Is Brazilian Rosewood worth it?

Lsulit
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Is Brazilian Rosewood worth it?

Post by Lsulit » Tue Dec 19, 2017 3:34 pm

I'm looking into getting a luthier made guitar and see the option for Brazilian Rosewood which is anywhere from $1500 to 2000 more than Indian Rosewood. Is this worth the extra money or is this just reputation, etc?

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Guitar-ded
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Re: Is Brazilian Rosewood worth it?

Post by Guitar-ded » Tue Dec 19, 2017 7:23 pm

There was a time when a guitar made with Braz RW was the aspiration of more or less every player out there but things now are different.
Braz, whilst sounding good is not in itself the mark of a fine guitar, a good maker can make most woods sound good and yet not all Braz guitars automatically sound good, it isn''t a given. The biggest problem now is that Braz has become a real pain if you are thinking of travelling (or eventually selling) abroad. Thanks to the CITES rules and the Lacey Act Braz entails paperwork which can be troublesome to acquire, although if you are having one built you would expect to have that paperwork arrive with the guitar. This means that more and more people are shying away from this wood, partly due to the above but partly also due to the increasing use of non-traditional and sustainable woods. It's a decision for you as the buyer, some people say 'why buy trouble' whilst others want Braz and will buy it regardless.
For me, I'd say if you've always wanted Braz and aren't looking to travel internationally with it then take your pick, it's your guitar and you may not be worried about the speed of its eventual resale. One thing though, if the cost doesn't matter to you then fine, but if the extra money makes you stop and wonder whether to splurge on the Braz or not, I'd say keep your money. The maker is more important than the wood, it's one of those 'it's not what you have it's the way that you use it' things.

Edit: Have a look at
viewtopic.php?f=107&t=116844

Good luck with your decision.
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Gary Macleod
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Re: Is Brazilian Rosewood worth it?

Post by Gary Macleod » Tue Dec 19, 2017 8:05 pm

I’ve had a few guitars from the same maker one with Brazilian rosewood, the other 2 with Madagascar and Amazon rosewood.
The best one is the last one I bought with Amazon rosewood, the Brazilian looked great and sounded great but was prone to cracking.

edcat7
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Re: Is Brazilian Rosewood worth it?

Post by edcat7 » Tue Dec 19, 2017 8:10 pm

Depends where you are. If you're in Europe I would seriously consider a Bert Kwakkel guitar. He uses Brazilian rosewood as standard. His guitars sound sublime as well.
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MrF1
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Re: Is Brazilian Rosewood worth it?

Post by MrF1 » Tue Dec 19, 2017 8:59 pm

I'm a big rosewood fan and I've owned three guitars with BRW. Very nice instruments and maybe the BRW added a bit a sparkle to the overtones, but I really don't think BRW is worth the upgrade cost and the CITES headaches. In fact, my favorite guitars have all been good ol' Indian Rosewood. It's not so much the wood...it's what the builder does with the wood.

Lsulit
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Re: Is Brazilian Rosewood worth it?

Post by Lsulit » Tue Dec 19, 2017 9:43 pm

Great. I think you guys just saved me a couple of grand. Thanks you guys

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Re: Is Brazilian Rosewood worth it?

Post by simonm » Tue Dec 19, 2017 9:58 pm

MrF1 wrote:
Tue Dec 19, 2017 8:59 pm
…. It's not so much the wood...it's what the builder does with the wood.
Most professional builders would probably agree with this. The builders who are fans of BR and get good results with it are likely older and with good stocks of older BR. This is the generation of builders who have stocks that they bought (or their source bought) 40-60 years ago. There is a lot of inferior BR about on places the like the well know auctions site and this is usually very expensive.

Unless you are dealing with a builder who has old wood and knows how to use it, then I would say, no it is not worth it. If you can listen to 10 top end guitars and reliable identify which are BR without knowing in advance and without knowing who the builder is, and if you prefer that sound, then by all means spend the extra money for the BR.

Given the way you are asking the question, I would say it would not be worth it for you. Spend the money on the luthiers skills rather than on the rarity of the wood.

While it is bad for business, "same-grading" , and continuing to play what you have is good for your household budget.

Laudiesdad69
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Re: Is Brazilian Rosewood worth it?

Post by Laudiesdad69 » Wed Dec 20, 2017 3:29 am

I had an opportunity to buy a BRW guitar and compared it with a EIR guitar that was made of nice, straight grained wood, and was absent of the figuring of the BRW guitar. They were both Ramirez guitars. And the EIR guitar won. The were both Ramirez and the EIR guitar was more playable and sounded better. And under those circumstances, I decided that the extra $2500.00 for the bragging rights just wasn't warranted. Also, it's less of a hassle to sell later, if it isn't BRW.

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Steve Ganz
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Re: Is Brazilian Rosewood worth it?

Post by Steve Ganz » Wed Dec 20, 2017 3:38 am

Any builder can price guitars the way they want. But I think + 2000 or 1500 is a bit much.

You could ask the builder what accounts for the difference...
Steve

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HNLim
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Re: Is Brazilian Rosewood worth it?

Post by HNLim » Wed Dec 20, 2017 7:11 am

Lsulit wrote:
Tue Dec 19, 2017 3:34 pm
I'm looking into getting a luthier made guitar and see the option for Brazilian Rosewood which is anywhere from $1500 to 2000 more than Indian Rosewood. Is this worth the extra money or is this just reputation, etc?
It's definately worth it but not at that kind of price difference.

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zupfgeiger
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Re: Is Brazilian Rosewood worth it?

Post by zupfgeiger » Wed Dec 20, 2017 10:12 am

Brazilian does sound different from Indian. Last time when I visited Andrea Tacchi in his workshop to let him do a little re-polish of my Enrique Garcia model (spruce/BRAZ) we did a tap tone comparison. The differences were distinctive. Brazilian has this additional sparkling, a cristalline tone quality that Indian never gets. the Indian set sounded more hollow and dull, less precise. And the looks of the Brazilian is unique, of course. Letting the CITES problems aside, this timber really adds a very special aura to a fine luthier built guitar. Andrea Tacchi's stock of old Brazilian makes the heart of every guitar lover beat faster. Nonetheless he is more and more hesitant to use Brazilian due to the current situation with CITES. That Indian can make wonderful guitars as well proof the Bouchet models which he has made with EIR. And I play a credar/EIR Friederich replica biult by his son Giovanni which has a tone to die for. But my conclusion would be: If you don't travel around the world, go for a good set of Brazilian. It is and will always be the most noble timber in looks and sound.
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Tobias Braun, Santos copy, spruce/yew, 2017
Andrea Tacchi, Enrique Garcia model, Spruce/BRAZ, 2016
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souldier
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Re: Is Brazilian Rosewood worth it?

Post by souldier » Wed Dec 20, 2017 5:52 pm

It really depends on the builder. Some builders feel BRW is superior for their particular instruments, while others say it may different, but not necessarily better. I'd ask the builder himself what tonal differences one would expect on his instruments with BRW. It seems that what is important isn't so much what the species of the wood is, but rather if the luthier knows how to bring out the best results with each piece of wood and species. I certainly would not pay an extra 1500-2000 grand however, as you're probably paying more for the inflated cost of the wood rather than for a better tonal result.

I used to be terrified about CITES issues, but I've seen builders send their guitars with BRW internationally without papers and without issues. I've crossed the border dozens of times with my guitar and they have never checked it once. Depending which borders you cross, it generally seems pretty safe to travel without having your guitar confiscated.

It is true that BRW generally has a more glassy, ringing tap tone, but it isn't always apparent how this will translate into the actual sound of the guitar. I mean we don't really tap the wood of the guitar when we make music on it. There are woods that have a pretty dead sounding tap tone, yet yield amazing results based on what I've read here. There are other alternatives to BRW that also have that same glassy tap tone such as wenge.
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Jack Douglas
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Re: Is Brazilian Rosewood worth it?

Post by Jack Douglas » Wed Dec 20, 2017 11:14 pm

Brazilian Rosewood has warmth, sparkle, and clarity that is superb. I’ve had some very fine guitars made with Indian Rosewood, but none compared to those I’ve owned made with old Brazilian Rosewood. Even the distinctive smell of Brazilian Rosewood is different. I happen to be a player that doesn’t travel with my guitar so there’s no issue.
If you plan to keep your guitar and enjoy it, Brazilian Rosewood is worth the extra expense and effort.
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Debussychopin
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Re: Is Brazilian Rosewood worth it?

Post by Debussychopin » Wed Dec 20, 2017 11:57 pm

It's like shaving your legs for an amateur swim match. All the difference really is in your head. There are so many other factors into it that will completely overshadow whatever minute empirical difference you think you may be seeing

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Ramon Amira
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Re: Is Brazilian Rosewood worth it?

Post by Ramon Amira » Thu Dec 21, 2017 4:36 am

No.

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