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Thread: Spruce top v's Ceder top?

  1. #1
    Harley Marty
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    Default Spruce top v's Ceder top?

    I'm going to order a nylon string guitar from China and alter it into a nylon Tenor GDAE (cut down the scale length as close as I can to 23". I'm also hoping to add the lower C & F strings at its full scale length. There are two options available, Ceder top or Spruce top. What are the differences in characteristics between the two?

    The plan is remove the 1st fret wire from under the 1st to 4th strings, groove out the nut & make a channel in the finger-board so those strings rest firmly on th 2nd fret, shift the 1st E closer to the edge of the finger-board & narrow each gap to the 4th G. This should hopefully open enough of a gap to the 5th C which will carry back through to the nut in its original intended place, likewise for the 6th F which I think will have a scale length of approximately 27" (muti-scale or fan-fret guitar). It'll probably need high tension nylons for the treble 4, & silver wound nylon cores for the bass 2.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Spruce top v's Ceder top?

    Go with spruce. Whatever they are calling cedar will be optimal for playing with fingers and a pick might drive it into distortion.
    199? Ike Bacon F5
    1945 Levin 330
    192? Bruno (Oscar Schmidt) banjo-mandolin
    200? Olympia OM6-SW
    early Eastwood Mandostang
    2005 Tacoma CB-10 acoustic bass guitar
    Fender Tweed Deluxe clone

  3. The following members say thank you to Greg P. Stone for this post:


  4. #3
    Registered User
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    Default Re: Spruce top v's Ceder top?

    Quote Originally Posted by Harley Marty View Post
    I'm going to order a nylon string guitar from China and alter it into a nylon Tenor GDAE (cut down the scale length as close as I can to 23". I'm also hoping to add the lower C & F strings at its full scale length. There are two options available, Ceder top or Spruce top. What are the differences in characteristics between the two?

    The plan is remove the 1st fret wire from under the 1st to 4th strings, groove out the nut & make a channel in the finger-board so those strings rest firmly on th 2nd fret, shift the 1st E closer to the edge of the finger-board & narrow each gap to the 4th G. This should hopefully open enough of a gap to the 5th C which will carry back through to the nut in its original intended place, likewise for the 6th F which I think will have a scale length of approximately 27" (muti-scale or fan-fret guitar). It'll probably need high tension nylons for the treble 4, & silver wound nylon cores for the bass 2.
    Wow Harley, I thought I did weird projects....You have got to post a picture when you are done.

  5. #4
    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Spruce top v's Ceder top?

    I have a western red cedar hybrid F4 built by Sonny Morris and an F5, F4 octave mando and 10 string Hardanger viola all built by Tom Jessen with WRC tops. I've read a lot like the above post regarding cedar, but I have years of actual playing experience with these instruments. I've never experienced the dreaded "cedar distortion" mentioned above, and this is with phosphor bronze, monel and flatwound chrome strings. WRC typically has very tight, straight grain. Visually it is beautiful. Sonically it tends to have a deeper tone, not quite as bright as spruce (are we talking Sitka, Adirondack, Carpathian, Red, Engelman?) Mandolins are not known for sustain but I do have nice sustain on my two WRC mandos (not always a plus for bluegrass). I know there is a lot of variability between trees of the same species, even from the same stand, such that all but very broad generalities regarding how a certain wood "sounds" tend toward less fact and more fiction/folklore/fantasy. I also believe that the luthier's choice in carving and bracing has a greater influence on the final product than the specific wood used.

  6. #5

    Default Re: Spruce top v's Ceder top?

    My comment is based on my belief that the "cedar" used on a cheap Chinese guitar is none of the above. All you can count on is that it is a softer wood than whatever wood they are calling "spruce".

    And I have had the experience of driving a locally made western red cedar top into distortion.
    199? Ike Bacon F5
    1945 Levin 330
    192? Bruno (Oscar Schmidt) banjo-mandolin
    200? Olympia OM6-SW
    early Eastwood Mandostang
    2005 Tacoma CB-10 acoustic bass guitar
    Fender Tweed Deluxe clone

  7. #6

    Default Re: Spruce top v's Ceder top?

    Which classical guitar are you buying? I'm a classical guitarist primarily these days, so I'm curious.

  8. #7
    Harley Marty
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Mullingar Co Westmeath Ireland
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    Default Re: Spruce top v's Ceder top?

    Quote Originally Posted by Seter View Post
    Which classical guitar are you buying? I'm a classical guitarist primarily these days, so I'm curious.
    Nantong Sinomusic, Aiersi pro grade raised fretboard fan fret classic smallman guitar $510. They have nicer models but that's as good as want to go for this project!

    @Greg P Stone & @Mandobart. I understand that there are variables in all sorts of directions, I'm interested in general characteristics as well as a guide in this instance. I'll take Gregs advice & order the spruce top. It'll also be getting a K&K mandolin pickup.

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