Amaranth Fretboards

So, you’re looking at new guitars and you’ve come across a term you might not be so familiar with – Amaranth.  Amaranth, or “purpleheart” is sometimes used to make guitar fretboards and even entire guitar bodies.  

Tonewoods makeup at least 90% of your entire guitar and, if nothing else, for that reason they should be a point of consideration.  But the subject can be confusing and full of conjecture. 

In this article, we’re going to cover everything you should know pertaining to Amaranth for use in fretboards, guitar necks and bodies.  

What is Amaranth?

Amaranth (also known as Purpleheart) is a hardwood known for its beautiful purple coloration.  While it’s most commonly used in things like furniture, flooring and boat building, it is also used as a tonewood for guitar manufacturing. 

The stability and density of Amaranth make it especially nice for use in guitar necks and fingerboards.  These properties make it a lot less likely to warp with the change of temperature or humidity.  

Amaranth wood comes from the Peltogyne tree and is indigenous to the rainforests of Central and South America. 


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Why Is Amaranth Used In Guitar Manufacturing?

You might wonder what qualities Amaranth has to make it a good choice for guitar fingerboards.  Again, Amaranth is a very hard and stable wood, which is what you want.  Otherwise, your neck will warp.  If handled and treated well, it can also display a beautiful purple hue. 

It’s also a workable alternative to Rosewood and Ebony.  Rosewood is a CITES-protected species, and usable Ebony is extremely rare.  An ebony tree can take 200 years to mature, and only 10% of the ebony trees harvested will produce the quality wood color desired for guitar manufacturing.  

Amaranth is hard as nails (actually harder than maple), it’s pretty and it polishes up like glass.  

Helpful Facts About Amaranth:

Botanical NamePeltogyne
Other namesPurpleheart, Violet Wood
Natural OriginCentral America
UsesHigh-end flooring, furniture, cabinetry, musical instruments
Notes:Fresh cut amaranth is a dull grey or purplish/brown color.  Sun exposure will give it a bright purple color.  If allowed to age further exposed to UV light, it will become dark brown with a slight purple hue.

Conclusion

Amaranth is an excellent choice for guitar manufacturing, especially fingerboards.  It produces a guitar that looks great and plays just as well as any other tonewood.

– If you’re looking for a great alternative to Rosewood or Ebony, you might be surprised by our Richlite Fretboard Review!

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