Brazilian board? How to identify for sure?


Double Platinum Member
A very good friend has asked me to sell his 2000 R9 for him. If I remember the guitar correctly it had a beautiful, dark and rich board that was very much like Brazilian. Will Gibson be able to tell me with the serial #?

Mark Kane

Platinum Supporting Member
Here's the easiest way I know of. Wipe a little water on the board and then dry it off with a hairdrier or heatgun. Use common sense doing this as bad things can happen but done lightly it works fine. You should be able to smell the sort of chocolate/flowery smell if it's Braz. Disclainer, I've testeds this on probably a half dozen newer guitars and it worked every time. I haven't donw it with an old one though.


If you call Gibson with serial number, they will probably be able to tell you.

There are a few, very few guitars that had a Braz board put on them without record, employee type things, one offs....

Unless he is the original owner, and knows there is some sort of history to the guitar that could result in a undocumented Braz. board, then whatever Gibson tells you when you give them the serial is correct.

I personally think that its very easy to tell just by looking/feeling......much less porous, smooth feel almost like ebony, but that wont hold water if you are trying to sell it.


Platinum Supporting Member
BRW has very thin grain lines with very crisp edges. IRW has thick grain lines with more washed-out edges.


Heinz W

Genuine '66 Relic
Platinum Supporting Member
Gibson has also been using rosewood from Madagascar more recently, it looks more like Brazilian than the Indian does. I believe that's what my '07 R0 has. I'm assuming the stuff from Madagascar doesn't have the chocolately smell that true Brazilian does?

Mark? :D


Silver Supporting Member
You can't tell BRW from other rosewoods by looks alone. The smell test is by far the easiest way to detect BRW. I've never heard it described as a chocolate smell however. I've worked with a bunch of BRW blanks making bridges and BRW smells exactly like bubble gum. If you think about the old Bazooka gum from when you were a kid, BRW smells very much like that. Also, I've never had to add water to smell it. Just carefully scratch a part of the board with your fingernail and smell. If it smells like bubble gum, you can be fairly sure it's BRW, no other rosewood smells like that.


Scratching, wetting, smelling, licking, etc. is not going to positively ID it for you. Call Gibson and tell them the S/N. If it's not in their records as Brazilian you will never convince a buyer otherwise.

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