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Spruce vs Cedar: Which Is Right For Me?

Excluding the Master Craft series, most of our production models come topped in cedar or spruce. A question I get often is, “Well, what’s the difference?”

I always like to preface conversations like this by noting that isolating just one part of the guitar in terms of tone is really only looking at one part of a much larger story. Every single aspect of the guitar affects the tone–tightness of waist, dimensions, bracing, etc. That being said, when we isolate something like the top wood, we’re really speaking in broad terms. That’s why I usually reserve my tone comparisons for similar guitars, i.e. a Freja vs a Freja, and so on.

Most generally, cedar has a bit more warmth off the bat, and the tone sort of all hits you at once.

Spruce, which itself has many variations between subspecies, is generally brighter and emits a more focused tone.

So what would I recommend and to whom? First of all, I would encourage you to try them out for yourself and see what speaks to you. But, generally, I would recommend spruce to someone looking to cut through the mix of a band or ensemble–or if you’re playing a gig with an unruly audience.

I would recommend Cedar to someone whose interest is to play as a solo artist, for playing at home, or any time where it’s not especially necessary to cut above other instruments.

There are, of course, many exceptions. So if you have the opportunity, play some guitars with different tops and see what you think!

Sunburst Cedar on an EOS
Sitka Spruce on an EOS.