Tonewood: Brazilian vs. East Indian Rosewood

A friend of mine recently shared this video on Facebook, and while I find it interesting, it raises a few questions for me:

Problem 1: aged tone wood is better. Period. Only old growth Brazilian rosewood can be used for guitars, so that’s most likely a lot older than the East Indian rosewood they used for the demo.

Problem 2: PLAYED guitars sound better than new guitars. Period. The age + string vibration throughout the wood = better guitar tone. Open wood, better tone, better range of tone, and the warmth perceived in the Brazilian wood.

Problem 3: two identical guitars are never identical, even when built by the same luthier. This is exponentially more relevant if the guitars are not built by the same luthier.

So the real issue here is that, to make a fair comparison: 1. Both woods would need to be close in age. 2. Both guitars need to be made by the same master luthier. 3. Both guitars would need to be PLAYED for a set period of time, with similar playing methods to fully open up the tone woods before any kind of meaningful comparison could be made.

Finally, two things that make the wood more sought after: 1. Brazilian rosewood tends to have the most diverse and attractive grain, not commonly found in other forms of rosewood, hence the aesthetic appeal. 2. Brazilian rosewood is far more rare, and therefore more valuable. For superficial, and collectability reasons, Brazilian rosewood always wins.

Does that make it sound better? I don’t know, but it sure is pretty.

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