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Tone/Wood

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Tone/Wood

Side Woods

Brazillian Rosewood

DALBERGIA NIGRA

Highly resonant, with full, deep basses and brilliant trebles. Rare, expensive, though occasionally available on limited edition and custom models.

East Indian Rosewood

DALBERGIA LATIFOLIA

Very resonant, with a deep warm bass. Sources of supply have been well managed, reliable and of consistently high quality.

Hawaiian Flamed KOA

ACACIA KOA

Bass response slightly less than East Indian Rosewood and treble response a bit less than genuine mahogany. Balanced, clear tone is only outshone by the beauty of its honey-rippled grain.

Figured Mahogany

SWIETENIA MACROPHYLLA

Beautiful and rare (often quilted) variety of genuine mahogany occurs in a very small percentage of mahogany trees. Though difficult to bend, figured mahogany shares the same tonal properties of the unfigured mahogany.

Genuine Mahogany

SWIETENIA MACROPHYLLA

Much lighter in weight than rosewood, koa or maple. Yields a surprisingly strong, loud sound with an emphasis on clear, bright airy trebles.

GENUINE SAPELE

ENTANDROPHRAGMA CYLINDRICUM

Similar in appearance and tone to Genuine Mahogany, Sapele exhibits a powerful midrange, great punch and bright and airy trebles.

FIGURED CLARO WALNUT

JUGLANS CALIFRONICA JUGLANS HINDSII

Similar in density and grain structure to Hawaiian koa. Walnut yields excellent balance with tonal characteristics that fall between rosewood and mahogany.

QUILTED MAPLE

ACER MACROPHYLLUM

Quilted maple is of the Pacific northwestern “bigleaf” variety and is less dense than the European hard maple varieties. The tone is slightly darker and warmer.

FLAMED MAPLE

ACER PSEUDOPLATANUS

Also called Fiddleback or Tiger Maple. Traditional tonewood for violins. Highly dense and reflective, wood yielding a loud, projective, and sustained tone.

BIRDSEYE MAPLE

ACER SACCHARUM

Typically forested from hard maple stands in the midwest and northeast USA. Relatively rare figuring displays tonal properties similar to flamed maple.

CHERRY

PRUNUS SEROTINA

Density and reflectivity approach that of maple. Cherry produces a rich, projective midrange and balance without favoring the bass or treble frequencies. Vibrant, beautiful grain.

Top Woods

SITKA SPRUCE

PICEA SITCHENSIS

Extremely vibrant providing an ideal “diaphragm” for transmission of sound on any size and style of stringed instrument. Primary top wood for Martin guitars. Chosen for its straight, uniform grain, longevity and tensile strength.

ENGELMANN SPRUCE

PICEA ENGELMANNLL

Prized for its similarity in color to European (German) white spruce as well as its extreme lightness in weight which seems to produce a slightly louder, more projective or “open” sound than Sitka spruce.

ITALIAN ALPINE SPRUCE

PICEA ABIES

Trees grow very slowly at such high elevations that the annual rings are generally closely and evenly spaced. Wood is light enough to vibrate freely yet strong enough to withstand the tension of steel strings. Attributes similar to red spruce, it’s powerful, clear and vibrant.

RED SPRUCE

PICEA RUBENS

Characteristics similar to high elevation European alpine spruce. Red spruce was abundant in the 1930s and used on Martin guitars of that era. Its extraordinary tone, prized for its projection and tonal clarity, has created a resurgence of demand for “Adirondack” spruce.

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