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.