Dichtes, haltbares Klangholz mit brillanten Obertönen und drückenden Bässen. Erzeugt etwas weichere Klänge als Ebenholz. Palisander gehört zu den vom Aussterben bedrohten Tropenholzarten. Für einzelne Sorten wie Riopalisander ist der Handel daher vollständig verboten, für die gesamte Art seit 2016 unter strenge Schutzbestimmungen gestellt worden. Damit dürfte Palisander in Zukunft aus dem Instrumentenbau verschwinden.
Palisander ist seit fast zweihundert Jahren für die Mehrheit der Gitarrenbauer das Holz erster Wahl für Böden und Zargen. Sowohl seine akustischen Eigenschaften als auch seine Schönheit sind kaum zu übertreffen. Es gibt viele Arten der Dalbergia Familie, wovon die bekanntesten der Rio-Palisander (Dalbergia nigra) und der Ost-Indische-Palisander (D. latifolia) sind. Es fällt mir schwer, eine Vorliebe für einen der beiden zu entwickeln, da beide Arten ihre ganz eigenen Vorzüge besitzen.
(…) Zwänge man mich zu einer Verallgemeinerung, würde ich sagen, daß Rio-Palisander einen etwas brillanteren, metallischeren Ton bringt, während Ost-Indischer-Palisander etwas mehr Wärme und Intimität im Timbre fördert.
Allerdings halte ich die Qualität des jeweiligen Stück Holzes für mindestens genauso wichtig wie seine Art. Es muß gut aufgeschnitten, getrocknet und gelagert sein. Die Gefahr der Rißbildung ist grundsätzlich beim Rio-Palisander etwas größer als beim Ost-Indischen …
Sebastian Stenzel: Tonhölzer
Indian rosewood is much harder, heavier, and stronger than mahogany. Guitar sets seldom show much figure, but we're all accustomed to looking at it that Indian rosewood just looks „right“. Sanding this wood clean takes more effort than mahogany, but a good random orbital sander relieves most of the grief. Indian rosewood is extremely compliant. I once accidentally bent a side into a tight cutaway, having forgotten to plug in the heat blanket. I was quite surprised when I removed the wood from the Fox bender and it sprang back halfway to straight. No other wood of my experience would have survived such a trial. If it weren't for the allergy I am developing toward rosewood, I would have nothing bad to say about it.
The most trying wood that I have used to any extent is Brazilian rosewood. The stuff loves to warp while it is sitting on the shelf, and, once installed in a bender, is capable of almost anything. Brazilian can be so squirrelly that an occasional side may have to be discarded, since trying to sand out the ripples would leave the wood paper thin. We might expect this from the dregs of Brazilian that are left today, but I bought wood thirty years ago that was just as bad. Once made into a guitar, Brazilian rosewood frequently checks and cracks for no apparent reason. If it wasn't for the incredible premium that the wood demands, I don't believe anyone would use it today. The stuff is grossly overestimated.
John Calkin: The Heretic's Guide to Alternative Lutherie Woods
When struck, a properly cut sample rings like a plate of glass. This quality contributes to sustain and projection in a guitar, because those are the chief functions of the back. Sustain, because it rings a long time; and projection, because the back’s movement can be coupled in vibrating activity to the movements of the face, boosting the directional power of the activity of the guitar. Because of its high „Q“1), Brazilian rosewood is both vitreous and brittle, and therefore prone to cracking and checking. East Indian rosewood, the alternate wood of choice, is comparable to Brazilian rosewood but simply not as beautiful nor as „live“, by a factor of some 10% to 20%. This is not a huge difference, and there are plenty of excellent sounding East Indian rosewood guitars around. Also, East Indian rosewood is an attractive choice because it is much less prone to cracking and therefore generally less problematic to work with.
Brazilian Rosewood has a botanical name of Dalbergia Nigra, but is no longer legally available. The only wood we have remaining is from legally salvaged lumber purchased before laws were changed. It is now rare and retained for our higher end custom Ko'olau models. Another species is Dalbergia Latifolia, or more commonly called Indian Rosewood. But both Nigra and Latifolia seeds were planted in many different lands throughout the past 500 years.
As botanists sailed in the 1700′s to 1800′s they carried different Dalbergia seeds, distributing and planting them in many different continents and islands. The name Dalbergia is derived from Carl Dalberg, a botanist who did much research on the Rosewood. When tree seeds are transplanted to other climates they “mutated” in characteristics. Grain patterns, color, density, and weight changed due to soil PH, temperature, and the amount of moisture in its new environment.
Dalbergia Latifolia is the most classic example of migration. But the changes have been beneficial and add to the artistic beauty of the art and craft industry.
One Rosewood that we now commonly use on Ko'olau and Pono models is a slight variation of Indian Rosewood. This Rosewood is named Java Rosewood, or Indonesian Rosewood. Although the same species, Dalbergia Latifolia, characteristics changed when Dutch botanists planted the same seeds on the next continent over, in Java Indonesia. Colors changed from reddish purple to reddish brown and orange. And tonal changes also were modified. Both have great tone and projection, but different.