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’Way Down Upon the Amazon River

’Way Down Upon the Amazon River

by John Curtis

from his 1986 GAL Convention talk

Originally published in American Lutherie #10, 1987 and Big Red Book of American Lutherie Volume One, 2000

There are many South American exotics that are perfectly viable species for instrument building. It’s hard to get luthiers to go along with that, however. Everyone wants perfectly-quartered Brazilian rosewood.

The reason I mention alternative woods is that the true Dalbergia nigra, the Brazilian rosewood that luthiers love and would sell their cars and dogs for, is getting to be very hard to find. We at Luthiers Mercantile found this out the hard way a few years ago, in much the same way that the Martin Co. did. You have to pay for the wood up front, which puts you at great risk; you just have to trust the person you are buying from.

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