Renowned for Its Figuring and Tone, Honduran Mahogany from "The Tree" Has Inspired & Mystified Luthiers for Decades
Excerpted from November 2009 issue of Guitar Bench Magazine.
Harvested from a naturally storm downed redwood in California, these tops are renowned for their tonal excellence and aesthetic properties.
Craig and Alica Carter, a remarkable husband and wife team were renown for salvaging naturally fallen redwood trees. Often they would salvage logs from inhospitable terrain and private land to resaw into some of the finest redwood sets ever seen in the luthiery community. "Lucky Strike" is the name Craig gave to a log he thought of as almost, if not truly perfect for guitar tops.
Craig found the Lucky Strike log in north-facing easement in a redwood forest. It fell over a small depression, suspending a segment of the log, allowing it to naturally ‘air dry’. In Autumn of 1993, Craig started to salvage a portion approximately 60 feet long, 3 feet in diameter and the final harvesting was completed by Alicia carter and neighbors in 1997.
Craig cut soundboards from the segments as early as 1994. Hank Mauel, luthier and friend of the Carters says: “Soundboards from this log have been made into fine steel string (including arch top) and classical guitars. Smaller billets have produced mandolins, as well. Stiffness to weight ratio is said to be excellent; grain pattern and coloration generally even, very straight, with lots of “silk.” Sound characteristics combine the warmth of cedar with the clarity and color of spruce with an added “sparkle”. This log set very high standards for redwood soundboards – ones almost impossible to match. Craig cut into over 100 downed logs before he found one – the LS – that met his exacting standards.”
According to Terence Tan of Guitar Bench Magazine, "Almost every LS topped guitar I have played has exhibited astounding EQ and efficiency. The trebles in every model are spectacular with a liquid-silver like property." Something echoed by Michael Bashkin, "LS redwood has an exceptional stiffness to weight ratio, even and straight grain with lots of cross-grain silk, and a huge, complex sound that combines the warmth of cedar with the clarity and color of spruce.”