Engelmann vs. Sitka Spruce for Top of Guitar

by cal
(syracuse ny)

Which is better for a acoustic electric top sound board is solid Engelmann spruce or sitka solid spruce for sound?

ANSWER

Hi, Cal--

It depends on what you want from the sound. Here is a discussion from Acoustic Guitar Magazine:

"The most common alternative to Sitka is Engelmann spruce, another domestic western species. Engelmann is often more expensive than Sitka due to the lower yield from its smaller logs and because most logs have a spiral-grained structure that renders them unsuitable for proper quarter-sawing. Engelmann is considerably lighter in color than Sitka spruce, lighter in weight, and usually less stiff, resulting in a slightly lower velocity of sound. Engelmann also tends to exhibit a weaker fundamental tone, although it produces a noticeably broader and stronger overtone component. It is therefore a good choice for players who require a richer, more complex tone than can be obtained from most Sitka tops, particularly when the instrument is played softly. The downside is that Engelmann tops can have lower "headroom" than Sitka tops, which is to say that clarity and definition are often sacrificed when the guitar is played loudly."

Hope this helps.

Lynne

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