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“Dear Sir,
A few months ago I placed my first order with you and built my very first guitar. Ovangkol back and sides with Sitka top.
I have been a craftsman for a number of years, rebuilding antique pianos, including making new soundboards and bridges, and decided to try my hand at guitars after buying a Taylor 814ce.
The results of my first attempt were surprising, to me and to others. Since I'm a bit "old-school" I built it entirely by hand, no table saw, router, joiner etc. (I did use a drill press!). I have already received requests for custom made guitars, and from a store interested in selling them.
It really helped to find quality supplies, all in one place, so I could start this experiment - which may just turn out to be my next and final career.
Many Thanks.
ps. I have just placed a second order so I can start making a few more......”

- Jon Ballard

African Blackwood

  BSBlackwoodMichihiroMatsudaWABKSJ
 

African Blackwood guitar by Michihiro Matsuda.

 

Back & Sides Dimensions
Wood Grading article

See article 
Harvesting African Blackwood
in Mozambique

 

Dalbergia melanoxylon

African Blackwood (a member of the Rosewood family, Dalbergia) has long been recognized by classical guitar builders as the "holy grail" of tonewoods. With a strong responsive taptone that surpasses even Brazilian Rosewood, it can contribute great volume, power and brilliance to a guitar.

Now many prominent steel string builders (among them Kevin Ryan and Marc Maingard) are building with it, with equally impressive results.

African Blackwood is difficult to work and can be hard to bend, but it is strikingly beautiful and polishes to a high luster. It is very fine grained, quite stable when dry (more stable than most Ebonies), and glues satisfactorily.

Due to the small size of African Blackwood trees, obtaining guitar sets is difficult. Most sets will show some defects within the pattern such as solid pin knots and/or wormholes that can be filled.

 

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  Working with problem woods