Everything You Need to Know About Granadillo Wood for Guitars

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If you are shopping for a new guitar, you might have already come across “granadillo,” which many touts as an excellent alternative to the famous rosewood. But what is it, and what makes it a highly-sought exotic wood for guitars and other instruments? In this article, we’ll take a closer look at granadillo and why you should consider it. 

What Is Granadillo?

picture showing the sapwood and heartwood of a granadillo

Granadillo (Platymiscium spp), also called Macacauba, Hormigo, and Orange Agate, is a highly sought-after exotic hardwood. This Platymiscium species is native to Mexico and other Central and South American tropical areas. 

It is notably prized for its stunning reddish brown coloring shade and straight grain pattern with rather distinct stripes. The density of the wood and durability also make it a premiere choice not only for musical instruments but also for furniture, cabinetry, and other wood works. 

What Are the Characteristics of Granadillo Tonewood?

As mentioned, this exotic hardwood has distinct qualities that make it stand out from other wood like teak, hard maple, and even mahogany. Here is a closer look at each one: 


One of its most distinctive features is its color. Granadillo’s heartwood (either wood blanks or lumber) has an attractive purplish brown shade mixed with violets and red tones, which range from mild to dark. It also has a high, giving it a beautiful, polished look.

Grain Pattern 

In addition to its vibrant color, this exotic wood features an exciting grain. Although it usually has typical straight grain patterns, it is not unusual to spot interlocking and wavy stripes. As for its texture, it is fine to medium. 

Density and Hardness

Aside from its physical appearance, this wood is also admired for its density and weight, which can affect the guitar’s tone. The Janka hardness of the granadillo is 2700, which is significantly higher than oak, teak, narra, and maple. 

What Does Granadillo Sound Like

When used for guitars or other musical instruments, granadillo can produce a broad frequency range. This is because of the wood’s density. But what makes it stand out is its slightly bright, bell-like sparkle which can impact the sustain. 

Is Granadillo a Good Tonewood

Absolutely! Granadillo is a good tonewood. Many luthiers and musicians exceptionally value it for its frequency range and undeniable chime, which, as we’ve mentioned, can help enhance the sustain. 

Granadillo Fretboard vs. Rosewood 

Although both are popular choices for guitar fretboards, they are different. Each one features unique characteristics which could affect the sound and sense of the device.

Given that the granadillo is dense and heavy, it produces a sound with a broad yet dense tonal quality with a bell-like chime and clear articulation. True rosewood fretboard, on the other hand, is more balanced and full-bodied thanks to its rich mid-range, low end, and bright treble. 

Ultimately, the choice between granadillo and rosewood comes down to personal preference and the desired sound and budget (granadillo is more expensive than rosewood). 

Final Thoughts

Granadillo is an incredible tonewood for guitars. Its beautiful color, grain pattern, and clear articulation make it an excellent alternative to rosewood and other wood for the fretboard.


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