Bedell Guitars and the world’s largest library of Brazilian rosewood

Legal. Documented. Ready to travel—what are you waiting for?

Bedell Guitars is your source for Brazilian rosewood.

The real thing.

Legal. Documented. Ready to travel.

Founder Tom Bedell takes wood seriously. He is committed to conservation and to keeping the planet healthy and alive for generations to come. He knows it is important to you and to the future. He has traveled to 15 countries in a relentless effort to ensure transparent, sustainable sourcing for all native and exotic tonewoods used in Bedell instruments.

Along with key Co-Hippies, he established the Tonewood Certification Project, which promises no clear cut woods will be used in Bedell instruments and that any living trees will be “individually harvested in a manner that leaves the rest of the forest and ecological system as undisturbed as possible.”

Importantly, for Brazilian rosewood, the Project promises to use only ethically sourced Dalbergia nigra from a collection of ‘treasured tonewood,’ fully compliant with all international regulations, and harvested before a specific 1992 ruling by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, which was launched by a coalition of countries in the 1970s to protect fragile wild fauna and flora.

In plain English, Bedell has the world’s largest library of legal, documented Brazilian rosewood—all of it ready and waiting to become the ultimate guitar for you.

It has long been, as is widely known, illegal to harvest Brazilian rosewood. Since CITES and the 2008 Lacey Act extension, it has also been, in many, if not most, cases, illegal to even transport such rosewood, leaving artists and hobbyists alike concerned about losing valuable instruments to customs officials at border crossings.

Travel is not an issue with Bedell’s Brazilian guitars,­ a simple truth that many other builders cannot guarantee, as not all can verify a transparent legal chain of custody.

As part of Bedell’s Seed to Song program, each instrument is accompanied by a Guitar Portrait, which lists the woods used in each model and shows the exact specifications, thicknesses and frequencies of that wood, as determined by Sound Optimization®.

In the case of Brazilian rosewood, to travel it is necessary to have a Guitar Passport issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. As all of Bedell’s Brazilian is fully CITES compliant, with proper documentation meeting Lacey Act requirements, it’s simple to obtain one just by contacting the Bedell offices in Bend, Ore.

So, you’re wondering, where did all this Brazilian rosewood come from, and, given its rarity, how does it fit within the Bedell ethos?

In the early 2010s, Tom Bedell became aware of an incredible cache originally held by a Spanish concern, which had harvested the exotic wood to use in ornamental architecture for chapels, churches and cathedrals. By then, the rosewood—all of it gathered in the 1950s and early 60s, prior to the country’s 1967export ban—was in the hands of tonewood distributor Madinter, just outside of Madrid, which opted to mill the remaining boards into the bases for beautiful instruments of historic quality.

The collection, spanning multiple grades ranging from classic chocolatey sets to the most wonderfully figured boards imaginable, had air-dried in Spain for decades, aging like wine, and building qualities that could be similarly described—warm, resonant, reverberant, chiming.

To celebrate and to share, Bedell’s luthiers in Bend created a quartet of magnificent extremely limited edition instruments—The Bedell Brazilian Collection, which included the Overture, fashioned from a uniquely-dense 450-year-old tree dubbed the Milagro, or ‘miracle;’ the Forte, with haunting qualities from the sapwood-rich Puerta D’Iglesia, or ‘church door’ log; the orchestra-bodied Serenade; and the Cadenza parlor, featuring the stunning grain of the sunken Esperanza (‘hope’) tree, which had lain in a northeastern Brazilian bog for countless years.

More recently, in January, Bedell issued another special quartet, the spotlight Series of limited edition, high performance cutaway dreadnoughts—one featuring uniquely figured Brazilian rosewood in a classic combination with high-grade Adirondack spruce for a true bluegrass monster.

Almost as remarkable as the visual beauty and sonic richness of these fine instruments is the price. You don’t have to pay $30,000 for an investment grade heirloom quality Brazilian rosewood guitar that will provide both a companion for life and a keepsake for generations.

Readily available Bahia Series guitars—in dreadnought, orchestra and parlor sizes—with Adirondack tops and Honduran mahogany necks—offer neophytes, connoisseurs and collectors alike the opportunity to play and admire Brazilian rosewood for the cost of many builders’ entry level models.

The custom options are limited solely by your imagination.

With Bedell, you can own and play Brazilian without causing any harm to the earth and without worries about taking it where it takes you.