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The old Adirondack vs Sitka spruce debate...

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  • The old Adirondack vs Sitka spruce debate...

    There is a bit on the net about this but some first hand information is welcomed.

    Story... I couldn't bond with the neck on my Seagull so I have been trying every acoustic in Brisbane Australia (home).  I decided I may have to shell out some cash for a real Martin and the sales guy hands me this Blueridge BR-160A (solid wood all around, Adirondack spruce top), holy ****************, this thing was a cannon!  More Martin than Martin.  I pretty much decided I was going to buy it and asked him to give me his best price.  $1500 he says, seems a bit much for a Chinese guitar, so I leave the shop and do my research.  I can get the same guitar sent over from the US for $900 with shipping and hardshell case included.  I can get the Sitka version with hardshell case and shipping for $750.  So, question is, how much of an impact would the Adirondack top have in comparison to the Sitka as it will save me $150 bills? 

    MIA Fender Strat / Gibson Les Paul Studio / Custom Telecaster / Washburn WI66 / Martin D15S / Guild D55
    Simon & Patrick Cedar

  • #2
    Every Adi top guitar I've played was outstanding. I think it would be worth the $150 bucks.
    Can you get Eastman down under? My friend has an Adi topped Eastman OM20 that is a Martin dreadnaught slayer. Its louder and more balanced that my D28 standard, and his HD28 and D16 Custom. The thing is just phenomenal. They go for $1000-1100 here.

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    • billybilly
      billybilly commented
      Editing a comment

      Pine Apple Slim wrote:
      Every Adi top guitar I've played was outstanding. I think it would be worth the $150 bucks.
      Can you get Eastman down under? My friend has an Adi topped Eastman OM20 that is a Martin dreadnaught slayer. Its louder and more balanced that my D28 standard, and his HD28 and D16 Custom. The thing is just phenomenal. They go for $1000-1100 here.

       

      Yes I can and the price difference isn't so profound ($1250).  I was looking them up on the net last night coincidently.  Unfortunately, nobody in the city has them but like you have mentioned, they have a great reputation.  I'll keep an eye out for one.  I going to Canada for 6 weeks shortly too and may have a chance to try one, which is very important.  Thanks for the input.


  • #3

    Adirondack spruce is, or maybe should be, "was" better. The Adirondack spruce of the vintage era was much stiffer wood than Sitka spruce and was a better choice for guitar tops for that reason. Due to heavy deforestation, it was not available in good supply for a number of years. The old growth wood was far superior to Sitka spruce, but I am not sure if the new growth wood has the stiffness of the old growth timber and that would make a huge difference with little gain over Sitka spruce to justify the expense. Slow-growth produces closer grain and a stiffer timber. That close straight grain makes for a better top, stronger, and it can be made thinner. Notice that most Sitka spruce tops are pretty thick compared to those old vintage dream guitars.


    Like I said, though, I am not willing to say that today's Adirondack spruce is anywhere near as good as it used to be. I know that doesn't help this debate in regard to new-builds, unless it is with old timber. But, that explains the difference.

    The secret of man's creative power is imagination.

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