Rosewood Identification

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
JohnEdwin
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Location: Denton, Texas

Rosewood Identification

Post by JohnEdwin » Sun Feb 26, 2017 1:47 pm

Is there an authoritative guide on how to identify types of rosewood (BR, IR, PE, etc.) by its visual characteristics? Also, were types of rosewood used only during specific periods? For example, if I have a 1966 luthier made classical guitar (with no Internet information available other than provenance), how can I tell the source of the rosewood just from visual inspection? Thank you.
John Edwin Snyder, Denton, TX USA (Student)

1966 Mercado ex. Earl Klugh
1971 Ramirez 1a (#4567 JG)
2012 WoodRing
2017 Cervantes Class Lattice IR C
2017 Hanika 58CC

Keith
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Re: Rosewood Identification

Post by Keith » Sun Feb 26, 2017 3:06 pm

a good resource-- especially the fluorescent method.

http://www.wood-database.com/wood-artic ... rosewoods/
be true to the one you love but have many flings with different guitars

JohnEdwin
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Location: Denton, Texas

Re: Rosewood Identification

Post by JohnEdwin » Sun Feb 26, 2017 11:53 pm

Thank you very much, Keith. This is exactly what I was looking for. Much appreciated.
John Edwin Snyder, Denton, TX USA (Student)

1966 Mercado ex. Earl Klugh
1971 Ramirez 1a (#4567 JG)
2012 WoodRing
2017 Cervantes Class Lattice IR C
2017 Hanika 58CC

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attila57
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Re: Rosewood Identification

Post by attila57 » Fri Mar 03, 2017 6:59 pm

Keith wrote:a good resource-- especially the fluorescent method.

http://www.wood-database.com/wood-artic ... rosewoods/
Thanks! It's excellent.

Attila
Music to hear, why hear'st thou music sadly?
Sweets with sweets war not, joy delights in joy...

William Shakespeare, Sonnet 8

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attila57
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Re: Rosewood Identification

Post by attila57 » Fri Mar 03, 2017 7:06 pm

JohnEdwin wrote: ...how can I tell the source of the rosewood just from visual inspection? Thank you.
Books and guides are OK, but some experience comes handy, too. If you have ever seen (and worked with) Brazilian RW, you are likely to remember its look, scent and feel all your life.

Its brick-like colour, wild, figured grain and heavy, sweet scent are unmistakable.

Attila
Music to hear, why hear'st thou music sadly?
Sweets with sweets war not, joy delights in joy...

William Shakespeare, Sonnet 8

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Eric Reid
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Re: Rosewood Identification

Post by Eric Reid » Sun Mar 05, 2017 4:56 am

attila57 wrote:
JohnEdwin wrote: ...how can I tell the source of the rosewood just from visual inspection? Thank you.
Books and guides are OK, but some experience comes handy, too. If you have ever seen (and worked with) Brazilian RW, you are likely to remember its look, scent and feel all your life.

Its brick-like colour, wild, figured grain and heavy, sweet scent are unmistakable.

Attila
I'll disagree. I've worked with hundreds of sets of Brazilian. "Wild, figured grain" may describe a lot of what's available today. The gold standard is the ruler-straight grain that you see on older guitars (and still--very rarely--today). "Brick-like colour" is common, as is chocolate, nearly black, grey-brown, and yellow-orange. I'll agree that the "heavy, sweet scent" of rosewoods is unmistakable, but close your eyes, and distinguish cocobolo from Amazon rosewood, from Brazilian rosewood, from Mexican kingwood? Good luck with that.

Here's an interesting article: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2794071/ . I had thought that UV light was the final test. I gather that there isn't one.

JohnEdwin
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Location: Denton, Texas

Re: Rosewood Identification

Post by JohnEdwin » Mon Mar 06, 2017 1:51 pm

I am grateful for the replies and insight from all. I am 67 y/o and a new student, so I don't have the requisite experience, just an insatiable appetite to learn. My specific application is that I acquired a 1966 José Mercado ex. Earl Klugh. Although excellent provenance, there was no information on the luthier (another future question) nor the tone woods. So I pretty much have to rely on appearance and some references that apply to this sweet 1966 vintage instrument.
Much appreciated.
John Edwin Snyder, Denton, TX USA (Student)

1966 Mercado ex. Earl Klugh
1971 Ramirez 1a (#4567 JG)
2012 WoodRing
2017 Cervantes Class Lattice IR C
2017 Hanika 58CC

Keith
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Location: Land of Daniel Boone

Re: Rosewood Identification

Post by Keith » Mon Mar 06, 2017 6:34 pm

John, given how the current state of rosewood laws and enforcement, if the back and sides sort of look like BRW I would treat it as BRW if I were going to cross into Canada or the EU--especially the EU given their directives on BRW pre 1992. The guitar was made in 1966 when BRW was the rage without restrictions so there is a good chance it may be BRW. Unfortunately you do not have the paperwork so maybe a follow up project is how, if possible, to certify your guitar as "rosewood legal".

Pictures help so maybe posting a few would be helpful.
be true to the one you love but have many flings with different guitars

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attila57
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Re: Rosewood Identification

Post by attila57 » Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:28 pm

Eric Reid wrote:
I'll disagree. I've worked with hundreds of sets of Brazilian. "Wild, figured grain" may describe a lot of what's available today. The gold standard is the ruler-straight grain that you see on older guitars (and still--very rarely--today). "Brick-like colour" is common, as is chocolate, nearly black, grey-brown, and yellow-orange. I'll agree that the "heavy, sweet scent" of rosewoods is unmistakable, but close your eyes, and distinguish cocobolo from Amazon rosewood, from Brazilian rosewood, from Mexican kingwood? Good luck with that.

Here's an interesting article: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2794071/ . I had thought that UV light was the final test. I gather that there isn't one.
Thanks for the article. The fluorescent method is excellent, I'm sure. But there are people who can't tell ebony from ivory... Some experience would help them...

I'm sure there are many kinds of exotic woods, but BRW's smell is really quite special. I'm lucky to smell it many hours every day - right under my nose with some Bach or Weiss - nice experience.
Music to hear, why hear'st thou music sadly?
Sweets with sweets war not, joy delights in joy...

William Shakespeare, Sonnet 8

JohnEdwin
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Location: Denton, Texas

Re: Rosewood Identification

Post by JohnEdwin » Tue Mar 07, 2017 2:19 pm

It was suggested that submit photos of the 1966 Jose Mercado to show the rosewood in question. Thank you, all.
1966 Jose Meercado_Back.jpg
1966 Jose Mercado_Side_Back.jpg
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
John Edwin Snyder, Denton, TX USA (Student)

1966 Mercado ex. Earl Klugh
1971 Ramirez 1a (#4567 JG)
2012 WoodRing
2017 Cervantes Class Lattice IR C
2017 Hanika 58CC

Keith
Posts: 1215
Joined: Sun May 06, 2012 5:48 pm
Location: Land of Daniel Boone

Re: Rosewood Identification

Post by Keith » Thu Mar 09, 2017 1:20 am

John, I am sure others have a better eye for the wood but it does have an Indian Rosewood look to it--or at least it does not have a very obvious Brazilian Rosewood look to it. Then again, it could be BRW. It does look nice. I think if you are traveling across borders you probably could get away with stating it is Indian. If Earl Klugh owned the guitar why not send him an e-mail (he is still around I think).
be true to the one you love but have many flings with different guitars

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attila57
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Re: Rosewood Identification

Post by attila57 » Thu Mar 16, 2017 10:03 pm

It's stripes are very striking and straight, a bit like Indian RW, but also, there are a lot of thin dark bands in light background, which refers to BRW. Indian RW usually has a darker appearance. Also in the 60's Indian RW was less omnipresent. So it's not obvious, at the least. More clues would be necessary. Scent? Sweet, even to the point of being nauseating, refers to BRW. You are lucky to have the instrument in your hands. How does it sound like? BRW has deep, resonant basses, Indian often has a crispy tone quality, more prone to tonal differences, different playing positions, etc.
Attila
Music to hear, why hear'st thou music sadly?
Sweets with sweets war not, joy delights in joy...

William Shakespeare, Sonnet 8

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attila57
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Re: Rosewood Identification

Post by attila57 » Thu Mar 16, 2017 10:21 pm

JohnEdwin wrote:It was suggested that submit photos of the 1966 Jose Mercado to show the rosewood in question.
See my previous post!

Attila
Music to hear, why hear'st thou music sadly?
Sweets with sweets war not, joy delights in joy...

William Shakespeare, Sonnet 8

JohnEdwin
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Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2017 1:36 pm
Location: Denton, Texas

Re: Rosewood Identification

Post by JohnEdwin » Thu Mar 16, 2017 10:48 pm

Thank you, Attila. Your description was very helpful. I have not been able to contact Earl Klugh, but I did contact an owner in the chain of custody who declares it to be BRW. It also fits your description of thin dark bands in light background. The sound is deep and resonant. It's a beautiful guitar. Now I need to learn more about the maker--have nothing other than one owner said Mercado was apprentice to Manuel Velazquez. I have not found anything on the luthier to confirm. Thank you for your help!
John Edwin Snyder, Denton, TX USA (Student)

1966 Mercado ex. Earl Klugh
1971 Ramirez 1a (#4567 JG)
2012 WoodRing
2017 Cervantes Class Lattice IR C
2017 Hanika 58CC

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petermc61
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Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Rosewood Identification

Post by petermc61 » Fri Mar 17, 2017 5:05 am

I have owned/own several 60s BRW with timber that looks
just like that. Looks more like BRW than EIR to me.

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