A guy wrote that Brazilian Rosewood was amazing, so I wrote this:
Yes, everything around Brazil rosewood is AMAZING.
Most of all, I find it to be AMAZING that builders still use it and that players buy new guitars made with braz rosewood. I´ll explain:
First of all, the myth concerning braz rosewood is about Rio rosewood or rio palisander (Dalberghia Nigra) and nothing else. The rest is just brownish heavy wood from South America.
its AMAZINGLY illegal. Its been forbidden for decades to chop the trees. And you can only buy the wood legally if it has papers (CITES) Also you can only sell guitars legally legally if it has papers. Try importing a guitar to the USA with Braz rosewood and no CITES and you´ll find out.
You can of course think that you dont care about the environmental situation in Brazil and you can also think that you dont care about these laws and rules. BUT then, please, accept that you cant care about environmental issues where you live and you cant expect people to follow the laws and rules that you find to be important.
There´s an amazing amount of cheating going on when it comes to Braz rosewood and its on all levels including wood cutters, wood dealers and musical instrument makers. All kinds of brownish wood from South America can be found and sold as Braz rosewood.
I know about makers that even though they bought wood called “Caviuna”, they made and sold guitars and said it was Braz rosewood.
Very few persons know how to distinguish the real thing from all the fake. Those of us who have only had a few sets in our hands, we know nothing and can just pray that we havent been cheated and that some dude who bought our Braz rosewood guitar wont send us a lawsuit if its found out that it was Jacaranda or Caviuna we sold under a false name.
Even the specialists find it hard to to distinguish the real thing from fake. Not so many years ago, Maderas Barber in Valencia sold a very pretty wood called Caviuna. It totally looked like high grade Braz rosewood with spider webbing and a deep chocolate color. The authorities blocked the sale of the wood while they were taking DNA tests of the wood. They found out that it was NOT Braz rosewood, so at least Bareber had not been wrong, but it only shows how difficult it is even for experts to see the difference.
I´ve made 3 Braz rosewood guitars and I wont make more. It should be obvious why. The wood I bought pretty cheap on a sale that California based Allied Luhiery had almost 10 years ago. I took the sets to a well known builder who had built several guitars with Braz (Rio) rosewood back in the “good old days”. He told me he coundnt say 100% what it was, but he was pretty sure it was Rio. Allied sold it as “Stump Wood” claiming it didn´t need CITES, but the wood arrived without any papers saying that, so judge yourselves. I just know that the different custom authorities dont care at all about stories. They want paper and nothing else. No correct papers, and you´re out.
Besides that, Braz rosewood is a nice tonewood, but its just a piece of wood and there´s absolutely nothing magical about it. I dont even think its better than many other tonewoods. Its pretty heavy, which I personally dont like to much for flamencos, and its VERY unstable.
To be totally honest, I find it to be a piece of wood for the guitar snobs. Those who think they are so extremely important persons that only the most extreme piece of wood is good enough for them. You know these kind of guys who cant accept to drive a Ford or a Toyota when they go to work, but something a lot “finer”.