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More durable top: Cedar vs. Sitka Spruce?

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  • More durable top: Cedar vs. Sitka Spruce?

    Hello,
    I've cut my acoustic hunt down to two guitars. They both sound and look beautiful, so now I just wonder is there any difference in durability between Cedar and Sitka Spruce tops? Both guitars are finished in Satin Nitro Lacquer. I'm wondering what's less likely to dent and take less abuse in climate changes.? Thanks

    Billy
    I write for a website: http://guitarvideochannel.com/

  • #2
    i have a cedar s+p is a softer wood i think and therefore more likely to get bumps and dings but being a s+p the cedar is a very nice bit of wood and looks lush.(think i was sold on the quality grade cedar vs ok spruce on the s+p range i was looking at)..also i like the (warmer) sound and it looks a bit different to everyone elses Spruce top(silly reason but hey)

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    • #3
      Cedar is a softer wood than spruce, and therefore more likely to show wear, dings, or scratches.

      I prefer the sound of cedar, so that is what I would purchase. Really, though, it is up to you.

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      • #4
        I too vote for cedar as it has a nice warm tone but as everyone else has pointed out it is soft and prone to damage easier. Cedar is a good choice for classical guitars and for fingerstyle players.

        OGP
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        • #5
          I'd chose tone over durability. If it's softer wood, just look after it more...
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          • #6
            Sitka is more durable. Cedar dents easily but opens up quicker. They both produce a slightly different tone. It's just a matter of taste. Take care of them properly you won't have a problem with either. Check your favorite high end guitars to see what they use that might help you decide.
            What good is a guitar without a guitarist?
            What good is a guitarist without a guitar?

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            • #7
              I think it's well-established that cedar is a softer wood than sitka. Tonally I've heard that it opens up quicker than sitka, but also that it doesn't have the longevity - possibly because of its durability, but don't quote me on that.

              All I know is that once spruce opens up (anywhere from several months to a year) it's pretty sweet and IMO worth the wait.
              Gear:
              2013 Official Luthier's Forum Medium Jumbo (Western red cedar/mahogany)
              2012 McKnight McUke (soprano ukulele, redwood/mahogany)
              2010 Martin D-16GT
              2006 Larrivee OM-03R
              1998 Fender American Standard Stratocaster (natural ash finish)
              1989 Kramer Stryker
              197? Epiphone Texan FT-160N

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              • #8
                Really now, the difference in durability is so minor that you don't need to worry about it. Maybe the cedar will ding a tiny bit more easily but why be so anal? If you want to be anal then be anal about tone and pick the sound your ears and hands like best.

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                • #9
                  I had a nice cedar guitar that would get dents if you looked at it too hard.
                  Musicians are their own worst enemies when it comes to the music business.

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                  • #10
                    Cedar will scar easier, but I haven't heard anyone say that it's really structually inferior to spruce.
                    "The wisest man I ever knew taught me something I never forgot. And although I never forgot it, I never quite memorized it either. So what I'm left with is the memory of having learned something very wise that I can't quite remember." -- George Carlin

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                    • #11
                      Go with the tone you like best, and live with the dents. I have 2 cedar top guitars and yes it will dent easily, but no reason to avoid it.

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                      • #12
                        So has anybody made a guitar with half spruce half cedar top? Or two different woods in general?

                        I wonder what that would sound like.
                        member: MAZI BEE MILITIA!!!

                        My guitar makes the sound of a thousand wailing souls. I don't even own an amp.
                        - conquerorworm

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                        • #13
                          Cedar seems to have a way nicer respose when played quietly. Less compression (notes sounding the same played quiet or loud) and more dynamics there...so that when you play quietly you can convey mood better. Since it responds better when driven lightly than spruce, it's great for smaller parlor guitars and classical guitars. The downside is that if you strum into a cedar topped guitar hard, it can get overwhelmed easily. You don't get that satifying crunch of the different notes when strumming chords as much as a sort of clash and crash of notes fighting each other. (Like a flamenco guitar where the chords are almost splashy percussion from the hard strumming) My experience anyway.
                          You probably can get around these general characteristics by playing with other elements of a guitar's construction (soundboard thickness for instance)
                          "I don't want to be immortalized through my work. I want to be immortalized by not dying." Woody Allen

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