Spruce and Cedar are the two most common woods used for making acoustic guitars. There are many models of theses guitars all with a noticeable top. The quality of the wood is the similar with the difference coming in the way they both sound. Spruce tends to sound brighter and clearer while Cedar is warmer and direct. Spruce can be classified as a German sound while Cedar has more of a Spanish sound to it.
Types of Spruces
European or German Spruce: This types of Spruce has been used for decades to make the best Spruce-topped guitars. Due to its poor availability today, guitars made if it are expensive and hard to find.
Engelmann Spruce: This appears as a white creamy colored wood. It is characterized by its unique mellow sound produced by a guitar made of it.
Sitka Spruce: Is a standard wood for steel string guitars. It is readily available in the world and is even used in making classical guitars.
Types of cedar
Western Red Cedar: This wood is large in diameter therefore produces excellent cuts with straight grains. It is stiff and lightweight making it the best choice for classical guitar tops.
Now that you have a background about Spruce and Cedar, here is a look at what makes each of them unique
Even before you hear the sound of either the Spruce or Cedar topped guitar, you can notice the difference by just looking at them. Spruce appears lighter and blonde in color. Cedar on the other hand is darker and in various shades of brown making it really easy to spot. It’s always best to see the guitars in person in the music department in a store rather than online to compare the woods and difference in sounds.
Spruce is stronger and more durable than Cedar. A cedar-topped guitar is more susceptible to dents and scratches.
The sound produced by each guitar is different and quite noticeable. A cedar topped guitar produces a warmer, darker and fuller sound with a less high end. A spruce topped guitar on the other hand, will produce a direct, bright and clear sound with a clearer and balanced linear way.
Spruce is a traditional wood that was used for centuries in making a guitar. Cedar is not as old as Spruce as it became popular in the mid-1960s.
If you are looking to get any of these guitar know that, a Cedar top guitar is for that person who likes to play finger style or using a pick while Spruce is for that person who likes to play it loud and aggressive. Whatever sound you like, let’s just day sound is in the ears of the beholder!