Limba. Tonewood Profile.

Terminalia superba | Tonewood Profile | “Limba”

Tonewoods Database

All pictures – Click to enlarge!
Please email with any corrections/ additional info
We aim to keep each profile as complete as possible & your help is appreciated!

Quick Facts
Scientific name: Terminalia superba
Trade names: Black Limba or white limba. Korina.
Janka: 500 approx
Uses: Back and sides veneer
RIYL: Rosewoods
Bling factor: Found in white and striped versions.
Availability: Good
CITES status: Not listed. No restrictions
Note: (RIYL) Recommended If You Like


Cornerstone Guitar
This beautifully made guitar by Peter Marrieois has a set figured Black Limba back and sides.
Check out our interview with him here.

Natural History

Black Limba is a tall tree, achieving heights of 60 meters in it’s native range of tropical West Africa. It is heavily buttressed at the base with clear boles for much of it’s length.

Physical properties

The heartwood ranges from light straw colour to having black stripes. Hence white or black Limba. Korina refers to the striped version. It has a staight, close grain which is occasionally interlocked or wavy with an even but somewhat coarse texture.

It is used for furniture and music instruments- the most famous of which is in the Gibson Flying V & Explorer models of the late fifties. The Janka of Movingui is around 500 and the specific gravity is 0.45.

As a tonewood…

It is used for back an sides for guitars, where it’s light weight allows it to compare to mahogany. Tim Mcknight says:”I have used Black Limba. It is a drop in tonal replacements for Mahogany.

Subjective tone…

I would broadly characterise the tone of Limba as close to mahogany.


Limba is well managed and not threatened due to efforts made in the fifties to preserve it’s natural range.

Links/ References:
RC tonewoods

©2008 Terence Tan.

Pictures copyright individual holders.

Any infringement of copyright is entirely unintentional. Any copyright issues should be address to: We will attempt to resolve these issues quickly.