The soundboard is essentially the heart of any acoustic instrument. It is responsible for the tone of a guitar and its lifespan. However, too much attention is paid to the peripheral components of the instrument, while the importance of the soundboard is underplayed. But, the fact remains that it’s the single-most-important component in forming the coupled system that eventually makes an acoustic musical instrument.
Generally, the acoustic guitar soundboard is made out of some kind of lightweight wood such as spruce or cedar but it doesn’t mean that harder woods are not used for the same. The strength-to-weight ratio of the various wood types is what makes the difference in the sound quality of the guitars. Soundboards that are lightweight are likely to favor response and clarity since they are more efficient in turning string energy of the guitar into sound. It is a crucial point that makes such soundboards preferred by the fingerstyle performers. The flip side of the coin is that players who have a harder attack prefer heavier acoustic guitar soundboard. An effective trick is to pick the right instrument as per your playing style, which is dependent on these variables to a great extent.
The nature of the tonewood doesn’t reflect anything upon the quality of sound produced by the soundboard and wouldn’t ensure its stability either. No matter the rules and science behind the acoustic guitar soundboard, it is you who has to play the instrument and it is you who should be convinced with its quality when you decide to buy it. It is important to look beyond the name and hype attached to a particular instrument. Before you buy an off-the-shelf instrument, to make sure the acoustic guitar soundboard works well, you should listen closely to its sound. Just in case you go for a custom-made guitar, pay heed to what your luthier has to say. He would know about his building capabilities and whether or not he’d be able to fulfill your requirements or not.
It is possible that you may require multiple instruments for different playing styles and areas of application. For guitar players, it is important to find their playing style before choosing a guitar. You should also be certain about the application of the instrument, i.e if you would play it with other instruments or a solo fingerstyle performance. To be sure of picking the right instrument for yourself, you should pay adequate attention to the acoustic guitar soundboard.