Indian Rosewood

Indian Rosewood


Dalbergia Latifolia/Sisso


East Indian Rosewood. One of the most popular and traditional guitar woods of all time, rosewood takes that basic sonic thumbprint of mahogany and expands it in both directions. Think in terms of a visual spectrum in which low frequencies are on the left, and high frequencies are on the right. Rosewood sounds deeper in the low end and brighter on the top end (one might describe the treble notes as zesty, sparkly or sizzly, with more articulation). If you look at its frequency range visually, rosewood would appear to be more scooped in the middle, yielding less midrange bloom than mahogany.


Like mahogany, rosewood’s vintage heritage has helped firmly establish its acoustic legacy. It’s a great sound in part because we know that sound. In some music circles in which preserving the traditional sound helps bring a sense of authenticity to the music — certain strains of Americana, for example — rosewood has an iconic status.


Also like mahogany, rosewood is a versatile tonewood, which has contributed to its popularity. One can fingerpick it, strum it and flatpick it. It’s very consistent, so players can usually rely on it to deliver. Goes well with most applications. If you like a guitar with fuller low end and brighter treble (bluegrassers, for instance), rosewood will do the trick. Its high-end sizzle and clear articulation will benefit players with “dark hands” . If you’re looking for a traditional acoustic sound, a rosewood Dreadnought or Grand Auditorium is right up your alley.


Indian rosewood varies quite a bit in appearance from Brazilian rosewood, though it is still quite dark. Basically brown, but with purple, gray, brown, and sometimes red highlights, it is known for straighter, more homogenous grain lines. It is richly grained, resinous, stable and generally more consistent than most other rosewood species. It produces a deep warm reverby projective bass response that is especially marked on large-bodied guitars. The heartwood of Dalbergia Sisso is dark brown with a white sapwood. It is a hard, durable wood which displays good stability and ease of bending. Dalbergia Latifolia has a heartwood that is purple-brown with a dark streaks. It is a hard, durable wood which displays good stability and ease of bending.


As a tonewood, Indian Rosewood has been an industry standard for the past few decades. It’s acceptance over Brazilian rosewood stems from it’s wider availability and sustainability. This wood as provides a dark and woody overtone content with a low end predominance.


This wood grew in popularity in the 1950s and 1960s as it became increasingly difficult to obtain Brazilian Rosewood in instrument grades. Some find EIR to be one of the best tonewoods on the market, and superior to its much-coveted Brazilian cousin. It has a warm, rich, responsive tone that has clear and tight bass projection without overshadowing sparkling midrange or trebles.

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