With high-quality mahogany getting more and more expensive (not to mention a lot harder to get), guitar manufacturers are constantly looking for new materials that will be easier to obtain and more importantly, won’t compromise tone quality. Sapele is obtained from the species Entandophragma cylindricuma, a rather large tree (up to about 150 feet) that’s native to tropical Africa. To the untrained eye, sapele, which is also known as “sapelli” or “aboudikro,” looks very much like mahogany. It also possesses a tonal quality that’s very close to mahogany, making it a good choice for both acoustic and electric guitars. Some sapele has very distinctive and attractive figuring. Not surprisingly, some African nations have protected populations of this tree along with imposing felling restrictions.