Brazilian rosewood is highly desirable, exceptionally rare and heavily regulated. It is regarded as one of the finest tonewoods; hard, stiff, and highly resonant with a glass-like ring that sustains; it has a floral scent, similar to roses, thus the name.
Latin Name: dalbergia nigra
Origin: Brazil: Mata Atlantica (Forest of Brazil), and scattered throughout the Brazilian states of Bahia, Minas Gerais, Espırito Santo, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.
Tone Profile: A very hard, heavy wood that produces a loud, warm, rich tone, with full deep bases, and brilliant trebles, know for it’s sustain and clarity.
Application: Custom instruments.
Comparison: Less expensive, more readily available substitutes include East Indian rosewood, Madagascan rosewood, cocobolo and Honduran rosewood
Aesthetics: Can vary from brick red and burnt orange to shades of dark brown to violet color with black spidery streaks, it looks best when quarter sawn, and can exhibit straight grain and homogenous color or wild landscape-like figuration, often compared to spider webbing.
Backstory: Brazilian rosewood is an endangered species, and has been illegal to harvest since 1964. Instruments are still being made from Brazilian, due to a very limited supply of Brazilian that was harvested prior to the 1964 ban. However, legal instruments must have the appropriate CITES paperwork, proving that the harvested wood landed in Europe prior to the ban. If there is no paperwork, chances are the Brazilian was illegally sourced.
Trivia / Fact: In order to travel internationally with a guitar made from Brazilian rosewood, the player must have paperwork that proves the wood was harvested, and in Europe, prior to the 1964 ban.