Until it became harder to source in the late-'60s, Brazilian Rosewood was the go-to tonewood for major American builders. In the 1930s "Golden Era" of acoustic guitars, Brazilian Rosewood played a tremendous role, and the sound it produces is central to many of the most iconic and celebrated guitars.
Many players and builders alike consider Brazilian Rosewood the epitome of tone for acoustic guitars. Its historical provenance certainly plays a role in that appeal, but many argue that Brazilian is simply superior for sound (and looks, as well). Unfortunately, Brazilian Rosewood grows in areas devastated by deforestation, so it is a protected species under the CITES Treaty. For guitar builders, that means quality Brazilian is both hard to find and expensive.
Fortunately, boutique builders (like Dana Bourgeois and his team of luthiers in Lewiston, Maine) recognize the sincere potential of Brazilian Rosewood. By sourcing old-growth logs harvested years before CITES took effect, Bourgeois keeps an impressive stock of Brazilian Rosewood. Because of the rarity, they reserve these coveted sets of Brazilian for only the top tier of their guitars.
This 2008 Bourgeois Signature D shows just how good a boutique dreadnought can be. Bourgeois builds fewer than 400 guitars a year, and with output that low, they're able to spend so much more time on each build. Through meticulous care and years of experience, they achieve a higher level of quality and attention to detail. The spec sheet for this guitar is what you get when top luthiers seek to build a good guitar without the goal of fitting into a particular price point. It features an Adirondack Spruce top and stunning Brazilian Rosewood back and sides. While it is not ostentatious, this Signature D boasts refined, top-shelf appointments such as Curly Maple binding, gold-plated tuning machine, and bi-toned herringbone trim.
Although it is certainly a looker, this 2008 Signature D somehow sounds better than it looks. Its top is beautifully voiced for powerful, but expressive and balanced tone, and its tone resonates and sustains with immense clarity. Notes flourish all the way down the fingerboard, and the setup is excellent, too. This is an impressive guitar from an impressive builder, and when it's in your hands, it's hard to imagine any guitar could be much better.
This 2008 Bourgeois Signature D has been played, so it shows some general wear and tear (see photos). Most noticeable is a ~1/2" ding on the treble side at the lower bout, but it's otherwise fairly clean and fret wear is minimal. It was recently sent back to Bourgeois, and they re-glued the bridge and dialed in a smooth, playable setup. Original hardshell case included.