CHARIS SJ S/N 436 Build Thread
European Swiss Spruce top with African Blackwood back and sides
We had the pleasure of working with Bill in the month of October 2015 with the aim of curating two Charis guitars which will offer the richest of tones decked in the finest aesthetic appointments without having to break the bank.
A fully quartered African Blackwood with gorgeous sap became our choice of canvas on this occasion. Such pieces this size are rare to come by due to the smaller nature of these trees and we were thrilled when Bill found a piece.
European swiss spruce was chosen for the top as they have been prized by luthiers for its quick response and great headroom. This light weight top projects harmonic complexity and offers unparallelled fullness at the lower end of the dynamic range, allowing for rich bell-like tones across a wide tonal spectrum. Aesthetically, It enjoys the added advantage of a gorgeous colour and uniformity in grain over adirondack red spruce tops, another Holy Grail of topwoods for steel-string guitars.
African blackwood was chosen for the back and sides as they are known to provide for outstanding volume and power. It's tonal richness has also been compared well to Brazilian rosewood, besting it in some ways.
A generally heavier and more stable wood than the more widely known brazilian rosewood, african blackwood offers clarity, sustain, orchestral weightiness, sweetness, and plenty of reverberating overtones. It is black and sometimes found with gorgeous sap, but in the right light you will often be treated to faceted grains and variations of black, brown, purple, and red.
African blackwood is also amongst the densest woods in the world (and also one of the most expensive). The trees grow in isolated areas of the west african deserts and the trunks of these trees are twisted and small, making it rare to find fully quartered two piece sets that are aesthetically pleasing.