When it comes to resonant and rich sound, rosewood is at the top of the best tonewoods list.
Popular acoustic guitars are made of it, and many high-end electrics feature a rosewood fretboard.
Rosewood is a popular tonewood for electric guitar bodies, necks, and fretboards, but it’s an endangered wood and quite rare these days.
So, what does rosewood sound like?
Generally, rosewood guitars produce a full-bodied sound with a pronounced midrange and a strong bass response. The treble notes are typically clear and well-defined without being overly bright or harsh. This balanced tonal response makes rosewood guitars suitable for various playing styles and musical genres.
In this article, I’ll dive into what it is, its uses, and why it’s so popular among guitarists.
What is rosewood?
Rosewood is a hardwood known for its beautiful and distinct color and grain patterns.
It’s commonly used in the production of musical instruments, particularly guitars, and is highly regarded as a tonewood due to its excellent acoustic properties.
Rosewood tonewood is used in the construction of the back and sides of acoustic guitars, providing a warm, rich sound with excellent sustain and projection.
The wood’s density and hardness also contribute to its ability to produce clear and articulate notes, making it a popular choice among guitar makers and players alike.
Rosewood tonewood is a hardwood with open pores, which offers a bodied and warm tone with remarkable resonance, sustain, and volume.
It’s commonly used for fretboards, acoustic guitar backs and sides, and solid bodies.
There are different types of rosewood tonewood, including East Indian and Brazilian, and they all have their own unique characteristics.
East Indian rosewood has a medium texture and small pores, with interlocked grain that makes it relatively difficult to work with.
It varies in color from golden brown to deep purple-brown, with dark brown streaks.
Brazilian rosewood, on the other hand, varies in color from dark brown to purplish reddish brown, with black streaks.
Both types of rosewood tonewood offer a superb reverberant bass response, notable warmth, and sustain.
The high end is remarkably bright and beautiful, with articulation in the midrange frequencies.
It’s considered “scooped,” which means it contributes to the cleanliness of the tonewoods’ low end.
Other types of tonewoods are sometimes called rosewoods, but they technically belong to different genera.
- Santos rosewood
- African rosewood
- Bolivian rosewood
- Caribbean rosewood
While they may share some characteristics with true rosewoods, they have their own unique qualities.
However, due to concerns about sustainability and environmental impact, the use of some species of rosewood has been restricted in recent years, leading to the development of alternative tonewoods.
Rosewood is a popular choice for making electric and acoustic guitars because of its excellent tonal properties, durability, and beauty.
As a tonewood, rosewood is valued for its ability to produce a warm, rich sound with excellent sustain and projection.
It’s a dense hardwood, which means it can provide a solid foundation for the guitar’s sound while also allowing for a good balance of treble, midrange, and bass frequencies.
Did you know that rosewood has the most sustain? That’s partly why guitar players like it so much.
In addition to its acoustic properties, rosewood is highly durable, resistant to wear and tear, and can withstand the rigors of regular playing and touring.
This makes it a reliable and long-lasting material for guitar construction.
It’s no wonder some of the best vintage guitars are made with some rosewood components (usually fretboard).
These instruments have lasted for decades, and they still sound amazing!
Finally, rosewood is also prized for its natural beauty, with a distinct color and grain pattern that can vary depending on the species of rosewood used.
This makes rosewood guitars highly sought after by musicians and collectors alike.
The combination of tonal properties, durability, and aesthetic appeal make rosewood an excellent choice for guitar construction, both for acoustic and electric models.
What does rosewood sound like?
Rosewood guitars are known for their warm, rich, and complex sound.
The specific tone of a rosewood guitar can vary depending on the particular type of rosewood used, as well as the other materials and construction techniques used in the guitar’s design.
Generally, rosewood guitars produce a full-bodied sound with a pronounced midrange and a strong bass response.
The treble notes are typically clear and well-defined without being overly bright or harsh.
This balanced tonal response makes rosewood guitars suitable for various playing styles and musical genres.
In particular, Brazilian rosewood is highly sought after for its distinctive and highly prized sound.
It produces a rich, complex tone with plenty of sustain and strong bass response.
However, due to concerns about sustainability and environmental impact, the use of Brazilian rosewood in guitar production is now highly regulated and restricted.
Other types of rosewood, such as Indian and Madagascar rosewood, are also valued for their tonal properties and are more commonly used in guitar production today.
What types of rosewood are used to make guitars?
Several types of rosewood are commonly used to make guitars. These include:
- Brazilian Rosewood (Dalbergia nigra): This is one of the most prized tonewoods for guitars due to its rich, complex tone and beautiful appearance. However, it is now protected under international trade laws and is extremely rare and expensive.
- Indian Rosewood (Dalbergia latifolia): Indian Rosewood is a popular tonewood for guitars due to its warm, balanced tone and attractive appearance. It is also more readily available than Brazilian Rosewood.
- Madagascar Rosewood (Dalbergia baronii): This rosewood species has a similar tonal profile to Brazilian and Indian Rosewood and is often used as a substitute for the more rare species.
- Cocobolo (Dalbergia retusa): Cocobolo is a dense, oily rosewood species prized for its rich, warm tone and striking visual appearance.
- East Indian Rosewood (Dalbergia sissoo): This is another type of Indian rosewood that is sometimes used for guitar backs and sides. It has a similar tonal profile to Indian Rosewood but is less expensive.
- Honduran Rosewood (Dalbergia stevensonii): This rosewood species is sometimes used for guitar backs and sides due to its warm, mellow tone and attractive appearance. However, it is also protected under international trade laws and is becoming increasingly rare.
Is rosewood a good electric guitar tonewood?
Before we dive into whether rosewood is a good electric guitar tonewood, let’s first talk about the importance of tonewoods in electric guitars.
The type of wood used in an electric guitar can have a significant impact on its overall sound.
The wood affects the resonance, sustain, and tone of the guitar, which is why choosing the right tonewood is crucial.
Rosewood is a popular tonewood choice for electric guitar fretboards, and for good reason.
Here are the main reasons why rosewood is a good electric guitar tonewood:
- Warm tone: Rosewood is known for its warm tone, which makes it an excellent choice for players who want a rich, full sound.
- Great balance: Rosewood offers a great balance between high and low frequencies, making it a versatile tonewood choice.
- Smooth fretboard: Rosewood is a smooth and comfortable material for guitar fretboards, which can make playing more enjoyable.
- Natural oil: Rosewood has natural oils that make it resistant to wear and tear, which means it can last for years without needing much maintenance.
While rosewood is a great tonewood choice for electric guitars, it’s important to note that it’s not ideal for every part of the guitar.
Here’s how rosewood is used in electric guitar construction by luthiers:
- Fretboards: Rosewood is a popular choice for electric guitar fretboards because of its smooth feel and warm tone. It gives a rich, complex tone that’s excellent for rock!
- Bodies: While rosewood is rarely used as a body material for electric guitars due to its weight and expense, it can be a great choice for hollow body designs that require a complex, warm tone.
- Necks: Rosewood is rarely used as a neck material for electric guitars because it can add significant weight to the guitar. It can offer a smooth overall sound, especially when paired with a brighter fretboard material.
Examples of electric guitars with rosewood tonewood
If you’re looking for electric guitars that feature rosewood tonewood, here are some examples to consider:
- Fender American Professional II Stratocaster: This solid-body electric guitar features a rosewood fretboard and a maple fretboard option.
- PRS SE Custom 24: This solid-body electric guitar features a rosewood fretboard.
- Gibson Custom 1963 Firebird: This solid-body electric guitar features an Indian rosewood fretboard.
- Ibanez Premium RG6PKAG: This solid-body electric guitar features a rosewood fretboard.
- Godin Radium: This solid-body electric guitar features a rosewood fretboard.
- Fender Tom Morello Stratocaster: This signature modern Strat features a rosewood fretboard.
In conclusion, rosewood is a great tonewood choice for electric guitar fretboards and can offer a warm, balanced tone.
While it’s not ideal for every part of the guitar, it can be a great choice for players who want a smooth, comfortable playing experience.
Is rosewood a good acoustic guitar tonewood?
Rosewood is an excellent tonewood for acoustic guitars and has been the industry standard for decades.
It offers a beautiful warmth and articulation to the guitar tone, with superb low end, brilliant high end, and rich, subtle mids.
The sound of rosewood is warm, with high-end sounds dampened, making it an excellent tonewood for acoustic guitar bodies.
Popular choice for backs and sides
Rosewood is highly sought after and a popular option for acoustic and classical guitar backs and sides.
It is relatively easy to bend, durable, and stable when bent.
The East Indian rosewood is a preferred variety thanks to its superb tone, easy bendability, strength, and low price compared to Brazilian rosewood.
Examples of acoustic & classical guitars with rosewood
- Taylor 814ce Acoustic with East Indian rosewood sides and Sitka spruce top
- Yamaha LL TA Acoustic with rosewood sides and Engelmann spruce top
- Cordoba C12 CD Classical with Indian rosewood sides and Canadian cedar top
- Lakewood D Rosewood Gallery Wood CS with rosewood back and sides
- Takamine Legacy EF508KC Acoustic with rosewood fretboard
- Yamaha APXT2EW Acoustic with rosewood fretboard
Rosewood as a fretboard tonewood
Rosewood is also a popular and sought-after tonewood for acoustic guitar fretboards.
Its density, hardness, and stability make it a durable material that feels great to play on.
Its tone is superbly balanced, with brighter tonewoods being more articulate.
Rosewood as a neck material
While rosewood is rarely used as a neck material for acoustic guitars, it can offer a smooth overall sound, especially when paired with a brighter fretboard material.
Yamaha is one of the few companies that use rosewood for their acoustic guitar necks, with most other manufacturers opting for laminated materials, typically mahogany.
In conclusion, rosewood is an excellent tonewood for acoustic guitars, offering warmth, articulation, and a superb balanced tone.
It is highly sought after and a popular option for backs, sides, fretboards, and necks.
Is rosewood a good bass guitar tonewood?
Rosewood is a popular tonewood for bass guitars due to its warm and deep sound. The wood offers a rich low end that is perfect for bass guitars.
The sound is deep but clear and articulate, making it an excellent choice for bass players who want their notes to be heard.
Players say that they get scooped mids with rosewood basses.
Rosewood is a versatile tonewood that can be used for different genres of music. It offers a brilliant high-end perfect for playing rock or metal music.
The wood also has subtle mids ideal for playing jazz or blues.
This versatility makes rosewood an excellent choice for bass players who want to explore different genres of music.
Rosewood is a durable wood that can withstand the wear and tear of regular use. It is a dense wood that is resistant to scratches and dents.
This durability makes rosewood an excellent choice for bass players who want a guitar that can last for decades.
It’s also important to note that rosewood is a beautiful wood that adds to the aesthetics of a bass guitar.
The wood has a rich, dark color that looks stunning on a bass guitar.
The grain patterns on rosewood are also unique, making each bass guitar made from rosewood a one-of-a-kind instrument.
Rosewood has been the industry standard for bass guitar tonewood for decades.
Many famous bass players have used bass guitars made from rosewood, including Jaco Pastorius, Marcus Miller, and Victor Wooten.
This shows the popularity and reliability of rosewood as a tonewood for bass guitars.
In conclusion, rosewood is an excellent tonewood for bass guitars.
It offers warmth, depth, versatility, durability, and aesthetics that make it a popular choice among bass players.
Why is rosewood is an excellent fretboard/fingerboard wood?
If you inspect guitars closely, you’ll notice many have a rosewood fretboard. And there’s a good reason for this.
Rosewood is a dense and stable wood that has been a popular choice for fingerboards in the guitar industry for decades.
It is often compared to ebony, another popular fingerboard material, but rosewood is more affordable and easier to work with.
Some of the reasons why rosewood is a popular choice for fingerboards include:
- It adds a slightly warmer tone to the guitar, which is highly desirable for many guitarists.
- It adds a different feel to the touch, which can affect the guitar’s playability.
- It is a durable wood that can withstand years of use without showing significant wear and tear.
Rosewood is often used for guitar fingerboards because of its desirable tonal characteristics, durability, and smooth texture.
In terms of tone, rosewood is known for producing warm, rich, and complex overtones that complement the sound of most guitars.
It has a naturally oily texture which helps prevent wear and tear over time, making it a great choice for fingerboards that are constantly in contact with the player’s fingers.
Compared to other woods like maple or pau ferro, rosewood is also less likely to develop grooves or scratches from fretting and playing, making it a more durable choice for fingerboards.
It is also relatively easy to work with for luthiers, allowing them to shape and carve the fingerboard to precise dimensions.
While maple and pau ferro can also produce great tones and unique qualities, rosewood remains a popular choice for guitar fingerboards due to its tonal characteristics, durability, and workability.
In this section, I’ll compare rosewood to some other popular tonewoods so you can learn a bit about the differences.
Rosewood vs Koa
Ah, the age-old debate of rosewood vs koa.
It’s like trying to choose between chocolate and vanilla ice cream – both are delicious, but which is better?
Let’s dive into the differences between these two woods and see if we can come to a conclusion.
First up, we have rosewood. This wood is known for its rich, warm tone and is often used in high-end guitars.
It’s a dense wood, which means it can produce a lot of sustain and resonance. Plus, it looks pretty darn good too.
However, rosewood is becoming harder to come by due to regulations on harvesting endangered species.
So, if you’re looking for a guitar with rosewood, you might have to shell out some serious cash.
On the other hand, we have koa.
This wood is native to Hawaii and is known for its bright, clear tone. It’s a lighter wood than rosewood, which means it can produce a more delicate sound.
Plus, koa is a sustainable wood, so you can feel good about your purchase.
However, koa can be a bit more finicky to work with, which means it might not be as readily available as rosewood.
So, which one is better? It really depends on your personal preference.
If you’re looking for a guitar with a warm, rich tone, rosewood might be the way to go. But if you want something with a bright, clear sound, koa could be the winner.
Ultimately, both woods are great options and will produce a beautiful sound. So, go ahead and pick your favorite flavor – you can’t go wrong with either one.
Rosewood vs maple tonewood
Let’s start with rosewood. This dark and beautiful wood is known for its warm, rich sound.
It’s often used in the backs and sides of guitars, and can add depth and complexity to a guitar’s tone. It’s like the chocolate syrup in a sundae – it just makes everything better.
On the other hand, we have maple. This light-colored wood is known for its bright, snappy sound.
It’s often used in the necks and bodies of guitars and can add clarity and definition to a guitar’s tone.
It’s like the whipped cream on top of the sundae – it adds a little something extra, but it’s not for everyone.
So, which one is better? Well, that’s like asking if chocolate syrup or whipped cream is better. It all depends on your personal taste.
If you like a warm, rich sound, go for rosewood. If you prefer a bright, snappy sound, go for maple.
Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, try a combination of both!
It’s like adding sprinkles to your sundae – it might seem weird, but it could be the perfect combination for you.
In the end, it’s all about finding the tonewood that speaks to you. So go out there, try some guitars, and find your perfect sundae. I mean, guitar.
Rosewood vs mahogany tonewood
First up, we have rosewood. This bad boy is known for its warm, rich tones. It’s like a cozy blanket for your ears.
Rosewood is also pretty dense, which means it can handle some serious vibrations. So, if you’re a shredder, this might be the wood for you.
On the other hand, we have mahogany. This wood is like the cool kid in school. It’s got a bit of edge to it, with a punchy, mid-range sound.
Mahogany is also a bit lighter than rosewood, which means it’s easier to handle for those long jam sessions.
Now, I don’t want to start a turf war here, but there are some key differences between these two woods.
For starters, rosewood is a bit more expensive than mahogany. It’s like the caviar of tonewoods.
Mahogany, on the other hand, is more like the pizza of tonewoods. It’s affordable and everyone loves it.
Another difference is the look of the wood. Rosewood has a darker, reddish-brown hue, while mahogany is more of a warm, reddish-brown color.
Rosewood vs alder tonewood
Now, rosewood is like the fancy pants of tonewoods. It’s exotic, beautiful, and has a rich, warm tone. It’s like the caviar of tonewoods.
Alder, on the other hand, is more like the everyday Joe of tonewoods. It’s reliable, versatile, and has a balanced tone.
But let’s get into the nitty-gritty. Rosewood is a dense and heavy wood, which gives it that deep, resonant tone.
It’s perfect for those who want to play blues or jazz, where you need that warm, mellow sound.
On the other hand, alder is lighter and more porous, giving it a brighter, more articulate tone.
It’s great for those who want to play rock or pop, where you need that punchy, clear sound.
Now, let’s talk about looks. Rosewood is like the supermodel of tonewoods. It has a beautiful, dark grain that looks stunning on any guitar.
Alder, on the other hand, is more like the girl-next-door of tonewoods. It’s not as flashy, but it’s still attractive in its own way.
But here’s the thing, folks. It’s not just about looks and sound. It’s also about sustainability.
Rosewood is a highly sought-after wood, which means it’s often over-harvested. This can lead to deforestation and the destruction of habitats.
Alder, on the other hand, is a more sustainable option.
It’s widely available and grows quickly, which means it can be harvested without causing harm to the environment.
Is rosewood the best tonewood?
There’s a constant debate among guitarists about whether rosewood is the best tonewood.
Well, in the past, many guitars were made out of rosewood parts but now since this wood is endangered, it’s no longer as popular.
So even if it’s a great tonewood, is it the best overall?
Well, let me tell you, it’s definitely up there in the ranks. Rosewood has a characteristic floral scent and is ideal for the backs and sides of guitars.
It’s a dense and heavy wood, which means it sinks in water (unlike some of us after a few too many drinks).
This density also contributes to its warm and resonant tones, making it a popular choice for guitar construction.
Now, when it comes to choosing the right wood for your guitar, there are a lot of factors to consider.
The wood you choose for the body, neck, and fretboard can all contribute to the overall playability, feel, and of course, tone of the instrument.
Rosewood is an excellent choice for the body and fretboard, as it offers a warm and bodied tone with remarkable resonance and sustain.
But, it’s important to note that there are many different types of rosewood out there, each with their own unique characteristics.
Some of the most common types used in guitar construction include East Indian, Brazilian, and Madagascar rosewood.
Each of these has its own color variations and grain patterns, which can affect the overall look and sound of the guitar.
So, is rosewood the best tonewood? Well, that’s a tough question to answer definitively. It really depends on what you’re looking for in terms of tone and playability.
But, if you’re looking for a warm and resonant tone with great sustain and volume, rosewood is definitely worth considering.
If you’re looking for an electric guitar for rock and heavy metal, a rosewood fretboard is good to have but not necessary.
Rosewood is a versatile tonewood that can be used in a variety of musical genres but it’s better for some.
Its warm, rich tone and complex overtones make it a popular choice for guitarists who play styles such as blues, jazz, and acoustic fingerstyle.
In blues music, for example, the warm and woody tone of a rosewood guitar can help to create the soulful, expressive sound that is characteristic of the genre.
Similarly, in jazz music, the richness and complexity of the tone can add depth and nuance to chord progressions and solos.
In acoustic fingerstyle music, rosewood is often favored for its ability to produce a balanced and responsive tone across the entire frequency spectrum.
This can be especially important for fingerstyle guitarists who rely on a wide range of techniques and playing styles to create their music.
That being said, it’s important to note that the choice of tonewood for a guitar is just one factor that can influence its sound.
The player’s technique, the guitar’s construction and setup, and other factors can all play a role in determining the final sound of the instrument.
Ultimately, the best musical genre for a rosewood guitar will depend on the preferences and playing style of the individual musician.
Just make sure you do your research and choose the right type of rosewood for your needs.
What are the advantages of rosewood tonewood?
Rosewood necks provide great sustain and smoothening highs, giving your guitar a brighter end.
Plus, rosewood mutes high frequency overtones, producing a strong fundamental sound with complexities in the mid and low overtones.
It’s a good tonewood for electric, acoustic, and bass guitars.
Rosewood is a hard tonewood with open pores that offers a warm, bodied tone with remarkable resonance, sustain, and volume.
It’s commonly used for fretboards, acoustic guitar backs and sides, and solid bodies. The construction of guitars and basses with rosewood is definitely worth investigating.
There are different types of rosewood, and the most common ones used in guitars are East Indian, Brazilian, and Madagascar rosewoods.
Each type has its own unique characteristics and tonal qualities.
For instance, East Indian rosewood has a medium texture with small pores and interlocked grain, making it relatively difficult to work with.
Brazilian rosewood, on the other hand, has a dark brown purplish reddish brown color with a dense interlocked grain, making it superb for reverberant bass response and warmth.
In summary, the advantages of rosewood tonewood are its great sustain, smoothening highs, muting of high frequency overtones, and warm, bodied tone with remarkable resonance, sustain, and volume.
It’s a good tonewood for electric, acoustic, and bass guitars, and each type of rosewood has its own unique characteristics and tonal qualities.
So, if you want to rock out with a sweet sound, go for rosewood tonewood!
What are the disadvantages of rosewood tonewood?
Alright, folks, let’s talk about the downsides of rosewood tonewood.
Now, don’t get me wrong, rosewood is a beautiful and unique-looking wood that produces a rich and bright sound in acoustic guitars.
However, it does come with a few cons.
Firstly, rosewood is usually more expensive and rarer than other tonewoods like mahogany.
This means that if you want a rosewood guitar, you might have to shell out some serious cash.
Additionally, there are frequent restrictions placed on the export of rosewood due to its endangered status, which can make it difficult to get your hands on.
Another downside of rosewood is that it can sound a bit heavy when strummed, which may not be ideal for all players.
It also has a slightly scooped mid-range and bass emphasis, which can make it less suitable for certain music styles.
Finally, it’s worth noting that rosewood guitars may not be as loud as other tonewoods, which could be a dealbreaker for some players.
Is rosewood still used to make guitars even though it’s endangered?
Yes, rosewood is still used to make guitars, but the use of certain species of rosewood, including Brazilian Rosewood (Dalbergia nigra), is highly regulated and restricted under international trade laws due to concerns over illegal logging and the conservation of endangered species.
To comply with these regulations, many guitar manufacturers have switched to using alternative tonewoods, such as Indian Rosewood (Dalbergia latifolia), which is still available in regulated quantities, or other sustainable tonewoods like ebony, maple, and mahogany.
However, some luthiers and guitar enthusiasts still prefer the sound and aesthetic qualities of Brazilian Rosewood and other rare species of rosewood.
They may seek out legal sources of these woods for use in their instruments.
In these cases, it’s important to ensure that the wood has been obtained legally and sustainably, and that all necessary permits and certifications have been obtained.
Why is rosewood restricted?
It all goes back to colonial times in Brazil when there was excessive harvesting of certain species in the Atlantic Forest.
This led to extreme endangerment of certain species, including the Brazilian rosewood, which is now included in the CITES Appendix indicating it’s at the highest level of protection.
Rosewood is restricted because of concerns over illegal logging and the conservation of endangered species.
The high demand for rosewood as a tonewood for guitars, as well as for other uses such as furniture and decorative items, has led to overexploitation and illegal logging in many parts of the world.
Several species of rosewood, including Brazilian Rosewood (Dalbergia nigra), have been listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which regulates the international trade of endangered species.
This means that the import, export, and commercial trade of Brazilian Rosewood and other protected species of rosewood is highly regulated and restricted.
The restrictions on rosewood trade aim to protect these endangered species from further decline and promote sustainable forestry practices.
While the restrictions have caused some disruption to the guitar industry and other industries that rely on rosewood, they are an important step in preserving these valuable resources for future generations.
Fast forward to 2017, and a bizarre amendment to an international treaty threw American guitar makers into a panic.
The treaty was updated to impose permit requirements for products containing rosewood crossing borders, making it contraband.
This caused major confusion and losses for instrument companies, with turnaround times for permits stretching for months. As a result, American guitar exports plummeted.
But don’t worry, there’s good news!
In October 2019, CITES amended the treaty to exempt finished musical instruments containing rosewood, minus Brazilian rosewood, which has been banned since 1992.
So, you can still enjoy the natural oils and stunning dark grain of rosewood in your instruments without worrying about legality or paperwork.
Why did Fender stop using rosewood?
So, you might wonder why Fender, one of the biggest guitar manufacturers, stopped using rosewood in their guitars and basses.
Well, it all has to do with some new laws that were passed in 2017.
These laws require big manufacturers to use sustainable woods and have certification for them when trading across borders.
Rosewood, unfortunately, doesn’t meet these requirements.
But don’t worry, Fender isn’t just sitting around twiddling their thumbs. They’ve started exploring alternative woods to use instead of rosewood.
In fact, they’ve officially stopped using rosewood in their guitars and basses since the summer of 2017.
They’re now using woods like pau ferro and ebony, which are just as great for making guitars.
Fender is committed to continuing to use rosewood in their American solid body guitars and American professional series.
Still, they’re also actively exploring other wood options for selective use in their models transitioning from Mexico.
They want to make sure they’re complying with the new laws while still delivering the best quality products to their customers.
So, there you have it! Fender had to stop using rosewood because of new laws, but they’re still making amazing guitars with other woods.
Keep on rockin’!
When was rosewood banned for guitars?
So, you might be wondering when the heck rosewood was banned for guitars, right?
Well, let me tell you, it all started back in 1967 when Brazilian rosewood became heavily regulated due to concerns about the precious hardwood being wiped out.
This wood was super popular for instruments and other wood products, but the Brazilian government was worried about it disappearing.
So, they outlawed the export of rosewood logs.
Fast forward to 2019, and the ban has finally been lifted!
The CITES committee revised the trading restrictions on rosewood, allowing finished instruments and parts to be traded freely.
This is great news for musicians who were afraid of having their beloved instruments confiscated and destroyed at international borders.
But, just because the ban has been lifted doesn’t mean we should go crazy and start using rosewood without a care in the world.
We still need to be conscious of the impact our use of this wood has on the environment.
Plus, the trade of raw rosewood material is still regulated and subject to permits granted by individual countries.
So, let’s celebrate the lifting of the ban, but also remember to use rosewood responsibly and think about the long-term impact on our planet. Rock on!
How can you tell if a guitar is rosewood?
So, you want to know how to tell if a guitar is made of rosewood?
It’s not as easy as just taking a quick glance. You see, rosewood is generally dark brown or black in color and has a nice texture to it.
But, there are also exotic types of rosewood, like cocobolo, that can add vibrant red colors and ziricote that can add a beautiful yellow mix to guitars.
Now, you might be wondering, “How can I tell if it’s really rosewood or just some other type of wood that looks similar?”
Well, the best way to know for sure is to do a little research and look for the specific characteristics of rosewood.
For example, rosewood’s distinct grain pattern sets it apart from other woods.
But, if you’re not a wood expert, don’t worry! You can always ask the guitar manufacturer or seller if the guitar is made of rosewood.
They should be able to tell you the type of wood used in the fretboard.
And, if you’re really unsure, you can always take the guitar to a professional and have them take a closer look.
In the end, it’s important to remember that the type of wood used in a guitar’s fretboard can have an impact on the overall tone and playability of the instrument.
So, if you’re a serious musician looking for the perfect sound, it’s worth taking the time to research and choose the right type of wood for your guitar.
Does Brazilian rosewood sound better?
Alright, folks, let’s talk about Brazilian rosewood and whether it sounds better than other woods.
First of all, Brazilian rosewood is a type of hardwood that is commonly used in making guitars.
It has long been seen as the pièce de résistance of fingerboard and acoustic body woods, with superior looks and tone.
However, there are also other varieties of rosewood that are considered just as good.
Now, some people might argue that Brazilian rosewood is better than other types of rosewood, but the truth is that the difference is pretty subtle.
In fact, even experienced listeners might not be able to tell the difference in a blind test.
Brazilian rosewood is harder and more expensive, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it sounds better.
In fact, Indian rosewood is often considered a more sensible choice as an alternative tonewood.
It might be slightly different in terms of tone, but it’s not necessarily better or worse than Brazilian rosewood.
Plus, Indian rosewood is far more readily available and doesn’t come with the same legal restrictions as Brazilian rosewood.
The design of the guitar and the skill of the builder will have a far greater influence on the end result than the species of wood chosen.
Are rosewood guitars expensive?
The price of a rosewood guitar can vary widely depending on the quality of the wood, the level of craftsmanship involved in the guitar’s construction, and the reputation and brand of the guitar maker.
In general, guitars made with high-quality rosewood and crafted by skilled luthiers tend to be more expensive than mass-produced guitars or those made with lower-quality woods.
In addition, the use of certain species of rosewood, such as Brazilian Rosewood, is highly regulated and restricted, which can further increase the price of a guitar made with these woods.
That being said, there are still many affordable rosewood guitars available on the market, particularly those made with alternative species of rosewood or other sustainable tonewoods.
Rosewood is a popular tonewood for guitars and other musical instruments due to its warm, rich tone and complex overtones.
The wood’s density and hardness allow it to produce a bright, sustain-rich sound with plenty of volume and projection.
In addition to its tonal qualities, rosewood is also a durable and stable wood that is resistant to wear and tear, making it an ideal choice for use in fingerboards, bridges, and other guitar parts that are frequently touched and played.
Its naturally oily texture also provides a smooth playing surface for guitarists and contributes to the wood’s longevity.
Rosewood’s attractive appearance, with its distinctive grain patterns and deep, warm coloration, is another factor that makes it a popular choice for use in high-end guitars and other musical instruments.
The bottom line is that the combination of tonal qualities, durability, stability, and visual appeal make rosewood a versatile and desirable tonewood for guitar makers and musicians alike.
I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Neaera and a content marketer, dad, and love trying out new equipment with guitar at the heart of my passion, and together with my team, I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2020 to help loyal readers with recording and guitar tips.
Check me out on Youtube where I try out all of this gear:Subscribe