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Thread: Brazilian rosewood for mandolins?

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    Registered User EvanElk's Avatar
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    Default Brazilian rosewood for mandolins?

    What is the consensus about using Brazilian (or similar species) rosewood for the sides and back of a mandolin. You never see it - although a friend mentioned recently that there are some Monteleone mandolins with rosewood - and I assume there is a reason
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    Default Re: Brazilian rosewood for mandolins?

    James Condino does.
    Check this out
    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/s...wood-mandolins

    I visited his shop and played one and it was amazing!

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  4. #3
    Registered User EvanElk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Brazilian rosewood for mandolins?

    Thanks - his mandos are gorgeous
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  5. #4

    Default Re: Brazilian rosewood for mandolins?

    You see it on some mandolins made for Celtic music. I played a Trinity College TM-450 with rosewood sides and back. It might add a dry, woody note to the tone without creating excess bark. It seems like it's tricky to ship brazilian rosewood across borders though.

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    Registered User EvanElk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Brazilian rosewood for mandolins?

    Interesting thanks. I've been exploring the idea of building one with a local luthier here in Portland who mostly builds guitars and ukuleles, but has built several A model mandos in the past. He has a piece of BRW of the right size
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    Registered User sblock's Avatar
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    Default Re: Brazilian rosewood for mandolins?

    Many different types of hardwoods can be used for the back and sides of a mandolin. Provided that the choice wood is fairly hard, this has only a moderate effect on the tone. Weber successfully used mahogany on some instruments. You will also find koa wood, and yes, rosewood as well. Flamed maple is, arguably, still the best choice if you want to avoid any possible CITES issues, and if you seek a traditional look. You also have options like bird's-eye maple and quilted maple for other type of look. But other species of figured woods can be quite beautiful and make your mandolin stand out in the crowd.

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    Default Re: Brazilian rosewood for mandolins?

    Elkhorn Koa and Mango F-5's both native woods from Hawaii. Both are amazing sounding paired with Red Cedar soundboards!
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    http://www.elkhornmandolins.com

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    Default Re: Brazilian rosewood for mandolins?

    And to your original post...here's a Cocobolo F-5
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    http://www.elkhornmandolins.com

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    Default Re: Brazilian rosewood for mandolins?

    Stan Miller built some with BRW, and I'm pretty sure that John Reischman was playing one on the first two Tony Rice Unit albums.

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    Default Re: Brazilian rosewood for mandolins?

    I just bought a classical guitar with bocote back and sides, haven't seen any mandolins with that yet but it is said to be similar tonewise to rosewood. It's an invasive species so harvesting is encouraged.

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    Registered User John Rosett's Avatar
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    Default Re: Brazilian rosewood for mandolins?

    Quote Originally Posted by jd.panko View Post
    Stan Miller built some with BRW, and I'm pretty sure that John Reischman was playing one on the first two Tony Rice Unit albums.
    Seattle mandolin great Tom Moran had a Stan Miller rosewood mandolin for years. There was also a great mandolin player from Portland that had an ebony body Miller mandolin.
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    Default Re: Brazilian rosewood for mandolins?

    I have a larger-bodied Sobell, strung as a mandola, that's rosewood -- super instrument, but of course in a "bassier" range. And a huge number of bowl-back mandolins had rosewood bowls; that was standard for higher-end instruments, pre-Gibson. My theory is that the dominant use of maple for mandolin bodies, especially for carved-top instruments, stemmed from Orville G's idea that the mandolin should emulate the violin as much as possible. Of course, European violin makers mainly used European woods to build with, not tropical products like rosewood, so if you copy an 18th-century European violin, you'll use maple.

    Were I to theorize, I'd guess you might find some of the tonal differences that you hear among rosewood, mahogany, and maple guitar bodies. Just a guess.
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    Default Re: Brazilian rosewood for mandolins?

    stunning!

    - - - Updated - - -

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    Default Re: Brazilian rosewood for mandolins?

    My Paul Shippey has rosewood back and sides, it sounds superb.

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    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Brazilian rosewood for mandolins?

    I've recently been eyeing up this beautiful Takamine Parlour guitar - Rosewood back & sides & quilted Maple center panel. I've seen a couple of Paul Shippey mandolins which used Rosewood back & sides - they looked & sounded superb !,
    Ivan
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    Default Re: Brazilian rosewood for mandolins?



    My Fischbach flat back mandolin, with rosewood back and sides.

    It has a great balance of brightness and bass, so in this case rosewood worked out very well.

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  27. #17
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    Default Re: Brazilian rosewood for mandolins?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Hanson View Post
    My Paul Shippey has rosewood back and sides, it sounds superb.

    Dave H
    Thanks for putting Paul Shippey on my radar - he makes beautiful instruments. I don't think I've seen them pop in the classifieds, but I probably overlooked them
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    Default Re: Brazilian rosewood for mandolins?

    Nope. Impossible...."whole lotta nuthin'..."

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    Default Re: Brazilian rosewood for mandolins?

    The modest but good sounding flattop Big Muddy M-4 uses what he calls Bolivian rosewood.
    Jim

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    Default Re: Brazilian rosewood for mandolins?

    Quote Originally Posted by grandcanyonminstrel View Post
    Nope. Impossible...."whole lotta nuthin'..."
    ok. that explains it
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  32. #21
    Bob Remington
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    Default Re: Brazilian rosewood for mandolins?

    I have a Stan Miller with Brazilian rosewood back, sides and neck, with CITES certificate. A fine instrument that compares well to my previous Heidens, Gilchrist and Red Diamond.
    Quote Originally Posted by jd.panko View Post
    Stan Miller built some with BRW, and I'm pretty sure that John Reischman was playing one on the first two Tony Rice Unit albums.
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  34. #22
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    Default Re: Brazilian rosewood for mandolins?

    Tut and Mark Taylor built at least two carved mandolins with Brazilian back and sides under the "Crafters of Tennessee" brand: an A-5 and an F-5. They were good mandolins.

    Brazilian rosewood was frequently used on flat back mandolins in the old days. 100 years ago, we were swimming in the stuff. It was often used by Martin, the Larson Brothers, Lyon & Healy, and Regal, among others.

    Good Brazilian is getting expensive and scarce.

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    Default Re: Brazilian rosewood for mandolins?

    Condino Brazilian rosewood A5
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  36. #24
    Henry Lawton hank's Avatar
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    Default Re: Brazilian rosewood for mandolins?

    I remember seeing a Rosewood build of Skips here at the Cafe a while back. Are all the alternate wood builds shown open pored? I’m finishing up on my Claro Walnut stump salvaged F5. There’s been plenty of messy fill work on the body and Black Walnut headstock and neck. Click image for larger version. 

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