It wouldn’t be a 5. Straight to interlocked grain with a uniformly medium to coarse texture. It’s denser, finer-grained, and ridiculously beautiful. African mahogany is a whole different deal and doesn't sound or look the same as the honduran stuff. This of course doesn’t mean better or worse – it’s just to illustrate in terms of tonal characteristics how Sapele fits between Mahogany and Rosewood. It’s closer to Rosewood than Mahogany is but it’s much more similar to Mahogany than it is to Rosewood. The sounds and tones these guitars make is “sweet,” and distinct. We have used 1000's of bd/ft of African for exterior millwork in the past 5 years. The rays in these woods are very small, and I … Sipo Mahogany (commonly referred to as either just "Sipo" or "Utile") is an African wood that is considered to be the closest, aesthetically, to Genuine Mahogany (although not a true "Swietenia"). African Mahogany (scientific names – Khaya anthotheca, Khaya grandifoliola, Khaya ivorensis, Khaya senegalensis) is harder than Honduran Mahogany and is considered to be the lesser version of Honduran Mahogany. Does anyone have any experience with the African variety? Some people are good at distinguishing the difference. Well done article. Last updated: August 22, 2019 by Nate 19 Comments. African Mahogany (scientific names – Khaya anthotheca, Khaya grandifoliola, Khaya ivorensis, Khaya senegalensis) is harder than Honduran Mahogany and is considered to be the lesser version of Honduran Mahogany. Cuban Mahogany is a different species than the more common Honduran variety. My cynical mind tends to think sapele has a negative reputation, deserved or undeserved, and now the name of Okoume as a mahogany is exotic enough for people to take a chance on it. Although I’ve been a die -hard Martin guy, I find that Taylor is now producing some very high quality, affordable guitars. There are many species of tree that are called “mahogany” (some accurately, some not so much). I hope this post has helped you to learn the difference in Mahogany and Sapele. Honduran mahogany has a Janka hardness rating of 800. Honduras mahogany have stratified rays that are very clear even in the pictures shown here. When used as a back/side wood to compliment a brighter sounding top wood, Mahogany is good for mellowing out the brightness and adding some warmth and a stronger mid-range plus softening the highs and reducing the overtones. ... African Mahogany. From the above two versions of Mahogany, the Honduran Mahogany is the more widely used wood for guitars as it has better tonal qualities. It’s not half way between Rosewood and Mahogany but it’s closer to Rosewood than Mahogany is, if that makes sense. Thanks for the technical differences. Honduran Mahogany is becoming increasingly rare. These include: Honduran Mahogany is generally considered to be a better quality tonewood. I am not a musician; I am a 3D enthusiast. There are actually a couple of different woods that are referred to as Mahogany, when talking about tonewoods for guitars. Most guitarists would have heard of Mahogany and it is a very popular back and sides wood and wood for necks. Like other Mahogany, it has a warm, lively tone with clear mids and trebles. The Honduras is heavier and finishes better, and probably is more stable. Hi, I am Cleaton. You’ll likely notice the difference when used as a top wood – but not so much for the back and sides. Its grain is generally tighter than that of African Mahogany. I have used a lot of both species. Glad you found this article helpful. Color wise it’s usually a pinkish/purple. I ended up to your site, trying to understand the difference between sapele & mahogany, as I’m considering to buy an inexpensive nylon strung electroacoustic crossover guitar, and the 2 candidates are full sapele the one and full mahogany the other. African Mahogany wood is one of the most popular exotic tonewoods available for major manufacturers and custom builders. This, of course, as always, depends on your particular tastes – mostly. This is the holy grail stuff that so many people say is … Reactions: Gig Young and Brian N All species within the genus are listed on CITES appendix II, and nowadays a fair amount of this wood is grown on plantations. Tonally, the best Honduran Mahogany delivers a lively, detailed response, balanced, with a warm character, excellent bass, and vocal midrange. Would you please differentiate the two woods and the effect the woods have on the guitar? Sapele would then be a 2 or 3. My supplier has told me I can save significant money by using the African variety. The African does not hold its color very well. The most obvious issue with African is "ribbon striping". I , too, in my ignorance was not sure if it was man made or natural wood. When it’s exposed to light it will fade a lot more than the Honduras. And, the few times they do (Limited j custom runs of 6 guitars tops, and such), they make sure to specify: "Genuine honduran mahogany". HONDURAS ROSEWOOD WOOD True member of the rosewood family (Dalbergia stevensonii) Very dense Primarily used for musical instruments including guitars and piano keys One of the more widely available members of the rosewood family Most boards are short and narrow Shop for Honduras Rosewood Is it truly just a different type of mahogany or is it closer to a sapele? I was also more of a Martin guy before starting this website but over the last couple of years Taylor have become equals for me. That said, it is also sometimes mistakenly called Mahogany, which could also lead to less awareness of this wood. (Architectural Woodworking Forum) Thanks for your comments. All else being equal, Sapele will be a lot like Mahogany, to be fair, but with some subtle differences. Honduran Mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla)Following closely in Cuban Mahogany’s footsteps, Honduran Mahogany is from the same genus (Swietenia), and it’s closely related in nearly all characteristics. To better understand the differences between the two, let’s first take a look at each wood individually. From contributor A: Sapele just smells better. Both in electric and acoustic guitars, a mahogany bodied guitar will offer a focused, powerful tone, with the fundamentals in slight preeminence over the harmonics. Love the education. Thanks again for the helpful information. Description. I have used a lot of both species. This guitar is available at Breedlove Guitars. African mahogany has staggered rays, while Honduras mahogany has storied rays. Known in the US primarily as "Genuine Mahogany," Swietenia Macrophylla, its scientific name, is what most in the exotic lumber industry consider to be the true species when referring to "Mahogany." Meranti vs Mahogany. Any other comments or questions welcome in the comments section below. Torrefied European Spruce - African Mahogany. All of those species get rolled under one moniker and sold as African Mahogany. Handmade Guitars - This Dreadnaught is slightly more rounded than others, providing richness to players. African Paduk (Pterocarpus Soyauxii) Although this wood has just recently been introduced into the guitar making world, it is receiving much praise. Typically, in guitar construction, mahogany means Central American Honduran mahogany or African mahogany. The Honduras is heavier and finishes better, and probably is more stable. Occasional wormholes. African mahogany of the Khaya variety is slightly harder at 845. And fun to work. I am going to buy a concert uke made of mahogany just for kicks and I usually have tow of each instrument any way; one for playing seriously and another to travel with, taker to the beach, parties etc. Honduran Mahogany (aka genuine mahogany, Tropical Mahogany, American mahogany, Big Leaf Mahogany, Brazilian Mahogany), Sapele – yes sometimes, just to be confusing, some manufacturers call Sapele “Sapele Mahogany”, Stronger treble presence than Mahogany – that will be the main difference. Of course, this hardness isn’t the only thing that determines the sound qualities. your information on both Mahogany and Sapele tone woods was very helpful. b) African Mahogany–African Mahogany, also known as Khaya is a stronger and a harder version of the Honduran Mahogany. Copyright © 2015 - 2020 - - Privacy Policy. Mahogany is used in the bodies, tops, necks, backs and sides of guitars and mandolins. So, in the battle of Sapele vs Mahogany, which is the better tonewood? The density and grain structure are similar with a nice homogenous feel that allows it to be milled easily and hold details really well. I do not want to use the African because it will not match the existing Honduras. Ribbon-stripe Cuban Mahogany, Swietenia mahogani — $700. A very well done article. None of the above are Limba (also known as Korina)which is not called African Mahogany. It is similar to Mahogany, and it’s fair to compare the two because Mahogany would be the closest to Sapele. Comment from contributor M: Enough so that you’d likely notice the difference on the top and maybe slightly when used as back and sides in place of Mahogany. It is not as hard as the African Mahogany and it is easier to bend. This is the average hardness and an individual piece of wood will differ. Filed Under: Buying Guides, Guitar selection. Your email address will not be published. It was interesting to find this information about the sound qualities as well as some other qualities discussed here. Meranti, in a lot of ways, is similar to Genuine Mahogany. Mahogany’s sound can be described as “earthy” “strong” “beefy”. Honduran Mahogany is preferred as a top wood over African Mahogany. Great post and very helpful….Now if I could only find out if my 2007 Martin 000-15 was hog or Sapele…that would be great…lol. This means things like density, color, ease of work and finish are all up for grabs from one board to the next. very helpful. It is different from the Brazilian rosewood tone, and adds a certain beauty and nuance to the tune and sound of the instrument. While Honduran Mahogany is known for its fine, straight grain, African Mahoganyenjoys more variety in graining: Bee’s Wing, Ribboned, and Ropey patterns distinguish this wood from any of its counterparts. I do not want to use the African because it will not match the existing Honduras. I agree that Taylor is making some really nice guitars. Your site is third on that list. Signature Models $ 932.00 MSRP $ 699.00 Sell Price; Signature Concerto Copper CE. african mahogany doesnt seem to have that characteristics and the other “mahoganies” just dont While Brazilian rosewood remains the standard wood for comparing sounds made by guitars, many musicians choose the Tasmanian or Australian Blackwood as their guitar tonewood. Posts: 83 A respected dealer once told me that Sapele IS African Mahagony. The only real way to tell would be b ya visual inspection if you were familiar with the how the woods differed in looks. This is no surprise given that it’s quite a hard wood but is still easy to carve. #5 02-12-2007, 02:53 PM Mike Deane. Hard North American Maple has a hardness of 1450. The African does not hold its color very well. Nate, an excellent, succinct article on these two woods. To give some perspective the following is the hardness of the woods discussed here including Rosewood. Instruments. Thanks. that could help you tell if its a swietenia genus. Another way to put it might be if you were to think of Mahogany as 1 on a scale of 10, and Rosewood was 10. The wood is Genuine Mahogany, Swietenia macrophylla, from Belize, basically the same texture and color as the sought after Honduras Mahogany, but it is unique because it has been submerged in the rivers of Belize for 75 to 150 years! We call it “Sinker Belizean Mahogany”. Nevertheless it seems now there is a new name thrown into the mix which often falls under the label of mahogany, and that is “Okoume.” Are you familiar with this? Khaya has excellent acoustic properties, and instruments with khaya back and sides produce a deep projecting sound. I am purchasing an online guitar with Spruce top, Sapele back and sides. Dark colored gum or white deposits commonly occur in the pores. I am thinking of buying a Talor gs mini and did not know if sapele was a real wood or a man made product( I know that sounds dorky but I never heard of the word before). Organic Signature I ended up with an Eastman all solid sapele guitar which, I believe delivers stonger output from the high strings that the D15 I played, presumably because it’s a harder wood than tropical mahogany. When it’s exposed to light it will fade a lot more than the Honduras. Thanks for that! Honduran Mahogany. Any help with this would be appreciated. Bought my first uke and it was made a sapele and was curious what it was. Thanks for the message. Don’t yet know the acoustic resonances and vibrations on this guitar. Inside the Luthier's Shop with African Mahogany great low priced alternative honduran mahogany An additional characteristic that sets African Mahogany apart is its chatoyant luster, which makes the wood appear to have different coloring, as it is … Sapele then adds some extra high end into the mix. It adds dimension to my ideas as to what projects to use these two distinct woods for. Sapele is less heard of than Mahogany. When freshly cut it is a bright orangeish-red, but over time it oxidizes to a golden brown. Save my name and email in this browser for the next time I comment. African Mahogany Tonewood. It’s just not heard of as much as Mahogany. Mahogany is a dense, medium weight wood that yields a wide range of guitar body weights, depending upon the source of the wood.