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Ocelot Ear and Spruceana

Ocelot Ear and Spruceana

by Don Musser

Originally published in American Lutherie #2, 1985 and Big Red Book of American Lutherie Volume One, 2000

With regard to the problem of Dalbergia nigra and related Brazilian rosewoods: True Dalbergia nigra is scarce because most of what little remains is being processed into veneer. I’ve worked with a very active importer of Brazilian exotics for several years and have seen crates containing thousands of feet of beau­tiful nigra, but it was all veneer. Occasionally he will run into a farmer with some miscellaneous trees or old logs of true nigra but that is rare.

With the purchase of veneer he also has the option of buying backing boards and nigra lumber otherwise unsuitable (usually too hard) for slicing. I’m able to select guitar-quality boards from his shipments and resaw sets but there is never enough to meet the demand.

As far as other Dalbergias from Brazil being substituted for nigra I’ve seen two that are very close, and to the unfamiliar, almost undistinguishable.

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