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jw3571 12-27-2018 08:00 PM

Is Brazilian Worth the Upcharge?
I've never played a Brazilian Rosewood guitar, I've played Indian, Madi, Guatemalan, but not Brazilian. Everyone seems to speak about in such high regard, is it really that great? What are the tone differences between Brazilian and other Rosewood. How much extra would you pay for a Brazilian Rosewood guitar? If it was a $2k difference would you pull the trigger?

Guest 728 12-27-2018 08:04 PM

What something is "worth" is a relative and a personal thing. If I had tons of disposable income, then sure, it would be totally "worth" another two grand for Brazilian. But since two grand is the very top of my budget for any guitar, it wouldn't be "worth" it to me to sell all my guitars just for one Braz -- no matter how great it sounded.

justonwo 12-27-2018 08:14 PM


Originally Posted by Willie Voltaire (Post 5931104)
What something is "worth" is a relative and a personal thing. If I had tons of disposable income, then sure, it would be totally "worth" another two grand for Brazilian. But since two grand is the very top of my budget for any guitar, it wouldn't be "worth" it to me to sell all my guitars just for one Braz -- no matter how great it sounded.

I have played a lot of Brazilian rosewood guitars over the years that didnít do it for me, but not because the wood wasnít something special . . but more because I didnít really love the work of the builders.

I know a lot of luthiers and most (not all) consider Brazilian rosewood to be the cream of the crop for flat top guitars. I own two and do believe they add a little something extra, but whether that extra is worth the premium is hard to say. That premium is usually quite high these days. Itís definitely a significantly diminishing return. A great builder is going to turn out a great guitar from any of the commonly available tonewoods. The Brazilian could be better to your ears, but it will cost a lot of money. It really depends what youíre looking for in a guitar. It isnít automatically better, especially if your ear gravitates toward a drier sound.

ChalkLitIScream 12-27-2018 08:33 PM

You pay thousands extra for the BRW for it's availability. Not for its tone. A BRW guitar won't sound 3k better than the same one with EIR. In fact, I'd argue the opposite. Now that brw is so rare, you're left with the scraps and all the great pieces have likely already been used

If its just for show or a bucket list, go right ahead. But if you're looking for a nice guitar to play and love, I feel the extra money could go toward better grades of wood, bling, ergonomics (rib and arm bevel), or even a more prestigious builder.

buddyhu 12-27-2018 08:42 PM

Of course it's worth it!!! :D:D:D

gitarro 12-27-2018 09:03 PM

It depends on the quality of the braz that is in question and the ability of the luthier to exploit that tonal potential. But the right set in the right hands can help make an incredible guitar with tonal qualities that you cannot get with any other wood.

The Bard Rocks 12-27-2018 09:08 PM

To me, it isn't. Obviously, it is to others. If I play enough BRW guitars, maybe I will change my mind, but I haven't yet.

Goodallboy 12-27-2018 09:16 PM

I can only attest to the fact that the moment I played the first chord on my McCollum, I knew it was the best guitar I'd ever played. I had no idea until much later in the negotiation that it was Brazilian.

Coincidence, I don't think so. Did the builder figure prominently in the fact that it's an incredible instrument, absolutely.

One is dependent on the other but in the case Brazilian it is the holy grail of tonewoods for a reason and scarcity accounts only for the cost, not the value.

Too many opinions are based on scarcity driving cost, than any knowledge of value.

Basalt Beach 12-27-2018 09:23 PM

Here are the thoughts in some previous threads on the topic
Hope this helps...

Bear Davis 12-27-2018 09:31 PM

I have owned several and played dozens. BRW has a unique sound but so does every rosewood...

That being said I have played more BRW guitars that were tonally inferior vs truly amazing.

I currently only have 1 in my stable which I acquired sight unseen from a fellow AGF'er but it's easily the best sounding BRW dread I have ever heard.

247hoopsfan 12-27-2018 09:38 PM

I have owned 2 Larrivee D10 guitars that were identical except that one was EIR and one was Brazilian. There is no question that the Brazilian guitar was better in most every way. The sustain and clarity were superior to the EIR guitar, and there was more bass and more clarity in the upper register. The Brazilian had a certain glassy, reverb quality not present in the EIR. I sold the EIR and still have the Brazilian D10. As far as the upcharge question, I was lucky to find the used Brazilian and I paid the same for it as I had paid for my EIR. I certainly would not pay the price premium of $2-5K that seems to be the going rate.

joeld 12-27-2018 09:39 PM

I think that if Brazilian lives up to expectations, it takes the warm resonant tone of EIR and adds some extra shimmer and liveliness.

I bought mine about 20 years ago when Brazilian was cheaper. I thought my guitar had a tone advantage to my ear over the equivalent EIR model. It was worth it to me at that time. At today's prices, probably not.

At today's prices I would suggest not opting for Brazilian if its cost results in compromise of any other aspect of your choice. You're probably better off with the exact guitar you want with some other B/S wood than a different builder/size/appointments/etc than you'd have otherwise chosen but with Brazilian. So,

o)Only order a Brazilian guitar if the extra cost really doesn't matter to you.
o)And you're certain that's the tone you are going after.

IMHO anyway...

BTW, $2K for BRW seems like a modest up-charge by today's standards. I learned that the current up-charge for mine would be $15K!! Mine is the brother of this one: . Now I'm pretty happy I spent the extra thousand!

Tube Sound 12-27-2018 10:02 PM

I have owned two Brazilians out of 30 acoustics that have come and gone. One was a 60's D-28 and I still have a Brazilian Mossman. I was not searching for either of them but they found me. My skills and ears are not so discriminating that I would pay an extra $2k for one. I love the way my Mossman plays and sounds but it is not so incredibly omg, my brains are falling out on the floor. No, I would not pay more. Too many non BRW guitars out there that sound amazing, for cheap.

mikealpine 12-27-2018 10:04 PM

Iím not a Braz fan. Probably just havenít played the right guitar. Regardless, there are many other Tonewoods I like better. I like Malaysian Blackwood and African Blackwood better. Not sure how much youíd save, but those are great. My favorite is Macassar Ebony (paired with Redwood). So, no, Braz would not be worth it to me.

AZLiberty 12-27-2018 10:15 PM

I have played factory Braz. RW guitars side by side with EIR.
Martins against Martins, Larrivees against Larrivees...

In a factory assembly line guitar, I couldn't hear a discernible difference. They both sounded like... rosewood.

It's certainly possible a handbuilder who takes the time to tap tune the wood might really bring out a difference I suppose.

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