Tonewoods

This page represents a sampling of tonewood sets I have in my current inventory. If you are interested in the associated upcharge for each set of wood and whether it is available or spoken for please inquire. While there are quite a few sets on this page they represent just a fraction of tonewood I have dried and ready to build with — so if you don't see something you want please contact me. Chances are good that I either have it, or can easily get it.

Brazilian Rosewood Madagascar Rosewood Cocobolo
Bois D' Rose East Indian Rosewood Other Rosewoods
Figured Mahogany Figured Sapele Figured Koa
Figured Walnut Figured Maple Myrtle
Malaysian Blackwood Ebony (Various) Ziricote
Misc. Species    




Brazilian Rosewood (dalbergia nigra)

Brazilian Rosewood is a historical favorite with both luthiers and guitar players. And for good reason, it is highly resonant, fantastically beautiful and has a rich wonderful smell. I have a reasonable stash of this wood in quality ranging from 3A - 5A please inquire about availibility, additional sets, and price if you are interested in having a guitar commissioned with any of my Brazilian sets.


Exceptional 5A set. They really don't get better than this.

Beautiful dark old growth set, with wonderful figure and a tap tone like a gong.

Another beautiful old growth set. 5A

Beautiful figure and grain on this old growth set.

Solid stumpwood set with a very nice tap tone and unusual grain pattern

Beautiful set with a distinctive grain pattern.

Nice, old-growth set.

FANTASTIC flitch matched set. Will produce perfect straight grained look small/medium bodied guitars. Large enough for a Super Jumbo.

Traditional chocolate brown old growth set. Very nice!

Fantastic 5A set large enough for a Dreadnaught.

50+ year old quartersawn set with lots of interlocking grain. A rare 5A find.

Another exceptionally beautiful 50+ year old set

Beautiful quartersawn set with lots of curl. 5A

Dark purple set - very old.

Great tap tone.





Madagascar Rosewood (dalbergia baroni)

Madagascar Rosewood has risen in popularity recently because of its similar properties to Brazilian Rosewood. This wood exhibits tap tones, grain, and figure that are similar to the best Brazilian sets at a much lower price. However, supplies of this wood are drying up quickly and we are hearing that there will be no more supplies to replace these sets.


Nicely quartersawn, with beautiful spider-webbing.

Beautiful 2-piece back. Striking appearance.

Stunning grain and figure with lots of color contrast.

Beautiful with a huge tap-tone.

Fantastic quartersawn set.

Beautiful two piece back.

Another stunning set with a 2-piece back.

Killer "Special" Set.

Fantastic Color and Figure.

This is a real stunner, only large enough for a Drifter model.

Dark set with interesting pattern in center. Great tap tone.

Dark, even set. Similar to old Brazilian Rosewood.

Nice set, large enough for a Drifter model.

   




Cocobolo (dalbergia retusa)

Cocobolo is one of my favorite woods to build with - and a true rosewood. In my opinion it compares very favorably to Brazilian Rosewood in its tonal properties, it is exceptionally beautiful and is stable and predictable to work with.


Nicely quartersawn set with exceptional tap tone and occassional dark grain lines.

Dark set with a pronounced grain pattern and spiderwebbing.

Nice quartersawn set with moderate "bee's wing" figure. Beautiful.

Dark and light coloration, very nicely quarter sawn.

Exceptionally beautiful 4 piece set.

Beautiful set, big enough for Drifter or Sierra.

This is the sister set to the previous one. Only big enough for a Drifter.

Exceptionally beautiful 4 piece set. Only large enough for a Drifter.

 




Bois D' Rose (dalbergia maritima)

Bois D' Rose (pronounced bwah - duh - rose) is a true rosewood from Madagascar (but not to be confused with dalbergia baroni). This is a dense heavy tonewood that to my ear enjoys many of the tonal properties of cocobolo. The color ranges from deep plum purple to eggplant shades. Visually it goes well with most appointment schemes and top wood selections. Since most sets are very uniform and dark I have only shown a few from my inventory. Commercially this wood is rare, but I have a plentiful supply.


Rich plum color with subtle grain patterns

Very Dark, very dense set with fantastic tap tone.

Another very dark set that is eggplant in color with a fantastic tap tone.





East Indian Rosewood (dalbergia latifolia)

East Indian Rosewood is a staple of the guitar industry. It is relatively easy to procure nice quarter sawn sets with fantastic color and tap tone. This wood builds an execellent guitar. Below are a few sets that represent some variation among the wood I have in my stash. Nearly all of it is nicely quartersawn with perfectly vertical grain, however some sets exhibit some color variations. If you have a specific look in mind please feel free to inquire.


Unusually "red" set. This will build a beautiful guitar.

Interesting coloration, heavy with a long low tap tone.

Tight grain, great color, great tap tone.

Nicely quartersawn, even color.

Very tight grain, and lots of purple and red colors.

Nicely quartersawn.





Other Rosewoods (dalbergia spp.)

Other species of true rosewoods continue to come available to luthiers and I always try to keep an eye open for new rosewood species that produce great results. Here are a few that I have found that I am very excited about.


Amazon Rosewood. This is one of my new favorites. These sets look and tap just like old grown Brazilian Rosewood. They are a little hard to get, but absolutely wonderful.

Amazon Rosewood. This is another great example of my growing stash of Amazon Rosewood.

Amazon Rosewood. Dark set. Tap tone every big as nice as Brazilian. Quartersawn.

Amazon Rosewood. Dark with unbelievable tap tone. Fantastic.

Amazon Rosewood. Dark red color, perfectly quartersawn, dead ringer for Old Brazilian Rosewood.

Amazon Rosewood. A bit lighter in color than the other sets. Wonderful tap tone, perfectly quartersawn, with the option to use a bit of the sapwood.

Panama Rosewood. Admittedly this wood does not have the beauty of some of the other rosewood species, but this low cost rosewood pings as good (if not better than) most of the high priced woods. This is an excellent choice for those looking for great tone on a budget.

   




Mahogany (swietenia macrophylla :: swietenia microphylla)

If Brazilian Rosewood is the "king" of tonewoods then Mahogany is certainly the "crown prince". Mahogany makes a WONDERFUL guitar. These guitars exhibit a fast response that have a lot of clarity and sparkle. Unlike rosewood which tends to favor the low end, mahogany has a nice balance between lows, mids and highs. I have a large stash of Honduran ribbon figure mahogany that is more than 50 years old, and several very nice sets of figured mahogany. Additionally, I have a few sets of cuban mahogany which are denser and heavier than their Honduran cousins. Note: the light colored horizontal striping you see in some of the sets are oxidation marks from the stickers during my curing phase. These will disappear when the wood is thicknessed.


Ribbon Figured Honduran Mahogany

Ribbon Figured Honduran Mahogany. 50+ years old.

Ribbon Figured Honduran Mahogany. 50+ years old.

Cuban Mahogany

Cuban Mahogany

Flamed Honduran Mahogany

Cuban Mahogany, exceptionally heavy and dense. A very nice set.

This set has spectacular flame and color variation. Very unique and beautiful.

This has about the best flame I have ever seen on Honduran Mahogany. Due to an inclusion it is only large enough for a Drifter model.





Figured Sapele (entandrophragma cylindricum)

In recent years several exceptional figured Sapele trees have surfaced and become available to instrument makers. I have been exceptionally fortunate and have procured quite a few sets of this wonderful wood. Several are beyond presentation grade, and all would be considered 5A by conventional grading methodologies. The sets listed below represent only a fraction of what I have available. Tonally, Sapele is similar to Mahogany and it builds fantastic guitars.


Exhibition Grade

Exhibition Grade

Exhibition Grade

5A Grade

5A Grade

5A Grade

5A Grade

5A Grade

 




Figured Walnut (juglans nigra)

I have a number of sets of highly figured eastern Black Walnut. This is a plentiful domestic wood which builds wonderful guitars. The tone is fast with a lot of clarity and balance between low, mid and high frequencies. I particularly like Walnut guitars that are paired with redwood or adirondack spruce tops.


Dark rich looking set with lots of figure and contrast.

Unusual figure in this set.

Interesting grain and figure

Traditional fiddleback look

   




Koa (acacia koa)

I have the great fortune of having one of the world's best Koa dealers operating less than an hour away from my shop. This affords me the opportunity to hand pick every set of koa I use. Below are three examples of exceptional sets. In recent years the price of koa has risen dramatically, and the best sets are getting quite expensive. Please inquire for current pricing.


What do you think? Does this have enough figure?

Nice dark striped set with fantastic figure.

Unusual "quilted" koa set with dark and light coloration.





Figured Maple (acer pseudoplantanus)

While maple is a traditional wood used for years by the big guitar companies, it has (mostly) fallen out of favor in recent years, and that is a shame. My maple guitars have a very strong powerful voice with an even response across all strings. I use primarily big leaf maple which is a little softer than eastern maple or european maple. To my ear maple is suited to finger picking, flat-picking and accompanyment. I have a plentiful supply of 5A grade curly maple and several exceptional sets of quilted maple.


Very nice set of quilted maple.

5A set of quilted maple

5A set of fiddleback maple.

5A set of fiddleback maple.

5A set of fiddleback maple.

Nice set of quilted maple.





Myrtle (umbellularia californica)

Myrtle is a beautiful domestic wood. Tonally it is similar to Maple and builds wonderful guitars. I have a few sets of extremely figured Myrtle. This wood is plentiful and relatively inexpensive.


Extreme figure and fantastic colors.

   




Malaysian Blackwood (Diospyros celebica)

Malaysian Blackwood is a relative new comer on the tonewood scene. It is actually a species of ebony and it builds wonderful gutiars. The sound is big, clean with an even represntation of bass, mids and highs. I really enjoy working with this wood.


Great colors and spider webbing grain with a dramatic sap wood center.

Nice quarter-sawn set with fantasic color.

Very nice set with browns and reds - unusual for Malaysian Blackwood.

Fantastic color and grain.

Another beautiful set.

This is a highly figured set, large enough for a Drifter model only.





Ebony (Various Species) (diospyros embryopteris)

Various species of ebony make wonderful guitars. They exhibit a loud, clean sound with good clarity and separation. Some of my favorite guitars have been made from ebony. I have quite a few very nice sets of Macassar ebony, and a very limited supply of curly black & white ebony which is exceptionally beautiful. Please inquire with respect to price and availibility.


Beautiful set of Macassar large enough for a dreadnaught.

Fantastic set of black & white ebony.

Another black & white ebony set with excellent tap tone.

My 3rd and final set of black & white ebony.

   




Ziricote (cordia dodecandra)

Ziricote is one of the most visually striking tonewoods available. It has rich greens and brown shades and fabulous grain patterns. The guitars built from Ziricote generally possess a big "crisp" sound. This is a wonderful wood and one that will build a truly one of a kind instrument. I only stock master grade sets of Ziricote and the sets below are a good representation of the typical grain and figure.


Exibition grade figure and strong tap tone.

Beautiful exibition grade set with sap wood highlights.

 

Johnny Steiner
"My Poling guitar is fantastic! Not only is it stunning to look at, but the sound is rich and warm. I couldn't have asked for a better match for my singing voice."

–Johnny Steiner
  Professional Musician

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