Dalbergia Restusa

Cocobolo is readily available from Mexico. This superb tonewood has bold, distinctive orange highlights with plenty of black lines that can often show exciting swirly patterns. Some sets are dark reddish-brown. Cocobolo is a true Rosewood and grows in southern Mexico and Central America along the Pacific seaboard. It’s a beautiful wood, which when freshly cut is a bright yellow and orange-red. Over time it oxidizes to a rich brown-red color with black streaks.


It is probably as close to Brazilian Rosewood in beauty and tonal qualities as any wood. Cocobolo is heavier than most other Rosewoods, although not as stable, and occasionally more brittle. Because it is usually oily, it can be difficult to glue. Cocobolo also has excellent machining properties and can be worked well with a scraper, which will help keep dust down. For those who can work around Brazilean Rosewood problems, cocobolo is a great favorite for both tone and beauty.


It is expected to become much more expensive and rarer in the future. Care must be used when cutting Cocobolo, as the wood's oils can induce allergic reactions if inhaled or exposed to unprotected skin and eyes. A dust collection system, coupled with the use of personal protective equipment such as respirators, is highly recommended when machining this wood.


Cocobolo is probably closer in tone, color and figure to the finest-grade Brazilian Rosewood used on the classic guitars of yesteryear than any tone wood available today, and for far less money than the inferior-quality Brazilian currently available. Cocobolo offers everything Brazilian Rosewood offers, and more: increased power, increased sustain, increased volume, along with beauty of color and figure not available in Brazilian Rosewood for years. “Cocobolo back and sides characteristically have an abundance of low overtones resulting in a complex bottom end and strong upper register. The overall effect is also a bell like tone with clear, slow decaying harmonics.

The major difference between Cocobolo and Brazilian is the oil within the cocobolo that to me makes the sound compared to Brazilian slightly more heavy sounding while Brazilian gives more air to the sound.

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