BRAZILIAN ROSEWOOD has long been coveted by luthiers because of its beauty and tonal characteristics. The fact that it has been increasingly difficult to obtain, after it was officially designated an endangered species in 1972, has only made it more coveted. With the recent acquisition of a stock of certified Brazilian rosewood from Spanish wood broker Madinter, the Bedell Guitar Company now lays claim to having the world’s largest inventory of certified legal Brazilian rosewood.
Madinter purchased the wood in the ’60s, has held it ever since, and has full documentation. Although Brazilian rosewood is an endangered species under the CITES treaty, making it illegal to ship it across borders, Madinter’s comprehensive documentation makes Bedell’s rosewood a particularly rare commodity: totally legal Brazilian rosewood. After five decades of storage in Madinter’s climate-controlled warehouses, the wood is also perfectly cured.
Bedell is reserving these rare wood sets for one-of-a-kind instruments. The Milagro set (Spanish for “miracle”) comes from a 400-year-old rosewood tree that grew in the state of Espiritu Santo. A lack of water caused slow growth, resulting in a unique spider-web grain pattern. The Esperanza (“hope”) sets are easily 500 years old. According to legend, Brazilian ranchers left the wood lying next to rivers, where nutrients from the water contributed to the beautiful, deep chocolate-brown coloration. The Puerta de Iglesia tone sets take their name–which translates to “church door”–from the term used in Europe for their contrasting-sapwood pattern. The name comes from a tale about the famous guitar maker Miguel Rodriguez of Córdoba, Spain, who in the 1970s came into possession of an old large church door that exhibited contrasting sapwood and built a series of guitars from it.