce

Post by Michael.N. » Sun May 06, 2018 3:04 pm

edcat7 wrote:
Sun May 06, 2018 2:05 pm
I am aware of older GC Yamahas built with Ezo (I have no idea about the newer ones) but am mostly interested to know if Ezo is used nowadays and outside of Japan?

From what I gather, Ezo is softer than the other European spruces and so have similarities to cedar?
Which Euro spruce are you comparing it to. The hard stuff or the soft stuff?
Historicalguitars.

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HNLim
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Re: Ezo Spruce

Post by HNLim » Sun May 06, 2018 3:41 pm

edcat7 wrote:
Sun May 06, 2018 2:05 pm
I am aware of older GC Yamahas built with Ezo (I have no idea about the newer ones) but am mostly interested to know if Ezo is used nowadays and outside of Japan?

From what I gather, Ezo is softer than the other European spruces and so have similarities to cedar?
My newer 2006 Yamaha GC70 uses German Spruce.
1980 Yamaha GC30A - BRW/Spruce
2006 Yamaha GC70 - BRW/ Spruce
2015 Sen #5 - BRW/Spruce
2017 LHN - BRW/Spruce

simonm
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Re: Ezo Spruce

Post by simonm » Sun May 06, 2018 6:41 pm

James Frieson or Stephen Faulk could probably explain the state of Ezo spruce at the moment.

Stephen Faulk
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Re: Ezo Spruce

Post by Stephen Faulk » Wed May 09, 2018 3:10 am

I don't know a lot about Jezo Spruce, I had some Japanese cut Spruce from a supplier and it seemed a lot like a coarse grade of Sitka. It made a fine sounding guitar. I could probably find more in a better grade.

I also collect Spruce from the carcasses of old tansu. It would make great sound boards but wide grained and all mismatched. A tough sell to put dozens of hours into.

I'm going to make one up anyway because I'm working on a long term project of having a line or portion of my guitars made with Japanese wood. So as an example guitar I'm going to make a tansu top.
Patience at the bending iron pays in rounded dividends!

James Frieson
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Re: Ezo Spruce

Post by James Frieson » Sun May 13, 2018 4:31 pm

Ezo is the old word for what is now called Hokkaido . Ezoland ,,, it is a difficult kanji and not much used anymore .
Hokkaido means North Sea Road .
Hokkaido spruce is called Ezo matsu , which translates as Ezo pine , but it is like the Spanish pino abeto , not really pine but spruce ,
a folk name .
I had contact with the wood company in a town in the far north east , the principal company that supplies Yamaha .
Yamaha , a great corporation of Honshu , this northern town company that no one knows ... the impression I have of how Yamaha treats them , well I am not going to gossip . They were very nice to me but it is far to go .
I use Hokkaido spruce in my guitars , but for internal parts , and from old beams . It is firm and rezonant of tone .
During the war , many of the great trees were cut . So even though Hokkaido is mountainous and wild , with a great deal of forest ,
this wood is not plentiful as guitar tops material .

Stephen Faulk
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Re: Ezo Spruce

Post by Stephen Faulk » Mon May 14, 2018 12:07 am

Sarcasm noted.
But revenge is in the works. I have a plan.

I'll gossip a bit. I went to show my guitars to a fairly well known dealer in a certain big Honshu city, known for where Toyotas are designed. He formerly worked at the esteemed firm of Yamaha in the capacity of global guitar sales.

I asked if he had any interest in looking at my Torres inspired guitar model that I like to make in maple. ........The reply was "I don't know who that is." Then I said Antonio Torres the Spanish maker. Blank expression.

The knowledge base is very low. It's rather lonely to have studied the history of guitars only to have your knowledge superceded by the authority of a person who has stature due to rising through empty rank in a corporatocracy.

Most old growth forrest with really big trees were cut down a thousand years ago to build temples, castles and monasteries. The reason post and beam joinery developed to such a high degree of sophistication in Japan was because the building schedules for beam did not change after the big lumber was scarce. The interlocking joints were created to fabricate multi piece beams.

Carpentry related work, and highly skilled labor has a deep history of being proprietary, and fiercely so. The vestigial sentiment around daiku work being specialist and secret has bled over into the guitar making enterprises. It's a closed world save for individual makers who latched onto the Western trend of the independent luthier movement of the last three or four decades. And these classical makers who are independent are still highly motivated to stay proprietary.

I've talked with Western makers and dealers who said they never experienced such attitudes, but they were asking Japanese factories to makes runs of guitars for them. They were treated as foreign clients and greased into nice cushions and fed well.

My story is like Jim's, no outreach support or encouragement from music industry. The help arrives from farmers, loggers, fisherman and interested intellectuals in the form of bags of vegetables, ice chests full of fish and help understanding the culture. The soul of this country is in the people who work the land and the sea.
Patience at the bending iron pays in rounded dividends!

Wuuthrad
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Re: Ezo Spruce

Post by Wuuthrad » Mon May 14, 2018 1:45 am

Fascinating Stephen, I think you would write an interesting book if and when you decide to!

This reminds me of a good friend of mine's experience working in the "corporatocracy," to borrow your term, of an enormous global Japanese firm. I'm not going to name any names, or make any generalizations or judgements, as I probably wouldn't do that, even if I was qualified to do so. I'm only sharing an anecdote really. One that in some ways echoes your story.

My friend was moving up the corporate ladder quite successfully, and after more than a few years, he hit a ceiling which, according to him, was based entirely on his not being Japanese. It was quite a specific cultural thing, as he tells it, and not at all out of the ordinary. I recall this being his primary motivation for finding a different career path at that time.

For myself, being a fan and consumer of Japanese culture, I find these stories quite interesting. Especially, considering the history of different cultures, and how they adapt to the globalization of this modern era, with more open markets, sharing of ideas, and the growth of D.I.Y. which accompanies the advancements in technology. Yet at the same time, the 'corporatocracies' shall we say, remain strong as ever. Perhaps they're even stronger than ever before?

And to the point of how this affects luthiers? Even more interesting as a guitarist! I'd love to hear more.
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