Tom Bedell's Journey Sourcing Cocobolo and the Creation of the Revolution Series

January 05, 2017

Bedell Guitars is always searching the world over for unique and incredible tonewoods that are salvaged or selectively harvested to protect the neighborhood forests and a sustainable economy for the people. The journey for cocobolo first took us to Cosa Rica. We found stunning cocobolo billets in a mountain village mill where we were told they had come from their plantation. The problem turned out to be, there was no plantation -  the logs had been smuggled in from Nicaragua. This led us to Nicaragua where we secured a legally, honorably operated mill.

Cocobolo is a fascinating tree. It is in the dalbergia family – the same as Brazilian and other rosewoods. But cocobolo is the most dense of them all. For example, cocobolo has a specific gravity of 1.1 which means it is the only tonewood we use that actually sinks in water.

We became fascinated with both the beauty and music potential of this rare wood. Being the most dense wood we work with, we used our Sound Profiling technology to determine how thin we might sand the backs to make them responsive to the target frequencies we have learned give us the most dynamic sound. Knowing that sound energy travels most efficiently through light and stiff materials we had a challenge. Previously, like other builders, we had sanded cocobolo to the same dimension as other species. The results were heavy unresponsive instruments. Knowing we had the stiffest tonewood, now to reduce the weight. The results have been astonishing. 

The new Bedell Revolution is truly a breakthrough in tonal dynamics. Every opportunity for enhanced sound has been explored. For example, we selected a Hard Rock maple neck over Honduran mahogany. Why? Because it is stiffer and pairs more naturally with the frequency dynamics of the cocobolo. Every back is sanded to a predetermined weight, which means that as the density in each back tonewood set vary, so does the thickness of the material for each individual instrument. And once the bracing and tone bars are attached to the top, we hand tune every individual instrument by removing wood until we have achieved the targettd frequency for the sound board.

The Bedell Revolution is truly a revolution in custom guitar craftsmanship. There may have never been an acoustic guitar crafted with cocobolo that sounds, looks and plays as extraordinary as the Bedell Revolution. Learn more about the Revolution Dreadnought, Revolution Orchestra and Revolution Parlor.

Tom Bedell’s Journey Sourcing Cocobolo and the Creation of the Revolution Series