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FourT6and2

Cocobolo vs. Indian Rosewood

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How does Cocobolo sound in comparison to Indian Rosewood, as a back/side wood with a Sitka Spruce top?

 

I looking at a few guitars, including a Taylor 810-CE and an 810-CE Ltd with Cocobolo back/sides. I think I'd rather have an 814 because of the body shape, but I found a decent deal on the Ltd.

 

Although, I'm not sure If I'd like the 10 body...it might be too boomy?

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I really like cocobolo. Well, I really like the look of it. And it's fun to say. The guy who custom built my banjo spoke highly of it -- he said it's one of the more stable woods in terms of resisting humidity, temperature change, etc. But the only cocobolo parts on my banjo are the fingerboard and armrest, so I don't know much about its tonal properties.

 

Chris Bozung of CB guitars seems to like it as well:

 

http://www.cbguitars.com/woods.htm

 

"Cocobolo is probably closer in tone, color and figure to the finest-grade Brazilian Rosewood used on the classic guitars of yesteryear than any tone wood available today, and for far less money than the inferior-quality Brazilian currently available. Cocobolo offers everything Brazilian Rosewood offers, and more: increased power, increased sustain, increased volume, along with beauty of color and figure not available in Brazilian Rosewood for years.

 

For the player seeking to capture the sound and beauty of the finest Brazilian Rosewood from the '40s and '50s, with the added benefits of greater power and sweeter tone, Cocobolo is hard to beat. I consider Cocobolo to be superior in every way to the currently-available Brazilian Rosewood, and with about one-third to one-tenth of the cost of Brazilian, Cocobolo is a real bargain. I cannot recommend this excellent tone wood highly enough."

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I have built a few Cocobolo guitars.

 

Now I must qualify the following statements by saying that I personally don't think back and side wood contributes nearly as much to the sound of a guitar as most people seem to think. If such things could be quantified, I'd say that back and sides maybe contribute 10-15% to a guitar's sound. And the difference between the various species of rosewoods is minimal at best. Cocobolo is the same species (Dalbergia) as Brazilian, Indian, Honduran, Camatillo, and Madagascar rosewoods.

 

If I was pressed to say what I think the difference between Cocobolo and the other rosewoods I would say that it falls somewhere in between Brazilian and Indian. It seems to impart that sort of "glassy" tone as Brazilian though a little less so. It's definitely more stable that the Brazilian that is available these days. Compared to Indian, I would say it produces a more "pure" tone with less of the darker overtones. From a woodworker's perspective, Cocobolo is VERY oily. It destroys sandpaper very quickly and must be glued with a special epoxy. Cocobolo bridges make me very nervous.

 

But we're talking very minimal differences based on the wood I have personally worked with, so please keep in mind that my sample is very small.

 

As with all woods of the same species, there is going to be overlap in the characteristics due to natural variations in the wood. All of these woods vary somewhat in their physical properties to the point where these comparisons become nothing more than broad, and sometimes inaccurate, generalizations.

 

So, if you find there to be a difference between the sound of a Cocobolo guitar and an Indian rosewood guitar, chances are pretty good that it has much more to do with other factors than the particular variety of rosewood. Buy the one you like more.

 

DSCF5948.jpg

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I have built a few Cocobolo guitars.


Now I must qualify the following statements by saying that I personally don't think back and side wood contributes nearly as much to the sound of a guitar as most people seem to think. If such things could be quantified, I'd say that back and sides maybe contribute 10-15% to a guitar's sound. And the difference between the various species of rosewoods is minimal at best. Cocobolo is the same species (Dalbergia) as Brazilian, Indian, Honduran, Camatillo, and Madagascar rosewoods.


If I was pressed to say what I think the difference between Cocobolo and the other rosewoods I would say that it falls somewhere in between Brazilian and Indian. It seems to impart that sort of "glassy" tone as Brazilian though a little less so. It's definitely more stable that the Brazilian that is available these days. Compared to Indian, I would say it produces a more "pure" tone with less of the darker overtones. From a woodworker's perspective, Cocobolo is VERY oily. It destroys sandpaper very quickly and must be glued with a special epoxy. Cocobolo bridges make me very nervous.


But we're talking very minimal differences based on the wood I have personally worked with, so please keep in mind that my sample is very small.


As with all woods of the same species, there is going to be overlap in the characteristics due to natural variations in the wood. All of these woods vary somewhat in their physical properties to the point where these comparisons become nothing more than broad, and sometimes inaccurate, generalizations.


So, if you find there to be a difference between the sound of a Cocobolo guitar and an Indian rosewood guitar, chances are pretty good that it has much more to do with other factors than the particular variety of rosewood. Buy the one you like more.


DSCF5948.jpg

 

 

Thanks for the insights. And that is a beautiful looking guitar. Is it one you built? Any more pics?

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no real experience with it first hand... but just wanted to chip in that you need not worry about any taylor being boomy

 

I'd say the 410-CE I used to own was on the boomy side.

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Thanks for the insights. And that is a beautiful looking guitar. Is it one you built? Any more pics?

 

Thanks! Yes it's a parlour from a few years ago. Cocobolo back and sides with an Engelmann Spruce soundboard. The only other digital pic I have is this:

 

DSCF5945.jpg

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Basically, I'm torn between a stunning Taylor 810-CE Ltd Cocobolo/Sitka Spruce or spending $700 more for a used Santa Cruz OM Rosewood/Spruce.

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Thanks! Yes it's a parlour from a few years ago. Cocobolo back and sides with an Engelmann Spruce soundboard. The only other digital pic I have is this:


DSCF5945.jpg

Man Bjorn! That is one hot looking guitar! Do you have a web site? How much would something like that go for? The Diamond should be your trade mark:thu:

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Man Bjorn! That is one hot looking guitar! Do you have a web site? How much would something like that go for? The Diamond should be your trade mark:thu:

 

Hey thanks, GrandStation!

Check your user CP.

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I have a '67 Martin D28 BWR, a -73 Martin D41 EIRW, both of those have spruce tops, and a 2000 Santa Cruz OM with cocobolo back and sides and a gorgeous german spruce top. 

The '67 is deep and rich. 
The '73 is more balanced, yet still sounds better on the lower strings. 
The '00 Santa Cruz is the finest guitar I have ever played. It's perfect. 

In MY experience, with these particular, individual guitars, cocobolo RULES. Or maybe Richard Hoover is just a brilliant builder. Or both. 

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On 2/12/2007 at 12:30 PM, FourT6and2 said:

Basically, I'm torn between a stunning Taylor 810-CE Ltd Cocobolo/Sitka Spruce or spending $700 more for a used Santa Cruz OM Rosewood/Spruce.

My 814CE feels better to me than the Santa Cruz' that I've played, but others may disagree - and in any case, both will be very nice instruments.

From my experience, I would say that the build method differences between Taylor and SC will have a bigger impact than the wood (particularly so if the 810 is the new V-Braced version).  Play 'em both and the differences should be obvious.

Edited by SteinbergerHack

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I realize this is an ancient thread but since its been resurrected I thought I would show off.   I had a piece of coco sitting in my wood room for several years, finally last year I decided to build something out if it.   Ended up with a cedar and cocobolo OM which has moved into my favorite guitar category (however I still play the others).   I don't think the coco is particularly special as far as contributing to the sound but it sure is purdy

 

 

IMG_4410-22.jpg

IMG_4413-2.jpg

IMG_4415-2.jpg

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It’s a pretty wood, and probably good for sound, but it just looks ...fake.  Brazilian rosewood has a natural look to it, well flamed.  Indian as well, looks natural.  Just never cared for cocobolo.

Freeman, that is a beautiful back, good looking wood too.  But there’s a look about rosewoods that this doesn’t hold a candle to, and probably one of the reasons CITES is important.

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On ‎9‎/‎5‎/‎2019 at 12:40 PM, Freeman Keller said:

I realize this is an ancient thread but since its been resurrected I thought I would show off.   I had a piece of coco sitting in my wood room for several years, finally last year I decided to build something out if it.   Ended up with a cedar and cocobolo OM which has moved into my favorite guitar category (however I still play the others).   I don't think the coco is particularly special as far as contributing to the sound but it sure is purdy

 

 

IMG_4410-22.jpg

IMG_4413-2.jpg

IMG_4415-2.jpg

Wow!  That is really beautiful.  I wish I could hear it, or better yet, play it!  Beautiful work as always, Freeman. 

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I give the resuscitator of this zombie thread credit. I wouldn’t have been able to find it with the recent changes. 

 

As for cocobolo, my tastes have changed. Give me ebony instead. 

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27 minutes ago, kwakatak said:

I give the resuscitator of this zombie thread credit. I wouldn’t have been able to find it with the recent changes. 

 

 

Actually, it should be much easier to find things here on the new site since the search function actually works here... :) 

 

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