Brazilian rosewood vs Indian rosewood?

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
User avatar
petermc61
Posts: 5993
Joined: Sun Apr 08, 2012 12:11 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Brazilian rosewood vs Indian rosewood?

Post by petermc61 » Wed Sep 13, 2017 8:57 am

I have owned quite a few guitars over recent years, both old and new instruments. I think I am in a position to provide a definitive statement about the impact of the back and side woods.

The three best guitars I have owned have been made from, in no particular order, Brazilian, Indian and maple. :shock:

Peter

User avatar
Chris Sobel
Luthier
Posts: 1065
Joined: Sat May 04, 2013 8:44 am
Location: Vancouver, WA

Re: Brazilian rosewood vs Indian rosewood?

Post by Chris Sobel » Fri Sep 22, 2017 5:06 am

dtrap wrote:
Wed Sep 13, 2017 5:27 am
All my listening tests are centered around the player instead of the listener. Since most players hear themselves, practising, a lot more than they perform I like to center the listening up close and personal.
Our ears/bodies feel different every day so it will be a slightly new experience each time. Also humidity changes will affect the sound of a wooden instrument.
Once one is out of their usual playing space there are too many variables, room size, room acoustics, ambient noise, distance from the guitar etc.
Ones personal experience is what really matters to me. I personally can hear the difference between different woods when I'm playing the guitar so I assume others can as well.
The difference in this type of setting between high grade Brazilian and my high grade old Indian is obvious to me assuming one is really listening 'into' the guitar and not just surface listening. Once one gets into top notch instruments it's all about the nuances and subtleties.
I'll be stringing up two new guitars this week and comparing them to others from the past, similar builds, similar woods, new designs etc.
The more one seems to know the more complicated it gets. The fine tuning of the guitar and ears is a never ending process.
Hi Dake,

Welcome to the forum and thanks for chiming in.

Chris
CE Sobel Guitars

Aaron Green
Luthier
Posts: 1125
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2007 2:53 pm
Location: Boston

Re: Brazilian rosewood vs Indian rosewood?

Post by Aaron Green » Sun Oct 01, 2017 1:38 am

dtrap wrote:
Wed Sep 13, 2017 5:27 am
All my listening tests are centered around the player instead of the listener. Since most players hear themselves, practising, a lot more than they perform I like to center the listening up close and personal.
Our ears/bodies feel different every day so it will be a slightly new experience each time. Also humidity changes will affect the sound of a wooden instrument.
Once one is out of their usual playing space there are too many variables, room size, room acoustics, ambient noise, distance from the guitar etc.
Ones personal experience is what really matters to me. I personally can hear the difference between different woods when I'm playing the guitar so I assume others can as well.
The difference in this type of setting between high grade Brazilian and my high grade old Indian is obvious to me assuming one is really listening 'into' the guitar and not just surface listening. Once one gets into top notch instruments it's all about the nuances and subtleties.
I'll be stringing up two new guitars this week and comparing them to others from the past, similar builds, similar woods, new designs etc.
The more one seems to know the more complicated it gets. The fine tuning of the guitar and ears is a never ending process.
The last sentence here is pure gold. Yes, yes and once more, yes. When in doubt, refer to that statement and all else becomes very circumstantial.
Aaron Green, Luthier

Guitarists unite to help Anthony Weller. PM me to ask how you may do so as well.

Alan Carruth
Luthier
Posts: 2662
Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2007 6:56 pm

Re: Brazilian rosewood vs Indian rosewood?

Post by Alan Carruth » Sun Oct 01, 2017 6:41 pm

dtrap wrote:
"All my listening tests are centered around the player instead of the listener. Since most players hear themselves, practicing, a lot more than they perform I like to center the listening up close and personal."

Which brings us back to the issue of blind tests. Have you done any that way? I would think it would be difficult to do so. I know how prone I am to hear what I expect to hear: any little clue is enough, so I have a hard time putting much faith in tests that are not well blinded.

User avatar
rojarosguitar
Posts: 4178
Joined: Sat Sep 19, 2009 12:24 pm
Location: near Freiburg, Germany

Re: Brazilian rosewood vs Indian rosewood?

Post by rojarosguitar » Sun Oct 01, 2017 7:55 pm

petermc61 wrote:
Wed Sep 13, 2017 8:57 am
I have owned quite a few guitars over recent years, both old and new instruments. I think I am in a position to provide a definitive statement about the impact of the back and side woods.

The three best guitars I have owned have been made from, in no particular order, Brazilian, Indian and maple. :shock:

Peter
Peter, did you ever own a cypress/spruce guitar. I don't how it is for the player, but for me as a listener I found them always (the few ones I have listened to) absolutely enchanting...
Music is a big continent with different landscapes and corners. Some of them I do visit frequently, some from time to time and some I know from hearsay only ...

Keith
Posts: 1241
Joined: Sun May 06, 2012 5:48 pm
Location: Land of Daniel Boone

Re: Brazilian rosewood vs Indian rosewood?

Post by Keith » Mon Oct 02, 2017 10:46 am

why not osage orange and stump wood brw? from reading the posts it seems osage orange may be a good substitute for brw but it is not so pretty. stump wood brw is definitely pretty--or at least pretty interesting. so why not the inside osage orange and the outside brw? has it been tried? it seems to me it would solve problems with both woods. as I see it, the inside of the guitar is the music maker and the outside is the eye candy.
be true to the one you love but have many flings with different guitars

guitarras en la espiritu de la:
Marcelo Barbero
Jose Ramirez III

Alan Carruth
Luthier
Posts: 2662
Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2007 6:56 pm

Re: Brazilian rosewood vs Indian rosewood?

Post by Alan Carruth » Mon Oct 02, 2017 6:35 pm

That would not be without precedent. I worked on a Panormo once that had BRW sides and a 'pine' back that was veneered on the outside with BRW and faux painted on the inside. It sounded fine.

Assuming you made an OO guitar that was veneered with BRW, you'd still have the problem of getting it past customs. There's no 'de minibus' exemption. Maybe people ought to start getting themselves used the idea that it doesn't have to look like that to sound good. IMO THAT is the main problem.

Keith
Posts: 1241
Joined: Sun May 06, 2012 5:48 pm
Location: Land of Daniel Boone

Re: Brazilian rosewood vs Indian rosewood?

Post by Keith » Mon Oct 02, 2017 10:36 pm

Alan, good point about customs. I was thinking of all those luthiers who sank a lot of money into BRW back when it was legal, and/or those who bought BRW from those who bought it when it was legal. Sitting on a stash with no where to go with it sounds horrible. OO and BRW laminate might be a way to stretch out the legal supply as well as address what to do with legal stump wood.
be true to the one you love but have many flings with different guitars

guitarras en la espiritu de la:
Marcelo Barbero
Jose Ramirez III

Alan Carruth
Luthier
Posts: 2662
Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2007 6:56 pm

Re: Brazilian rosewood vs Indian rosewood?

Post by Alan Carruth » Tue Oct 03, 2017 5:33 pm

I suppose you could make a three piece laminate of OO-BRW-OO, and sneak it by that way? ;)

Keith
Posts: 1241
Joined: Sun May 06, 2012 5:48 pm
Location: Land of Daniel Boone

Re: Brazilian rosewood vs Indian rosewood?

Post by Keith » Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:44 pm

Al, the laminate would not be for sneaking purposes but to use the dwindling supply of legal brw as well as stump wood which seems to have some issues unto itself. I envision using a piece of brw and cutting it into two pieces and laminating it onto osage orange. not sure if it is doable given the thinness of a back and side but one could double their legal supply. an alternative would be to figure out a way to make a paper thin veneer using legal wood /paper/cellulose/what-have-you to give a brw appearance but still use osage orange on the inside.. I wonder if 3-D printing might be a solution. If it is eye candy the customer wants maybe a good acoustic wood for the inside draped with eye candy laminate on the outside is the ticket. just a thought from a non-luthiers.
be true to the one you love but have many flings with different guitars

guitarras en la espiritu de la:
Marcelo Barbero
Jose Ramirez III

printer2
Posts: 316
Joined: Sat May 02, 2015 9:20 pm
Location: Winnipeg

Re: Brazilian rosewood vs Indian rosewood?

Post by printer2 » Wed Oct 04, 2017 12:36 am

Sets that are already cut would be too thin to make laminates of. By the time you cut it in half you end up using the same wood that you would to make a laminate guitar than if you used the rosewood to make the guitar. Might as well just laminate it with EIR, mind you EIR seems to be able to supply the current demand. How about two veneer sheets of walnut?
Fred

Return to “Luthiers”