Engleman or Sitka?

Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by taylormade, Aug 16, 2006.

  1. taylormade

    taylormade Member

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    What is the major differerence between Engleman & Sitka spruces? I've been told that Engleman has a much warmer sound...any comments? Does Engleman cost more? Thanks to all.
     
  2. Thwap

    Thwap Silver Supporting Member

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  3. PB Wilson

    PB Wilson Member

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    Englemann is a bit more expensive because the trees are a bit smaller than Sitka and often have some twist, leading to runout on bookmatched top sets. There is a good deal of lower grade Englemann out there, but the top grade stuff without a lot of runout or staining is much more rare.

    What guitars are you looking at?
     
  4. u12drag

    u12drag Silver Supporting Member

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    Englemann is warmer sounding to my ears with more overtones and harmonic content. One thing to consider, though... Englemann breaks up and "distorts" a little if you dig in really hard. Sitka doesn't do that as much. It is a little brighter with less overtones. German is a good cross, but it is pricey. Adirondack is real good too, but with both of these you have to play a lot before they give up the goods. Sitka takes a while to warm up, though, too. It still doesn't have the sound of Englemann. You can never tell what a guitar is going to sound like until it is played in a bit, sometimes quite a bit.

    kc
     
  5. jamison162

    jamison162 Member

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    I have owned two cedar toped Taylors, and loved the tone. However, I determined that my playing style was too hard and ended up with an 810 w/englemann top. I love this sound as it is a compromise over the hard/bright spruce and warm/soft cedar.
     
  6. PB Wilson

    PB Wilson Member

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    There was a thread on another acoustic guitar forum (13th fret?, I can't remember exactly), but a few luthiers who have used Englemann quite a bit said that the breaking up phenomena isn't true for all guitars. One builder made a few dreads with Eng. tops and they are powerful tone cannons with no breakup. I've personally never really heard the breakup in an Eng. guitar and Dana Bourgeois has his suspicions that Martin used Eng. for many of it's holy grail guitars in the past. (I am also aware that Dana's famous tonewood article mentions the breakup in Eng. tops, further perpetuating the info.)

    I guess the best bet is to trust your friendly neighborhood luthier and ask him or her what to expect from their Eng. guitars. Different builders construct their instruments differently and Eng. might be perfect for you. If you're buying froma store, play it extensively before dropping your hard earned cash.
     
  7. btdvox

    btdvox Supporting Member

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    Im a Sitka Player. Purely because of how it sounds on Rosewood- Im also a rosewood player ;) haha
     
  8. beePee

    beePee Member

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    I was checking out the custom Yamaha LL series (yeah ...YAMAHA!! :D ) and I noticed they all had Eng tops.I've tried to locate a local dealer but ..no findy.

    Anyone bought a LL16, LL26, LL36, that can give me a a pointer??..any thoughts on them?Thanks

    BP
     
  9. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    That doesn't make much sense to me. How can something be warmer if it has more overtones? At least in my mind, more overtones makes a brighter sound.

    There are definitely differences between the two spruces, but the builder's voicing is going to dominate. A Goodall with Sitka still sounds like a Goodall.

    Bryan
     
  10. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    Depends on which overtones. ;) More could mean more total or stronger mids, not necessarily louder highs.

    This is NOT based on any opinion of Englemann compared to Sitka - I have no opinion in that regard. Just an comment on the overtones thing.
     
  11. stephenT

    stephenT Silver Supporting Member

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    in my experience Englemann is a great top wood for fingerpickers, it moves easier, takes less force to produce a good volume, nice bottom end.

    The outcome finally depends on the builder, I've had three guitars with Englemann tops, a Goodall GC, a Collings OM and a 5 series Taylor. All different beasts.
     
  12. Big0range

    Big0range Member

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    That sums it up. I'm a cedar top guy, sounds more warm than spruce; but Bob Taylor built the now-famous and darn fine sounding Pallet Guitar out of oak and pine. The sound will be much more influenced by construction / builder than wood.
     
  13. daddyo

    daddyo Guest

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    Sitka vs engleman is probably inconsequential compared to the actual builder's philosophies and techniques.
     
  14. Ogre

    Ogre Member

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    I have found it unwise to buy a guitar based on the wood used. I have been happier making that choice based on what I hear and feel. I have played Brazilian rosewood guitars that were dogs.
     
  15. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    Despite my somewhat limited experience, this makes the most sense to me.
     
  16. Ogre

    Ogre Member

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    I will go on to say that I purchased a guitar made of Mahogany w/ Adirondack spruce top(by a BIG name manufacturer) and was very disappointed. Now, this is a classic wood combination, and should have been killer. Listen with your ears, not your eyes.
     
  17. Den

    Den Member

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    Well said ... too many other variables in construction and the actual pieces of wood themselves.
     
  18. royd

    royd Member

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    And in any given species of wood there is a wide variety of stiffness, grain width, etc.
    So realize that anything anyone says about a specific species is only a generalization that may or may not be true on any given guitar.
    So... what Bryan said. The builder (especially if it is a small shop) will have much more to do with the end sound than the species of woods used. I play Lowdens and no matter what wood combo, they always sound like Lowdens to me and a sitka/maple Lowden sounds more like a cedar/rosewood Lowden than it does like a sitka/maple Collings.
     
  19. stratt

    stratt Member

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    Hi, haven't posted here in awhile, but anyway....

    I have built lots of guitars with both Engleman and Sitka, and really believe that generalizing about a species of wood is never very productive. Everything depends on the piece of wood used. It's stiffness, runout, weight, etc.. It all really comes down to the maker, and what he/she does with the materials at hand. If you are looking at a production guitar you will need to play as many as you can to find the one that truly has the tone you are after. They will all sound different, even the same model with the same tonewood cominations.

    Good luck
    Stephen
     
  20. JRenn

    JRenn Member

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    Very well said, Daddyo. Very well said. No further comment.
     

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