Estimated dimension of the archtop guitar tops: (600x230x25/8 mm)x2
The top of the archtop guitar is either carved out of a block of solid wood. The belly has two f-holes, the lower of these partly covered by a scratch plate raised above the belly so as not to damp its vibration. The arching of the top and the f-holes are similar to the violin family, on which they were originally based.
Wood for these tops has been traditionally spruce. In Maderas Barber we can offer you two species: European Spruce and Sitka Spruce
A good top must have compact wood growth rings: the closer the rings are, the more resistant the top is, although the wood must not have unacceptable imperfections like resin pockets or knots. The grain must be as straight as possible.
European spruce is the wood mostly rich in tradition concerning lutherie. The most used wood for string instruments tops. Spruce is particularly suited for this use because of its high quality sound, high stiffness together with low weight. European spruce has a bright creamy gold tone colour.
Without any doubt, it is the perfect wood to obtain a light and strong top with a sound that improves over the time. Find out the nice Archtop guitar spruce tops we have in Maderas Barber.
BOTANIC NAME: Picea abies.
COMMON NAMES: European Spruce, Red Sruce, Picea, Spruce.
DESCRIPTION: Density 440-470 Kg/m3. Colour varying from yellowish white to reddish yellow.
Sapwood not clearly demarcated from heartwood. Straight and fine grain. Growth rings are visible and strongly marked.
RECOMMENDATIONS: Easy to work, as long as there are no knots present. Glues and finishes well, though it can give poor (blotchy and inconsistent) results when being stained due to its closed pore structure. A sanding sealer, gel stain, or toner is recommended when colouring Spruce. Wood is not much resistant to fungi and termites.
DRYING: Drying speed is quick. Hardly present risk of cracks or distortion.
USES: String instruments sound board.
Sitka spruce is the wood used for the vast majority of Archtop guitars. When you strum the guitar, the sound waves generated by the strings are transferred into the top causing it to move in and out. This flexing push the sounds waves throughout the guitar body and out the sound hole generating the tone that we hear. Because of this function, the most desired after quality in acoustic guitar tops is elasticity- strength- weight ratio. That’s why Sitka spruce is perfect for Archtop guitar.
Sitka Spruce has a colour from cream white to pinkish to light brown. Some pieces can exhibit a special grain pattern called Bearclaw. Bearclaw sitka tops has a shallow cross grain curl that increases stiffness in acoustic guitars. This Bearclaw figure phenomenon normally occurs in older trees that have dense, stiff structure and high sound velocity. It has a good, solid sound. It is also quite responsive to fingerpicking. Folk musicians tend to like it very much.
BOTANIC NAME: Picea sitchensis.
COMMON NAMES: Sitka spruce.
ORIGIN: North America.
DESCRIPTION: Density 360-490 Kg/m3. Ranges from cream-white to yellow; heartwood can also exhibit a subtle pinkish red hue in some instances. Sapwood not clearly demarcated from heartwood. Some pieces can exhibit a special grain pattern called “bearclaw”, vaguely resembling the scratches of a bear’s claws.
Straight grain but sometimes can show spiral grain.
RECOMMENDATIONS: Easy to work, as long as there are no knots present. Glues and finishes well, though it can give poor (blotchy and inconsistent) results when being stained due to its closed pore structure. A sanding sealer, gel stain, or toner is recommended when colouring Spruce.
DRYING: Drying speed is quick. As it is a white wood you must be careful with storage temperature and may appear stains of moisture.
USES: Acoustic and Archtop guitars.