Ziricote. Tonewood Profile

Cordia dodecandra | Tonewood Profile | “Ziricote”


Tonewoods Database

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Quick Facts
Scientific name: Cordia dodecandra
Trade names: Ziricote
Janka: 1750 approx
Uses: Back and sides veneer
RIYL: Rosewoods
Bling factor: Spiderwebbing is common
Availability: Rare
CITES status: Not listed. No restrictions
Note: (RIYL) Recommended If You Like


Natural History

Ziricote is a deciduous tree native to the Yucatán Peninsula thriving in calcium-rich soils with outcropping rocks where it attains hights of up to 30 meters. The trunk is straight and short, with a large, rounded, dense crown. It produces bright orange flowers.


Physical properties

The timber has a similar appearance to Brazilian rosewood in olive green and black shades. It is often found with spiderwebbing and is heavier than most rosewoods. It is said to be comparable to ebony when worked and can be brittle. The janka of Ziricote is around 1750 and it has a specific gravity of 0.85


As a tonewood…

It is used for back an sides for guitars, in particular classicals but it has found favour with Michael Bashkin and Gerald Sheppard for it’s beauty and tonality. Tim McKnight is a real fan saying:

Personally I find Zircote to be one of the most visually appealing woods on the planet. It has wonderful colors that intertwine vivid black ink lines with grays, golds, browns, olives and rust colors. It is one of my most favorite woods to build with. I find the wood has a more rosewood-ish tone, although it is not a member of the dalbergia family. It has excellent low dampening qualities similar to most rosewoods with a clean resonant reverb-ery characteristic. Zircote pairs well with almost any top to bring a wide tonal variety to the builders pallet.

This wood has a reputation for more tangential movement and can therefore be at risk for cracking if certain conditions are not adhered to. If the builder seasons the wood well and builds when the wood is between 6% – 8% MC in a controlled humidity environment then delivers it to a customer who can [accurately] maintain a 40% – 55% RH range in their home then I have not found it to any more unstable than other woods. However, if the builder rushes the build or can’t accurately control his shop’s humidity or the end user can not accurately control their humidity then perhaps another tone-wood should be considered.”


Subjective tone…

I would broadly characterise the tone of Ziricote as falling between Indian rosewood and Macassar Ebony- it has more clarity than Indian but provides more overtones than Macassar.



Good stocks of Ziricote are limited.



Links/ References:
Bourgeois Guitars http://www.pantheonguitars.com/
LMI http://lmii.com

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