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Rosewood: Indian vs. Madagascar vs. Brazilian

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  • Rosewood: Indian vs. Madagascar vs. Brazilian

    How much difference is there tonally between the different rosewoods? There's obviously a huge price difference. I'm asking because I haven't really found a guitar that I want, so I might be having one built for me. Is it worth paying a brazilian extra dollars for the Brazilian rosewood? I know really high-end guitars usually have it, but is it just for show?

    Also, when you pay for higher grade woods, is it just how good it looks? Meaning master grade spruce looks nicer but doesn't sound nicer than standard grade spruce? Sorry for asking a lot of questions, but I might be spending a good bit of money, and I don't want to waste money on things that just make the guitar look better.
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  • #2
    There are subtle differences. Don't forget mahogany!
    Circular logic is best because it's circular.

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    • #3
      There are subtle differences. Don't forget mahogany!


      I've never played a hog that really spoke to me. They've always been rosewood.
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      • #4
        Mahogany does generally give a "drier" sound than RW.

        Good Brazilian gives a little more brilliance on the top end than EIR. Madagascar, Zircote, Cocobolo are usually somewhere in the middle. Koa has a bright top end sheen like Bz. These are all generalizations, of course. No absolutes, as so much of the guitar's sound depends on a number of other variables, too.
        Circular logic is best because it's circular.

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        • #5
          There are subtle differences. Don't forget mahogany!


          I love mahogany too I'd take over most of the typical Brazilian around these days for a bigger guitar. For OM's, 00's. etc I do like rosewood. I don
          Eric Skye
          My brand spanking new website

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          • #6
            Mahogany does generally give a "drier" sound than RW.

            Good Brazilian gives a little more brilliance on the top end than EIR. Madagascar, Zircote, Cocobolo are usually somewhere in the middle. Koa has a bright top end sheen like Bz. These are all generalizations, of course. No absolutes, as so much of the guitar's sound depends on a number of other variables, too.


            In your opinion, would it be worth paying more to upgrade the rosewood? For exampe, two guitars built exactly the same, but one with Indian and one with Brazilian... would the one w/ Brazilian be worth $2000 more to you? I'm guessing the anwser would be no for me. I doubt I would be able to tell which species was which unless I was told.
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            • #7
              the best indian > the cheapest braz, always.

              plus you do not want to put up with the inherent structural difficulties related to braz, especially if they are not straight grained.
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              Originally Posted by Hamza Ashgari


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              • #8
                In your opinion, would it be worth paying more to upgrade the rosewood? For exampe, two guitars built exactly the same, but one with Indian and one with Brazilian... would the one w/ Brazilian be worth $2000 more to you? I'm guessing the anwser would be no for me. I doubt I would be able to tell which species was which unless I was told.


                If I had the money and really was gunning for Brazilian, I would. In most cases, no. You probably wouldn't notice any difference.

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                • #9
                  I wouldn't use Brazilian rosewood because of it's scarcity and because it's covered under the CITES treaty. I care more about an endangered species than a slight tonal difference in a guitar.

                  http://www.conservationtreaty.org/cites.html

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                  • #10
                    I wouldn't use Brazilian rosewood because of it's scarcity and because it's covered under the CITES treaty. I care more about an endangered species than a slight tonal difference in a guitar.

                    http://www.conservationtreaty.org/cites.html


                    Hippy! oke:
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                    • #11
                      I was always a bit of an Indian rosewood snob until I played my mahogany J-45. I think it sounds "smoother" somehow - not quite as punchy, but plenty of bass and a nice upper end as well. Made me rethink my prejudices a bit.
                      The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. -- John Kenneth Galbraith

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                      • #12
                        I wouldn't use Brazilian rosewood because of it's scarcity and because it's covered under the CITES treaty. I care more about an endangered species than a slight tonal difference in a guitar.

                        http://www.conservationtreaty.org/cites.html


                        +1

                        I honestly don't think I could discern any tonal difference between Brazilian and Indian rosewood, but I am sure we could all discern a difference between a world with a functioning ecosystem and one with a broken ecosystem.



                        As I understand things, the Indian rosewood used in guitar production is likely to be obtained from a sustainable source. There may be some old Brazilian rosewood sitting around , but if it was the really good stuff then someone would probably have used it already. Much better to use some good Indian rosewood than some junk scraps of Brazilian.
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                        • #13
                          Don't forget SE Asian or 'Vietnamese' Rosewood.

                          It's visually the prettiest of all of them.

                          Tone-wise, it's more subtle than IR.
                          I've never heard Braz. But I've read
                          VNR has a tone that's closer to it than
                          to IR.
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                          • #14
                            +1

                            I honestly don't think I could discern any tonal difference between Brazilian and Indian rosewood


                            I agree...I think the whole Brazilian rosewood thing is just a scam to lure the cork sniffers in....I doubt anyone on this board could tell the difference if they were blindfolded.

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                            • #15
                              Isn't it funny: when Braz RW was in aboundance, EIRW was the one to have. Now that Braz RW is endangered that's the one to have.

                              They say Braz RW have a higher resonance factor than EIRW.

                              I'm quite betaken by the diff between EIRW and Madagascar for bridge and fretboard. The Madagascar species is far brighter, where-as the EI is more middy.
                              Along the fretboard of life, there's a chord for every occasion.

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