A little reflection on Cedar and Spruce

Classical guitars are built with either Spruce woods or Cedar woods for the tops.  The peculiar tone they have plus the timbre they create when blended with Indian or Brazilian Rosewood, Macacauba, Bocote, Cypress, Cocobolo, Ziricote or any of these new exploratory array of resonat woods, make them a preferable choice for classical guitars.

Cedar tends to be deeper while Spruce tends to be warmer. (There is an extraordinary video in Youtube of O’Brien tapping a Cedar top and a Spruce top with his fingers which shows the basic attributes of each.) It's a tendency; one which is contingent of the quality of each: the forest in which they grew in, the amount of sunlight, shadow, water, humidity, stress, the exact place at the forest where they lived and even the way they were cut down: the electric saw vs. the manual saw also have an important repercussion in the ultimate sound. How they were treated and dried also bring an immense influence to the sound. If they were dried naturally or by an accelerated - machine process.

Guitarists have their preferences. Some based on what their eyes tell them, some on what their ears tell them. Truth is, many players can’t tell the difference between Cedar or Spruce. At least, not at first. We have had hundreds of guitarists play guitars at Savino Music. Very few ask for Cedar or Spruce. They just play and whatever they like that’s what they keep.  

In our experience, and based on the instruments and brands that we carry, Spruce does take a little longer to fully open. This wood does feel harder at first, but provide a faster attack than Cedar right from the beginning. The first strings bring more trebles to the musical compound while Cedar trebles have a lower tone. Basses on both woods are consistent and dark but Spruce tends to be punchier while Cedar tends to be more controlled.

One is not better than the other. They are different and at the same time not opposite. Each wood brings attributes both aesthetically and musically. We have had excellent experiences with both. Through the years we have seen the trend of Cedar and the trend of Spruce.

Do allow your eyes to become a judge. Don’t let anyone tell you different, one does fall in love with a classical guitar based on how it looks.