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Indian Laurel
Indian Laurel

Indian Laurel

(Terminalia elliptica (syn. T. tomentosa))

Indian Laurel lives in the shadow of India’s main export product, Rosewood, but it should not be overlooked. Indian laurel and Rosewood share many qualities, however there are some noticeable differences between the two in terms of sound, appearance, and their effects on playing comfort.  The feel of Laurel is arguably its most important attribute. One of the main reasons that Indian laurel is seen as a worthy replacement for rosewood, is its similar feel and playability. Because of this,  Laurel is fast becoming THE replacement to Rosewood on many guitars. This wood is a moderately hard wood with a generally straight grain that makes for a smooth, balanced response and a delicate playing feel. It has surprising sonic potential, making it an ideal choice for guitar fingerboards.. The wood is very attractive visually, although it doesn’t have as much variation for each peace as the one found in the Indian Rosewood. It has a characteristic strong and uniform brown color that is increased by slightly mottle dark lines and a very subtle cross grain figure although some pieces modify and have a lighter background color. Due to its density and stability it produces a very harmonic and stable sound. Indian laurel fretboards produce a balanced output across the bass, mid and treble range. There are no “weak spots” on the fretboard, which gives you complete control over the dynamics.

The CITES regulations forced guitar manufacturers to look for alternative materials to use for their fingerboards. One of the most impressive wood types they began using, was Indian Laurel, which quickly became their preferred replacement for rosewood.  A sustainable and easily sourceable wood, Laurel embodies many of the main qualities of Rosewood. This is a strong indicator of its suitability and class. While comparable to Rosewood in many ways. they do have their differences, but both materials offer an exceptional feel, a balanced sonic output, and have all of the required qualities needed to be used as a fingerboard material.

If you’re considering purchasing Indian laurel, you won’t be disappointed!

BOTANICAL NAME: Terminalia elliptica (syn. T. tomentosa)

COMMON NAME: Indian Laurel


DESCRIPTION: The color of the wood varies from light brown to dark brown with darker, and nearly black streaks. Sapwood is pale pinkish color, clearly different from the heartwood whose density is 855kg /m3. It’s a wood of intermediate hardness and uniform texture. The grain is generally straight or slightly interlocked. It’s heavy and resistant.

RECOMMENDATIONS: Generally, it is easy to work, although sections with interlaced or irregular grain are more problematic. Low resistance to insects.

USES: Used in the soundboard of Classical and Acoustic Guitars and it's used in fingerboards. 

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