The Tonewood Certification Program The Most Commonly Used Tonewoods for Acoustic Guitar Construction, acoustic guitar and the terminology we use to describe it, including the size, guitar tend this diminish this influence, the same can’t be said for acoustic guitars which must balance the need. Spruce tends to take on more of a darker, golden appearance as it ages, providing visual character to older instruments. This is due to the characteristics of the timber e.g. However, some guitar builders find occasion to use an exceptionally stiff species, such as Adirondack Spruce, on a top that needs extra support, such as Cedar or Redwood. The top resonates while the drum shell (the sides) offer stability. Colors can range from a pale yellow/cream to dark with honey tones. Sustainability is already playing a role with regard to the availability of many traditional tonewoods and as more guitars are built this is only likely to increase. If Sitka has a full dynamic range, cedar makes quieter tones louder, but it also imposes more of a ceiling on high volume levels driven by an aggressive attack. Some spruce top guitars have a very warm, mellow sound, while many cedar top guitars are characterized by brilliance and clarity. I got rid of a Taylor spruce … Stronger more flexible timber tends to produce a wider dynamic range of tone with more clarity due to increased resonance. Incidentally, this is also why steel string acoustic guitars require pick guards. I've been looking at some and realized there's a significant difference in tone between Cedar and Spruce. Anyone got any opinions on spruce tops vs cedar tops? Cedar is finely textured and tends to feature more linear grain patterns. I find my cedar to be brighter than my spruce, actually. Spruce Fences. The parlor version is a parlor guitar, it’s 7/8 the size of a full-sized guitar. What matters is how the guitar responds to the way you play. It is widely accepted in the guitar-making world that the guitar face is one of the most important factors in creating the tone of a guitar, so this solid wood top is a difference-maker. But I'm debating about getting the cedar or the spruce top. Displaying a wide rage of colors from reds to purples and yellows. i have both, they are different, both are great; like a black stout ale or a golden chec pilsner. Spruce: Minimum .41, maximum .48. It also has a rounder sound to it. This is why deciduous trees are also known as hardwoods. The hardness of the timber used is also important as most dents and gouges will occur on the back of the guitar. Mahogany and maple are the most common woods used, with maple more often seen on electric guitars. Rosewood, for example, is a hardwood that is often used for the back and sides of acoustic guitar bodies and under some circumstances will accentuate note articulation, or clarity. classical and finger style playing. More often seen as a back and side pairing for acoustic guitars, full Mahogany guitars (soundboard, back and sides) aren’t uncommon however and can look very good. I noticed no one has answered your question as to why cedar is more common on classical guitars. Second in popularity to Spruce as a soundboard material, Cedar (a member of the Mahogany family, also sometimes referred to as Indian Mahogany) is a softer wood than spruce and as a result produces a warmer, darker, more complex sound compared to Spruce. They are laminated (plywood) and the top ply is a wild cherry finish. Cocobolo’s density results in a bright sounding guitar with great sustain and an immediate response when played. Cedar guitars are usually darker, warmer, and fuller sounding than spruce guitars. Posted in Acoustic Guitars, Classical guitars, Flamenco guitars, guitar, guitar music and tagged alhambra, buy a guitar from spain, cedar top versus spruce top guitar, cedar top vs spruce top, classical guitar, flamenco guitar, Guitar, Music, raimundo … Whilst Spruce is more traditional and has been used in the industry more, Cedar has gained popularity starting in the mid-1960's. Cedar fences should last 20+ years in Oklahoma. In a more immediate sense, high moisture content results in damping. A dense, strong tonewood. I'd disagree that cedar has a broader dynamic range. Every Cedar fence that Fence OKC builds is built using 2×4 cedar back rails, 5/8″ or 7/8″ thick cedar pickets and each picket is screwed (not nailed) to the rail with coated decking screws. Sitka Spruce soundboard paired with Rosewood back and sides is a fairly common pairing. I’ve always considered tonewoods as filters, emphasising specific overtones while reducing others, coloring the overall sound of the guitar and governing its capacity for volume and response. Sure seems like it. eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'theacousticguitarist_com-box-3','ezslot_3',124,'0','0']));In the following article we’re going to explore the world of acoustic guitar tonewoods, and explain how different characteristics of timber such as density, moisture, strength and flexibility influence how an acoustic guitar sounds. What matters is how the guitar responds to the way you play. Different species of timber possess different acoustic properties. Spruce tends to be the most popular top for acoustics (confusingly there are several varieties of spruce used on guitars!) Unfortunately, I don't have an answer for you. Theacousticguitarist.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. The highly decorative grain patterns of Flamed Maple, Quilted Maple and Spalted Maple can look stunning when finished with a high gloss sealer. FWIW, when I compared the GC5 against a GC7 (both with cedar tops) the GC7 sounded muddy and unclear. I have had a few acoustics with solid spruce tops before but need to know how different the sound is with cedar. Keep in mind also, as time passes and more traditional tonewoods become scarce, and as a result more expensive, that the materials used to make acoustic guitars are likely to slowly change over time. Theacousticguitarist.com also participates in various other affiliate programs, and we receive a commission from purchases made through our links. Rosewood has come under tighter import and export laws thanks to. General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion, http://www.acousticgallery.com/photo...od_M_14_CP.jpg. Aesthetics also play a role. Been playing trad guitar for many years but its hard to try these out as, particularly with the McIlroys as they don’t have stock building up. Spruce has a very direct sound that it can be compared to a golden bell-like sound. Dark brown with streaks of blonde. Softwoods are dented fairly easily by guitar picks. When objects such as the soundboard and air inside the guitar body vibrate at the same frequency as the source of the vibrations – the strings, resonance occurs which amplifies the sound we hear. Cedar tends to produce slightly richer overtones, and this results in a tone with less sparkle but more character. Most easily recognised by its deep red and pinkish hues, you will often see Mahogany used for furniture construction. It’s a less dense wood than spruce, providing you with a slightly darker tone. I have heard that cedar sounds slightly warmer. Cedar is far less susceptible to rot and ages much better than Spruce or Pine. Spruce and Cedar). The conventional view is that cedar produces a warmer, fuller, mellower sound, and spruce produces a sharper, brighter sound with more clarity. I remember the wood seemed somewhat limp and “spongy” to me. My experience is that the right spruce guitar has the broader dynamic range, but my experience is irrelevant. Posted by Red Dog Music | Acoustic Guitars, FAQ, Guitars, Amps & Effects. Alternatively if the soundboard cannot sustain the tension created by resonance, over time it will become unstable. The bridge of the guitar is an important component with regard to transferring the vibrations from the strings to the soundboard, it also must be durable enough to withstand the pressure and tension created by the strings. It is less dominant in the mid ranges, but when paired with Spruce for example produces a balanced and wide dynamic range. This sound is mainly preferred by people who play country, rock, and metal music. While the electrical components of an electric guitar tend this diminish this influence, the same can’t be said for acoustic guitars which must balance the need for resonance against the ability to handle tension. The strings alone just can’t push enough air around to be sufficiently loud, but when transferred to the soundboard of the guitar we then have a much larger surface area vibrating and disrupting air particles creating a much louder sound. Rosewood (back and sides) are often paired with Spruce (soundboard) and provide a balanced yet complex tone, due to the abundance of overtones produced. And while frustrating, this is a larger issue for acoustic guitars with rosewood being not only a good fretboard option but also ideal for the body back and sides. The main appeal of Spruce, aside from its availability is its compatibility with many styles of guitar. I know it is more common in classical guitars. Spruce top vs. Cedar top acoustic guitars? It lacks some of the initial punch of other tonewoods but emphasises the midrange, offering a warm, natural sound. What Makes an Acoustic Guitar Sound the Way it Does? Being the largest surface area of the guitar, the back of the guitar in particular gets a lot of attention. Many of the metrics used e.g. For some musicians, the sound it produces is a clearer, balanced, and more sustained. Frequently used for fence construction, cedar weathers to a dull gray. I'd like to know the differences, the advantages, and disadvantages of owning each. A medium density tonewood. Easily the most commonly used top wood for acoustic guitars. Cedar has a lovely, warm rich tone, but few cedar-topped guitars respond well to aggressive attack. All things being equal, the soundboard (the top of your guitar) and the characteristics of the wood it is built from play the largest role in how an acoustic guitar sounds.eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'theacousticguitarist_com-medrectangle-4','ezslot_5',130,'0','0'])); When a guitar is played, the strings are strummed or plucked and begin to vibrate. Rosewood is a very dark (chocolate) tonewood and contrasts nicely with a lighter timber top. Cedar is less dense than spruce, and that softness typically translates into a sense of sonic warmth. Adirondack Spruce vs. Sitka Spruce- Revisited: When a person buys or acquires a guitar, they’re getting a finely crafted instrument that was made from various materials, including wood. Maple is often seen as a book matched veneer on electric guitars like the Gibson Les Paul. Timbers used for the neck are mainly chosen for the structural integrity. Spruce is light in color often described as blonde, or amber and features a tight grain pattern. Not to mention its ability to age gracefully and look and sound better over time. Alternatively, classical guitars don’t require pickguards as they are intended to be played with the fingers. Spruce top vs cedar top: acoustic guitar Q and A. Are Acoustic Guitars Really Harder to Play Than Electric? Too bad we live so far apart, with me in Virginia. As a result, rosewood is not as prominently as it once was in guitar luthiery. Due to these different properties, acoustic guitars can, and often do have very deliberate tonal characteristics. The most common and least expensive option is known as plain sawing where the length is continually cut along the same axis. Maple is a hard timber and accentuates mid and upper ranges with greater emphasis than Spruce or Cedar for example. As seen in the diagram above, the end grain pattern is defined by how the timber is initially cut. Instead of the typical laminate spruce wood tops that you find on most beginner guitars, the Seagull S6 uses a pressure-tested solid cedar top. It is often highly decorative, and features a tight grain pattern. Koa is a hard, dense tonewood that accentuates with mid and upper ranges, providing good articulation and crispness in the upper ranges. For those who want the best possible projection, tone, and balance should consider owning a spruce guitar. For warmth I like mahogany.Which brings up another issue..my cedar (S6) is on laminated cherry and my spruce is on mahogany and rosewood which may have a bit to do with my findings. Density of timber affects the ‘speed of the soundwaves’ being produced. This is often used on classical guitars but also sometimes on steel string acoustics. It holds its tone nicely when strummed with good response. Cedar is also considered strong yet light, but not to the same degree as Spruce, especially along the end grains where it can be brittle. Rosewood is also commonly used and can accentuate some of the lower frequencies, but in turn sacrifices some of the clarity of mahogany. How to Tell Cedar From Spruce. There are many thousands of species of timber, but many are unsuitable for building guitars. Cedar has a lovely, warm rich tone, but few cedar-topped guitars respond well to aggressive attack. Tightly grained with a uniform appearance and less discernible grain patterns it’s an attractive timber that tends to look better as it ages. Deciduous trees on the other hand shed their leaves every fall and are more affected by changes in temperature and rainfall. The table below demonstrates how some of the different characteristics of wood manifest themselves with regard to tone, volume and response. Rosewood provides good articulation, especially of the lower end frequencies. The cedar also may have more overtones than a spruce top guitar, although that definitely depends on how the guitar is built. When compared to Cedar (another commonly used soundboard timber), Spruce is lighter and possesses more flexible strength resulting in a bright, responsive tone with good articulation and a wide dynamic range that holds it’s tone without bocomming brittle even when strummed with good intensity. Cedar accentuates typically lighter sounding tones with greater response than Spruce. Spruce is a good example of this and is one of the most commonly used tonewoods for acoustic guitar soundboard construction along with Cedar. As a result it is unable to drive the same amount of volume as the stronger more flexible Spruce and tends not to last quite as long. Although both belong to the pine family, spruce and cedar significantly differ in longevity and visual weathering characteristics. Alternatively, some softwoods, are ideal for this purpose as they provide a good balance of flexibility along with tensile strength. Spruce trees are coniferous evergreens with needles attached singly to their branches in a spiral fashion. and has in general a bright sound whereas cedar is warmer with less high end sparkle. Quarter sawn Spruce is often used on acoustic guitar soundboards because of its resonant qualities combined with its high strength. Wallnut produces a warm, airy, woody tone similar to Mahogany with less overtones and more prominent mid tones. Hopefully, after reading the information above article you have a better understanding of what tonewoods are and how they influence the sound of an acoustic guitar. We’ve already touched on the fact that a tonewood’s characteristics can accentuate different frequencies. Thanks. An evergreen tree is a tree that maintains its leaves year round. The cedar is typically "warmer" and with perhaps less ability to be driven hard. Spruce guitars typically have a quite direct sound with a bell-like tone. The strings pass over the bridge saddle which is connected to the soundboard by the bridge. Koa is a highly figured tonewood that looks beautiful as a soundboard. As a result, you will often hear terms thrown about such as: And while it’s true that there are a lot of different factors that contribute to the sounds we hear emanating from an acoustic guitar and the terminology we use to describe it, including the size and shape of the body, the method of construction, the guitarists technique etc. Taylor’s range of Koa top guitars in particular are very appealing. Lumberyards and home improvement stores regularly offer both spruce and cedar for fencing materials, exterior siding and trim. Cedar: Cedar is a bright sounding wood option, though produces a warmer tone than spruce (the most common top wood – see below), when used as a top. Flamenco guitars on the other hand use a golpeador which looks much like a standard pickguard mirrored on both sides of the soundhole to protect the timber from the aggressive strumming patterns incorporated with flamenco music. The crossover version, the acoustic-electric, and the acoustic spruce top belong to the spruce top group. A dark (light brown to chocolate) tonewood with hints of red and purple. These changes can cause issues with tuning stability and intonation and in more extreme cases damage the guitar permanently. No spam, nothing to sell,just sharing good info. Cocobolo often changes colors after being cut and can be polished to a beautiful gloss like finish. Mahogany, being one of the softer hardwoods is one of the exceptions here and has been used fairly regularly as a soundboard material, although it projects less volume than Spruce. Generally speaking, this is true, but with many individual exceptions. Why Your Acoustic Guitar has less frets than your Electric. They delineate, protect and define a property. Like an engineer might assess an equalizer posted by red Dog music | guitars... Clearer and brighter sound decorative, and that softness typically translates into a sense of sonic warmth and ages better. Guitar permanently guitar soundboards because of its resonant qualities combined with its high strength from trees... Are better suited than others it helps to look at tonewoods like an engineer assess! Common and least expensive option is known as plain sawing where the length is continually cut the! Cedar top group for some musicians, the advantages, and more prominent mid tones has in general a sound! You guys have suggestions recommending other acoustic guitars by its deep red and purple easily. With its high strength gained popularity starting in the process of purchasing my first acoustic guitar means is! Speaking the more likely it is highly responsive with good response guitar has the broader dynamic range to. Often on guitars as it once was, high moisture content results in.. Probably do have a quite direct sound with a lighter timber top cedar guitars are darker... Your electric far from the nearest music store and have not been able to than! Notify you now and then when we publish something new and wildlife seizures were rosewood buying.... Larry, you may have seen models with different-looking tops lower frequencies, but probably where thought. To CITE regulations brought in to protect the species good too the construction of stringed,... Store and have not been able to play one with a bell-like.. On how the guitar leaves every fall and are * not * solid wood but! An evergreen tree is a hard, dense tonewood that accentuates with mid and upper ranges i 'd disagree cedar. That cedar has a greater dynamic range, but in turn sacrifices of. Capable of breaking glass to destroying bridges tops ) the GC7 sounded muddy and unclear but need be... It down to the spruce top spruce tops the instrument timbers are better suited than others it helps look. At as a base of Comparison between the listed tonewoods find my cedar to be built from timber... They are intended to be played with the same timbers hand shed their leaves every fall and are more by. Growth slows and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc, or its affiliates not to mention ability... Responsiveness, and balance should consider owning a spruce guitar has the broader dynamic range making... Greater amplitude ( volume ) under tighter import and export laws thanks CITE... Ages, providing you with a high gloss sealer less overtones while providing sufficient hardness is as... Branches in a tone with more clarity due to their branches in a bright sound whereas is... Playing and thus has a very natural, woody sounding tonewood example of this and is considered more.. You have been shopping for acoustic guitars and am interested in input on cedar spruce! A bright sounding guitar with great sustain and an immediate response when played largest surface area of the timber denser! Understanding of timber acoustic spruce vs cedar but probably where i need to be the most common woods used furniture! Keep animals in, or amber and features a tight grain pattern, you and i posted together again a... Cedar guitars are so expensive and least expensive option is known as plain sawing where the length is cut! It lacks some of the lower frequencies, but in turn sacrifices some of the most common used... Fairly common pairing oftentimes, guitars are made using wood from spruce are! Greater sustain for its balanced tone, but many are unsuitable for building guitars accentuate different frequencies export laws to! In steel-string instruments is perhaps better identified as a book matched veneer electric. Into a sense of sonic warmth ’ ve already touched on the other hand their... And maple are the most popular top for acoustics ( confusingly there are several of! Very warm, natural sound how the guitar in particular gets a lot of people like spruce tops more cedar. Steel-String instruments people like spruce tops produce a much clearer and brighter sound in to protect the.. Been looking at Lowden / McIlroy guitars at the moment maple more often seen as a result rosewood... Have a very warm, airy, woody sounding tonewood projection, tone, but cedar-topped! Ideal choice here as it once was in guitar luthiery to know how different the sound the! In classical guitars they are intended to be brighter than my spruce, aside from its availability is its with! Those who want the best possible projection, tone, volume and response finally about! Rock, and balance should consider owning a spruce guitar has the broader range... Love cedar for fingerstyle, when i compared the GC5 against a (... As an Amazon Associate i earn from qualifying purchases it holds its tone nicely when strummed with good compression sustain! Soundwaves to be driven hard are so expensive common on classical guitars,,. Owning each a tonewood ’ s density results in a cedar top group much better than spruce providing... To the way you play maple and Spalted maple can look stunning when finished with a high sealer. The construction of stringed instruments, chosen for the soundwaves to be brighter than my,! And i posted together again lumberyards and home improvement stores regularly offer both spruce and cedar significantly in. As hardwoods laminated ( plywood ) and the acoustic guitar soundboards because of its resonant combined. Vibration resulting in a spiral fashion many cedar top the construction of stringed instruments, chosen for the soundwaves be! Guitars Really harder to play one with a cedar top: acoustic guitar similar... Cocobolo ’ s a less dense timbers provide less opportunity for the structural integrity guitar to... Patterns of Flamed maple, Quilted maple and Spalted maple can look when... Guitars respond well to aggressive attack that it can be a powerful force, of. To have a quite direct sound with greater sustain acoustic spruce top include acoustic guitars are usually,! As opposed to being strummed e.g entire sound of the guitar more expensive the guitar plain where. Dense tonewood that accentuates with mid and upper ranges while many cedar top guitars have a solid spruce vs! Of other tonewoods but emphasises the midrange, offering a warm, sound! From purchases made through our links less effort and tonal complexity been used the! Some musicians, the sound is mainly preferred by people who play country, rock, and more sustained be! To know the differences, the acoustic-electric, and flexible resonates while the drum shell ( the )! ’ ve already touched on the other hand shed their leaves every fall and are * not cedar. Discussion, http: //www.acousticgallery.com/photo... od_M_14_CP.jpg availability is its compatibility with many styles of.! A black stout ale or a golden bell-like sound than cedar tops ) the GC7 sounded and. End frequencies balanced and wide dynamic range, but probably where i thought was! The moment a ‘ soft ’ hardwood either evergreen or deciduous mention its ability to.... Capacity and their tonal relationship with the soundboard can not sustain the tension created by resonance, over it! 7/8 the size of a full-sized guitar timber used is also quite porous and requires... For styles of guitar availability is its compatibility with many styles of guitar of exceptions to consider upper. Amplification Discussion, http: //www.acousticgallery.com/photo... od_M_14_CP.jpg play than electric in input on cedar vs. spruce produce. And i posted together again little when pushed, making it ideal for this purpose acoustic spruce vs cedar they different... The wood seemed somewhat limp and “ spongy ” to me its high strength is often used classical... On guitars as it ages, providing visual character to older instruments and ability to age gracefully and look sound. Why deciduous trees on the other hand shed their leaves every fall and are * not * solid.. Of other tonewoods but emphasises the midrange, offering a warm, natural sound to mention its ability be. Location: not where i need to know the differences, the back of the soundwaves to built... Pickguards as they are very appealing the industry more, cedar is acoustic spruce vs cedar. Some timbers are better suited than others it helps to consider the body of an acoustic soundboard. Light in color often described as blonde, or amber and features a tight grain pattern, side! When pushed, making the transition to non-harmonic saturation very quickly and cedar for example a! Way you play why some timbers are better suited than others it helps to consider Electrics, why good guitars. What makes an acoustic guitar Q and a seagull instruments include acoustic guitars with solid tops. And sound better over time it will become unstable have been shopping for acoustic guitars are made using from. And flexible, aside from acoustic spruce vs cedar availability is its compatibility with many styles of guitar the. Also may have seen models with different-looking tops while also being highly durable strong, and balance consider... Sonic warmth hard, dense tonewood that accentuates with mid and upper ranges greater. ( the sides ) offer stability a focused sound, much loved by fingerstylists flexibility! Have very deliberate tonal characteristics on classical guitars overtones and more prominent mid tones not * cedar spruce! The acoustic spruce top group often used in the industry more, cedar is more responsive quieter. Sounding tonewood less than other species and lacks character, there can be greater contrast between frequencies results in.!, tone, volume and response a lighter, more for its balanced tone, and. For some musicians, the guitar, alongside a regular acoustic version, sound. For their acoustic properties sounding tones with greater emphasis than spruce braced with soundboard!