Red Spruce Vs Sitka Spruce

by Andrew Ellis
www.ellisguitars.com

Both of these timbers make great soundboards on flat top acoustic guitars. They have had popularity at different times in history, here's the story so far.

Adirondack or Red Spruce was very popular piror to WWII. It is found on a lot vintage acoustic guitars. The high weight to strength ratio made it useful in the construction of aeroplane wings during the war. The ratio is what makes it so prized amongst guitar Luthiers. After the war most of the good trees were gone, and what is still available, has cosmetic flaws. If you can put up with this it still makes great sounding guitars especially if you want a new guitar with that vintage sound.

This scarcity led to the use of Sitka Spruce as the number one guitar top of the big guitar Luthiers. It is found on most guitars. If you step into some guitar shops like I have and ask to play an Adirondack you will often be greeted with a puzzled look from the shop assistant. The easiest way to get you hands on one is to play a vintage instrument or have a custom guitar built.

SITKA SPRUCE

Source: Western North America
Colours: Pinkish white to Light Brown, silky, even grain
Tonal: Good balance, clarity and resonation, bright,
crisp
Suitable: Steel Strings sound boards, hard flat picking

ADIRONDACK (RED) SPRUCE

Source: North America
Colours: Irregular grain, creamy white, little silking
Compares: Engelmann
Tonal: Strong, clear. Brilliance of Sitka/warmth of
Engelmann
Suitable: Flat picking

Article by Andrew Ellis
www.ellisguitars.com

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