Bubinga. Tonewood database.

Guibourtia demeusei| Tonewood Profile | “Bubinga”

Guibourtia demeusei Tonewood Profile Bubinga
Guibourtia demeusei Tonewood Profile Bubinga

Tonewoods Database

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Bubinga consists of 2 species: Guibourtia demeusei/ tessmannii. Both are similar in appearance and physical properties.

Quick Facts
Scientific name: Guibourtia demeusei/ tessmannii
Trade names: Bubinga
Janka: ~2000-2500
Uses: Back & sides, drop tops, veneer
RIYL: Rosewoods
Bling factor: Variety of figures
Availability: Steady
CITES status: Not listed. No restrictions

Natural History

Kinnaird GuitarStephen Kinnaird Englemann/ Bubinga SJ guitar. Bubinga tonewood profileStephen Kinnaird Englemann/ Bubinga SJ guitar. Bubinga tonewood profile This beautifully made guitar by Stephen Kinnaird has a set Bubinga back and sides with a unique figure called Waterfall. The Bubinga Sapwood bindings with black/red/black purfling lines nicely accentuates the rims! Check out the entire guitar here.

The Guibourtia family consists of evergreen trees attaining 50 metres in height with a buttressed trunk. They tend to occur near to bodies of water, such as rivers or at lakeshores. Both demeusei/ tessmannii range from Cameroon, to Gabon and Zaire.

Status

Guibourtia demeusei is heavily logged for lumber in its natural range and is currently listed by the World Conservation Monitoring Center as vulnerable.

Physical properties

The heartwood of Guibourtia demeusei is red brown with a clearly demarcated lighter brown to white sapwood. It is a hard, durable wood with an interlocked grain which can make bending challenging. It has a Janka rating of ~2000-2500 and a specific gravity of approx. 0.9.

As a tonewood…

As a tonewood, Bubinga has also been called African Rosewood which is a fair description of the tone although it is not yet used very extensively due to the difficulties faced with bending it.

Stephen Kinnaird is a big fan and says :”I have a growing appreciation for Bubinga. Visually it can be quite stunning, with deep curl, Pomelle figure, bees’ wing mottle, etc. Even the plainer versions when well quartered are attractive.

The pinkish mauve color is off-putting to some, though I find it attractive. It is hard, heavy and dense. The interlocking grain, which makes the wood so attractive, also make for an exciting time at the bending iron. This wood can resist you with a stubborn determination. A good night’s sleep is essential before bending.

The sound is so close to rosewood, that Bubinga well earns its nickname of “African Rosewood”. That overtone structure one hears with rosewood is equally present in Bubinga, and yet at a reduced price tag. If one wanted a guitar with a traditional sound, but with more visual drama than Indian rosewood, Bubinga should definitely be considered.”

Subjective tone…

I would classify this wood as providing a slightly dark and woody overtone content with a low to mid end predominance- much like Indian Rosewood!

Availability

Still available at present.

Tonewoods Database

References:
Wikipedia
CIRAD Forestry department
PIER database
US forestry service database

©Terence Tan.

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Stephen Kinnaird
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