African Blackwood

African Blackwood


Dalbergia Melanoxylon


it is a true rosewood. Strikingly different from other rosewoods in that it is black in color, and often with sapwood showing up in the guitar pattern, African Blackwood trees are quickly becoming harder and harder to find large enough to make two-piece backs. It has a tight, but robust sound. Not as deep as Brazilian Rosewood but not as tight as Mahogany. The heartwood is dark brown to purplish black and is sharply demarcated from the yellowish white sapwood. It has a straight grain, and very fine texture with an oily surface.


It has been championed as a substitute to Brazilian Rosewood although it’s rarity and pricing is similar to BRW. It holds a finish very well but is difficult to work with, hard but brittle.


Traditionally, it has been the choice for woodwind instruments where it’s ease of turning + stability are fully utilized. It provides a dark and bell-like overtone content with a slow response. Powerful. Crisp, but robust. It’s also heavy. I prefer Brazilian, but AFBW is nothing to sneeze at.


Tonally, I would say that it can be as good as a great set of Brazilian when matched with the right top and allowed to make its contribution to the overall tone of the guitar that it’s used in. It has that nice quick bottom and great harmonic blanket that Brazilian lends to the final complexity of the guitar in tandem with the contribution of the top and the builder’s work to maximize it.” Not listed on CITES but is being over-harvested.


A beautiful wood, dark, and the finest peices are almost as dark as ebony with a brownish touch. Like above stated, similar in tone to Brazilian and now as Brazilian rosewood are hard to come by and to use accordingly to CITIES list. African Blackwood might be its substitute.


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