Almost 15 years ago now, is when Acoustic Woods started a small retail online company. We did this in our spare time while working for Timbre Tonewood producing tops. At that time we did have quite an inventory of products to offer. About 20 different back and sides species from Brazilian Rosewood to some obscure hardwoods from South East Asia.
We also supplied Big Leaf Maple for electric bodies and acoustic back and side sets with the help of Timbre Tonewood. Fingerboards, bridge blanks , head plates of many different species. I must say it was a lot of fun! and I think we were one of the first to offer a WYSIWYG kind of a system with photos of all the different unique sets in an online environment. One can find it on the wayback machine if you're interested in seeing it.
Several years before this we worked for another guitar top supplier called BC Tonewoods. At that time they had some kind of partnership or contract with LMI in California. That company folded in 2001 I think, and some of the machinery made it over to another company some may know as Columbia Valley Tonewoods. Again the Tonewood demographic claimed another victim.
All in all its been quite a circle of hard work, barely making it sometimes and we have seen the best fall.
By 2006 our day job ended up being shipped to China , unfortunately again, as another company feel to its knees of the Tonewood curse. Actually it was mostly the currency exchange from USD to CAD that crippled Timbre Tonewood at the time. The lost in revenue was staggering as Oil and the Canadian Dollar rallied as the USD was in decline.
So in 2006 , Thierry and I decided that we would take a real hard look at the Tonewood business and give it a shot. On June 06th, 2006 we cut our first top in our own shop. By September reality was kicking that we don't have any customers. ! In any case our Retail stock and sales kept us alive and we did manage to find some wholesale markets to get us started. But not until 2007 rolled around and Launie Gratto helped us at our first trade show at NAMM.
We worked so hard the first few years. We worked weekends, nights and sacrificed any kind of normal life. Failure was not an option.
Shortly after this, we had to pull the retail website down as we could no longer keep up with the demanding hours we were enduring. Sometimes 8 , sometimes 18 hours a day. We went stretches at a time. Once we work from Shanghai show to Christmas Day and took 3 nights off. We worked every day and almost every night. Sounds a bit wacky now.
By 2009 , Gary Lindberg came on board and made our log buying issues slowly disappear, and so did Bev Finch who has probabbly graded more acoustic soundboards than any other person alive!, By the end of 2010 we expanded our company and built a new mill and property that we are still using and located in today.
A lot happened from 2010 to 2017 but I won't get into that here.! haha
Just to say we grew from a small retail outlet in my house to producing 40,000 top a month consistently for about 7 years now.
I think we will slowly add more spruce and cedar products, although I don't think we will add all the grades of tops we have. There is no reason too. We are just going to stick with 3 grades of tops. A , AA and AAA.
A grade tops are perhaps the best (cheap) high grade tops one can purchase. The sound quality will be as good as any other top in any other grade higher.
AA tops are what I would consider as good as it gets in the real world. Factories live for this product and 10 feet away you can't tell the difference in AAA and AA anyways.
AAA tops are best of the best. After producing millions of guitar tops I can tell you, Master grade should be a "perfection grade" that really don't exist as nothing is really truly perfect.
In the future we will add Archtops for sure, and perhaps even some violin and mandolin woods.
I don't think we will get back into exotic woods, as its very time consuming and you never know what species will be next to make it on the CITES list, which is truly sad.
So check back often as we will start adding other products, and if you are interested in something you don't see , let us know.