Indian or brazilian rosewood?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by Myron Stratis, Jul 22, 2004.


  1. Myron Stratis

    Myron Stratis Supporting Member

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    What would you choose for a Strat style guitar, alder body, SSH??? I want a ballsy, in-yer-face tone with high end detail but not TOO MUCH high end detail.:D Opinions???
     
  2. Taller

    Taller Member

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    I'm guessing you mean the fretboard, [and I'm no expert, but you did ask for opinions!] and I'd wager despite the hype you read on the internet, it does not make one iota of difference which variety of rosewood ends up on your fretboard in regards to making a difference in tone.
    I just have a hard time believing a strip of wood @ 1/4" thick or less is going to impact the tone in the way you describe.

    I'll look forward to being corrected by the masses!:rolleyes:
     
  3. aoguitars

    aoguitars Guest

    Between Indian and Brazilian, there really isn't the biggest difference in tone. Depending on the piece, BRW is usually a little more dense, so you're going to get some more balls. Its a toss up between the two. If you really want a huge difference and want to stay with a rosewood, check out some Honduras Rosewood--they use this stuff to make claves and percussion. The tap-tone is unbelievable--a HRW board will add some wonderful bell-like tones.
    Now as far as this goes, that 1/4" piece of wood has everything to do with tone starting with the attack of the note. I've built many guitars and basses with the same woods but different fingerboards, and it changes everything. It all depends on how you want the note to sound from attack to decay. Obviously, it also depends on body and neck woods, but fingerboard choice is a huge aspect in dialing in your tone. With an alder body, a maple board sounds amazing with an open, full, powerful tone, and the rosewood would add a warmth and roundess to the note. Wenge is powerful with a snap between RW and ebony and has a great midrange compression.
    When it comes down to it, its all up to your ears.
     
  4. Taller

    Taller Member

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    Being a Strat-head, I absolutely agree with your description of the effect different fingerboard woods have on the attack of a note - you're right...maple gives each note a more immediate attack than rosewood.

    However... the thread's starter is asking about the difference a 1/4" piece of XYZ ROSEWOOD makes on TONE.

    I stand by my earlier remarks.:cool:
     
  5. aoguitars

    aoguitars Guest

    I agree with you completely, Taller, and was in no means trying to dispell your remarks:)

    The main point is, that between RWs, tone won't completely change to extremes--overall tone has to do with every piece of wood that goes into that guitar.:dude
     
  6. Dan Erlewine

    Dan Erlewine Guest

    In my experience with a good deal of old Brazilian rosewood and some newer stuff, there is no comparison tone-wise. Indian is dull and clunky, Brazilian chimes even better than Honduras. It does make a big difference in tone IMO.

    Play a Martin D-28 and a D-21 from the same year and see for yourself. The D-28, with an ebony board and bridge, will be a clunker compared to the Brazilian board and bridge of the less-fancy D-21. Both will have Brazilian back and sides.

    I have pieces of Brazilian that sound so good when I suspend them and tap them, that I have never been able to bring myself to use them!

    It's the same with any old, legal ivory I have. Some are quite large teeth or tusks. I just look at hold them and look at them.

    Same with some plates of (illegal, I hope) tortoise shell that somebody gave me years ago. I just look at it.

    Tap an Indian bridge blank vs: a Brazilian one and decide for yourself. (You must practice holding a piece of wood in the right spot in order to hear what it offers. Change where you hold or tap it, and the tone changes.

    de
     
  7. dave251

    dave251 Member

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    I've been using cocobolo(Mexican rosewood, Dahlbergia retusa) on my guitars for the fretboards, tailpieces, and peghead overlays. Beautiful wood. And it seems to be heavier/harder than Brazilian. I think it sounds great, at least in my application.

    It's also relatively inexpensive as compared to EIR, and especially BR.

    Here's a short article

    They do mention a gluing problem; but I've had none in about 20 necks done so far. Of late I've been getting my boards from Luthier's Mercantile, and I must say they do an outstanding job of shipping a well cured FB.

    I will also usually prefer any rosewood over ebony for tone's sake...I find ebony to also be prone to checking, regardless of the "cure" of the wood before construction. As far as playing wear...this cocobolo seems to be just about as hard...it is usually MORE dense than ebony. On my fretless basses I've been using ebony, or pao ferro...the next one will have cocobolo, just to find out how durable it really is.
     
  8. drezdin

    drezdin Member

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    Mr. Erlewine,
    since BRW has become so expensive, can you recommend an alternative that sounds close to or just as good? pau ferro? cocobolo?

    thanks
     
  9. Dan Erlewine

    Dan Erlewine Guest

    . . . recommend one. I have seen, hefted, and smelled these woods, and even cut some. I haven't made anything significant from them, therefore I don't know.

    I know that the other rosewoods mentioned here are pretty, and good. I, too, am not a big ebony fan (but sometimes). I like Brazilian, and well-aged. It has a tone of its own. I won't say better or worse, of course, but it I love it best so far. I think I'd like snakewood also.

    I have enough good Brazilian rosewood to last some time — but just for bridges, and not that long. Fingerboards I have to buy. Soon I will stock up on some BR bridge blanks, too.

    nice talking, dan
     
  10. THebert

    THebert Member

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    I have a cu24 with a indian rosewood board and I have a ble24 with a brazilian board. As Dan says, the brazilian is brighter (more bell like). FWIW
     
  11. scott

    scott Supporting Member

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    Ive used lots of BRW , IRW and Coco Bolo. I like BRW, I dont even use IRW anymore. Coco Bolo can sound very similar to BRW but it depends on the piece. It is very dense and smooth. it feels killer.

    Dan - it cool to have someone of you caliber here. Id love to pick you brain one of these days.







    www.heatleyguitars.com
     

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