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Why is spruce not commonly used for electric guitars even though luthiers classify it as tonewood?

Axis29

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Yeah, the reason Leo stopped using pine back in the day was because it was too soft and the musicians were complaining that they got beat up too fast. Spruce is even softer. Most of us electric players are not as delicate and careful as most of us acoustic players. LOL
 

fjrabon

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4,362
I’ve seen it before, although I can’t recall the guitar (which probably tells you all you need to know).

as said above, it’s not particularly strong, it dings easily, it’s prone to splitting.
 

Chicago Slim

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4,433
I've had spruce tops on Asian acoustics and Gretsch hollow bodies. PRS has used spruce on their guitars. If you're looking for a spruce Les Paul, you're out of luck. Besides, everybody here knows that sound comes from pickups and pedals. ;)

 
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lightningsmith

Silver Supporting Member
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1,122
It's not strong enough for an electric guitar. It's very soft. You could probably use it for a cap but then again it's not that attractive so there's no point in that either. Think it's been used by a few manufacturers in the past. Just not very often.
Yeah, the reason Leo stopped using pine back in the day was because it was too soft and the musicians were complaining that they got beat up too fast. Spruce is even softer. Most of us electric players are not as delicate and careful as most of us acoustic players. LOL
I’ve seen it before, although I can’t recall the guitar (which probably tells you all you need to know).

as said above, it’s not particularly strong, it dings easily, it’s prone to splitting.
Curiously, I've never seen an acoustic spruce top dinged badly or splitting.

I wonder if poly finishes would solve the dent issues?
 

RRfireblade

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3,791
Curiously, I've never seen an acoustic spruce top dinged badly or splitting.

I wonder if poly finishes would solve the dent issues?
I would imagine people are more careful with acoustic guitars in regards to damage and atmospheric conditions. So one should be less likely to see that. Doesn't mean it can't be used for electric guitars.
 

hunter

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7,823
I have an early Reverend Flatroc that is spruce over chambered korina. Works great. Spruce does have a tendency to telegraph grain lines which makes smooth finishes harder to get. But these days, smooth finishes seem to be on the out so that shouldn't present a problem.

Unfortunately, Gibson would have to charge $10K for it.
 

lostpick

Silver Supporting Member
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543
The spruce and cedar top electrics I've played and heard clips of are a little brighter to my ears. I'm not a 'wood makes all the difference' player, but in this case it seemed to at least had some impact.
 

Rod

Tone is Paramount
Gold Supporting Member
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23,211
The USA Guild Nightbirds . Some tops were spruce, some maple. A Gibson Johnny A model non trem has a spruce top… they have a weird tone. To soft sounding and slow attack and the top will shake into feedback.. @Husky said it best….
 
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Tri7/5

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1,583
Really? I’ve seen tons of split spruce top acoustics. It’s one of the more common repairs that luthiers have to do.


Yep happens all the time, even more so in the classical and flamenco world because the tops are much thinner. Most times it's due to humidity and lack thereof from the owner and/or general neglect.
 

Husky

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12,392
It's most likely because of tradition. But I think it would make for a good sounding wood for the body.
I’ve done it on a solid body, too light, not enough bass, in fact shockingly little bass. Plus trem posts will have issues and need reinforcement. As a top sure but as a body? Never worked for me. For super light I’d look at other woods
 

lightningsmith

Silver Supporting Member
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1,122
Really? I’ve seen tons of split spruce top acoustics. It’s one of the more common repairs that luthiers have to do.

Yep happens all the time, even more so in the classical and flamenco world because the tops are much thinner. Most times it's due to humidity and lack thereof from the owner and/or general neglect.
That's amazing.
That picture is actually the first split on an acoustic I've seen.. and I used to work in a guitar shop. You want to know what's even more amazing? I live in the tropics.
 






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