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NAMM Show Report

Mahogany

The name “mahogany” is used when referring to any one of the variety of dark-colored tropical tonewoods. The name originally referred to the species Swietenia mahagoni, also known as “Spanish Mahogany.” It is related to S. macrophylla which is usually called “Hondouras Mahogany.” Today, all species of Swietenia are listed by CITES and therefore cannot be cut for commercial use. There are two other related genera which may be used in construction of guitar bodies or necks, as well as Philippine mahogany, which has many of the properties of mahogany (including the look), but which is not considered to be a “true” mahogany species and thus is reserved for low-end instruments. With reserves of mahogany running out, guitar builders are looking to other timbers, in particular fast-growing sustainable species that will provide a plentiful supply of mahogany-type timber in the future.

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