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View Full Version : Rosewood too dense for a top?



Matt Clara
11-14-2009, 04:47 AM
I'm just curious, as rosewood and its close relations are often considered the best tonewoods, why are they not used as soundboards? Are our little nylon strings unable to drive them without first making the board perilously thin?

jforrest
11-14-2009, 07:19 AM
I've never seen a rosewood top; but it makes great back and sides.
I have a guitar that's rosewood w/red cedar top and it's got great tone.

Pete Howlett
11-14-2009, 07:25 AM
Tops 'work' differently to the back and sides. The top is a flexible plate that transfers vibrations and acts as a 'pump' for the air inside the instrument. The back and sides are 'deflectors'. Dense hardwoods like the rosewood family are great for this job but would require considerable amounts of energy to work as tops.

Talking of rosewoods - I made up an African Blackwood fingerboard today. I now smell like the liquorice man... That is why they are called rosewoods - most have a very strong and distinct odour.

erich@muttcrew.net
11-14-2009, 07:33 AM
I'm just curious, as rosewood and its close relations are often considered the best tonewoods, why are they not used as soundboards? Are our little nylon strings unable to drive them without first making the board perilously thin?

We've never done it, as it would need to be - as you said - perilously thin. But really, you won't find that hardwoods like maple, rosewood, etc. are used for tops very much at all.

Brueko does make ukuleles using hardwood for the top as well as the back an sides. They currently have special models in rosewood, bubinga, maple, wenge... Check here: Brueko special models (http://www.brueko.de/shop/index.php?cat=c7_Special-models.html&XTCsid=6496ff2d42206de82c4bc3d7f1999574).

You do find guitars and ukuleles with TSB in mahogany or koa. On the other hand, you have to wonder... After all, violins normally have a spruce top and maple back and sides, your "standard" guitars have spruce or cedar tops and rosewood (or other hardwood) back and sides.

HTH,
Erich

fromthee2me
11-14-2009, 08:42 AM
I own a longneck Maple Brueko with an arched back. Nice instrument sounds bright and plunky like a banjo almost. I think WS64 also has one?

SuperSecretBETA
11-14-2009, 12:11 PM
I think you could certainly use it for drop tops and veneers. As for a solid top, I think the chinese soprano builders at SamWill came up with solid Brazilian rosewood t/b/s, cocobolo "Mexican rosewood" t/b/s, Amazon rosewood (Macacauba?) t/b/s, and Bolivian rosewood t/b/s ukuleles. It seems unorthodox, but that never stopped SamWill from all rosewood body handmades.

They used to have a ton of images in the user profile's gallery, but most of them are gone. I think a few are still in the thread. http://ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?t=11664

luvzmocha
11-14-2009, 01:42 PM
http://www.ukuleleworld.com/product.php?productid=19579&manufacturerid=273&cat=0&page=1

Does this wood look like Brazilian, and if it is how do they get by the C.I.T.E.S.
treaty?

RonS
11-14-2009, 04:11 PM
http://www.ukuleleworld.com/product.php?productid=19579&manufacturerid=273&cat=0&page=1

Does this wood look like Brazilian, and if it is how do they get by the C.I.T.E.S.
treaty?

I can't really tell from the photo. I would guess that it might be, and a poor cut if it is.

Under certain regulations, stumps of trees cut before 1991 may be harvested.