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Talking Guitar: John Thomas on Brazilian Rosewood

We were recently visited by Quinnipiac University's Professor John Thomas, a perfect opportunity for a Talking Guitar episode!

Brazilian Rosewood is an endangered species and, in this video, John talks about CITES, the Lacy Act and the difficulties of travelling with or purchasing a guitar made from Brazilian Rosewood. Of course, these laws are in place to protect this rare tone wood, therefore there is also the ethical position to consider too when thinking about a Brazilian Rosewood guitar.

There are more ethical alternatives to Brazilian Rosewood that still offer incredible detail and beauty, both sonically and aesthetically:


This stunning tonewood features the visual aspect of Brazilian Rosewood, including dark grains and spider-webbing. It also has many of the same tonal characteristics, offering brilliant highs and a cavernous bass. Below is the Froggy Bottom Model K Limited in Cocobolo and German Spruce.


Wengé is another fine tonewood that has come to prominence on high-end luthier-built instruments in the last five years. Sonically it is lively with a three-dimensional effect. Below is the Bamburg JSB model in Wengé.

Madagascar Rosewood

Madagascar Rosewood is the traditional high end alternative to Brazilian Rosewood, prized for its detailed shimmering tone with a similar overtone content to the very best Brazilian Rosewood. Below is the Bourgeois SJ Custom in Madagascar Rosewood and Aged Tone Adirondack Spruce.

To discuss alternatives to Brazilian Rosewood, or any aspect of tonewoods, get in touch by calling +44 (0) 207 835 5597 or emailing

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