Brazilian Rosewood

Brazilian Rosewood (Dalbergia nigra)—also known as jacaranda or rio rosewood—comes from Brazil. The tree is endangered and lumber is no longer being exported. Dwindling reserves are expensive, and quality material is rare. Most of what is available is flatsawn, making it quite unstable. Brazilian often has wormholes or other defects. While they can be repaired, the extra labor raises the cost even higher. Despite the defects, much of it is striking. Color ranges from chocolate brown to brilliant red-violet, often with variegated streaks of brown and black. Sapwood is much lighter colored than heartwood, making for striking effects when used at the center seam.

Brazilian Rosewood is closely associated with the best of the old Martin guitars. For decades (if not centuries) it has been considered the ideal wood for the back and sides of a guitar. It imparts a warm, dark tone to the instument, with good volume and sustain.