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Some guitars between 1925 and 1934 used Brazilian rosewood. The L2 model from 1932 which mostly had trapeze bridge but some have (a few) pin bridges were built that way. Also 1930 through about 1934 Roy smeck radio Grande had a few with Brazilian rosewood back and side parts. Also the rw Nick Lucas from the late 20s. After that it was all East Indian rosewood back and sides. Gibson did you use Brazilian rosewood parts on bridges and fingerboards quite a lot to all those years.

Some of the 1990s AJs were built with BRW -- at that time it was thought it was original.

If you have and play (say) 30s AJs (and converted RSRGs) and 30s Martin D-28s, you quickly learn it is the age and not the materials that makes (both) superior. Between our 36 AJ and 35 D-28, people prefer them about equally -- but the AJ is preferred a bit more often.

Let's pick,

-Tom

 

Tom

Edited by tpbiii
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Gibson did continue to build some AJ's with Brazlian and Adi up to about 2005. I have one from 2003 and it is stunning. Materials may not be as big a factor as age but they do make a difference. Also I was at the Nashville Gibson showcase in the early 2000's and they had Brazlian AJ's, a J45 and an SJ. Not sure about Adi tops tho. I also know they made a few Brazlian Luthiers Choice Humingbird's for a Company called Music Machine.

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Gibson did continue to build some AJ's with Brazlian and Adi up to about 2005. I have one from 2003 and it is stunning. Materials may not be as big a factor as age but they do make a difference. Also I was at the Nashville Gibson showcase in the early 2000's and they had Brazlian AJ's, a J45 and an SJ. Not sure about Adi tops tho. I also know they made a few Brazlian Luthiers Choice Humingbird's for a Company called Music Machine.

 

How can you tell Brazillian Rosewood from other Rosewoods?

 

I have a 2003 J-45 Rosewood back/sides with ebony fretboard and bridge and had no idea they were still using Brazillian in 2005.

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How can you tell Brazillian Rosewood from other Rosewoods?

 

I have a 2003 J-45 Rosewood back/sides with ebony fretboard and bridge and had no idea they were still using Brazillian in 2005.

 

Most of the modern BRW ones I've seen say Brazilian on the label. The look of the wood--grain and color--can tell you a lot, but is not definitive. Unless it says BRW on the label, chances are it's not. The only definitive way is to take a sliver of the wood and have it analyzed, I believe.

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Most of the modern BRW ones I've seen say Brazilian on the label. The look of the wood--grain and color--can tell you a lot, but is not definitive. Unless it says BRW on the label, chances are it's not. The only definitive way is to take a sliver of the wood and have it analyzed, I believe.

 

When you say "label" do you mean the sticker in the soundhole???

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When you say "label" do you mean the sticker in the soundhole???

 

 

Yes. That's the label. For non-standard models, the label often contains additional, more specific descriptive terminology. For example, I have one modern Gibson that says "1943 Southern Jumbo" on the label, which partially distinguishes it from the more generic "Southern Jumbo" model.

 

At the same time, there's only a limited amount of space on and above the "style" line on the label, so you can't necessarily expect a full description.

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The interior label on my AJ reads

Style Luthers Choice AJ

Number. MMBAJ007

 

MM stands for Music Machine and BAJ stands for Brazlian AJ. Also there is a COA that states this guitar has Brazlian back/sides/, fretboard and bridge. Trying to verify visually would be very risky. Most of the later day Brazilian seems to not have quite as straight a grain as IR but that is a big generalization.

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The interior label on my AJ reads

Style Luthers Choice AJ

Number. MMBAJ007

 

Trying to verify visually would be very risky. Most of the later day Brazilian seems to not have quite as straight a grain as IR but that is a big generalization.

 

You're right that it is not definitive to identify BRW by its appearance, especially since the BRW used in modern guitars is sometimes re-harvested stumpwood with a lot of figure. You also see what appears to be sapwood in some cases. That's often identifiable by sharp contrasts in color from light (almost white) to dark. It can look spectacular.

 

Some of the best-looking rosewood we see today is Madagascar. There are a fair number of Luthier's Choice models that use that for back and sides, and the Legend models use it for bridges and fretboards. Martin also uses Madagascar on its Authentic series. Some of it is visually indistinguishable from Brazilian, and is probably a reasonable substitute, since it's a true Dalbergia and often has grain and color that is very similar to Brazilian.

 

Some of the E Indian Rosewood Gibson has used in the past is gorgeous. Tom B's early SJ has beautiful back and sides.

 

Most high-end repair shops have bits and pieces of Brazilian for repairs, lots of it stuff that would have gotten thrown out in the trash in the past. Now you save every scrap.

 

The guy who works on my guitars made a new Brazilian bridge for one of my J-45's a few years ago, to replace the 1968 ADJ bridge and replicate the original conventional belly-up bridge.

 

It's precious stuff these days.

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I have never had the opportunity to play a guitar with Madagascar RW but do hear lots of good things about it (assuming you are a RW person to start with). My guess is that there is not a great deal of difference between the two. I do have a J45 Custom and yeah that and the AJ are completely different beast but even though the AJ has all that "cannon" stuff going on it has a deeper, darker tone than the J45. I have thought the same about my AJ when I have compared it to IR AJ's but I enjoy them all. Would love to hear a maple also.

 

At the time I bought my AJ I had just decided I wanted an AJ with that combination of woods since I had a feeling new ones would not be available much longer and I didn't feel like I had enough knowledge of the vintage market to trust myself there. If I am honest I suppose there was a bit of "hoarder" mentality involved when I made the purchase but I am now glad I did. Not just because of price but also because this AJ is my favorite guitar. Every time I pick it up and strum a couple of cords I just break out in a big smile.

 

Ain't it great to be able to sit around on a Friday morning and discuss guitars! I especially enjoy when guys like Tom join, always learn somethin interesting. Think I will play some now.

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The AJs from the 90s. That were brazilian Had low grade non quartersawn brazilian. So the grain was not spectacular. But the tone was nice.and there Unless it was a Custom shop made guitar . But not all had high grade woods. I own a few from both Special runs and My Provided Brazilian for my custom shop builds. Lotts of black streaks some sap wood mixed. And the odd worm hole.

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Get a bright light and a strong lense or magnifying glass.

Try to get a sample of each, EIR should be easy to get.

The first picture shows EIR.

The next one shows BRW.

I've used this method.

 

From https://www.wood-database.com/wood-articles/distinguishing-brazilian-rosewood-from-east-indian-and-other-rosewoods/

 

 

Endgrain: Pay close attention to the endgrain, as it’s one of the best ways to separate the two woods. Each sample above represents approximately a 3/8″ square section of endgrain. The key is in the pore density: East Indian Rosewood has about twice as many pores per square inch as Brazilian Rosewood. This can be difficult to gauge if you don’t have any known samples to compare, but Brazilian Rosewood should have fairly sparsely spaced pores, while East Indian Rosewood should be almost riddled with pores.

 

 

 

 

east-indian-rosewood-endgrain-zoom.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

brazilian-rosewood-endgrain-zoom.jpg

 

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Some guitars between 1925 and 1934 used Brazilian rosewood. The L2 model from 1932 which mostly had trapeze bridge but some have (a few) pin bridges were built that way. Also 1930 through about 1934 Roy smeck radio Grande had a few with Brazilian rosewood back and side parts. Also the rw Nick Lucas from the late 20s. After that it was all East Indian rosewood back and sides. Gibson did you use Brazilian rosewood parts on bridges and fingerboards quite a lot to all those years.

Some of the 1990s AJs were built with BRW -- at that time it was thought it was original.

If you have and play (say) 30s AJs (and converted RSRGs) and 30s Martin D-28s, you quickly learn it is the age and not the materials that makes (both) superior. Between our 36 AJ and 35 D-28, people prefer them about equally -- but the AJ is preferred a bit more often.

Let's pick,

 

 

-Tom

 

Tom

 

 

I own a 1934 L2 14 fret. With The Brazilian back and sides. Just a sweet guitar.

 

I almost had a early 30s 12 fret but to late on the draw for it.

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Here are some examples of Martin BRW. 35, 38, 44, 21, 35, 39, 48, 66.

yuKdW0D.jpg

Here are some late 60s BWR -- while the supply was dwindling.

 

19692ztMiRi.jpg

 

1968

qiVS9MM.jpg

 

Most of the time, it is pretty easy to tell.

Best,

-Tom

Edited by tpbiii
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I own a 1934 L2 14 fret. With The Brazilian back and sides. Just a sweet guitar.

 

I almost had a early 30s 12 fret but to late on the draw for it.

 

Is yours the one that True Vintage Guitars had? I played that one, and it was a stunner.

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