Mahogany or Rosewood back and sides?

Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by JJK, Sep 1, 2008.

  1. JJK

    JJK Member

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    Which wood is more versatile?

    I have decided to buy a Blueridge, either a BR-163 or BR-143/243. The 163 has Indian Rosewood back and sides while the others have Mahogany back and sides. Which wood would be good for strumming and fingerpicking? I do a bit of both. I was initially going to just get the 163 but now I'm not sure. Any help would be appreciated! Thanks!
     
  2. Lawn Jockey

    Lawn Jockey Member

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    Two completely different animals to be sure.

    Mahogany has extremely nice balance across the tonal spectrum. Punchy, yet balanced, woody. Good choice for fingerstyle or flatpicking.

    Rosewood has awesome natural overtones, deeper bass response, and is arguably louder than mahogany. My choice for fingerstyle.

    Either would be great......so my answer is........



    GET BOTH.

    Congrats.....and let us know what you wind up with.:BEER
     
  3. nmiller

    nmiller Drowning in lap steels Silver Supporting Member

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    The rosewood might give extra clarity and note definition, while the mahogany would probably warm up the tone. Mahogany is a classic wood for blues fingerpicking (lots of thump), but rosewood adds nice clarity to folky picking. The rosewood might be considered to be more "versitile" by some, but that's really subjective.
     
  4. JJK

    JJK Member

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    Thanks for the help guys! I'm probably going with the 163 which has rosewood.
     
  5. jpfeiff

    jpfeiff Member

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    I prefer mahogany--can't say exactly why, but I've played them both and always tend to prefer mahogany. Seems to get a little less "muddy" sounding to me ears, especially when going for volume. I tend to pick pretty hard...
     
  6. JJK

    JJK Member

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    I don't know which to get! It's a choice between the 243 and 163. The type of stuff I play on the acoustic varies, James Taylor, Tommy Emmanuel, John Mayer, Clapton, bluesy stuff, jazz, everything really.
     
  7. coldfingaz

    coldfingaz Member

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    JJK, can you play them both... or at least get to a shop & A/B some other guitars that are mahogany vs. rosewood back/sides?

    Personally, I think mahogany is more versatile and easier to reel in tonally. Rosewood is very lively with all sorts of natural overtones going on. Both definitely have their place, but I'd suggest you try some if you possibly can before making a final decision. Either way, you'll have one very nice Blueridge!
     
  8. JJK

    JJK Member

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    Unfortunately the closest shop in my area that carries them is like 45 minutes to an hour away. I'm just going to buy the guitar at www.maurysmusic.com, I heard good things about the site.
     
  9. coldfingaz

    coldfingaz Member

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    Maury is great, be sure to get his opinion on which guitar might suit you best
     
  10. JJK

    JJK Member

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    Wow I was just going through the site more and I found the video clips of the guitars. The 163 with the rosewood sounded so warm and full to my ears. I mean, the 243 clip sounded great too...this is a hard choice!
     
  11. GuitarsFromMars

    GuitarsFromMars Member

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    neither,i have one of each...
     
  12. Lawn Jockey

    Lawn Jockey Member

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    Maury is awesome. He does some legendary set-ups too.
     
  13. bazooka47

    bazooka47 Member

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    Sounds as if the rosewood is what you would like.

    I have played rw guitars (Gibson AJ, D-28, Goodall Standard) for years, believing that they were the "top shelf" instruments, and that mahogany was somehow for "less expensive" guitars- until I bought a mahogany dred (Collings D1A). Then, for a long time I considered the D1A my "go to" guitar, but now I try to play them all. I now have other guitars made from both woods.

    Bottom line is, they are both great sounding woods. For fingerpicking and strumming, I would begin with rosewood.

    The best part of it is, you can always get a 'hog guitar later and have both!
     
  14. chewynodoubt

    chewynodoubt Senior Member

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    to my ears Mahogany records best. I love hearing the complexity of rosewood but I fear it is lost in a recording and muddy
     
  15. johneeeveee

    johneeeveee Member

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    I actually find it to be the other way around as far as definition goes. Rosewood seems to be more lush with harmonic overtones, while Mahogany is more dry and woody with better note separation.

    As always, sound is subjective, so trust your own ears :). Every guitar is different.

    Peace - jv
     
  16. royd

    royd Member

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    JJK,

    Back in 1999, my cedar/rosewood Lowden was stolen. I ordered a new custom Lowden to take it's place but it was going to take 6 months to get it. A friend loaned me a cedar/mahogany Lowden of the same size and shape for the 6 months.

    At first I didn't care for the mahogany guitar but by the time my rosewood was due, I wasn't sure that I wanted to give the mahogany guitar back. As soon as I played the rosewood, I knew it was the guitar for me, but I still wish I could have kept both (actually I wish I still had the original but that is another story).

    Now I realize that I'm talking about two specific guitars that are very different than the ones you're considering but I think there is something about them that translates to the woods... Here's how I would characterize those two guitars:

    the mahogany was very in your face, beautiful and immediate - kind of like a Victoria Secrets model (excuse any misogyny here). It grabbed your attention but wasn't particularly deep or elegant.

    The rosewood was more subtle, richer, more complex, less immediate... more like a classic Catherine Deneuve kind of beauty. You hear it and think, that is beautiful but the more you listen the more you realize, that is amazing.

    I think the mahogany sound might work better in an ensemble because it is more simple and direct and likely cuts through the mix better and doesn't muddy up the mix. For solo playing, I prefer the richness of the rosewood which gives you a broader pallet IMHO. As soon as I say that, I realize many solo players use mahogany. Pierre Bensusan played a mahogany guitar for years.

    Bottom line - You can make any guitar work as long as it is one that inspires you.
     
  17. JSeth

    JSeth Member

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    I'd opt for mahoghony over Indian rosewood for versatility - you might want to check out a different shape of guitar other than a dreadnought if you like to play fingerstyle. I have found that a more "auditorium" shape (or a 000 shape in a Martin) suits my ears more than a dread does...
    After 20 years of playing dreadnoughts (or similar), I bought a hand-made Mark Angus guitar, basically the shape of a Guild F-40, and I love it!!! Even after nearly 30 years of owning it, the sound and shape still fit... btw, I also opted for maple back and sides - love the stronger mids as opposed to rosewood...
     
  18. doublee

    doublee Member

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  19. solitaire

    solitaire Senior Member

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    2nd me to that. Though mahogany may have a slightly fuzzy tang it's definately the brightest tonewood in common use today. Rosewood is clearer per se, but have none of the treble response and hence separation mahogany has. Then it also depends on the maker/ manufacturer of the instrument, shape and size, strings used...

    I would generally go with phosphor bronze strings with mahogany and 80/20s with RW. Maple is kind of an in-between and is brighter than RW and is the most transparent wood in popular use.

    Many would feel mahogany is a bluesy tonewood with lots of attitude, whilst RW is more majestic and grand piano like in its tone.
     
  20. johneeeveee

    johneeeveee Member

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    ... and of course, the top wood is going to have a big impact on sound as well.

    I suggest that you go play as many guitars as you can.

    Good luck in your search - jv
     

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