A player with a good touch will get an incredible variety of tones and timbres from a spruce top guitar. After logging, it is prone to decay and is suitable only for indoor use. There so much variation in the world of classical guitar, and eventually, the onus falls on the player to decide what he or she likes or dislikes about a particular tonewood. The rest (and it’s a lot) is in the hands of the player. Exceptional Sitka spruce guitars are very hard to beat because they have a blend of the spruce and cedar characteristics, but they are very hard to find, not least because good Sitka tone-wood is hard to find. It is used in the treatment of eczema, dandruff, acne, and itching. It is believed that the sonic changes that will occur over time with a spruce top are more dramatic than those with a cedar top, so this is an attractive feature for any guitarist who wants a guitar whose sound will essentially “grow and mature” with them. Every now and again, with the right weather conditions, a cedar top can sound amazing in a way that spruce can’t, if you can wait that long. This is perhaps the stickiest subject in this age old debate, and its no surprise considering the vast number of variables that determine the sound a good guitar will produce. It seems as if every time the topic of classical guitar comes up in conversation, this question seems to spring up as well. When a player plucks a string on a guitar, the top actually “pumps” in relationship to the frequency of the string, amplifying the sound produced by the natural vibration of the string and creating the characteristic sound of the guitar. Adirondack or red spruce preferred for steel string guitars is much more scarce as the trees were over harvested, and naturally grow smaller and only 200 yrs or less at maturity. Cedar and spruce are two of the most common types of wood for fences, for very different reasons. Its roots can be woven into baskets and are used to sew pieces of birch bark which are used for canoes. In truth I can’t really favor one over the other. Generally though I’d agree that spruce tends to give a more focused, nuanced and better projected sound. Therefore, cedars offer a high degree of resistance to deterioration, particularly compared to spruce. Pros of Cedar Cedar is a softwood, but that doesn't mean it isn't durable. I would like to know whether Cedar is actually easier to play and have a faster response? Spruce also tends to project sound in a way that is more linear, as opposed to cedar which has a tendency to “radiate” sound. This same scent is given off by the oil that the cedar tree produces making products made from it decay and rot resistant. Torres, Esteso, Bouchet, Hauser, Fleta, Friederich, and virtually every other luthier of historical significance from the 19th and 20th centuries built guitars using spruce for the tops. And there are often moments/ parts within a piece that make one guitar really outstanding. These are just a few points to help better understand some of the more “generalized” characteristics of spruce tops. The main function of a guitar top (regardless of material) is to vibrate. Both comments and pings are currently closed. Ultimately, it all comes down to the preference of the performer. When paired with a contrasted set of hardwoods for the back and sides, a good cut of spruce is simply delightful to the eyes of both the performer and the audience. For some musicians, the sound it produces is a clearer, balanced, and more sustained. However I’ve owned and played cedar as well. French luthier, Daniel Friederich, has passed away at the age of 88. Both sound great and become more mellow when played a lot in which they are. This is probably the most obvious difference between the two, but it is certainly not something to be discounted. Cedar is well known to be the most durable wood on the market, being the most successful at surviving harsh climates and weathering. If it doesn’t sound great when it’s new, best to look elsewhere. The sound projects well either because it emphasizes the higher frequencies (bad) or because it is clear, that is to say the frequency response of the instrument is well balanced (good). Cyprus cedar. A lot of people like Spruce tops more than Cedar tops because Spruce tops produce a much clearer and brighter sound. and , of course, cedar models , we came to the simple conclusion that EVERY single guitar has its very special advantage and there are compositions or even eras that make one guitar superior to all the others. Spruce also tends to project sound in a way that is more linear, as opposed to cedar which has a tendency to “radiate” sound. Cedar, on the other hand, has a shorter (so to speak) break in period. This species is generally grown throughout the eastern side of the United States, up to the height of 20 m to 40 m. However, there are some trees that reach 100 m or taller. It’s highly resistant to insect attack and rot, and special versions rated for “ground contact” can be buried in soil and will continue to shrug off decay for decades. Actually the widespread use of cedar tonewood for classical guitar tops began fairly recently, having its major “boom” in the mid 1960’s. The photo featured above is a fine example of this; an 1862 Antonio De Torres with a wonderfully aged spruce top (taken from our Museum Archive). One more point, Jose Ramirez III would seriously disagree with this article. Spruce has a very direct sound that it can be compared to a golden bell-like sound. A lattice braced spruce top will sound quite different from a fan braced spruce top, and both of these will sound distinctly different from a double-top cedar guitar. More interesting is the percentage of a traditionally-built guitar’s sound that is due to the particular player and that makes this subject almost an irrelevance other than to tyros. A lot of people joke around when it comes to painting … Like redwoods, true cedars naturally produce compounds that prevent damage from rot, fungus and many pests. Spruce top guitars have a wonderful blooming tone, with bell-like trebles and basses that are low and full but tend more toward the mid range. Eastern Red Cedar Wood. It is also used as a building material and as a lining for chests and closets because its scent acts as an insect repellent. Spruce Tops generally are more trebly, they sound more punchy and bright, for some people they are too bright. We can all agree that both materials have their respective advantages, and furthermore, that some players simply prefer the sound and look of one tonewood over the other. Generally the closer the stripes of the wood are, the older the wood is. 1.Cedar is a tree which is native to the Himalayas and the Mediterranean while spruce is a tree which is native to temperate and taiga regions. Summary: 1.Cedar is a tree which is native to the Himalayas and the Mediterranean while spruce is a tree which is native to temperate and taiga regions. Spruce is edible, and parts of the tree can be made into tea, beer, syrup, and gum while cedar cannot be eaten. What do you guys think? Spruce is typically lighter and blonde in color, sometimes even having a honey or amber tint. Cedar tends to be a less hard wood than spruce and gives, generally speaking, a quieter projection but more character, losing clarity when strummed hard; consequently, it tends to be favoured by finger pickers (hence its use in classical guitars! Spruce top guitars also have a tone palette that is sensitive and highly nuanced. A new cedar guitar will have rich harmonics and a crispness that is sometimes lacking in a brand new spruce-topped guitar. 2.Cedar wood is decay and rot resistant while spruce wood does not have this property. Good to see this blog addressing the really important issues! Reducing the spruce-cedar issue to this material/physical aspect only or worse, to famos names and prices is the wrong way, I believe. The tree also has a thick bark and broad branches with fern-like leaves that are green.
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