Mahogany is Preferable to Rosewood For MANY Guitarists

Mahogany - Less Expensive Does Not Mean Cheaper!

There is a HUGE misconception in the world of the steel string acoustic guitar - and that misconception is that when one buys a rosewood body guitar he or she has purchased a better guitar than a mahogany body guitar.  This is simply not true.  Yes, rosewood body acoustic guitars are always more expensive than mahogany body guitars - but this is merely a reflection of supply and demand, and the ease with which mahogany is to work into a guitar body.  Mahogany is no less fine a wood, it is merely a more available wood - and mahogany is easier to work with too.  When you don't have to put nearly as much time into making a mahogany body guitar as you do a rosewood body guitar,and you've also paid less for the mahogany than you did the rosewood, it is then easy to see that you charge more money for the rosewood guitar than you do the mahogany guitar.

Now of course there are many musicians who prefer the sound of the rosewood guitar, and of course if they prefer that sound then that is exactly what they should purchase - a rosewood bodied acoustic guitar!  I personally own two fourteen frets clear of the body full sized dreadnought acoustic guitars with rosewood bodies.  I have in the past owned a Martin D 18 GE, and there are few things in life I regret more than selling that guitar.  It was a matter of economics, I had two guitars, needed some money - had to have some money, so I kept the guitar that I'd had longest, and had grown most accustomed to.  You can bet that the next time I purchase a guitar - it will be a mahogany bodied guitar.

Mahogany as a tone wood has qualities that rosewood simply does not and will not ever have.  The tone of a mahogany bodied acoustic steel string guitar can be described as brighter.  Mahogany produces greater velocity of sound - the notes just jump through the air faster than they do from a rosewood instrument.  There is also greater note to note separation and clarity with a less overpowering bass tone response.  Many folk or bluegrass guitarist actually preferred mahogany body guitars to rosewood guitars for these reasons - Doc Watson and Clarence White both preferred the Martin D 18 style guitar to the D 28.  It's somewhat bizarre that the D 28 that Clarence White had owned has become the model for the most coveted acoustic steel string flat tops made.

The cause of all this confusion about the quality of mahogany lies in the history books of the oldest still in business company in the United States of America, C.F. Martin & Company.  Martin guitars are the standard by which all others are measured by, and this has been so since the 1930's.  Martin decided to make the dreadnought guitars, and they became very popular.  There were two main instruments, the D 18 and the D 28.  Martin had simply decided to make the D 18 an affordable dreadnought guitar - with simple appointments and a mahogany body - the D 28 they decided to make fancier - simply because the rosewood was harder to shape into a guitar's body shape, and so they put more abalone inlay on the thing, and some herringbone trim.  They also offered a much more expensive version of the D 28, the D 45 - which simply had more abalone inlay.

From there, the original two martin dreadnoughts - things just progressed historically in the same manner.  Nobody dressed up their mahogany dreadnoughts - but a guitar's value, at least from the sound spectrum end of things - is in it's sound, and it must have playability to produce that sound in the hands of a musician.  The D 18's sound is superior to the D 28's sound by some opinions.  There is no "moving up" to a D 28, there is only spending more money for one.  

Ladies and Gentlemen, let me introduce for you here what is one of the world's single finest sounding guitars, made by the world's finest craftsmen, the Martin D 18!

The Martin D 18

The Martin D 18 - One of The World's Finest Guitars.

The Martin D 18