Registered User
Join date: Jan 2006
43 IQ
I was wondering what the main differences are between the two woods for a classical guitar?

Also I know that the sound of a spruce top improves with age, is this true with cedar?

Tuned in DADGAD
Join date: Feb 2005
98 IQ
Both types of soundboards improve with age, but one of them (I think cedar) ages faster.

Spruce always has a brighter tone than cedar, they are used mostly on steel string guitars as they can hold the tension of the strings better than cedar. Also alot of spruce is used on big body guitars which are usually the steel string ones.

Cedar on the other hand is a softer wood, therefore you will get a more mellow tone. Its usually darker than spruce, and scratches alot more easily.

My personal opinion on a classical guitar is cedar, because it sounds better on smaller guitars.
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fingerstyle junkie
Join date: Jan 2006
1,187 IQ
I've tried both cedar and spruce (i own a spruce top guitar now). To be honest I prefer spruce because of its brighter tone. Also the basses come out a lot stronger, though on a cedar the trebles sound kind of sharper and louder - it's not a drastic difference. So go with Spruce if you have the choice.
UG's pickup winder
Join date: Nov 2004
3,338 IQ
Cedar usualy sounds better right out of the box. It has a soft mellow tone.
Spruce has many differant types. Englman is still pretty soft and mellow but it is a bit tighter and brighter sounding than cedar when it's new. After it plays in then it gives you a much larger range of sound than cedar. Sitka spruce is really tight and bright, and in my opinion it's not very good for classical guitars.

The drawback of cedar is that if you play a lot for a number of years is can become "played out." Your guitar top is much like a speaker. If you drive a speaker long enough you will blow it and then the speaker doesn't sound good anymore. When you play a guitar top long enough you will blow that so it wound sound good anymore as well. Cedar tends to play out after 10 to 20 years. Engleman lasts much longer, and sitka last longer still.
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UG MJ fan
Join date: Dec 2002
217 IQ
Cedar tone is more or less what you'll get in the long run, but it sounds good even when brand new. Spruce probably won't sound as good at first but it ages with playing.

If you're thinking about serious classical guitar, spruce tends to be more controllable in terms of tone changing, which is of utmost importance in classical guitar. Spruce is however brighter so it's more of a personal choice.

There are quite a few famous guitars with spruce or cedar, it's more of the kind of sound you want and which one suits you better.

If you're a beginner, don't think too much about wood types, just get a well built with decent tone for now. This is because you'll most probably upgrade after some progress. And there's no way for a beginner to judge classical guitar tones well, even if you've been playing steel strings and electrics for years. Even with an experience teacher choosing a high-end guitar for you, you might still find the guitar not to your liking after some time.

You need both playing abilities and the ear for classical guitar to be able to choose a good guitar. I've seen great sounding guitars for cheap prices but they're a pain to play. While some may play so smoothly and yet sound horrible. You need to find a balance between the 2 factors and you'll need the ability to fully judge it.