Brazilian Rosewood has long been considered the pinnacle of back and sides construction materials since the dawn of steel string acoustic guitars in the early 1930s. However, Brazilian Rosewood was used for much more than guitar construction which caused over-forestation. Brazil placed an embargo on that particular variety of Rosewood in the 1960s in an attempt to curb the steady decline of the species. Martin’s supply of Rosewood began to run low so phased out its use in favor of Indian Rosewood in 1969. Gibson’s use of Brazilian fretboard blanks appears to have been phased out in 1965.
One way to spot Brazilian Rosewood is by the dark black grain line on redish-brown Rosewood. This figure is easy to spot and is not typically found on Indian Rosewood. Depending on the way the wood is cut, the dark grain lines can exhibit a spider web looking pattern that’s aesthetically pleasing. This 1933 Gibson L-2 with Brazilian Rosewood back and sides shows a nice spider webbing figure on the back.