View Single Post
Old 05-22-2017, 01:05 PM
Mark Hatcher's Avatar
Mark Hatcher Mark Hatcher is offline
AGF Sponsor
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Green Mountains
Posts: 4,272

​Typically when I talk about the sound of the various back and side woods I say something along the lines that it goes from softer hardwoods, like mahogany, that tend to have a sweeter toned more fundamental effect where harder woods, like rosewood, sound more crystalline with more overtone highlights. Different woods generally fall in between there. However there is another area that this range doesn't cover. We can call it Rosewood and beyond. Ebony tends to be stiffer, heavier, and more reflective than most rosewoods so you get the highlights with more sustain because of the weight and often a deeper bass. At the same time, I believe, due to the surface reflectivity you get more of what some call "that piano like sound" or the more controversial term "reverb" (different from sustain).

So it just isn't a simple range of sound from Mahogany to Rosewood and it isn't a straight road from Mahogany to Ebony because different kinds of characteristics appear along the way. So I'm thinking the way to say it is woods generally go from Mahogany to rosewood and beyond!

I bring this up because after having some wonderful successes with ebony I have been expanding my inventory of "and beyond" woods.
Here are a couple recent additions. Pau Ferro is said to be between Rosewood and Ebony. It's also called Bolivian Rosewood and Santos Rosewood except it isn't rosewood as in no CITES restrictions, not an endangered wood;

Here is another that would be a great match for a nylon crossover;

The "and beyond" doesn't stop at ebony though. There are other excellent woods that are still more stiff and heavier than ebony. I've had a number of sets of Katalox which is considerably harder than ebony. It rings like a bell or should I say it rings like bells because it's easy to find different tones depending on where you tap:

I've had sets of this milk chocolate Katalox for a little while and am currently using parts from the original billet as trim on the Olivewood guitar that I have another thread going on.

Recently, I got this eye popping set of plum colored figured Katalox that I hope to entice someone with because I think it would make a gorgeous guitar!

Mark Hatcher

“Choose always the way that seems the best, however rough it may be; custom will soon render it easy and agreeable”.