Blanca or a negra? My command of Spanish, I admit, is in sore need of improvement. Even so, I understand that guitars have been categorized as “blancas” or “negras” based on the color of the woods used in the construction of the guitar body. This distinction worked well so long as the choices of tonewoods were more or less limited to the 19th and early 20th century conventions: Brazilian rosewood, cypress and European spruces. How about a guitar constructed with a Western Red Cedar soundboard and a Mediterranean Cypress body? Is it still a blanca, despite the chocolate-brown soundboard appearance? Or is it a “negra” with a blanca body? Being neither a linguist nor an ethnomusicologist (or an expert of whatever appropriate rank to settle etymological disputes) I elect to leave this question unresolved. I think I’ll simply call her “la Chocolata”.
La Chocolata’s back and sides: Mediterranean Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens)
Fingerboard, bindings and the headstock veneer: East Indian Rosewood (Dalbergia Latifolia).
Neck material: Spanish Cedar (Cedrela odorata) Curiously, Spanish Cedar is not from Spain, nor does it belong to true cedars. The trees grow in the swath of tropical forests or North, Central and South America, beginning roughly at latitude 26°N down to approximately latitude 28°S in Argentina.
Her heart and soul (a.k.a. the soundboard) is made of Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata) sourced from British Columbia, Canada.
Even though la Chocolata gathers tonewoods from the world over, and was made in Oregon, she is indebted to Spanish luthiers, most notably, to Antonio de Torres, for her characteristic sound and her overall design. I hope her music will carry stories everywhere she goes. La Chocolata, to your long and healthy life! Happy birthday.