Introduction to Cuban Mahogany Wood

A wood apart from all others. It is denser and stronger than a typical Mahogany and offers superior tonewood qualities.

Origin and Common Uses

Cuban Mahogany is native to South Florida in the United States and islands in the Caribbean including the Bahamas, Cuba, Jamaica, and Hispaniola. Cuban Mahogany trees were introduced to Hawaii around the late 1920s and were planted as ornamentals in Hilo Bay. The wood is easy to work with and widely sought-after due to its beauty and stability and these reasons have made this lumber a favorite in the woodworking industry. The common uses of Cuban Mahogany includes cabinetry, furniture, turned objects, veneers, and carving. Because this wood offers fine tonewood qualities, it is often being used to manufacture expensive musical instruments such as ukuleles, electric and acoustic guitars. It is known for the top of guitars as well as the back, sides and neck.

Pricing, Colors and Wood Grain

Cuban Mahogany is an expensive wood because of its rarity. At times it is difficult to purchase since a lot of the lumber is not commercially available and only comes from small quantities. According to Antique Sage, "Cuban Mahogany is a wood apart from all others. It is substantially denser and stronger than its closest analog, Honduran Mahogany. It resists rot well and is renowned for its superb dimensional stability." The colors of Cuban Mahogany heartwood has a fair amount of variation that ranges from a pale pinkish brown to a darker reddish brown. In general, the color of the wood tends to be darker because of higher density and older age. Cuban Mahogany also has a unique feature called Chatoyancy which is a light-refracting effect. As for the wood grain pattern, it can be straight, interlocked, and a bit curly or wavy.

Tonal Properties and Comparisons

Cuban Mahogany may resemble its closest analog, Honduran Mahogany when it comes to tonal qualities. Since Cuban Mahogany has a higher density and hardness compared to the Honduran one, it has a tendency to produce more Rosewood-like sound qualities, with a finer developed mid-range and low end but it commonly doesn't have the Rosewood reverb and darkness. As a premium tonewood, Cuban Mahogany exhibits a perfect balanced tone. When a Cuban Mahogany guitar is struck and vibrated, it produced warm and mellow tone, with pronounced lower-mids, appealing high-ends, and superb sustain. Cuban Mahogany offers a better developed bass, with more resonance and clarity than a typical Mahogany tonewood.

Note: In our research for this article, we used references from different sites that explained the origin and tonal properties of Cuban Mahogany. Clicking on the links below will send readers to their sites for more information. This article is for informational/educational purposes only. Any infringement of copyright is entirely unintentional. Any copyright concerns should be address to us directly, send us an email and we will try to resolve the concerns as quickly as possible. Thank you.

Charis Acoustic Mahogany History
The Wood Database Cuban Mahogany
Wikipedia Swietenia Mahagoni
Antique Sage Cuban Mahogany The King of Woods
GuitarBench Magazine Cuban Mahogany Tonewood Database
Acoustic Guitar Forum Cuban Mahogany Roundup
Thalia Capos Know Your Tonewood: Mahogany
My New Microphone: Is Mahogany A Good Guitar Tonewood?

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