Ovangkol is a plentiful evergreen that grows in Western Africa. It achieves a height of 100 – 150 feet and a base diameter around three feet, with long fruit pods for seeds. Its scientific name is Guiborourtia ehie, in the same family as bubinga.
It is a beautiful tonewood, often with interwoven colorful grain patters. Interestingly, its musical characteristics are almost identical to East Indian rosewood. Specific Gravity: 0.82 ovangkol, 0.83 East Indian rosewood; pounds per cubic feet: 52 ovangkol, 51 East Indian rosewood. Like rosewood, ovangkol efficiently projects bass tones resulting in a rich full sound.
With the new CITES regulations restricting the international trade in all rosewoods, many companies are substituting ovangkol with no perceived variance in sound and very little in appearance.
Breedlove has introduced ovangkol in the Solo series and on fret boards/bridges for the Pursuit and Discovery series.