Tips for Buying an Acoustic Guitar

The average person looks at two guitars and doesn’t notice much difference between them, but those who know and play guitars can often tell you all about their differences.

When buying an acoustic guitar, for instance, finding the right tonewood is something most serious players consider before making a purchase. The wood used for the top of a guitar is known as the tonewood or topwood. Music makers will tell you that different tonewoods give guitars different sounds and feels. Tonewoods matter when it comes to clarity, volume and the overall tone of the instrument.

There are several different tonewoods today. Country blues fingerpickers tend to like mahogany for its punchy sound, while koa, which comes from Hawaii, is great for rhythm, though a bit thin sounding and not too loud. No wonder, then, that koa is popular for ukuleles and Hawaiian guitars. Redwood and western red cedar have similar tonal qualities, with red cedar giving off warm, dark tones and redwood being a bit more bold and crisp. Then there are the two spruce tonewoods: Engelmann and Sitka.

Engelmann spruce works well if you’re the type of player who likes to play at softer volumes, as it produces a rich and clear sound. However, Sitka spruce, from Alaska, tends to be more ideal because it allows a player to strum hard, making a loud, clear and full tone. Sitka spruce is a strong and tough tonewood, so it’s a popular choice for many guitar players.

Alaska Specialty Woods is especially well known for its Sitka spruce tonewood material, found on tens of thousands of guitars. Alaska Specialty Woods offers guitar tonewood that is both figured and non-figured, and those who repair guitars often utilize the company’s products.

The next time you’re in a shop where guitars are sold, now you have an idea that not all guitars are the same. If the one you’re interested in uses Sitka spruce, chances are good that Alaska Specialty Woods played a role in its creation.

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Brent Cole

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