#1
Around July next year I plan on going all out and buying a Lowden acoustic. After months of researching and listening to the different models, I've decided I'm either going to get an O32c or an O25c. They're both O body size (jumbo), have a cutaway, and rosewood back and sides. The only difference is the 32 has a sitka spruce top, and the 25 has a cedar top.

I've discovered that I like the sound of cedar more, but the music I play often has percussion and can be quite aggressive at times (think Thomas Leeb, jon gomm, andy mckee etc) and cedar is much softer and weaker compared to spruce. I know Lowden guitars are built like a brick shit house, but for how much they are I plan on using it for years to come, and don't want it the crack a few years in.

So long story short, just how durable is cedar? Can it take a beating, or is spruce the way to go? Also to note I won't be able to try either, as I have to buy it from overseas.
#2
Being a fingerpicker, I also like cedar, I think it works fine on Taks and many other lam b&s guitars, and classicals. One of my Matons has a cedar top. However, I once played a big cedar-topped Lowden and thought it was just too much of a good thing. Big and boomy in the bass, fine in an Irish band, but IMO not good for solo fingerpicking. I've no idea how it would sound for tapping. What do your heroes use? It would make sense to follow their lead, which is what I did when I bought a Bourgeois.

I don't know how it would hold up to tapping, but I think part of its bad rep comes from the fact that you can't see the grain runout, and some Taks have been very dodgy in that respect. Also, it seems to be more difficult to glue the spruce - eg bridges coming off. I wouldn't expect Lowdens to have either of those problems. It is much softer than spruce, so if you tap with your nails, you might knock a hole in it in fairly short order. You also hear stories about cedar simply wearing out, but I don't now about that either.

In short, a cedar-topped Lowden isn't the kind of guitar I would buy by mail order unless I knew for sure it was suitable for that style. So caveat emptor.

EDIT. You mght want to sign up to Acoustic Guitar Forum and make some inquiries there before you decide Those guys know an awful lot about the custom and boutique makes.
Last edited by Tony Done at Dec 7, 2014,
#3
Well, you might be getting ahead of yourself a bit.

But, cedar makes more noise with less input than spruce. So, it's probably a bit less suitable for aggressive strumming. It's easier to "overdrive" than spruce. by this I mean it could get a bit muddy with hard playing. Arguably, it wouldn't be the best top material for something like bluegrass.

Seagull markets all their cedar tops as being, "pressure tested". Their "Original S-6" has a cedar top, with little to less than no complaints from its multitude of happy owners.

Cedar is easier to ding than spruce, but cracking is a malady generally linked to insufficient humidity.

But really guy, don't you think this is a mildly hysterical line of questioning for a guitar that you ostensibly won't buy for another 8 months, and borders on the need for the responder to be a bit of a psychic, to tell you what shape it would be in 10 or 15 years from now?

That notwithstanding, I think if you're going to want a bunch of, "snap crackle, & pop" from you guitar, spruce might be the way to go. You might also consider Engleman spruce, if they offer it.
#4
There's a reason that most good flamenco guitars are made with spruce. If a percussive element is vital, then it's a safer bet.
#5
Quote by Captaincranky
But, cedar makes more noise with less input than spruce. So, it's probably a bit less suitable for aggressive strumming. It's easier to "overdrive" than spruce. by this I mean it could get a bit muddy with hard playing. Arguably, it wouldn't be the best top material for something like bluegrass.


That's true, though Antoine Dufour's guitar has a cedar top, he plays aggressively at times, and his guitar sounds incredible. I don't play as hard as some guys do, Andy Mckee and Calum Graham are both probably the closest to my sound. And is the overdriven sound a necessarily bad one? I always thought spruce gave more headroom, and cedar gave more warmth, though I haven't been able to directly compare the two, so I could be wrong, so that is something I'll take into account.

Quote by Captaincranky
But really guy, don't you think this is a mildly hysterical line of questioning for a guitar that you ostensibly won't buy for another 8 months, and borders on the need for the responder to be a bit of a psychic, to tell you what shape it would be in 10 or 15 years from now?


Not at all. I don't need the answer immediately or anything, but I don't see any point in not asking the question now, not to mention the guitar is going to be roughly $5000, so I want to know as much as possible before buying. What would be the point in waiting till a month before I get it shipped to ask? As for being psychic, I was simply wondering if cedar can stand the test of time, I'm pretty sure most people with any experience with cedar guitars would be able to answer me that.
#6
Quote by Tony Done
Being a fingerpicker, I also like cedar, I think it works fine on Taks and many other lam b&s guitars, and classicals. One of my Matons has a cedar top. However, I once played a big cedar-topped Lowden and thought it was just too much of a good thing. Big and boomy in the bass, fine in an Irish band, but IMO not good for solo fingerpicking. I've no idea how it would sound for tapping. What do your heroes use? It would make sense to follow their lead, which is what I did when I bought a Bourgeois.

I don't know how it would hold up to tapping, but I think part of its bad rep comes from the fact that you can't see the grain runout, and some Taks have been very dodgy in that respect. Also, it seems to be more difficult to glue the spruce - eg bridges coming off. I wouldn't expect Lowdens to have either of those problems. It is much softer than spruce, so if you tap with your nails, you might knock a hole in it in fairly short order. You also hear stories about cedar simply wearing out, but I don't now about that either.

In short, a cedar-topped Lowden isn't the kind of guitar I would buy by mail order unless I knew for sure it was suitable for that style. So caveat emptor.

EDIT. You mght want to sign up to Acoustic Guitar Forum and make some inquiries there before you decide Those guys know an awful lot about the custom and boutique makes.


Thanks for the help, it helps that you've actually used a cedar lowden. The guys I listen to mostly use spruce, though Antoine Dufour uses cedar, and Calum Graham has used a few guitars with cedar. Though you may be right about the mail order thing. Unless if by some miracle I manage to find a lowden I can try out, it may be a safer bet to order a spruce one, as I know that'll do what I need it to. As I said, it'll be a while before I order it, so I have time to think.
#7
Quote by Jimjambanx
...[ ]...Not at all. I don't need the answer immediately or anything, but I don't see any point in not asking the question now, not to mention the guitar is going to be roughly $5000, so I want to know as much as possible before buying. What would be the point in waiting till a month before I get it shipped to ask? As for being psychic, I was simply wondering if cedar can stand the test of time, I'm pretty sure most people with any experience with cedar guitars would be able to answer me that.
I tend to view projections this far in the future as "grail quests", and obsessively so.

My alternative suggestion for this issue, would be to envision buying two $2500.00 guitars, one spruce and one cedar, instead of fixation on one particular boutique instrument.

You already admit that this guitar in months and many, many dollars of saving away. At the end of which, you would have the one instrument, but nothing as a backup, or alternate tonality.

Then there's the issue with the people whose material you want to emulate using these particulars. I'm simply not convinced that a $5000.00 Gibson, Martin, Taylor, or even Cole Clark, might serve you in as good, or better stead.

I'm simply not a fan of putting, "all your eggs in the same basket", as it were. I can make myself more than happy with a half dozen or so, mid priced Asian built instruments, and allow them to take me where my mood or the material may take me.

There is always a hefty price tag on "signature guitars", and while the guitar you're considering isn't one such instrument, it does carry the same price penalty.

Disclaimer: "your, goals, needs, wishes, desires, or success in the end game, may of course, vary".
Last edited by Captaincranky at Dec 7, 2014,
#8
^^^^ I agree with all of that, and I'm a very strong advocate of the notion that in acoustics price and tonal value are very poorly related in standard factory guitars if you shop around with a critical ear. What you pay extra for is mostly mojo.

I'll offer another insight. Boutique and custom guitars may have very distinctive and excellent (for some) tones, but that doesn't mean that they will suit your specific needs or perceptions of good tone.
#9
Quote by Captaincranky
I tend to view projections this far in the future as "grail quests", and obsessively so.

My alternative suggestion for this issue, would be to envision buying two $2500.00 guitars, one spruce and one cedar, instead of fixation on one particular boutique instrument.

You already admit that this guitar in months and many, many dollars of saving away. At the end of which, you would have the one instrument, but nothing as a backup, or alternate tonality.

Then there's the issue with the people whose material you want to emulate using these particulars. I'm simply not convinced that a $5000.00 Gibson, Martin, Taylor, or even Cole Clark, might serve you in as good, or better stead.

I'm simply not a fan of putting, "all your eggs in the same basket", as it were. I can make myself more than happy with a half dozen or so, mid priced Asian built instruments, and allow them to take me where my mood or the material may take me.

There is always a hefty price tag on "signature guitars", and while the guitar you're considering isn't one such instrument, it does carry the same price penalty.

Disclaimer: "your, goals, needs, wishes, desires, or success in the end game, may of course, vary".


You clearly haven't heard many Lowdens then, as I would gladly put all my eggs into that basket, they absolutely shit on factory made guitars like Gisbson and taylor. I only need one guitar, and I'd much rather buy one incredible guitar than 2 ok guitars. Not to mention I'm not just trying to emulate others, I'm looking for my own sound, otherwise I wouldn't even be asking this question and would just go straight for spruce. The price isn't for the label, these guitars are world renowned and are all hand built by a small team and they are worth every cent.

You may be content with a handful of mid priced asian built guitars, but if I'm going to take music seriously and make a career out of it, I don't want decent, I want the best.
#10
Quote by Jimjambanx
You clearly haven't heard many Lowdens then, as I would gladly put all my eggs into that basket, they absolutely shit on factory made guitars like Gisbson and taylor. I only need one guitar, and I'd much rather buy one incredible guitar than 2 ok guitars. Not to mention I'm not just trying to emulate others, I'm looking for my own sound, otherwise I wouldn't even be asking this question and would just go straight for spruce. The price isn't for the label, these guitars are world renowned and are all hand built by a small team and they are worth every cent.
Many fine players claim that tone is in the fingers anyway. Now why don't you get working on that penny jar. We'll see ya on "Happy New Guitar day".. Spruce or cedar, you'll get the same congratulations.

I guess I pretty much talked myself out of free tix for your first stadium concert, didn't I?

I do have to admit the single guitar thing has worked out really well for Willie Nelson. But then don't forget, part of his get over is based on getting stoned and singing through his nose.
Quote by Jimjambanx
You may be content with a handful of mid priced asian built guitars, but if I'm going to take music seriously and make a career out of it, I don't want decent, I want the best.
Just be thankful you don't play the violin and "want the best".
Last edited by Captaincranky at Dec 8, 2014,
#11
Quote by Captaincranky
Many fine players claim that tone is in the fingers anyway. Now why don't you get working on that penny jar. We'll see ya on "Happy New Guitar day".. Spruce or cedar, you'll get the same congratulations.

I guess I pretty much talked myself out of free tix for your first stadium concert, didn't I?

I do have to admit the single guitar thing has worked out really well for Willie Nelson. But then don't forget, part of his get over is based on getting stoned and singing through his nose.
Just be thankful you don't play the violin and "want the best".


You know if you didn't want to help, then don't bother replying, no need to go off acting like a **** because my ideals are different to yours. Sorry for asking a perfectly normal question and wanting a nice guitar instead of a bunch of shitty ones.
#12
Quote by Jimjambanx
You clearly haven't heard many Lowdens then, as I would gladly put all my eggs into that basket, they absolutely shit on factory made guitars like Gisbson and taylor. I only need one guitar, and I'd much rather buy one incredible guitar than 2 ok guitars. Not to mention I'm not just trying to emulate others, I'm looking for my own sound, otherwise I wouldn't even be asking this question and would just go straight for spruce. The price isn't for the label, these guitars are world renowned and are all hand built by a small team and they are worth every cent.

You may be content with a handful of mid priced asian built guitars, but if I'm going to take music seriously and make a career out of it, I don't want decent, I want the best.


You're right about Lowdens- for sure- and $5000 is not a lot to be paying for one. My custom Avalon is closer to $8000;
https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?p=33103779#post33103779
and comparable Lowdens cost similar sums.
I'm having a cedar top simply because I've always played spruce tops and my ear needs the change. In your position I'd buy two Lowdens- $5000 for a spruce top now, which you already know you're going to be comfortable with- and use that until you've accumulated the mullah for a cedar Lowden later on. You can then sell one if you want to- and probably make money on it. Lowdens don't depreciate as far as I'm aware- and a custom Lowden, even with a small mod. would have that little bit of extra 'wu' on its label.
Last edited by wuzzo at Dec 8, 2014,
#13
Quote by wuzzo
You're right about Lowdens- for sure- and $5000 is not a lot to be paying for one. My custom Avalon is closer to $8000;
https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?p=33103779#post33103779
and comparable Lowdens cost similar sums.
I'm having a cedar top simply because I've always played spruce tops and my ear needs the change. In your position I'd buy two Lowdens- $5000 for a spruce top now, which you already know you're going to be comfortable with- and use that until you've accumulated the mullah for a cedar Lowden later on. You can then sell one if you want to- and probably make money on it. Lowdens don't depreciate as far as I'm aware- and a custom Lowden, even with a small mod. would have that little bit of extra 'wu' on its label.


I've thought about that and that may be the best option. Once I get the money however I'll probably also get something more custom with exotic woods and whatnot.
#14
Quote by Jimjambanx
You know if you didn't want to help, then don't bother replying, no need to go off acting like a **** because my ideals are different to yours. Sorry for asking a perfectly normal question and wanting a nice guitar instead of a bunch of shitty ones.


There are a lot of players who are content to own just one decent (or even ordinary) guitar - maybe the vast majority on a global basis - so you are not alone in that view. Just as long as you are sure what you want when you spend big $, otherwise it can turn into an expensive spiral. I have a Bourgeois MS Sig in about the same price range as your Lowden, and and it is a truly great guitar for its intended purpose - altered tunings - but the fact is it gets very little playing time compared with three other much less expensive guitars. Whatever it's merits, I don't get as much satisfaction out of playing it. The upside of owning expensive gear its that it can push you to try harder - but it isn't some kind of magic bullet.

Just out of interest, how did you come to choose Lowden? I chose Bourgeois because it is boutique rather than custom, it has a bolt-on neck, that model was specifically designed for my playing style, and Dana B has had a lot of experience in top voicing.
#15
Quote by Tony Done
There are a lot of players who are content to own just one decent (or even ordinary) guitar - maybe the vast majority on a global basis - so you are not alone in that view. Just as long as you are sure what you want when you spend big $, otherwise it can turn into an expensive spiral. I have a Bourgeois MS Sig in about the same price range as your Lowden, and and it is a truly great guitar for its intended purpose - altered tunings - but the fact is it gets very little playing time compared with three other much less expensive guitars. Whatever it's merits, I don't get as much satisfaction out of playing it. The upside of owning expensive gear its that it can push you to try harder - but it isn't some kind of magic bullet.

Just out of interest, how did you come to choose Lowden? I chose Bourgeois because it is boutique rather than custom, it has a bolt-on neck, that model was specifically designed for my playing style, and Dana B has had a lot of experience in top voicing.


I don't mind spending the big bucks because I know I'll play the shit out of it, these aren't the kind of guitars you hand up to look nice, they're meant to be played to an inch of their life.
I came to Lowden for a lot of reasons.
1# A lot of great contemporary acoustic guitarists use them (Thomas Leeb, Jon Gomm, Calum Graham etc.)
2# They're world renowned and I can get one premade without having to custom order
3# Have a great sound and perfect for the style I play
4# They're beautiful instruments
5# They're built like a brick shit house (just look at Jon Gomms guitar)
#16
Quote by Tony Done
There are a lot of players who are content to own just one decent (or even ordinary) guitar - maybe the vast majority on a global basis - so you are not alone in that view. Just as long as you are sure what you want when you spend big $, otherwise it can turn into an expensive spiral. I have a Bourgeois MS Sig in about the same price range as your Lowden, and and it is a truly great guitar for its intended purpose - altered tunings - but the fact is it gets very little playing time compared with three other much less expensive guitars. Whatever it's merits, I don't get as much satisfaction out of playing it. The upside of owning expensive gear its that it can push you to try harder - but it isn't some kind of magic bullet.

Just out of interest, how did you come to choose Lowden? I chose Bourgeois because it is boutique rather than custom, it has a bolt-on neck, that model was specifically designed for my playing style, and Dana B has had a lot of experience in top voicing.
Well, I think it's because, (as far as I can gather thus far), a Lowden will shit all over basically any other guitar, living or dead, both sound wise, and from an ability withstand forceful playing.

I think the thread's been solved though:

Quote by Jimjambanx
Quote by wuzzo
You're right about Lowdens- for sure- and $5000 is not a lot to be paying for one. My custom Avalon is closer to $8000;
....[ ]....and comparable Lowdens cost similar sums.
I'm having a cedar top simply because I've always played spruce tops and my ear needs the change. In your position I'd buy two Lowdens- $5000 for a spruce top now, which you already know you're going to be comfortable with- and use that until you've accumulated the mullah for a cedar Lowden later on. You can then sell one if you want to- and probably make money on it. Lowdens don't depreciate as far as I'm aware- and a custom Lowden, even with a small mod. would have that little bit of extra 'wu' on its label.

I've thought about that and that may be the best option. Once I get the money however I'll probably also get something more custom with exotic woods and whatnot.


The solution is elegant in its simplicity. Just buy two guitars, one cedar top, the other spruce.

God knows tho, if I had said that, I would have been accused of, "not wanting to help".
#17
Quote by Captaincranky
Well, I think it's because, (as far as I can gather thus far), a Lowden will shit all over basically any other guitar, living or dead, both sound wise, and from an ability withstand forceful playing.



Hmmm. I agree that they are one of the great boutique makers, but I think your stance is a bit of an exaggeration. Others that spring to mind instantly are Collings, SCGC, Goodall, Bourgeois, Huss and Dalton. These preferences are fairly genre specific, you won't hear 'grassers talking much about Lowden or Goodall, for example. Lowden makes sense in the OP's context, but it ain't everyone's idea of guitar nirvana. Come to that, my Bourgeois would fit the bill, big, tough and lots of oomph in the high registers.
#18
Quote by Tony Done
Hmmm. I agree that they are one of the great boutique makers, but I think your stance is a bit of an exaggeration. Others that spring to mind instantly are Collings, SCGC, Goodall, Bourgeois, Huss and Dalton. These preferences are fairly genre specific, you won't hear 'grassers talking much about Lowden or Goodall, for example. Lowden makes sense in the OP's context, but it ain't everyone's idea of guitar nirvana. Come to that, my Bourgeois would fit the bill, big, tough and lots of oomph in the high registers.
Back in the day, when men were stoned men, and guitars were expendable, we used to play the shit out of them too

I wonder if that should have been a spruce or cedar top, instead of Gibson's crappy 1/2" thick maple
Last edited by Captaincranky at Dec 8, 2014,
#19
Quote by Captaincranky
Back in the day, when men were stoned men, and guitars were expendable, we used to play the shit out of them too

]I wonder if that should have been a spruce or cedar top, instead of Gibson's crappy 1/2" thick maple


Also good for keeping the audience in order. I remember Bob Brozman noting that he once belted a stroppy member of the audience over the head with his brass-bodied National.

Drifting wildly OT, I'm like scruffy cheap guitars because I'm a sometime anti-snob - "I'm good, I don't need a ********". Think Seasick Steve.
#20
Quote by Tony Done
Also good for keeping the audience in order. I remember Bob Brozman noting that he once belted a stroppy member of the audience over the head with his brass-bodied National.

Drifting wildly OT, I'm like scruffy cheap guitars because I'm a sometime anti-snob - "I'm good, I don't need a ********". Think Seasick Steve.


No worries. Nobody's a real hobo 'til their guitar gets stole.
#21
I'm with you, get one sick guitar. Lowden's seem to me, very awesome. I never had the pleasure to play one though. Jon gomm's Lowden, if I recall, is wearing out like crazy. I think cedar, because it is softer, will wear out more quickly. I don't think it would be more likely to crack, but higher end guitars tend to be a bit more fragile. They are designed to vibrate more easily and more freely, so they are more delicate in how they are braced etc...

I personally consider higher end more fragile. I never held or played with a Lowden though.

I find cedar is warmer and bassier, which is nice, Jumbo is warmer and bassier, and Rosewood is warmer and bassier. That might be a lot of warm and bassy.

I'm totally with you, that getting one super awesome model is the way to go. You get well used to it specifically, especially with tapping, where the tones you get on different parts of the body differs quite a lot from model to model. I actually kind of prefer low end guitars for tapping, because of how rigid they are.

I think that if you're gonna go in an all eggs in one basket situation, you will want to know exactly what it is you're getting into first hand.

If I was putting that kind of cash down on THE guitar, I would strongly consider saving up even more for a trip to Dublin, or wherever Lowden's are built.

You are in a forum asking advice on buying THE guitar, sight unseen. That's a bad sign to me. Tommy Emmanuel Likes Matons, Andy Mckee has played Lowdens I do believe, and some of the other candyrat guys for sure, but from what I recall it is not an industry standard for all of those guys. Different people are different.

I am very intrigued about them, and they seem to me the perfect guitar for me, and I think that if I could have any guitar, it would be a Lowden, but I can't be sure of that until I've played a few.

High end guitars are tough, because it's such a personal thing to buy, and they are so hard to come buy.

I would say between the two, you'd probably want the spruce for a little bit more high end, and a bit more resistance to erosion. But idk, do you really want to trust some random people on the internet, like me, to make that decision?
Last edited by fingrpikingood at Dec 9, 2014,
#22
Quote by Jimjambanx
Around July next year I plan on going all out and buying a Lowden acoustic. After months of researching and listening to the different models, I've decided I'm either going to get an O32c or an O25c. They're both O body size (jumbo), have a cutaway, and rosewood back and sides. The only difference is the 32 has a sitka spruce top, and the 25 has a cedar top.

I've discovered that I like the sound of cedar more, but the music I play often has percussion and can be quite aggressive at times (think Thomas Leeb, jon gomm, andy mckee etc) and cedar is much softer and weaker compared to spruce. I know Lowden guitars are built like a brick shit house, but for how much they are I plan on using it for years to come, and don't want it the crack a few years in.

So long story short, just how durable is cedar? Can it take a beating, or is spruce the way to go? Also to note I won't be able to try either, as I have to buy it from overseas.


I have been playing a cedar top Seagull for 12 years and with maybe 150 acoustic gigs she is definitely showing some wear. This doesn't affect the sound or playability though and I sorta think battle scars from live gig action are cool. I also own a spruce top Yamaha that I have played for 30 years and she looks better but I prefer the tone and playability of the Seagull. Something very expressive about that axe.

I am just a lowly working rock/blues musician and Sony is never gonna call so it is unlikely I would drop good used car money on a guitar.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
Last edited by Cajundaddy at Dec 9, 2014,
#23
Quote by fingrpikingood
I'm with you, get one sick guitar. Lowden's seem to me, very awesome. I never had the pleasure to play one though. Jon gomm's Lowden, if I recall, is wearing out like crazy. I think cedar, because it is softer, will wear out more quickly. I don't think it would be more likely to crack, but higher end guitars tend to be a bit more fragile. They are designed to vibrate more easily and more freely, so they are more delicate in how they are braced etc...

I personally consider higher end more fragile. I never held or played with a Lowden though.

I find cedar is warmer and bassier, which is nice, Jumbo is warmer and bassier, and Rosewood is warmer and bassier. That might be a lot of warm and bassy.

I'm totally with you, that getting one super awesome model is the way to go. You get well used to it specifically, especially with tapping, where the tones you get on different parts of the body differs quite a lot from model to model. I actually kind of prefer low end guitars for tapping, because of how rigid they are.

I think that if you're gonna go in an all eggs in one basket situation, you will want to know exactly what it is you're getting into first hand.

If I was putting that kind of cash down on THE guitar, I would strongly consider saving up even more for a trip to Dublin, or wherever Lowden's are built.

You are in a forum asking advice on buying THE guitar, sight unseen. That's a bad sign to me. Tommy Emmanuel Likes Matons, Andy Mckee has played Lowdens I do believe, and some of the other candyrat guys for sure, but from what I recall it is not an industry standard for all of those guys. Different people are different.

I am very intrigued about them, and they seem to me the perfect guitar for me, and I think that if I could have any guitar, it would be a Lowden, but I can't be sure of that until I've played a few.

High end guitars are tough, because it's such a personal thing to buy, and they are so hard to come buy.

I would say between the two, you'd probably want the spruce for a little bit more high end, and a bit more resistance to erosion. But idk, do you really want to trust some random people on the internet, like me, to make that decision?


Thanks for the reply. Actually if it were up to me I'd be getting a Greenfield (the brand Andy Mckee uses), but seeing as they go from $15000 to $20000, you could say it's just a 'tad' out of my price range. Good thing about Lowdens is they are actually extremely tough for a high end instrument. Thomas Leeb plays his guitar like a whack a mole and he's been using the same one for years now, with little damage. And as you mentioned, Jon Gomms guitar looks like it survived a flood, but he's had that guitar for 13 years now, and before that it was pre owned. I agree that spruce is probably my best choice.