Why is everyone talking about Rosewood?

By: Rick Turnock  

Rosewood has been used in instrument manufacture for hundreds of years. Most recently it's been the main material used for guitar fretboards, due to the fact that it is naturally oily, meaning it doesn't require a finish, and also it's inherent warm tone. It has also been commonly used on the back and sides of acoustic guitars. 

As of the 2nd of January 2017, CITES, (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) has changed the classification of Rosewood, meaning that commercial trade in all species of Rosewood requires certification before crossing any international border. 

What this means in the short term, is that imports of Rosewood to Australia have been delayed, and many manufacturers are looking to alternatives to Rosewood for guitar building.

Cole Clark had already started to transition away from Rosewood some time ago, and now all of their 1 and 2 series instruments come standard with native Blackbean fingerboards. If you want a 2 series instrument with a Rosewood fingerboard, there will be a $200 upcharge. 

Fender have made a number of changes across their range, with all Mexican Fenders moving to Pau Ferro, a close relative to Rosewood, sometimes known as Bolivian Rosewood. There will be an upcharge for Rosewood fretboards in the American range, with the American Elite range moving to Ebony.

Martin have long championed alternatives to Rosewood, with their X Series, and Road Series instruments featuring Richlite, a composite material.

No doubt we will continue to see this evolving as more guitar manufacturers respond to the new requirements.


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2 October 2017

2 October 2017

1 October 2017

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