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-   -   Is Brazilian Worth the Upcharge? (https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=532794)

Trevor B. 12-29-2018 02:57 PM

I have two German Spruce/Brazilian Rosewood classical guitars. One is superb, the other not so much. My conclusion is that the luthier's skill is more critical than the choice of wood. That said, high grade Brazilian Rosewood in the hands of a expert builder tends to produce guitars with strong, clear basses and rich sparkly trebles. So is it worth the price??? That depends on the individual guitar and the prospective buyer's level of desire for a guitar constructed with Brazilian Rosewood back and sides.

D41Fan 12-29-2018 03:56 PM

I have a D41 Madagascar, so no I will not get a Brazilian unless it was a gift or my last name is CASH!

Marcus Wong 12-30-2018 03:13 AM

Well, if it were a $2K difference and everything else was the same, I would certainly give it a lot of thought! The upcharge for BRW is pretty high these days. It would also depend on the grade of the BRW.

Yrksman 12-31-2018 12:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steve DeRosa (Post 5932772)
IME nothing - nothing - beats a first-rate Brazilian...

Wouldn’t disagree as long it’s the Rosewood sound you are looking for.

Glennwillow 12-31-2018 08:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by drbluegrass (Post 5931500)
It is worth it to me. I've owned two D28 style Braz rosewood (BRW) guitars. They both were easily the best sounding D28 style guitars I've owned or played, hands down. And I've owned and played countless high end acoustic guitars. I do think great sounding BRW is becoming more scarce every year. But it's also a fallacy that there aren't any "new BRW" guitars that sound as good as "older BRW". I've played some outstanding sounding new guitars with BRW. Dana Bourgeois and Prewar Guitars (and Bruce Sexauer) are still turning out superb sounding BRW guitars. And, Bruce Sexauer, the outstanding luthier who frequents this forum has stated he still prefers it over any other RW (paraphrased).

However, I'm very curious about Granadillo "rosewood" and the instruments being built by Prewar Guitars that are using it. I've read that it is extremely similar in tone to "old growth" BRW.

Now, having said all that, I have a very slight preference for mahogany and D18 style guitars vs RW and D28 style guitars. As a bluegrass flat picker I like the stronger mids and drier fundamentals of mahogany vs RW. I know I'm in the minority with that preference as there are more D28 style guitars in bluegrass vs D18 style guitars. But my preference is not a strong one. A great sounding guitar is a great sounding guitar regardless of tonewoods used. Anyway, that's my 2 cents worth.

I have a recollection of Bruce Sexauer commenting something very similar to what I have emphasized in bold text above. I seem to remember that in spite of all the forum comments about most of the Brazilian rosewood not being all that good that his response was pretty much that the worst BRW was way better than the best of other rosewoods. But memory after a number of years can be unreliable, so maybe I am making this up.

I have about a dozen really good acoustic guitars. I have 3 guitars made with BRW and they are certainly among my best sounding guitars. However, I have a great sounding Olson SJ made from cedar and EIR and a wonderful 2018 Martin D-45 made from sitka over EIR. From my viewpoint this tells me that a good builder can make a great sounding guitar without BRW. On the other hand, I have a 1967 Martin D-35 made with BRW and it has a much better balanced sound to my ears compared to later D-35 models built with EIR.

Older guitars built with BRW seem to be the bargains. In today's new guitar market, the upcharge for BRW seems to have gone to extremes.

- Glenn

Methos1979 12-31-2018 09:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Glennwillow (Post 5934269)
Older guitars built with BRW seem to be the bargains. In today's new guitar market, the upcharge for BRW seems to have gone to extremes.

- Glenn

This has been my experience. The old guitars with that straight-grain quartersawn BRW seem to be magical while most of the newer ones I've played where the grain is wide and figured are not as good. Sure, part of that is the builder and the guitar but generally speaking I'd be hard pressed to pay a large upcharge for BRW on a new build.

Would I pay a premium for a BRW guitar that I played/heard in person? Maybe. I remember the first BRW guitar I played was at TME and was a used Froggy with very straight grained BRW back and sides that was positively sublime. Then I looked at the price tag - $12.5k - and very gently set it down and backed away slowly!

A year or so back I was having some work done on my 000-18GE by a local guitar tech (Pat DuBurrow) that has a ton of experience with Martin, Taylor and Collings guitars and asked him if he thought the newer, wide grain/figured BRW was worth the huge upcharges vs. the old straight grained BRW and his response was an immediate, flat, "No."

It's a moot point for me because I'm too cheap to pay much more than $3k for a guitar. But IF I was thinking of going for something with BRW I would most likely try to find something from the early '60s, like a birth-year 000-28 or something along that line. In the newer build guitars these days I've got hankering for a Lowden S50 in sinker/ABW.

iim7V7IM7 12-31-2018 10:16 AM

Like all prior “Is Brazilian Rosewood worth it?” threads is see the following themes emerging:
  1. - Those who say “yes” and those that say “no”.
  2. - Advocates for alternative tonewoods being as good or better
  3. - Player’s who simply prefer mahogany
  4. - The Brazilian Rosewood available today is not as good as that of the past
Point #1 is comprised of those who hear no difference and those that do hear a difference. It is comprised those who hear a difference but the cost differential does not justify the benefit to them. So this is a mixture of differences in perception and in cost/benefit.

Point #2 is comprised of players who prefer other Dalbergias such as African Blackwood, Amazon Rosewood, Cocobolo, East Indian Rosewood, Honduran Rosewood, Madagascar Rosewood or Yucatan Rosewood etc. Sonic preference by players is heterogeneous and subjective.

Point #3 is comprised of players who prefer a drier sound, faster attack with stronger mids and less sustain. They simply prefer the sound of mahogany over ANY rosewood. Again, sonic preference by players is heterogeneous and subjective.

Regarding point #4, yes there are many flatsawn, riftsawn and quartersawn stumpwood BRW sets used in newer guitars out there. That said, there still are seasoned, quartersawn, flitch matched sets of Brazilian Rosewood available in the woodlockers of established independent luthiers. The two sets below were used in 2014 (below, left) and 2017 (below, right) to make instruments for me.

https://i1238.photobucket.com/albums...psszbph96x.png

usb_chord 12-31-2018 02:28 PM

Asking if Brazilian Rosewood is worth the up charge over Indian Rosewood is kinda like asking if cashmere is worth the up charge over lambswool for a sweater. I think it requires some first-hand experience, as well as questions about quality of materials, expertise of the maker and desirability of his or her work.

printer2 12-31-2018 06:59 PM

A local builder here had a hard time selling a Brazilian guitar for half the up charge being mentioned. In another area it might have been sold in short order.

Tony Burns 12-31-2018 07:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mmasters (Post 5931228)
In my experience, only about 1 in 3 brazilian rosewood guitars have that magic sound. I would look for a guitar already built with brazilian that has that sound if you're going to pay that much money. Otherwise you're just paying a premium and rolling the dice on whether you'll get a guitar you'll be happy with.

Couldn't of said it better -you take a chance on some builds - Ive always felt buying an existing guitar - is a better bargain ( when you do your homework )
but my suggestion to to personal play it before you buy -
To say its a better wood than EIR is a bunch of baloney -it depends on the wood and the builder - their is phenominal EIR -

Do most people appreciate a BR -not really -honestly 99 % dont need it - ( many wouldn't understand the difference )

its a players wood not a listeners wood !

flaggerphil 12-31-2018 07:36 PM

I've owned Brazilian in the past and, to me, it's not worth the upcharge. But I'm not a rosewood kind of guy so that could be part of it.

started with 1 01-15-2019 03:14 PM

1 Attachment(s)
When I was starting to consider having Jayson Bowerman build me a custom OM, I didn't want too much bling. I did want it to be a classic combo that I can pass on to my 14 year old shredder son after I put 30 years on it.

I probably will not have another guitar built so Brazilian and Adirondack spruce with herringbone purfing was how I wanted this one. The best example of the classic pre war OM. At least that was my thinking.

And the upcharge was as the OP suggested but you can easily find this combo of woods for the same price in a nice used guitar as my custom build so why not?

terken 01-15-2019 07:27 PM

I didn’t use BZ until #50 and have built five or six since. To me it has a unique sound. Kind of a shimmer that for the right set of ears is very appealing.

The place where it really shines in my experience is for bridges. I won’t use anything else.

My favorite combo for my ears? A double side Mahogany/Any spruce OM with a BZ bridge.

My advice is don’t commission a BZ guitar unless you can play some of the same models from that builder and they blow you away.

guitar george 01-15-2019 07:47 PM

Most people agree there should be some up-charge for Brazilian rosewood. How much is the big question? $500.00 seems reasonable, $2,000.00 seems a bit high and sometimes $5,000.00, or any other amount, would be the charge above regular rosewood. There's no set amount. It depends on who was the builder, the quality and appearance of the wood, the sound of the guitar, the age of the guitar and other factors.

imus586 01-16-2019 12:16 AM

It's not worth the upcharge for the good quality stuff. The luthier and top wood is far and away more important, as that's what will give you responsiveness and tone. It will still sound like a guitar by that luthier and likely be indistinguishable from their other similar non-BRW instruments.

I have 8 BRW guitars, as well as some madagascar, EIR, and mahogany instruments. Some of the BRW ones do not sound anywhere near as good as the other woods. There is some placebo effect to the whole thing so if you'd like to partake, paying the upcharge is the only way to get that !
YMMV...


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