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About The Woods

Our Story

OUR APPROACH TO GUITAR MAKING HAS ALWAYS BEEN A LITTLE DIFFERENT. FROM THE START, WE’VE BEEN CONCERNED WITH MAKING THE BEST GUITARS FROM THE BEST MATERIALS POSSIBLE, ALL IN AN ENVIRONMENTALLY RESPONSIBLE FASHION. BY USING RECLAIMED WOOD, WE GET ALL THE TONAL BENEFITS OF OLD, AGED WOOD, WHILE BEING PART OF THE SOLUTION INSTEAD OF PART OF THE DEFORESTATION PROBLEM.

Brazilian Rosewood
Highly desirable for centuries due to its classic beauty and tone, old growth, responsibly harvested timbers are all that we use. Brazilian imparts a rich, warm tone to the guitar, slightly towards the brighter end of the tonal spectrum when compared to Indian Rosewood. It is an excellent choice for aesthetic and secure financial value based on historical trends. It is guaranteed to maximize the thrill of the acquisition.

Rosewoods
Warm, dark, blended and rich: these are tasty terms for the tone of the rosewoods such as
Brazilian, Indian, Cocobolo, etc. More important than the names of the species are the
densities of the particular pieces used for the guitar and SCGC’s ability to use thickness for consistency of sound. (Indian Rosewood pictured on left)

True Mahogany
This true rainforest timber is treated with the utmost respect at SCGC. The provenance of the material we use and the chain of custody are beyond question. Our selection of the highest grade insures a tone that retains some of the rosewood’s warm nature while adding more sparkle and definition to the guitar’s voice.

Koa, Walnut, and Sycamore (Platenus Racemosa)
These woods are similar in tone to True Mahogany when dimensioned correctly. Black Walnut moves slightly back toward the Rosewood end of the tonal scale. Each of these woods are old growth and naturally downed with advanced polymerization of the resins. The choice between these tone woods should be based on cosmetic appeal rather than folklore about their respective acoustic qualities. (Koa pictured on left)

USA Rock and Red Maple
The brightness of tone makes these beautifully flamed hardwoods a favorite common choice for archtop and jazz guitars. Hard Maple is an excellent component for those who want a very distinct presence and definition between individual notes.

European Maple English Sycamore
Brighter tone and increased separation between individual notes make these woods very popular in the European lutherie tradition. Clean and precise with a bit of the edge softened. For maximum definition see the Rock and Red Maple descriptions


Top Wood

Sitka Spruce
Sitka accentuates the warm round aspects of the guitar’s tone. It is the most frequent choice in acoustic steel string guitars.

Adirondack Spruce
Adirondack Spruce is the classic spruce species for the flat-top acoustic guitar. Also known as Red Spruce, this tone wood was used in the most collectable vintage acoustic guitars of all time. Known for it’s stiffness, it’s an increasingly harder to find sets that are cosmetically perfect. Santa Cruz Guitar always has a fine selection of Adirondack spruce for your custom guitar.

Cedar
We use cedar specifically for our fingerstyle instruments as it responds quickly and with good volume to a light attack. It is also very well suited to open or lowered tension tunings as they require the same qualities for good separation and definition. Cedar does lose tonal integrity when over driven, making it a poor choice for versatility but an excellent top wood for showcasing finger styles.

European Spruce
Similar to Adirondack spruce in strength to weight ratio, European spruce is a historically wonderful tonewood that has been the foundation of violin building for hundreds of years. Tone-wise it is also simlar to Adirondack Spruce, featuring Lacy fat trebles and a full tight bass. Santa Cruz Guitar Company acquires it’s Spruce from the same family companies that supplied Antonio Stradivari and Giuseppe Guarneri. As always, SCGC will use only the best of the best.