Nyatoh (Palaquium spp.)
Nyatoh (Palaquium spp.)

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Common Name(s): Nyatoh

Scientific Name: Palaquium spp., Payena spp.

Distribution: India through Southeast Asia to the Philippines, New Guinea, and the Western Pacific Islands

Tree Size: 100-130 ft (30-40 m) tall, 2-3 ft (.6-1 m) trunk diameter

Average Dried Weight: 39 lbs/ft3 (620 kg/m3)

Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .53, .62

Janka Hardness: 1,070 lbf (4,760 N)

Modulus of Rupture: 13,920 lbf/in2 (96.0 MPa)

Elastic Modulus: 1,939,000 lbf/in2 (13.37 GPa)

Crushing Strength: 7,890 lbf/in2 (54.4 MPa)

Shrinkage: Radial: 3.2%, Tangential: 5.5%, Volumetric: 8.7%, T/R Ratio: 1.7

Color/Appearance: Heartwood can be pale pink to reddish or purplish brown. Sapwood is lighter colored, and not clearly delineated from heartwood.

Grain/Texture: Has a typically straight to shallowly interlocking grain. Texture is moderately fine.

Endgrain: Diffuse-porous; medium to very large pores in radial or diagonal arrangement, very few to few; commonly in radial multiples of 2-3; tyloses and other reddish brown gum deposits occasionally present; growth rings indistinct; narrow rays not visible without lens, spacing normal to fairly close; parenchyma diffuse-in-aggregates, and depending on species, marginal.

Rot Resistance: Rated as non-durable and is susceptible to insect attack.

Workability: Some species within these genera have high silica content and will rapidly dull cutting edges. Those not containing silica work fairly easily, though there still tends to be gum buildup on tools.

Odor: Reported to give off a sour smell when being worked.

Allergies/Toxicity: Working with Nyatoh has been reported to cause irritation to mucous membranes. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.

Pricing/Availability: Nyatoh is considered a utility wood in the native regions where it grows. It is not commonly seen or sold in the United States.

Sustainability: Nyatoh is not listed in the CITES Appendices, but a number of species in the Palaquium genus are on the IUCN Red List; most are listed as vulnerable due to a population reduction of over 20% in the past three generations, caused by a decline in its natural range, and exploitation.

Common Uses: Furniture, plywood, and interior joinery.

Comments: The two genera, Palaquium and Payene, are closely related and have very similar characteristics: though when dealing with specific data, (as seen above), it only reflects the average values from a number of species. A latex material called gutta-percha has been harvested from trees in the Palaquium genus, though its use today has been largely supplanted by synthetic materials.

Related Species:

None available.

Related Articles:


Nyatoh (Palaquium spp.)
Nyatoh (sanded)
Nyatoh (sealed)
Nyatoh (sealed)
Nyatoh (endgrain)
Nyatoh (endgrain)
Nyatoh (endgrain 10x)
Nyatoh (endgrain 10x)
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Ibanez RGD71AMS 7 string

Love how this wood database turned into a long discussion of guitar tones and weather wood affects the sound at all or is it all aobut the strings, skills and pickups. The wood fans must be very confused.


For those commenting on wood tones. I had the pleasure to see the great Les Paul live in NY in 2009. He told a story of when he made the first electric guitar out of a railway sleeper. People in clubs didn’t really dig it, then he stuck some wings on it to give it a more classic look. He said people went crazy for it and well the rest is history. He’s point was visuals and perception are more important than tone alone. However he didn’t say an expensive instrument wasn’t any better than a cheap one. He also… Read more »


Despite splitting hairs at the upper price range without the quality of tone wood used the quality of workmanship will be reduced greatly relative to applying the finest workmanship to the finest wood available with composites catching up fast to overtake using nano-tech if needed to extend value in the competitive marketplace “upending the notion of matter” using DNA research. Cort Guitars has a great video showing how good Natual ASH sounds compared the nearest wood in use due to availability and environmental concerns being respected by larger manufactures like NS Designs that’s E Cellos use a better alternative to… Read more »


What do u think about Ibanez PF15ECE guitar whose sides and back are of nyatoh wood?


Just bought an ibanez rgrt421 neck through body. The wings are made of nyatoh and they seem a little soft, heavy picks are making an impression, but there is only the thinnest layer of black paint on the guitar. Guitar sounds great.


Which wood from South Asia is the best for model making?…..It mainly needs to have a good strength andbe light in weight. Thanks a lot


guys which wood is better for the body of a shred/metal/rock guitar? Nyatoh or Mahoghany? difference in tone? thanks a lot!


Well, fwiw, Ibanez uses it on their Axion Label guitars designed for metal

Gary Price

There is no difference. You could use Alder or Poplar and get the same tone because you don’t get any sonic change at all from a piece of wood. Strings and pickups are your concerns. Grab you a DiMarzio Fred for the neck and a Seymour Duncan Black Winter or Pegasus and you will be good to go. You might also like active pickups, SD blackouts might be a tad better than the EMG stuff.

Todd Sanderson

I’ve played guitar for over 35 years and I can tell you after owning high end Paul Reed Smith’s and Gibson’s your statement is 100% false! Yes you can make a guitar out of cardboard and get a “Good” sound. But when you played Guitars with a Price tag of $5.000 (USD) or more then you will understand what “Perfect” sound can be. Being made of the finest woods and other materials does make a huge difference. I’ve Played $6,000 PRS Modern Eagles also played $125 (including Tax) Harley Benton’s Enjoyed both but there were incredible differences all because of… Read more »




I Bet you work for a manufacturer or a guitar outlet. Any professional guitarest or enginar i ever talked to, including Evh, says tone is in the pickups the amp and more than anything else the fingers, for god sake look what eddie played with! There first album were recorded with a thrown together parts caster and a chopped up ibanez. but eddie used qualitie pickups was a wiz with amps and had the fingers. quality counts but it dont make a great song.

Last edited 1 year ago by Rich

EVH is not someone I would look to for tone advice- great player but his tone was pretty awful. Wood makes a huge difference in tone – as does pickups, body shape, tail piece, amplifier and speaker selection. Depends on what sort of player you are also – at a certain level of gain tone woods became less apparent… but in a clean signal path or light over drives the resonance of a wood greatly impact the overtones that are heard.


Build quality more than wood. Wood matters more on acoustic instruments . Also more important the skill of the player, wood on solid body guitars is chosen looks availability and weight. Only way to solve argument would be a blind sound test.

Robert C Ray Jr

100% accurate.


Expensive guitars are made with the highest grade hardwood for the instrument to project the fullest sound posible with harmonics, resonance, sustain, body, brightness, definition, being some features to look after on guitars. At the same time better hardwood grades make a guitar more stable against weather changes. About for the sound itself, it depends, along with the hardwood quality, on the hardware, electronics and craftsmanship, being all quality will make for a great sound. Just hardwood, a mid grade blank can do for a great sound as long as the wood has even close grain and balanced weight. Cheaper… Read more »


Wrong, but it takes years as an active musician to know that. Mahogany, alder, ash (two kinds) all sound very different. Obviously pickups and everything else also make a difference. But any real guitar player who has access to all of these options would argue with you. Grain density affects vibration which translates to differences in mid frequencies. I have heard people say that certain pickups (EMG’s) sound exactly the same regardless of the guitar they installed in, this is also not true.

Richard Dye

you must work for Gibson authentic or prs I have been playing 50 years 18 of them personally and the truth is tone is in the fingers yes i have played or owned very expensive guitars then i grew up and understood these tone woods are for doctors and lawyers and others who dont actually record or play out

Last edited 1 year ago by Richard Dye

Right, wood doesnt matter, thats why an Ibanez sounds exactly like a Les Paul. Or a Strat sounds the same as a Gretsch hollow body. Or a $100 Mitchell acoustic sounds like a $2000 Taylor.


I’m sick of the tonewood argument. Tonewood makes all the difference. That’s why an sg is so warm and a Les Paul with the same pickups sounds completely different


And you are saying that only you, and not Gary, could possibly have spent years as an active musician? Please. I’ve been playing for over 30 years, have thousands of gigs and 3 albums under my belt, and I also build guitars in my spare time and I’m here to tell you that PARTICULARLY for metal and super high gain amplification you could attach active EMGs to a 2x 4 and get nearly the same sound as if it was in a Les Paul or an ESP custom. I’ve heard PLYWOOD BC Rich platinum series guitars from the late 80s… Read more »


John you are absolutely correct. Wood does make a difference. I am a bass player and I went and tested a marcus miller v7 bass made of alder body with maple neck, back to back against the v10 model which is ash body and maple neck. Both have exactly the same pickups and preamp and strings. And i can tell you that the ash sounded much better, clearer note integrity and a warmer sound with more definition. The alder version sounded harsh and aggressive in comparison. Just about any timber can sound good..even basswood. But they do sound different. And… Read more »


I have an ash sire V7 and I Agree. but I think the what people are arguing about is if they sound better or not. Basswood gets a bad wrap cos it’s cheap but in the right instrument with good pups it can sound amazing. I had a small side business importing guitars out of china using alder, ash, mahogany and basswood and the price was almost the same. Basswood was the cheapest but like $30 cheaper, not much. The sound was very different, Basswood wasn’t as good in most cases but better than composite woods used in cheap guitars.… Read more »


I generally agree, I would add to notice a difference from different woods play thru a CLEAN amp 2 strats or 2 teles with ash and alder bodies, maple and rosewood fretboards. You can really hear a different voice when playing side by side. I mention fenders because they’re one of few brands offering 2 or more wood options on a same model, but this is true for basses too.


After 25 years of playing electrics the one thing that makes the most difference is speakers.?


Nato as it’s called in the states has excellent tone and is so close sounding to Mahogany that you can’t play them with all other variables being the same and tell a difference but Honduran Mahogany or Brazillian Mahogany look better aesthetically…It’s what most Asian guitar builders use for Mahogany…including Korean PRS guitars…Anybody that says type of wood or material used to build a guitar doesn’t affect the sound of a guitar doesn’t have enough experience with enough guitars…If you put the same pups on an SG and a Tele they will not sound even similar…


More about mass rather than wood type.


I Totally agree Frank, to a point. I think the weight or mass of the neck can attribute to a good tone and maybe a little with the body but once again a decent EQ can usually bring about the same tones,it really is pu amp fingers that do most of the work. At least that’s what me and most those iv worked with over the years have come to believe.

Greg Campbell

Thank you this helps a ton! I know the difference in tonality but have never heard of Nyatoh wood.

Holger Hansen

I’ve just finished an acoustic guitar using nyotah for the back and sides. Haven’t played it yet but the tap tone sounds good.

Gregory Curtis Holmberg

I’ve seen Nyatoh used on electric guitar necks in a style of guitar that would usually use Mahogany. The Ibanez AS83 uses Nyatoh, and is essentially a copy of a Gibson ES-335, which uses Mahogany. Compared to Mahogany, Nyatoh is a little bit denser (620 vs. 590), but significantly stiffer (13.37 vs. 10.06). The added stiffness makes it great for necks. This is even stiffer than the other wood commonly used for necks, Hard Maple (12.62). This combination of density and stiffness give Nyatoh one of the best sound energy radiation coefficients of the woods commonly used for necks. Nyatoh’s… Read more »