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Rosewood is one of the most dense, heavy woods:

Many samples of rosewood sink in water, even when dry. The biggest bass response comes from guitars with rosewood backs.

Here's another opinion and a generalization: The darker the rosewood, the denser it is, and the more it will tend to emphasize bass.

Different species of rosewood have different densities as well, but there is a tremendous overlap of characteristics. The two main types of rosewood used for guitar building are Indian rosewood and Brazilian rosewood.

Besides being very beautiful and absurdly scarce, Brazilian rosewood has a reputation for sounding better. I think that guitars made of good dense Indian rosewood frequently sound stronger and better than their Brazilian counterparts, particularly if the Brazilian rosewood is less dense.

Remember, these generalizations only make sense when comparing identical instruments: same size, same maker, same bracing, same top and back thickness, same everything.

Most hardwoods fall somewhere between rosewood and mahogany both in density and predictable tone. Some commonly used woods that just about split the difference are maple, koa and walnut.

Hawaiian koa is a fantastically attractive wood:

Great variety of color and grain!

Maple can be plain, like this:

Or fancy, with curls and ripples in the grain, or even "birdseye" pattern. We generally accept that the "figure" or grain pattern of hardwoods has no influence on tone. Plain maple can make just as fine sounding a guitar as fancy maple.

Maple is very light in color and accepts stains beautifully, so it is frequently seen colored, or shaded as a "sunburst" pattern.


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