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Of all rosewoods, cocobolo is found in probably the most diverse set of habitats and circumstances. It is found from northern Brazil up through all of the Central American countries, all the way up to central Mexico. The look however is quite different.
Mexican Cocobolo is probably the most sought after because of its beauty. It is dark and has quite a bit of an astonishing character.
This is a true Rosewood that provides clarity and great definition. If your technique calls for a clean and articulate presence that allows your audience to hear each note, stand-alone, with all the nuance you’ve intended, this is a perfect and beautiful choice for your guitar.Cocobolo’s bright color, whether straight or swirly grained, is among the most head-turning selections for the guitar’s back and sides. It is also a stunning highlight when used as the guitar’s bindings, fretboard, bridge, and headstock overlay. Cocobolo’s desirable clarity of tone is a result of its unique strength to weight ratio. Just because it is Cocobolo is not a guaranty of a superior tone. The appropriate setting for exceptional tone is the result of your supplier’s careful selection. Choosing the right wood dealer is key to avoiding disappointment in your choices.We have found that the repeated rumor of glue adhesion failure with Cocobolo is often not from personal experience, more likely they are well-intentioned caveats passed on by well-meaning craftsmen who had heard this caveat from others. Likewise, are concerns of rashes or respiratory irritation. Our confidence in the durability of properly glued Cocobolo joints is confirmed by Richard Hoover of Santa Cruz Guitar Company. He reports that in forty-four years of using Cocobolo on his very high-end guitars, while using Titebond Original Formula glue, “we have never experienced any glue joint failures caused by reactivity to Cocobolo itself.My only advice is to use properly seasoned wood and separate Cocobolo components from light-colored design elements like ivoroid or Maple bindings with a thin buffer of dark fiber or non-staining wood to arrest any bleeding of Cocobolo resins from finish solvents onto the lighter bindings.As to reactivity, only one employee out of hundreds over the year has reported unusual discomfort or rashes from Cocobolo. I know that Cocobolo may be classified as a sensitizer, though this is equally true of Red Cedar, lacquer solvents, and CA glue, among others.We’ve had more reports of discomfort from these than we have from Cocobolo. I advise anyone to take care to protect themselves from skin contact or unfiltered breathing of the majority of the airborne byproducts of woodworking..