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african mahogany vs honduran mahogany guitar

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Some people are good at distinguishing the difference. Sapele then adds some extra high end into the mix. This, of course, as always, depends on your particular tastes – mostly. These include: Honduran Mahogany is generally considered to be a better quality tonewood. The trebles are rounded yet detailed. Sapele just smells better. I ended up with an Eastman all solid sapele guitar which, I believe delivers stonger output from the high strings that the D15 I played, presumably because it’s a harder wood than tropical mahogany. Thanks for the technical differences. Your article is really well done, and answers everything a musician would be looking for when they come across your page. The density and grain structure are similar with a nice homogenous feel that allows it to be milled easily and hold details really well. Comment from contributor M: African Mahogany (scientific names – Khaya anthotheca, Khaya grandifoliola, Khaya ivorensis, Khaya senegalensis) is harder than Honduran Mahogany and is considered to be the lesser version of Honduran Mahogany. Torrefied European Spruce - African Mahogany. Ribbon-stripe Cuban Mahogany, Swietenia mahogani — $700. Some sites referred to them as the same thing and they do look so very similar, but other sites claimed differences, so to be sure I googled sapele vs mahogany wood. Both in electric and acoustic guitars, a mahogany bodied guitar will offer a focused, powerful tone, with the fundamentals in slight preeminence over the harmonics. None of the above are Limba (also known as Korina)which is not called African Mahogany. To give some perspective the following is the hardness of the woods discussed here including Rosewood. Like Mahogany, Sapele is used as both a top wood and a back/sides wood. Color wise it’s usually a pinkish/purple. Being a novice in guitar playing, I have not yet posted on guitars in my blog, but I believe this year I will. I haven't played a Honduran next to a Cuban Mahogany guitar, so I'm just wondering if the tone varies much, or at all. Last updated: August 22, 2019 by Nate 19 Comments. It is different from the Brazilian rosewood tone, and adds a certain beauty and nuance to the tune and sound of the instrument. It has a relatively high velocity of sound, and the highest strength to weight ratio than any other wood. And, the few times they do (Limited j custom runs of 6 guitars tops, and such), they make sure to specify: "Genuine honduran mahogany". That said, it is becoming more and more widely used and it will likely be more known as time goes by. It isn’t as hard as African Mahogany or Sapele. Glad you found this article helpful. My dad’s old Martin D18 was the guitar I grew up with so when I went looking for a new guitar, Taylor’s description of sapele in their 300 series, helped me decide on a 310. Sapele would then be a 2 or 3. Copyright © 2015 - 2020 - - Privacy Policy. We have used 1000's of bd/ft of African for exterior millwork in the past 5 years. While Brazilian rosewood remains the standard wood for comparing sounds made by guitars, many musicians choose the Tasmanian or Australian Blackwood as their guitar tonewood. very helpful. Its sound falls somewhere between Maple and Mahogany. Known in the US primarily as "Genuine Mahogany," Swietenia Macrophylla, its scientific name, is what most in the exotic lumber industry consider to be the true species when referring to "Mahogany." Question Usually, when someone asks what Sapele is, the answer is invariably – “it’s like Mahogany”. When it’s exposed to light it will fade a lot more than the Honduras. Another way to put it might be if you were to think of Mahogany as 1 on a scale of 10, and Rosewood was 10. Does anyone have any experience with the African variety? When freshly cut it is a bright orangeish-red, but over time it oxidizes to a golden brown. The rays in these woods are very small, and I … african mahogany doesnt seem to have that characteristics and the other “mahoganies” just dont Is it truly just a different type of mahogany or is it closer to a sapele? However, its other properties are quite different. Thanks for your comments. It looks very attractive as veneer on furniture, but it is a real pain to mill (tearout). I am not a musician; I am a 3D enthusiast. A very well done article. It should also be noted that Sapele on one guitar (with different materials and construction) will sound different to Sapele on another – and the same goes for Mahogany. I recently began a search for a mahogany top guitar like a D15 and learned that Martin uses both tropical mahogany and sapele interchangeably. I hope this post has helped you to learn the difference in Mahogany and Sapele. Registered User : Join Date: Nov 2006. But this does give a good indication of how Sapele compares to Mahogany as opposed to Rosewood. An additional characteristic that sets African Mahogany apart is its chatoyant luster, which makes the wood appear to have different coloring, as it is … Any other comments or questions welcome in the comments section below. Handmade Guitars - This Dreadnaught is slightly more rounded than others, providing richness to players. Thank you! The sounds and tones these guitars make is “sweet,” and distinct. Mahogany is a dense, medium weight wood that yields a wide range of guitar body weights, depending upon the source of the wood. It is also popular as a top wood. The only real way to tell would be b ya visual inspection if you were familiar with the how the woods differed in looks. Don’t yet know the acoustic resonances and vibrations on this guitar. I am thinking of buying a Talor gs mini and did not know if sapele was a real wood or a man made product( I know that sounds dorky but I never heard of the word before). Forum Responses Though to be fair, on most guitars it would be hard to make out the difference in tone when used as back/sides wood. African Mahogany’s color is lighter pink than Honduran Mahogany, or Swietenia Macrophylla, but otherwise, its appearance is much the same. Can you notice the difference? A lot of guitarists, especially new guitarists might not have even heard of it. Often referred to as having a “woody” tone it’s low overtone content gives it a crisp strong fundamental that is bright and responsive. Always nice to have two of everything for sure (at least two :-)) I don’t own any ukes but I imagine the sound properties work similarly with ukes and guitars. It is not as hard as the African Mahogany and it is easier to bend. Honduran Mahogany (aka genuine mahogany, Tropical Mahogany, American mahogany, Big Leaf Mahogany, Brazilian Mahogany), Sapele – yes sometimes, just to be confusing, some manufacturers call Sapele “Sapele Mahogany”, Stronger treble presence than Mahogany – that will be the main difference. Honduran Mahogany has a coloring that’s closer to orange than its African counterpart; African Mahogany is lighter in color, projecting a more pinkish hue. Tonally, the best Honduran Mahogany delivers a lively, detailed response, balanced, with a warm character, excellent bass, and vocal midrange. Typically, in guitar construction, mahogany means Central American Honduran mahogany or African mahogany. The subject pretty much says it all. When used as a back/side wood to compliment a brighter sounding top wood, Mahogany is good for mellowing out the brightness and adding some warmth and a stronger mid-range plus softening the highs and reducing the overtones. Instruments. It is interesting to note that although it is widely referred to as “African mahogany”, khaya is not a mahogany species despite the fact that its appearance and physical properties are very close to mahogany. Thanks! Required fields are marked *. Honduran Mahogany is becoming increasingly rare. The uniform pattern of mahogany, along with it’s density, compress midrange tones. This article was very helpful in making my decision ! When it’s exposed to light it will fade a lot more than the Honduras. Honduras mahogany have stratified rays that are very clear even in the pictures shown here. We call it “Sinker Belizean Mahogany”. African Mahogany wood is one of the most popular exotic tonewoods available for major manufacturers and custom builders. African Mahogany Tonewood. The African does not hold its color very well. Well done article. Would you please differentiate the two woods and the effect the woods have on the guitar? It’s not half way between Rosewood and Mahogany but it’s closer to Rosewood than Mahogany is, if that makes sense. Your email address will not be published. The Honduras is heavier and finishes better, and probably is more stable. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. To better understand the differences between the two, let’s first take a look at each wood individually. I do not want to use the African because it will not match the existing Honduras. I've never played a guitar with African mahogany but the sapele guitar I had was similar in tone to my Honduran mahogany guitar. I’ve been playing guitar for several years, and now I’m looking to get myself a Ukelele. Sapele is less heard of than Mahogany. Reactions: Gig Young and Brian N So, in the battle of Sapele vs Mahogany, which is the better tonewood? You may have seen some guitars that have Sapele back and sides or Mahogany back and sides or Mahogany tops but you might wonder what the difference is. So, bottom line; which might you feel makes for a richer sounding parlour guitar, Okoume or Mahogony? Most guitarists would have heard of Mahogany and it is a very popular back and sides wood and wood for necks. November 19, 2005, KnowledgeBase: Solid Wood Machining: General, KnowledgeBase: Wood Engineering: Wood Properties. Your site is third on that list. My supplier has told me I can save significant money by using the African variety. Honduran Mahogany is preferred as a top wood over African Mahogany. I am purchasing an online guitar with Spruce top, Sapele back and sides. Love the education. They used those woods interchangeably for those models as far as I know. that could help you tell if its a swietenia genus. My cynical mind tends to think sapele has a negative reputation, deserved or undeserved, and now the name of Okoume as a mahogany is exotic enough for people to take a chance on it. Glad the article helped with your decision and glad that you’ve found the tonewood combo that suits you the best. I ended up to your site, trying to understand the difference between sapele & mahogany, as I’m considering to buy an inexpensive nylon strung electroacoustic crossover guitar, and the 2 candidates are full sapele the one and full mahogany the other. After much thought , I finally arrived at the best combo of woods that I feel produce the best tonal sound for me and my style of playing, a mahogany top with Sapele back/sides. Glad the article could help. I know over time Honduras ages to a much deeper color than when it starts out. All else being equal, Sapele will be a lot like Mahogany, to be fair, but with some subtle differences. The most obvious issue with African is "ribbon striping". Honduran mahogany has a Janka hardness rating of 800. This is the average hardness and an individual piece of wood will differ. In this context, 'storied' means that the rays line up in horizontal rows, which will tend to create ripple marks on tangential (slab cut) surfaces. African Mahogany, or African hardwood in the Khaya genus, is genuinely part of the Mahogany family. I've had my distributor sort out the ribbon stripe. b) African Mahogany–African Mahogany, also known as Khaya is a stronger and a harder version of the Honduran Mahogany. Swietenia macrophylla, commonly known as mahogany, Honduran mahogany, Honduras mahogany, big-leaf mahogany, or West Indian mahogany, is a species of plant in the Meliaceae family.It is one of three species that yields genuine mahogany timber, the others being Swietenia mahagoni and Swietenia humilis.Wikipedia I, too, have only recently become aware of this wood. But this is only a subtle difference really. This was a well presented education on the different qualities of different woods . It adds dimension to my ideas as to what projects to use these two distinct woods for. I would recommend using a dark stain. The wood is Genuine Mahogany, Swietenia macrophylla, from Belize, basically the same texture and color as the sought after Honduras Mahogany, but it is unique because it has been submerged in the rivers of Belize for 75 to 150 years! An inexpensive option like sapele, for instance, which is sometimes called Africa mahogany, behaves a lot like Honduran, but adds a little treble shimmer. It definitely had the strong mid-range of the D18 (which I eventually inherited, selling the Taylor). The Honduras is heavier and finishes better, and probably is more stable. They’re not exactly the same, tonally, but they are close. Again, like with Mahogany, the sound that you can expect from a guitar with Sapele will greatly differ depending on other materials used, the builder, and whether or not it’s used as a top, back and sides or both. I didn’t expect that this post would ever be used for 3D modelling purposes (or anything outside of acoustic guitars)! Dust Collection, Safety and Plant Operation, Job Opportunities and Woodworking Services, Woodworkers compare the grain characteristics, color, and machinability of different Mahogany varieties. But I’m glad you found the info helpful for your purposes. Of course, this hardness isn’t the only thing that determines the sound qualities. This is no surprise given that it’s quite a hard wood but is still easy to carve. Thanks again for the helpful information. You’ll likely notice the difference when used as a top wood – but not so much for the back and sides. From contributor A: African Paduk (Pterocarpus Soyauxii) Although this wood has just recently been introduced into the guitar making world, it is receiving much praise. Honduran Mahogany is a species of wood known scientifically as Swietenia macrophylla. Both Mahogany and Sapele have warm, mid-range-heavy tonal characteristics with subtle overtones. This was the first time I came across Sapele Wood, and naturally I had some questions about it. 21 Guitar Playing Tips Every Beginner Should Know, Tips for Learning How to Play the Guitar and Sing at the Same Time, Acoustic Guitar Stands: Ways to Keep Your Guitar When Not Playing, Takamine Serial Numbers: What They Can Tell You and How to Decode Them. In fact some retailers sometimes even just say Mahogany, when it’s actually Sapele, just because less people have heard of Sapele. All of those species get rolled under one moniker and sold as African Mahogany. This means things like density, color, ease of work and finish are all up for grabs from one board to the next. Acoustic vs Bass Guitar: Which is better for Beginners? Honduran Mahogany. There are many species of tree that are called “mahogany” (some accurately, some not so much). I agree that Taylor is making some really nice guitars. And so guitar makers have sought sustainable alternatives. African mahogany has staggered rays, while Honduras mahogany has storied rays. Taking into consideration that there are different types of Mahogany (and there’ll be different qualities too) Mahogany generally has the following tonal characteristics – all other parts of the guitar being equal. That said, it is also sometimes mistakenly called Mahogany, which could also lead to less awareness of this wood. I am hoping for sound quality similar to Taylor guitars. Honduran Mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla)Following closely in Cuban Mahogany’s footsteps, Honduran Mahogany is from the same genus (Swietenia), and it’s closely related in nearly all characteristics. Thanks for that! Hard North American Maple has a hardness of 1450. HONDURAS ROSEWOOD WOOD True member of the rosewood family (Dalbergia stevensonii) Very dense Primarily used for musical instruments including guitars and piano keys One of the more widely available members of the rosewood family Most boards are short and narrow Shop for Honduras Rosewood Organic Signature your information on both Mahogany and Sapele tone woods was very helpful. African mahogany of the Khaya variety is slightly harder at 845. I recently got a Martin Backpacker 25th edition. Whether you get Honduran Mahogany (probably more commonly referred to as Tropical Mahogany these days because it is sourced from a number of Central and South American countries now), or African Mahogany, the sound characteristics are going to be pretty close. As I’m about to buy an acoustic guitar I’ve sampled many different brands and models of guitars. Little by little I’m building some experience. You’ve probably heard these two woods compared a fair bit. From the above two versions of Mahogany, the Honduran Mahogany is the more widely used wood for guitars as it has better tonal qualities. Honduran Mahogany: Honduran Mahogany (Genuine) (Click on an Item Photo for the net sizes) DESCRIPTION: Heartwood color varies from light to dark reddish-brown. It is similar to Mahogany, and it’s fair to compare the two because Mahogany would be the closest to Sapele. Hi, I am Cleaton. Plus, it is much lighter than the African exterior wood options like Sapele, Utile, and African Mahogany. All species within the genus are listed on CITES appendix II, and nowadays a fair amount of this wood is grown on plantations. This is the holy grail stuff that so many people say is … Though to be fair, on most guitars it would be hard to make out the difference in tone when used as back/sides wood. While mahogany is much easier to source than Brazilian rosewood, it’s still an endangered species, due largely to illegal logging. Historically, it has been a very economically important wood throughout the Latin America region. Would appreciate your opinion. Its grain is generally tighter than that of African Mahogany. It’s closer to Rosewood than Mahogany is but it’s much more similar to Mahogany than it is to Rosewood. I was also more of a Martin guy before starting this website but over the last couple of years Taylor have become equals for me. Martin Dreagnouth Jr. Sapele or GS Mini Mahogany. Bought my first uke and it was made a sapele and was curious what it was. It was interesting to find this information about the sound qualities as well as some other qualities discussed here. (Architectural Woodworking Forum) African Mahogany (scientific names – Khaya anthotheca, Khaya grandifoliola, Khaya ivorensis, Khaya senegalensis) is harder than Honduran Mahogany and is considered to be the lesser version of Honduran Mahogany. Posts: 83 A respected dealer once told me that Sapele IS African Mahagony. Sitka’s combination of strength and elasticity translates into a broad dynamic range, yielding crisp articulation and allowing for everythi… I do not want to use the African because it will not match the existing Honduras. Nate, an excellent, succinct article on these two woods. Straight to interlocked grain with a uniformly medium to coarse texture. It wouldn’t be a 5. This guitar is available at Breedlove Guitars. Also like Mahogany, Sapele is a popular wood for guitar necks. Signature Models $ 932.00 MSRP $ 699.00 Sell Price; Signature Concerto Copper CE. Anything else is cheaper woods like african and this. Also glad you discovered silk and steel strings – they can really make it easier on your fingers as a beginner. Hi, I too feel your article on the comparison of the two Woods is highly educational. ... African Mahogany. I am going to build a bar using either Honduras or African mahogany. Great post and very helpful….Now if I could only find out if my 2007 Martin 000-15 was hog or Sapele…that would be great…lol. It’s harder than both Honduran and African Mahogany. Cuban Mahogany is a different species than the more common Honduran variety. Filed Under: Buying Guides, Guitar selection. Although I’ve been a die -hard Martin guy, I find that Taylor is now producing some very high quality, affordable guitars. Save my name and email in this browser for the next time I comment. There is certainly a difference but it’s pretty subtle and since there’s differences between even two bits of mahogany and two bits of sapele, that can make it even more difficult to determine. But it’s going to be closer to Mahogany than it is to say Rosewood. I have used a lot of both species. Sapele is definitely a real wood! The African does not hold its color very well. Under finish, it appears to burn with an inner fire of ruby-red intensity. In my opinion both are great tonewoods anyway and if you like the tone of your 000-15, that’s the main thing! Like other Mahogany, it has a warm, lively tone with clear mids and trebles. It’s denser, finer-grained, and ridiculously beautiful. And fun to work. African mahogany is a whole different deal and doesn't sound or look the same as the honduran stuff. I realized that the 25th edition is made of Sapele both top and back, while the original Backpacker is made of Sitka Spruce and tonewood. I have used a lot of both species. Khaya is a much cheaper species, sometimes as low as 1/3 the price of Genuine Mahogany however; so many will rely on Khaya for paint grade work. Any help with this would be appreciated. Khaya has excellent acoustic properties, and instruments with khaya back and sides produce a deep projecting sound. Description. It’s just not heard of as much as Mahogany. There are actually a couple of different woods that are referred to as Mahogany, when talking about tonewoods for guitars. I , too, in my ignorance was not sure if it was man made or natural wood. While Honduran Mahogany is known for its fine, straight grain, African Mahoganyenjoys more variety in graining: Bee’s Wing, Ribboned, and Ropey patterns distinguish this wood from any of its counterparts. Sipo Mahogany (commonly referred to as either just "Sipo" or "Utile") is an African wood that is considered to be the closest, aesthetically, to Genuine Mahogany (although not a true "Swietenia"). Thanks. For example I have already “discovered” the silk & steel strings (Martin) you suggest for beginners, which I use on my parlors , Dimitris (zaosan) – Occasional wormholes. I was looking for wood textures and came across sapele when looking for mahogany. Meranti vs Mahogany. What’s your experience with these tone woods? Enough so that you’d likely notice the difference on the top and maybe slightly when used as back and sides in place of Mahogany. Mahogany’s sound can be described as “earthy” “strong” “beefy”. Your article was very helpful and I will go for the sapele, since I prefer the sound of steel strings. Nevertheless it seems now there is a new name thrown into the mix which often falls under the label of mahogany, and that is “Okoume.” Are you familiar with this? Is this the case with the African also? This is when the grain switches back and forth every four inches or so. Yeah it’s hard to know if yours is Sapele or Hog. The type used on Gibson guitars is most likely the Khaya type, or a species close to it that has a hardness between 800 and 900. Thank you so much for the information btw! This of course doesn’t mean better or worse – it’s just to illustrate in terms of tonal characteristics how Sapele fits between Mahogany and Rosewood. Meranti, in a lot of ways, is similar to Genuine Mahogany. Thanks for the message. #5 02-12-2007, 02:53 PM Mike Deane. I am going to buy a concert uke made of mahogany just for kicks and I usually have tow of each instrument any way; one for playing seriously and another to travel with, taker to the beach, parties etc. Your email address will not be published. Dark colored gum or white deposits commonly occur in the pores. Mahogany is used in the bodies, tops, necks, backs and sides of guitars and mandolins. Sitka Spruce is used more than any other species for guitar soundboards. Macassar Ebony (Diospyrus Celebica) Sapele comes from West Africa and its scientific name is Entandrophragma cylindricum. Inside the Luthier's Shop with African Mahogany great low priced alternative honduran mahogany

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