Mahogany vs Rosewood

The sound differences of using mahogany or rosewood back and sides on acoustic guitars.

Mahogany vs Rosewood
Mahogany or rosewood, what does that mean?

Guitars are built using different kinds of wood. The two most common woods for the back and sides of acoustic guitars are rosewood and mahogany, combined with a spruce top.

In this video I've got two guitars with the same body shapes, one with mahogany and one with rosewood back and sides. We all know what mahogany and rosewood looks like but what is the difference in sound?

People tend to describe the different sound of the woods like this:


Woody dry sound, a bump in the mid range of the frequency spectrum and bright. Some say that the mid range of mahogany can be a in conflict when playing with a singer, because that mid range bump lies precisely where our voices tend te be on the frequency spectrum.


Overtones, clarity, bells, deep bass. In comparison with the mahogany less mid range, which can be a good or a bad thing!

Of course it's very important who built the guitar, every brand sounds different, but I think these guitars pretty much reflect my opinion on the sound of those tone woods.

The boxy, meaty, earthy bright and very fundamental mahogany vs the bassy and packed bells and overtones Rosewood.

If you want to find out for yourself, ideally play two identical guitar (if that's even possible) built with different woods, like the martin 18 vs 28 series.

So what do they sound like? Give it a listen in this video!

Don't make your choice on the basis of this movie, or any other recording that is, always check it out with your instrument, the woods react differently to body shapes, and even then every brand is different.

But it's good to have some base knowledge about the sound, and it's always better to hear the differences then to have the described.

So, that's it, check out the store, and give it a go in real life!

This was Paul Davids,

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