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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 tap tone 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, Michael Greenfield, Michihiro Matsuda and Marc Maingard) are building with it, with equally impressive results.
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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 Ebony), 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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