wood hardness


Master Member

Disclaimer: Hardness does not necessarily correspond to density, stiffness, sustain, or any tonal properties.  It's how much force it takes to make a certain size dent in the wood, measured in pound-feet.  I think it is likely to correspond to fretboard durability.

Here's the list with only Warmoth woods:

Ebony 3220  :eek:
Canary 3200
Brazilian Rosewood 3000
Bloodwood 2900
Bocote 2200
Ziricote 2200
Bubinga 1980
Purpleheart 1860
Goncalo Alves 1850
Rosewood 1780
Pau Ferro 1780
Padouk 1725
Wenge 1630
Zebrawood 1575
Hard Maple 1450
Cocobolo 1136
Teak 1000
Lacewood 840
Mahogany 800
Korina 480
Basswood 410  :(
Balsa 100 :D

Soft pine (like 2x4s are made of) is about the same as basswood.  Ebony is about eight times harder.
Yeah, I'd have thought so too... but there are lots of sorts of rosewood, who knows which one they used?
nope - 3x durability of your more familiar North American redwood, used for high $$$ decking/flooring
Huh, I didn't even notice it said redwood, I read it as rosewood.  Deleted.
Hmm, that's interesting. I'm sure I've read that redwoods only grow in northern california, southern oregon, and a remote part of china, and they're unknown elsewhere in the world. Probably a related species with that name in English. Also, I'd love to see where Spruce fits, though its probably the softest.
there's more to a specific wood specis usability for electric instrument building than just hardness (and this hardness list does not prove that Basswood is a poor wood choice)

while the numbers may be interesting, they reflect the median average stiffness for a species, and individual pieces can vary by as much as a whopping 40%

all the best,

Nobody said this was a ranking of how good the woods are.  Anyway it's mostly relevant for fingerboards.
I'm surprised that Bloodwood is so close to Ebony!
But maybe this explains the massive sustain (and tone) of my Bloodwood neck!!
(have I mentioned I miss that guitar? :()
Aside: How do you pronounce basswood?  Like the fish or like the instrument?

Also, how do you pronounce "Padouk"?
sustain is the results of a complex culmination of build properties, a small significance is the hardness of your fingeroard, neck, and/or body woods (within reason)

Ex: a guitar with a Birdseye Maple fretboard can sustain longer than one with an Ebony fretboard, even if both have a similar Maple neck and Alder body. there are simply too many variables - including those within a wood species, specific tree, and even within a piece of lumber - to give weight to hardness like it is incorrectly being applied in the discussion here.

while hardness is a good sign that a wood will wear well, stiffness is more critical for neck applicability. density certainly has an impact on body usage, and many woods that are not high on the hardness list make great body woods due to not only their density - but more importantly the makeup of their cell structure.

all the best,

The only thing I took away from these numbers was the longevity of fingerboards.  Obviously tonality is a qualitative thing, not a quantitative one.
Another Janka Wood Hardness list:
There are a few differences and most of these ratings are a little higher than those on Wiki...

Tarara (Canary Wood) 3200
Thanks stormbringer, added canary and braz. rosewood

Also added a disclaimer for SkuttleFunk :)