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Brazilian vs. Indian Rosewood

Colonel KC 20 Nov 99 - 04:17 PM
Bert 17 Nov 99 - 04:53 PM
matt 16 Nov 99 - 10:28 PM
Bill D 16 Nov 99 - 12:52 PM
Fortunato 16 Nov 99 - 11:24 AM
catspaw49 15 Nov 99 - 11:57 PM
Bill D 15 Nov 99 - 11:35 PM
emily b 15 Nov 99 - 05:34 PM
John of the Hill 13 Nov 99 - 05:44 PM
Rick Fielding 13 Nov 99 - 04:10 PM
Michael K. 13 Nov 99 - 03:29 PM
catspaw49 13 Nov 99 - 01:41 PM
catspaw49 13 Nov 99 - 01:26 PM
Michael K. 13 Nov 99 - 01:06 PM
catspaw49 13 Nov 99 - 12:08 PM
Terry Allan Hall 13 Nov 99 - 08:59 AM
Michael K. 13 Nov 99 - 12:22 AM
Bill D 12 Nov 99 - 11:53 PM
catspaw49 12 Nov 99 - 11:00 PM
BK 12 Nov 99 - 10:42 PM
John of the Hill 12 Nov 99 - 08:42 PM
catspaw49 12 Nov 99 - 03:20 PM
Fortunato 12 Nov 99 - 02:50 PM
catspaw49 12 Nov 99 - 02:44 PM
Fortunato 12 Nov 99 - 02:33 PM
catspaw49 12 Nov 99 - 02:14 PM
Rick Fielding 12 Nov 99 - 01:37 PM
Bert 12 Nov 99 - 12:43 PM
Bill D 12 Nov 99 - 12:12 PM
Metchosin 12 Nov 99 - 01:02 AM
_gargoyle 12 Nov 99 - 12:34 AM
catspaw49 11 Nov 99 - 08:51 PM
Bill D 11 Nov 99 - 08:23 PM
catspaw49 11 Nov 99 - 08:08 PM
Bill D 11 Nov 99 - 07:54 PM
catspaw49 11 Nov 99 - 07:32 PM
Bill D 11 Nov 99 - 07:06 PM
Metchosin 11 Nov 99 - 07:01 PM
Bill D 11 Nov 99 - 06:55 PM
emily b 11 Nov 99 - 05:54 PM
catspaw49 08 Nov 99 - 10:21 PM
Rick Fielding 08 Nov 99 - 09:18 PM
Michael K. 08 Nov 99 - 08:20 PM
Easy Rider 08 Nov 99 - 03:29 PM
catspaw49 07 Nov 99 - 10:02 PM
kendall 07 Nov 99 - 09:58 PM
kendall 07 Nov 99 - 09:56 PM
kendall 07 Nov 99 - 09:49 PM
catspaw49 07 Nov 99 - 08:10 PM
Bill Cameron 07 Nov 99 - 04:56 PM
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Subject: RE: Brazilian vs. Indian Rosewood
From: Colonel KC
Date: 20 Nov 99 - 04:17 PM

I tend to agree that from my experiences, Brazilian is a brighter sound and Indian is a bit warmer. I have a German 12string of BRW but its a 000 size; and a Gurian of IRW with a three piece back. So it could be other factors as well. Besides it doesn't make one better than the other - just different. The main thing is to find a guitar thatyou like the sound of, whether it be Brazilian Rosewood or New Jersey Ply (just kidding).


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Subject: RE: Brazilian vs. Indian Rosewood
From: Bert
Date: 17 Nov 99 - 04:53 PM

Bill D, You should have been in England before they changed the currency.

A product would be priced "19 Pounds, 19 Shillings and elevenpence three farthings" Ah! the good old days.


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Subject: RE: Brazilian vs. Indian Rosewood
From: matt
Date: 16 Nov 99 - 10:28 PM

Fortunato- Call 410-744-1144. This is a Collings dealer in Baltimore. And while yer at it, try the Taylor 514 in Koa and Cedar.


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Subject: RE: Brazilian vs. Indian Rosewood
From: Bill D
Date: 16 Nov 99 - 12:52 PM

tsk!! catspaw!!...how can you sleep at night!..those end-frames would be just as pretty if you called 'em Maecherium scheroxylon *grin* ...and think of the respect you'd get for being so knowlegeable!

(I also grump at sales where they price something at $999.99 and act as though I won't KNOW I'm spending a thousand bucks!)


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Subject: RE: Brazilian vs. Indian Rosewood
From: Fortunato
Date: 16 Nov 99 - 11:24 AM

Help. I haven't played a Collings or a Bourgeois does anyone know where in DC I could find some?

Thanks Bill D, but Gurion is not what I'm looking for right now.


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Subject: RE: Brazilian vs. Indian Rosewood
From: catspaw49
Date: 15 Nov 99 - 11:57 PM

I thought this thing had gone, but I must have been off and about...I notice a couple of posts that I'll come back to...but for now.........

Thanks emily and like Bill, may I say you're most welcome. Now UNLIKE Bill, I'll just keep telling folks that those end frames are BO-livian ROSEwood and they'll like it...cause it is pretty. And Morado sounds like a new imported motorcycle.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Brazilian vs. Indian Rosewood
From: Bill D
Date: 15 Nov 99 - 11:35 PM

you are quite welcome, emily..*smile*..it is a pleasure to help someone who really wants to know...there ARE projects to clear up things, set 'standards' for names, etc...but like folk music definitions, you can't require anyone to pay attention. They will only be adhered to by those who care...


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Subject: RE: Brazilian vs. Indian Rosewood
From: emily b
Date: 15 Nov 99 - 05:34 PM

Thanks, Bill D and catspaw for all the info about the latin names and morado vs. rosewood. We got onto to internet on Sat. and had a great time surfing around the various sites, reading about further. It's amazing the conflicting information about the different kinds of wood. It's no wonder the dealers just call everything "rosewood."

Thanks again,

emily b


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Subject: RE: Brazilian vs. Indian Rosewood
From: John of the Hill
Date: 13 Nov 99 - 05:44 PM

Rick, Are balsa what castrati are relieved of? John


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Subject: RE: Brazilian vs. Indian Rosewood
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 13 Nov 99 - 04:10 PM

Catspaw, I wanna know about those Martin 0000s that you were talkin' about earlier. Are they the ones with Brazilian Possum backs?
Rick (who wonders why nobody ever talks about the sound properties of Balsa)


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Subject: RE: Brazilian vs. Indian Rosewood
From: Michael K.
Date: 13 Nov 99 - 03:29 PM

To 'Spaw:

Thanks for the above. It has been a subject I've agonized over for a long time since there is just so much hype around the BRW thingy.....and after a while you start asking yourself (especially if contemplating ordering a new custom instrument as I did a while back) ''geez do I really want to pay Martin (or whoever) a 4 -5 thousand dollar premium for a few small thin slabs of BRW or can I live with IRW? and save a lot of money?" So I would think that anyone (obviously fairly well-heeled) contemplating a purchase of either a new custom Rosewood instrument or searching for older vintage guitars would want such a distinction made, in order to make as informed a choice as possible regarding the differences and benefits (if any) no matter how subtle. Otherwise you're basically throwing out hard earned money for a "look" rather than a real fundamental difference in tone.

Interesting about your comments about mahogany for cutting power and bluegrass....and I do agree with you. I honestly thing my old (straight braced) D-28 sounds more like a great D-18 than a 28. Because of the straight bracing, it doesn't boom or really resonate in the bass end (although the bass is there - just not to the degree that one is used to hearing it if they were using an HD-28 or one that employs scalloped braces.) But the mids and highs on it are astounding and just leap out at you. Is this sound typical of older BRW straight braced Martins?.....assuming those Martins are "good ones"?


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Subject: RE: Brazilian vs. Indian Rosewood
From: catspaw49
Date: 13 Nov 99 - 01:41 PM

....'course the D-28's real popular too, so screw it!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Brazilian vs. Indian Rosewood
From: catspaw49
Date: 13 Nov 99 - 01:26 PM

LMAO....I was never trying to beat around the bush Michael, although that is a favorite pastime...........I just tend to believe that the BRW/IRW question is so close that its barely significant.

The differences between the Spruces is more noticeable by far. And BTW, Dana Bourgeois, who I really do consider to be one of the best luthiers anywhere, has had better success with Morado for backs and sides than he has with IRW, much closer in all ways to BRW. The greatest difference is between the rosewoods/morado and mahogany or maple obviously. Most builders agree that rosewood tends to be better balanced, but mahogany has much clearer trebles and basses which makes the instrument stand out when played with other instruments like banjo, mandolin, etc.......which is why the D-18 is so popular in Bluegrass.

Glad you started this thread man........I thought we'd blown most of the instrument topics, but this led us in a few other ways.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Brazilian vs. Indian Rosewood
From: Michael K.
Date: 13 Nov 99 - 01:06 PM

Thanks 'Spaw.

That's more along the lines of the answer I was looking for, regarding tone. I figured there had to be a different and I too, notice it.


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Subject: RE: Brazilian vs. Indian Rosewood
From: catspaw49
Date: 13 Nov 99 - 12:08 PM

Well Michael, I personally think that BRW will give you a sound that I heard Dan Bourgeois describe once as "lush." And I think that's true. My guess would be that you'd find the IRW a bit less so and probably more similar to BRW in the mid-range, but less "clear" in the treble and bass. I have found that when using Spruce soundboards on Hammered Dulcimers that BRW sounds better when used for rails, than either IRW, Morado, or maple(which is what I generally use). And that kinda' relates to the comment above. Maples are kind of acoustically neutral and the sound reflects through it much better than other woods, so when used as rails on HD's the "tone" of the soundboard is more important. On a guitar, maple backs and sides tend to let the soundboard do the work, which would help explain the better results with pick-ups.

Want the truth? I kinda' like the sound of mahogany best in most blind tests. I played two Larrivees at Roscoe awhile back and I picked the mahogany......but I love that look of rosewood. I've always preferred a D-18 to a D-28 too.......but don't tell anybody.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Brazilian vs. Indian Rosewood
From: Terry Allan Hall
Date: 13 Nov 99 - 08:59 AM

Tonally, I like 'em both equally, but a lot of times the BRW is prettier VISUALLY. Lately, I've been getting into good maple guitars (Gibson J-200 and Taylor 655) gfor stage axes, though...better feed-back resistance.


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Subject: RE: Brazilian vs. Indian Rosewood
From: Michael K.
Date: 13 Nov 99 - 12:22 AM

Okay I've read all the newer posts in here once again, and I particulary appreciate 'Spaws analysis of all the variables that go into creating the final sound.

Having said this, and, assuming all things being equal (nut and saddle material, bridge, fretboard, etc.etc

If we took 2 identical Collings D3s, OMs, or Martin D-28s, with one being of Brazilian and the other Indian....)......Is there any fundamental difference in the sound?

And for what it's worth 'Spaw, I agree with you 100% about Collings. I have one,(an OM3H) and in addition to all its perfection in construction and sound, etc. ... it has the finest, easiest playing neck I have ever encountered on ANY acoustic guitar, bar none. It was the neck alone, that sold me on this instrument.

(You can mug me for starting this thread :-) ..but be gentle. )


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Subject: RE: Brazilian vs. Indian Rosewood
From: Bill D
Date: 12 Nov 99 - 11:53 PM

Fortunato...if you are in the Wash DC area...mt wife,,,Ferrara, to those here, has a Gurian guitar for sale ...Jumbo Mahogany, I think it is called...neck is slightly narrower than some, Im told....


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Subject: RE: Brazilian vs. Indian Rosewood
From: catspaw49
Date: 12 Nov 99 - 11:00 PM

Gee, I hadn't been back to catch John's phrase. Of course I had no idea what it meant and I was ready to go kick his ass til I looked it up.

GAS???? This place is the refinery!!!!!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Brazilian vs. Indian Rosewood
From: BK
Date: 12 Nov 99 - 10:42 PM

Idiosyncraticaally elequent... I love it! Right on!

Cheers, BK

ps: If I were going to buy a serious-sized Taylor (which I hope to do one of these days) I WOULDN'T buy a dreadnaught (ends in "10"); I'd buy the size roughly equivalent to a Martin OOO - a "grand auditorium." (ends in "14"). They're really just abt as big, but shaplier & sound great. of course, I've had a lot of Dreadnaught size/shape guitars.. I really want the "grand concert" (eds in "12")size; something like a OO Martin. I got GAS (Guitar Aquisition Syndrome) - terrible case of it... Got a suspicion I'm not the onlyone, I bet there's an epidemic on the Mudcat..


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Subject: RE: Brazilian vs. Indian Rosewood
From: John of the Hill
Date: 12 Nov 99 - 08:42 PM

Fortunato, What's really scary is buying a cittern. I'm taking a leap of faith and ordering one, the problem is you can't get your hands on a variety of them to compare. At the same time this discussion is going on, there has been one on the cittern list entitled Spruce or Cedar. My head is really spinning, and while there may be people on that list as knowledgeable, there are none as idiosnycratically eloquent as our Spaw. John


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Subject: RE: Brazilian vs. Indian Rosewood
From: catspaw49
Date: 12 Nov 99 - 03:20 PM

Good question Fort......Its probably better answered by Rick or another of the great pickers we have around here. I'm an average picker at best but it satisfies me and I guess that's the important thing. In the final analysis, I'm like everybody else. I like the look and feel AND the glamour of certain names, but I also learned the hard way that the name ain't the thing. I just unloaded the world's worst D-28 to another poor slob who saw "Martin D-28" and was an instant buyer! But since you asked............

If I had the bucks.........Collings are simply wonderful instruments. Beautiful in all respects. For a number of reasons, I also like Larrivee and his are less expensive. I like the LS body in Rosewood, and if I ever can afford to shell out the bucks, I'll have one. In Martin, I like the 0000 body better than the dreadnought although they are quite similar...better balance. Have you played a Bourgeois? Dana Bourgeois KNOWS wood and lutherie. His guitars are very distinctive sounding and if you like that sound, well.......of course there are a couple of Taylor's that I could get wired to. BTW, I think that Taylor is building the best of the "Road Ax" series of anyone into that market.

Hell, I dunno.....Send me some of all of the above...and a few others too!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Brazilian vs. Indian Rosewood
From: Fortunato
Date: 12 Nov 99 - 02:50 PM

No, No, no offense! Just explaining the inordinate emphasis on wood. I'll check out those threads, thanks. I've played all the guitars available in Washington, DC. If you, spaw, were going to shop for dreadnaughts which guitars would you go out and play? Yours, Fortunato


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Subject: RE: Brazilian vs. Indian Rosewood
From: catspaw49
Date: 12 Nov 99 - 02:44 PM

Christ there Fort....I hope I didn't offend you! Seriously, I didn't mean to if I did and I do understand. Take along a friend and if you're locked on Taylor, pick the one that sounds best to you and looks the best too. Taylor makes one helluva fine guitar and its hard to go too far wrong in buying one.

BTW, we ran threads on many guitars awhile back. Enter: Info Taylor in the filter box and refresh for a year and you'll find the thread. Also threads on Martin, Guild, Gibson, and others too.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Brazilian vs. Indian Rosewood
From: Fortunato
Date: 12 Nov 99 - 02:33 PM

spaw.

The reason I asked about the different kinds of spruces and piggypacked onto the rosewood question is these are the choices I as a buyer have. Most of the other variables except cosmetics are up to the luthier. For example I'm in the market for a new Taylor. I can choose amongst models that vary in size and shape and top and back woods, but that's all. Now I know, after almost 40 years of playing one guitar the sound changes. And I know it's sound not just wood type and it's subjective. But when you're getting ready to plunk down thousands of your hard earned do-re-mi you like to hear some opinions. I'll take along a pal of mine to play the final two or three I pick from all I can choose from and then decide. But I get a little insecure, you understand?


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Subject: RE: Brazilian vs. Indian Rosewood
From: catspaw49
Date: 12 Nov 99 - 02:14 PM

Bert brings up another point. When you try different woods, especially for soundboards, the bracing DOES change to some degree. Cedar is most often found on Classicals whick have less stress on the top and are generally "fan" braced whereas steel string instruments are braced in some form of "cross" pattern. The notable exception to this is Jean Larrivee's instruments which differ greatly from Martin, Taylor, and others.

Mucking about with bracing and top thicknesses can alter the sound of any instrument. The problem that the builder encounters is in the R&D of experimentation, ie. the COST of trying something different. If you're Martin, its not nearly so significant to you as it is to a small luthier. In Hammered Dulcimers, I'm sure that Dusty Strings has a whole helluva lot more money than I do to try such things. There have been times that I've watched the unsalvageable parts of an experiment gone bad burn up in my fireplace and considered just tossing in another $100. for the time. Its very hard to experiment if you ain't got that Do-Re-Mi! But if you really like it, you just chuck it up to experience and learn from it.

The other obvious factor is that sound quality is not only related to woods in the body of an instrument. What is used for the bridge, saddle, nut, fretboard, bridge pins, STRINGS, etc. and what design of bridge are you using. In Hammered's you talk about rails, caps, bridges, rail transfer supports, string gauging, downbearing, and HAMMERS. Even the simplistic App Dulcimer has a number of other things that must be taken into account.

BRW vs. IRW ---- C'mon, gimmee a break...........

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Brazilian vs. Indian Rosewood
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 12 Nov 99 - 01:37 PM

After having read numerous interviews with, and about Segovia, I'm not sure "humble" would be the operative word. Like Carlos Montoya (who popularized..and many say destroyed Flamenco), he didn't look kindly on critics or players who disagreed with his approach. I can see that incident happening.
There are limits of course, but it IS in the hands of the player. Stories abound (some apocryphal of course) of ordinary mortals picking up one of the giants' instruments and being amazed how difficult said instrument was to play. I attempted to play Earl Scruggs' banjo when I was about 17 (backstage, he just said "sure, anyone wanna try it?") and found the neck warped, the action high, and the sound terrible. In his hands, it was magic!
I'm told that Leadbelly kept his action high so that NOBODY would mess with his guitar.
Back to the blindfold experiment. I would have preferred that the Brazilian Martin, made the other guitars look sick. But it didn't. The brand new Yamaha was superior.
Rick


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Subject: RE: Brazilian vs. Indian Rosewood
From: Bert
Date: 12 Nov 99 - 12:43 PM

Good story Garg, I think a similar principle applies to guitar construction.

The 'Luthier' is far more important than the choice of wood. Generally speaking a harder wood should give a bright tone and a softer wood a mellow tone, but by the time the luthier has finished with his bracing and construction and finishing the final result is the result of his skill.

For example: if he uses cedar, he knows that it cross grain strength is less, so he will adjust his bracing accordingly.

Bert


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Subject: RE: Brazilian vs. Indian Rosewood
From: Bill D
Date: 12 Nov 99 - 12:12 PM

I do suspect, however, that there are many guitars that even Segovia would try and say..."Lord...I can't play THIS thing, it's frets are not quite right, the action is WAY too high...etc.."...Just as I am sure there are very passable $30 bargains out there....better he should have tossed it into the audience and told the one who caught it to go practice...*smile*....great story, though..(bet you that what he played next WAS a wonderful, expensive instrument!)


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Subject: RE: Brazilian vs. Indian Rosewood
From: Metchosin
Date: 12 Nov 99 - 01:02 AM

Right on -gargoyle!!! You scared me on my first visit to the Mudcat, but you were the first to welcome me, Thank you.


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Subject: RE: Brazilian vs. Indian Rosewood
From: _gargoyle
Date: 12 Nov 99 - 12:34 AM

A story told to me thirty years ago...relayed a the details of a Eastern U.S.A. performance (probably apocraphal) about Andre Segovia

He entered stage left....with a guitar in hand...he sat in a chair...and played an astounding piece....a brillant, dynamic opening number, the audience was awed,,,,,,and then he smashed the guitar to pieces / smiterins against the stage....and announced.

"Most of you probably assumed that I destroyed an heirloom antique, multi-thousand dollar insturment.... it was not....it is one that I picked up and hour before the performance at a five and dime store for 30.00...... it is not the insturment....it is the performer."

From what I understand of A.S. he was a very humble performer and it is difficult to invisage such a flambouyant demonstration....and yet....it is hard to predict anyone's outrage against ignorant critics on any given day.


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Subject: RE: Brazilian vs. Indian Rosewood
From: catspaw49
Date: 11 Nov 99 - 08:51 PM

No I'm sorry, try again. I'll give you a hint. It begins with *# and not &!....but you know, otherwise you're real close(:+))

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Brazilian vs. Indian Rosewood
From: Bill D
Date: 11 Nov 99 - 08:23 PM

sorta like &!%%*^#@...??...or is that the French spelling?


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Subject: RE: Brazilian vs. Indian Rosewood
From: catspaw49
Date: 11 Nov 99 - 08:08 PM

Sorry Wild Bill......You're right of course, but can you spell......

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Brazilian vs. Indian Rosewood
From: Bill D
Date: 11 Nov 99 - 07:54 PM

now catspaw...if the nice folks are gonna do searches on rosewood related stuff, it would be best to spell it Dalbergia


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Subject: RE: Brazilian vs. Indian Rosewood
From: catspaw49
Date: 11 Nov 99 - 07:32 PM

Well I see my buddy Bill has already been here...as he should! Great answer of course. but being me, I'll go on a bit anyway.........

Bill didn't mention that although "Morado" is Machaerium, Rosewoods are Dahlbergias. WHOOPEE!!! The real kick is that its easy to sell damn near anything made of some kind of "Rosewood" and when quarter sawn the heartwood of Morado has a purplish/brown color and a grain pattern much like several true rosewoods.

As this started about "tonewoods" it is worth mentioning that Morado/BR is very suitable to a variety of tonal applications including Hammered Dulcimer end frames and rails and guitar backs/sides although it is somewhat more difficult to "bend" than Indian Rosewood...a bit more time consuming. There are a lot of great tonewoods and BRW simply has the "thing" right now. Its rarity makes it virtually unusable and if one person in a thousand can tell the difference, IRW/BRW, given everything else equal, I'll kiss their ass in Times Square and give them 20 minutes to draw a crowd. You CAN tell the difference in mahogany, maple, rosewood, walnut, and cherry.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Brazilian vs. Indian Rosewood
From: Bill D
Date: 11 Nov 99 - 07:06 PM

and, for ME the issue is similar to the one I face in the "what is 'folk music'" threads..It is not necessary to fret about classifications all the time..if you are just singing a song you like..or commenting on a tree in your yard, simple categories are enough, or not needed at all...but if you are building furniture or instruments-- or classifying music in a store, or to 'define' a web site, you want to take EXTRA care to NOT cram too much into a category, 'cause there will be folks showing up who NEED a careful, narrow definition!.....hence the debates...


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Subject: RE: Brazilian vs. Indian Rosewood
From: Metchosin
Date: 11 Nov 99 - 07:01 PM

Getting off topic a bit here, but does anyone out there have any information about Berwind Parlour guitars. My mother purchased mine from a pawn shop for me in 1952. It's a dead ringer for an 1890's Martin 1-21, with a cedar top, Brazilian rosewood back and sides, ivory viola pegs and the best ebony bridge and fret board ever seen and made by J. Berwind in Philadelphia. George Gruhn wanted photos of it a few years back, but I still haven't managed to get around to it yet. I'd be interested in knowing anything about J. Berwind and the guitars. I'd be interested to know if Berwind ever designed anything for steel string as well.


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Subject: RE: Brazilian vs. Indian Rosewood
From: Bill D
Date: 11 Nov 99 - 06:55 PM

aahhh...emily...since the name "rosewood" has such a high recognition quotient and 'aura', wood dealers like to get that name attached to anything which vaguely resembles rosewood....Bolivian rosewood is also called Striped Caviuna and Morado..and a few other things..it is Machaerium schleroxylon

look here for a picture...(not that this site is the best..but they are right about THIS species)

Machaerium schleroxylon also has some irritants in the dust that cause reactions in some people, (as do several Rosewoods)

How do I know this..besides being a wood collector? Well...my wife BOUGHT me a piece once as a present..said they called it 'Morado' at the dealers...so off I went to increase my knowlege..back to the dealer..

"what is Morado?" I asked.."this here", they said..."hmmm..." says I..." where does it come from...what is it's scientific name?"..."shrug", says them...."well, then how do you KNOW it's Morado?", I ask..."well, because", says the guy, with a straight face, "whenever we order Morado, this is what they send us!" ARRRRGGGHHHH!! I later looked it up is several serious books on the subject till I could figure out just what WAS what...and I still have not cut into that Morado! (wanna buy it? *grin*)

so..you see what we wood nuts are up against...dealers DO NOT CARE..(mostly)...they want to sell wood, not classify it!...There are similar messes in nomenclature about the Maples, Walnuts...(S. American Walnut...Queensland Walnut etc)...and there are 40-50 woods in the world called "Ironwood", and most folks are fairly resistant to learning that THEIR 'Ironwood' is not the only one!


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Subject: RE: Brazilian vs. Indian Rosewood
From: emily b
Date: 11 Nov 99 - 05:54 PM

This is a very interesting discussion. I don't even play a stringed instrument but I read it all. My husband is the one who plays guitar and he works with wood. He is intrigued by catspaw's comment about "Bolivian" rosewood not existing. He tells me that wood stores here in Houston are selling wood labeled "Bolivian" rosewood. Can someone out there enlighten us on this. If it isn't Bolivian rosewood, what it is? Does anyone have a latin name for it? We have an 1896 Martin made of Brazilian that has had a terrible repair job sometime in its life but per Martin, 1896 wasn't such a good year anyway. We're thinking about getting some constructive surgery done on it so at least it will be playable again.

Emily


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Subject: RE: Brazilian vs. Indian Rosewood
From: catspaw49
Date: 08 Nov 99 - 10:21 PM

Personally, I'm ready to mug him for starting this thread.

I'm going to refer him to Cletus, Paw, Buford, and the Reg boys as a potential customer for their deer hunting and ice fishing guide service.......Really Michael, they're OK kinda' guys and if you'll bring that Martin along and play for them, there as docile as lambs. But DO bring the Martin....they like that sound a lot.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Brazilian vs. Indian Rosewood
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 08 Nov 99 - 09:18 PM

I'd mug Mike for his D 28.


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Subject: RE: Brazilian vs. Indian Rosewood
From: Michael K.
Date: 08 Nov 99 - 08:20 PM

I appreciate all of the responses in this thread. They have led me to one conclusion. Tone is a purely subjective thing. What sounds good to one person may not to the next. Let your own ears be the judge and play an instrument YOU like, and to hell with what anyone else thinks.

BRW instruments may be more desirable from a collectible and investment stand-point as BRW becomes more and more scarce, but as I am a player more so than an investor, playability and tone (or at least pleasing tone to my ears) are the bottom line for me.

The collectibles that I have (well only 1 really, a 1950 D-28) gives me enormous pleasure to play, and as an added bonus it will hold it's value and increase in time from what I paid for it, and in the end will be a nice legacy instrument to pass on to other generations in my immediate family.

I always wanted an older Martin dreadnaught, partly for the mystique, partly for the historical value, partly for the BRW, and for it's tone, playability, character and soul. But it took a long long time, and a lot of playing on various older ones, till I hit paydirt and found one with the qualities I just described. They are not all created equal, even the old ones. You have to be lucky, and in the right place at the right time, and have the coinage to back it up. Not easy factors to have come together all at the same time......so I feel I was meant to have this instrument. I have played newer Martins that were bassier (thanks to scalloped rather than the straight braced versions from 1946-1976) and had great tone, but where the ''magic'' seems to be in this old beat-up 28, is the responsiveness. You literally just tickle it softly, and in an empty room, it fills the room. Hard to find that in a newer instrument.


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Subject: RE: Brazilian vs. Indian Rosewood
From: Easy Rider
Date: 08 Nov 99 - 03:29 PM

I think that Brazilian Rosewood is overrated. Perhaps we like the tone of BRW guitars because they are all older than the IRW guitars we are comparing them to. Older means better tone, no matter what the wood.

Luthier, John Greven, says that the density, not the fancy figuring of the grain, is what gives the wood its tone. He thinks good IRW sounds better than BRW, and I tend to agree with him. I have a very nice IRW Martin that will sound fantastic in thirty years or so, and it cost thousands less than if it were made of BRW.

I also think Mahogany is a really good material for the back and sides. I can't decide whether I like my 36 year old Mahogany Gibson better or worse than my new IRW Martin. I guess I'll keep them both.


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Subject: RE: Brazilian vs. Indian Rosewood
From: catspaw49
Date: 07 Nov 99 - 10:02 PM

Its OK Kendall. The damn Taylor's just so good you HAD to say it twice...Right?

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Brazilian vs. Indian Rosewood
From: kendall
Date: 07 Nov 99 - 09:58 PM

I posted this, and 7 minutes later, it was still here. I hit send again, and it went out twice.


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Subject: RE: Brazilian vs. Indian Rosewood
From: kendall
Date: 07 Nov 99 - 09:56 PM

I have an 810 Taylor..the top is wood, the sides are wood and the back is wood. It is bright powerful, and sweet. It has been coveted by many pickers, including the most hard core blue grass pickers. Now..what else matters?


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Subject: RE: Brazilian vs. Indian Rosewood
From: kendall
Date: 07 Nov 99 - 09:49 PM

I have an 810 Taylor..the top is wood, the sides are wood and the back is wood. It is bright powerful, and sweet. It has been coveted by many pickers, including the most hard core blue grass pickers. Now..what else matters?


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Subject: RE: Brazilian vs. Indian Rosewood
From: catspaw49
Date: 07 Nov 99 - 08:10 PM

Well, to answer about softwoods, used as most soundboards...and to try to be brief, not easy if you're me......here's some basic stuff and a little more.

Metchosin, your "theories" actually are true to some degree and the way the wood is cut is very important to the whole thing, especially when you're talking rarer softwoods like German Spruce. Quite frankly, there is damn little German Spruce at all and its rarely used. Interestingly, we (US) used to send a lot of Engleman overseas and it was RESOLD to us as German....proving Barnum was right. 'Course Bill D. will happily tell you that there is no such thing as "Bolivian Rosewood"...and he's right! But it LOOKS similar and the name is so much nicer!!!! In any case, German, Engleman, and Sitka are the preferred spruces and German is used only occasionally nowadays as the cost is quite prohibitive. Also, since much of it comes from smaller diameter trees runout becomes a problem and very little of it is available for master grade sale. And what's the point of buying INFERIOR German, when Engleman is available. Both are very white and show very little distinct graining from the growth rings. Both are very silky/shiny/polished looking even without finish of any kind. Sitka is stronger than the others and is one of the highest strength woods available....that's strength to weight ratio...and has really nice "give" or elastic qualities and is actually better suited to steel string construction than the others. I also prefer it for Dulcimers (Hammered) if I want to use Spruce, because the instruments tend to retain their tuning better (Strengh to Weight and elasticity is hard to beat). Sitka does not have that same pure whiteness and the graining is far more pronounced. The colors range from off white to a pink-yellow-tan kinda' thing, but I've never believed that had anything to do with the quality, just the aesthetics. Sitka is also without peer for soundboard bracing and tonebars, again owing to the strength to weight ratio. Frankly, once again, in the blindfold test, I'm willing to bet that very few could pick out the spruce being used. But folks, the market is often consumer driven and Engleman is in. I find Sitka to be more attractive myself, but then again, I'm a congenital idiot what got no taste at all!!!

Cedar is used on a lot of Classicals and I like it (as do others) for dulcimers. It takes a different amount and style of bracing as it is not as strong as spruce, but what it does have is an unbelievable stability in a variety of humidities and also, for some reason, sounds better right away as opposed to spruce where age does play a factor. Very pretty too. Redwood is also kinda' neat in that its got that great dimensionable stability like cedar, and if you play HD or other zither things, you know how much fun there is in the constant retuning don'tcha'? Redwood and Cedar have excellent "taptones" and work really well on guitars as well. And BTW, Redwood and Cedar are both very resistant to rot and decay (which would make the unfinished fiddles last without finish....although a thin finish might actually enhance the sound...I'd like to know about that).

Cypress is also being used some but it comes under the "too early to tell" heading. And don't forget that even in guitars, mahogany has been used with excellent results by even the folks at Martin.

Sorry...getting carried away here. Just some random thoughts from your local village doofus.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Brazilian vs. Indian Rosewood
From: Bill Cameron
Date: 07 Nov 99 - 04:56 PM

Boy howdy, as my sister-in-law would say. There's a lot of knowledge around here on the more arcane aspects of wood technology and acoustics.

In my experience of rooting through a hundred music stores, the occasional time when you find a cheap (under $250 lets say) guitar that really sounds GREAT...most often its a Yamaha. Wish I'd bought all of them I've run across.

I've gotten to like the sound and feel of western cedar top guitars quite a lot. Good ones are very warm. A couple of you have mentioned it as an "also used"--is there a downside to cedar--durability perhaps? I've got a cedar top mandola that's very nice. And I know an old guy hereabouts who builds fiddles with cedar tops, which get NO FINISH WHATSOEVER. (or maybe he brings 'em out and passes them around while they're incomplete--but I think they're done.) They are terrific fun to play, with a great live response--the word I think of is gritty, but I mean it in a good way. They aren't Strads, they're fiddles. I want one. Anybody else seen this approach?

Bill


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