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  #1  
Old 10-09-2018, 11:53 AM
michaelnel michaelnel is offline
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Default Brazilian Rosewood Back & Sides

Does Brazilian Rosewood sound better or different than East Indian Rosewood, or is it just so highly revered because it is rare and quite beautiful looking?
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Old 10-09-2018, 11:58 AM
stringjunky stringjunky is offline
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All of them, depending on who you ask.
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Old 10-09-2018, 11:58 AM
L20A L20A is offline
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I have found it to sound different but I can't say what the difference is.

It would be great to have some blind tests between two guitars with the same build and have one Brazilian and one EIR.

I wonder how the voting would go as far as picking which guitar is built with which woods and also which one sounds best.

Many of us including myself tend to listen with our eyes as much as we do with our eyes.
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Old 10-09-2018, 12:20 PM
Tube Sound Tube Sound is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelnel View Post
Does Brazilian Rosewood sound better or different than East Indian Rosewood, or is it just so highly revered because it is rare and quite beautiful looking?
You have asked an age old question and it's been asked on this forum many times. Brazilian can sound different than EIR. But then all guitars can sound different, even identical makes. That is why playing before buying can be helpful. Sounding better than EIR is a personal opinion. Some would say yes and others dispute it. A few things about Brazilian are quite evident, it is rare, often very beautiful and very expensive.

TS
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Old 10-09-2018, 12:22 PM
Paddy1951 Paddy1951 is offline
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One of the reasons Brazilian rosewood is revered is that the guitars that people hear are usually older and built by great builders.

A friend of mine had a custom BR guitar built relatively recently. Yes, it sounded very good. But I would not say I was blown away.

OTOH, Steven Stills' Golden Era BR Martins are beyond any kind of description, Great!

Build, played in, age, player. I believe it is a combination of these.

The mystique is somewhat the fact that most of us will never have a BR guitar.

BR better? Like most things acoustic guitar, beauty is in the eye or maybe, ears, of the beholder.

Feel free to disagree. It's just my opinion. No better, no worse than any others.
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Old 10-09-2018, 12:50 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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A lot of the allure of Brazilian rosewood (BRW) is its mystique, but that mystique is at least partially based in fact. BRW has a different treble response than Indian rosewood, with a "glassy" sound to the trebles that Indian can't match. So in a dreadnought-sized instrument BRW can give you some sparkling high end response that you probably won't get from Indian rosewood.

That said, not all BRW has that glassy, chime-like quality to its treble response, not even in many of the highly sought-after pre-WWII Martin dreadnoughts made with straight-grained quartersawn BRW. I've been fortunate enough to play a lot of old Martins, Gibsons and Larson Brothers guitars, and I'd say that those desirable BRW tonal qualities are present in maybe half of the old guitars made from it.

With modern day BRW instruments, it's present in about a third of the guitars built from it. If that.

Those BRW guitars that don't have that amazing three dimensional quality and glassy high end sound pretty much like any other rosewood.

So not all BRW guitars are instant classics worth every penny it costs to buy them. Some are merely middling, and not all that special, frankly.

Hope that makes sense.


Wade Hampton Miller
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Old 10-09-2018, 12:55 PM
mercy mercy is offline
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They sound different but different people like one or the other. What is better in in the ear of the listener. I dont like the sound of EIR.
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Old 10-09-2018, 01:18 PM
ChalkLitIScream ChalkLitIScream is offline
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Tone is subjective, like many things here.

That being said, its fact that BRW is much more rare than EIR.
You will be able to find better quality EIR for less, and its likely that some of the BRW left is the scraps.
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Old 10-09-2018, 01:32 PM
Osage Osage is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wade Hampton View Post
A lot of the allure of Brazilian rosewood (BRW) is its mystique, but that mystique is at least partially based in fact. BRW has a different treble response than Indian rosewood, with a "glassy" sound to the trebles that Indian can't match. So in a dreadnought-sized instrument BRW can give you some sparkling high end response that you probably won't get from Indian rosewood.

That said, not all BRW has that glassy, chime-like quality to its treble response, not even in many of the highly sought-after pre-WWII Martin dreadnoughts made with straight-grained quartersawn BRW. I've been fortunate enough to play a lot of old Martins, Gibsons and Larson Brothers guitars, and I'd say that those desirable BRW tonal qualities are present in maybe half of the old guitars made from it.

With modern day BRW instruments, it's present in about a third of the guitars built from it. If that.

Those BRW guitars that don't have that amazing three dimensional quality and glassy high end sound pretty much like any other rosewood.

So not all BRW guitars are instant classics worth every penny it costs to buy them. Some are merely middling, and not all that special, frankly.

Hope that makes sense.


Wade Hampton Miller
I agree with everything Wade said above. I have played a number of vintage BRW guitars and have come to the same conclusion about the trebles.

I'll also add that, at least for my builds, I find EIR to have slightly more bass response than BRW. Not a ton more or anything but I have noticed it on every IER guitar that I have built.
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Old 10-09-2018, 01:33 PM
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justonwo justonwo is offline
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Most of my luthier friends have told me, when asked, that good Brazilian is the gold standard for the tonal qualities they desire. This ranges from builders in the traditional camp to those building very modern instruments.

That being said, I’m mostly ambivalent about Brazilian. It’s not required to make sell-your-kids-grade tone, in my opinion. I’ve played dozens of Brazilian rosewood instruments and have owned one. They range in their tonal quality just like all other woods.

The premium being charged for this wood now puts it way down on the list of diminishing returns.

Last edited by justonwo; 10-09-2018 at 01:57 PM.
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Old 10-09-2018, 01:45 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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I can hear a difference between Brazilian and Indian rosewood, but am not so enamored of the BRW sound that I currently own any instruments made from it. I have in the past, but no longer.

I'm more of a fan of koa and black walnut as back and side woods. Give me a nice spruce-topped koa guitar and I will enjoy it more than a similar BRW instrument.

That might be just me, but that's my preference. Those medium density hardwoods seem to work better for the way I play.


whm
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Old 10-09-2018, 01:51 PM
s2y s2y is offline
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I have a new Bob Thompson OM with a Brazilian rosewood b/s. Sounds outstanding, but I don't have an equivalent EIR OM to compare it to. I have an EIR DN by Bob, but totally different beast. Truth be told, I'd consider an EIR equivalent if I'm ever seriously gigging since I likely won't be able to replace the Brazilian RW OM.
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Old 10-09-2018, 02:23 PM
Jcamp Jcamp is offline
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To me it is visibly prettier but as far as sound I don’t really think it sounds “better” to me it just sounds super clear to me. I don’t know how to explain it any better that that. I have heard and do agree with this thought tho, that a good luthier can make cheaper woods sound better than a bad luthier can make good woods sound. It’s all in who is building it
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Old 10-09-2018, 02:40 PM
Tony Burns Tony Burns is offline
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kinda have to say -if you dont know the difference -
you probably dont have a Brazilian rosewood guitar .
Yes I'll agree their are some EIR guitars that are decent as well - ( i own a few of those as well )
but to my ears their is something special about a well made BR instrument of quality -that hasn't been duplicated as of yet .
Before the 1970's pretty much every Rosewood guitar was BR -it was the guitar wood -

I will also add -i respect differences of opinion , their are alot of sensational instruments out their -
My Martin OM28v is a fantastic guitar and its EIR -as well as my CFOX Sloped dread-
a well played EIR guitar also sounds better- than a BR guitar poorly played
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Last edited by Tony Burns; 10-09-2018 at 02:48 PM.
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Old 10-09-2018, 03:44 PM
zombywoof zombywoof is offline
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If I paid the standard upcharge for Braz Rosewood I would be swearing all day long it sounded better.
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