But between Cedar(s) and Spruce(s)… lots of overlap and lots of fine-sounding instruments out there! My only problem with engelman is that it is often very soft, and run-out is more common in engelman than sitka. Since I’m a player and not a luthier I will fill out this article with quotes from reputable luthiers and guitarists. All offered guitar tops were 100 percent air dried (air seasoned) at least 2 years before they go on to the way to you. i've heard that this is an "advertising" word for laminate? I bought an expensive Cedar top. Either way, Epiphone (Samick) makes a decent sounding laminate guitar. Guitar tops can be made from several types of wood. Often, only the top layer is spruce, with less costly woods making up the layers underneath. Until a few years ago, the grade of a top was written on the underside and was often visible inside the finished instrument, with the help of an inspection mirror and flashlight. Spruce is the traditional wood that was used for centuries of guitar making. Spruce is a connifer with good a weight to stiffness ratio, though it is soft, and prone to injury from bumps. mean? On guitars given a natural finish, a torrefied spruce top has a somewhat darker color. Prior to the 1950’s European spruce was the standard material for guitar tops. Although spruce is the most commonly employed top wood, cedar comes in at second place. I have played others’ Sitka instruments that are much better sounding than mine but never really great. Video Comparing A Spruce Top Guitar And A Cedar Top Guitar Made By The Same Luthier. Copyright © 2020 Bradford Werner, thisisclassicalguitar.com & wernerguitareditions.com. For many players it is not hard to feel the difference but as a listener it is easy to be fooled. I have a engelmann spruce and it has a wonderful tone, however, it might not have the quick response and clarity of a euro. Not (usually) a topwood, it isn’t even a softwood. “It has been my observation that players who are used to spruce find it more to their liking; and those used to cedar prefer it. I don’t know much about it Gord but certainly light and stiff woods seem to be the go-to woods for tops so one it can be thin enough for response and stiff enough for structural and sound qualities. I know of a high end steel string maker that laminates his backs and sides to make them as strong as possible. Santa Cruz, Collings and Tippin, among other boutique builders, use the term "select spruce top" in their marketing. Of course, not all Lutz is going to be great wood; you can never make absolute statements about a species of wood. Folks like us know they mean "junk". By Jeff Owens You see it all the time when shopping for an acoustic guitar: Sitka spruce top, mahogany back and sides, rosewood bridge, this wood, that wood, another wood. Although engelmann logs are generally smaller but there still seems to be high quality cuts out there. That being said, my conclusion is that the sound is very subjective and the decision whether to choose from a spruce or a cedar guitar is frequently influenced by many factors like: “what wood is my teacher’s guitar made of?”, “what wood was the first guitar it amazed me made of?”, “what is the sound I am conformable and pleased with”, “what sound I am looking for”. Any that is just from what I've notice and like I said I can't find it documented anywhere to prove it, but there you go. Seriously, these folks obviously know there are consumers out there that are going to be awed by the term "select". It is also used in classical guitars. I personally tend to prefer European spruce, but North American spruces, particularly Adirondack and Engelmann, can be very attractive. I can’t say that it’s more available than European spruce because so few people are cutting Lutz spruce for guitars.” via Delcamp Forum. Nice collection of information. It’s actually a cousin of mahogany, and has long been a preferred wood for classical necks (as well as cigar boxes). It also helps that I have a private source of excellent 100 yr. old Redwood! But please let me know about Italian Spruce, Adirondack Spruce, etc.. Western Red Cedar: These large diameter trees can produce excellent cuts with straight grains. Also, what constitutes the sound warm or full anyway? A keen eye can spot these tiny layers in the top if you look at the soundhole opening. spruce is a fine top as well i guess its what you are looking for in your own style one thing i can tell for sure ,is that the type of string you are choosing. Part seems to be that different techniques are required to obtain the best sound from each. Learn something new everyday.". My Epiphone Ej200 (which sounds great) has "select spruce" top. Spanish cedar (Honduras cedar, cedrela). The Taylor 814ce is Lindsey’s primary acoustic guitar. What is the difference between "select spruce" and laminate? http://www.classicalguitardelcamp.com/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=75703&start=0. I like both. Sitka also goes through drastic change over time relative to red spruce or cedar. i do not go cheap on my strings , i find this also provide a better sound with both the cadar and the spruce. Link/Source: Guitar Salon International FAQ, Marcus Dominelli on whether spruce guitars project better: When comparing spruce and cedar guitars, built in a traditional fashion I totally agree that spruce guitars tend to project better to the back of the hall. The type of spruce used will affect the overall tone production and you should be aware of these effects on tone before making a decision. The following video is interesting for those wanting to compare the sound of a spruce top guitar to that of a cedar top guitar. The Guitar . Spruce is light blonde in color, almost sometimes with a honey/amber tint, while cedar is darker and appears in various shades of brown. I’m not saying that it is lesser quality, however, just different. The various species of spruce are graded the same way, but prices vary. I have an all laminate (top, back and sides) Washburn that sounds very good for very little money. In an "all solid wood" acoustic guitar, each body wood component is solid, and not layered or laminated: that means the top, back, and sides are all made from solid wood components. Using the 107-year old Martin guitar top as a benchmark, the R&D team focused their efforts on modifying the torrefaction process to better address several key areas: tonal properties commonly associated with vintage instruments and the impact of torrefaction on the color hue of spruce. The wood is affected by the design the luthier has used or created. Eastern red cedar, familiar from cedar chests and closets, is really a juniper. thank you thom. Spruce top guitars also have a tone palette that is sensitive and highly nuanced. Probably no help to this thread, but I have a CS Guatemalan rosewood dread that was sold to me as having a Swiss spruce top. He's a professional musician, and uses that mando in his band. I thought a "select spruce" top was a nicer grade of spruce on the top sheet of the laminate in order to give the apperance of a nice book matched solid spruce top. These include internal structure, thickness of material, pattern and shape of the instrument, type of finish, and type of strings. I do sometimes miss the full-bodied sound and perceived (?) Whilst it is more commonly used in the back and sides (see below) it also makes for a great top if it suits what you are playing. This makes sense that it could handle to high pressure and intensity of steel-string guitars. Woods and design affect each other mutually. Is this True? Several players have commented on their balance and richness of overtones. I didn't know that they used laminated tops on their multi-thousand dollar instruments. I think it’s pretty well agreed upon that spruce tends to sound a bit crisper, with better separation and definition. Link/Source: Monrad Guitars, Marcus Dominelli on Spruce & Cedar: It’s possible to generalize between spruce and cedar if you’re comparing them built in the same style, for example, fan braced cedar to fan braced spruce. It is well known that cedar fences last longer than spruce fences. From everything I've digested about guitar tops, I thought this should be a great combination and the guitar sounded as big and sweet as anything I've ever heard. Cedar bears a distinct, pleasant odor and is slightly more porous, which may contribute to a faster responding sound. I bet you can find an answer on delcamp or some forum…, Check out this one on delcamp: Sitka can benefit from a less dense back/side pairing ie; mahogany over dalbergia. Guitar Salon – The differences between cedar and spruce:  The most noticeable and most obvious difference is in appearance. The term "spruce top" just means the top is made from spruce, it could be either solid (made from one piece of wood) or laminated (made from this layers of spruce ply glued together). I always recommend that my students get cedars because that full bodied sound can cover up a lot of what would otherwise be poor tone or messy playing. These distinctions are subtle and not always apparent. From Brazilian rosewood to Sitka spruce, get the lowdown on popular tonewoods. In general, spruce is clearer, yet with a denser, more complex sound and longer sustain. 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