I just finished two Minnie M's with bars made of Oregon Black Walnut, which is a variety of Claro Walnut. Sounds great! So I am moving full steam ahead with this source of Walnut as the replacement for padauk in my higher range tone bars.
- This walnut all comes from the Willamette Valley in Oregon, USA.
- It is all "urban salvage" - not the result of any sort of clearcutting or overcutting.
- It actually costs me a little more than African padauk, in part because the persons cutting and milling the wood are getting American wages. Walnut is considered by woodworkers to be a premium wood and is priced accordingly.
- The sound is every bit as strong as padauk, but not as ringy. Definitely more "ethnic" or "folk" in its sound and definitely not as "European" in the way that orchestral marimbas are. That's fine with me, given the music most folks play on these instruments.