Many Pages have been filled and arguements fought over which top is better on a guitar? Cedar or Spruce are your choices. Much is down to the individual, from a purely aesthetic perspective Spruce tends to be paler, even white whereas Cedar is darker, sometimes red in hue.
The new Spruce top will generally be lighter in tone with a crisp attack but will alter over time depending on whom and how it is played. The sound can develop with complex nuances slowly coming out. Cedar has a richer, warmer tone but tends to alter less over time.
Many hard woods are now used from Mahogany and Rosewood to Koa and Zircote. All have their unique qualities both in sound and appearance and must be played side by side to appreciate their subtle differences. Brazilian Rosewood is the 'King' but increasingly difficult to source due to the ban on its exportation, with so many variations in colour from almost purple black to golden swirls.
More expensive guitars (£750+) will generally be made from solid hardwoods whereas cheaper guitars may use a composite.
Although this does affect the sounds instruments made using this material are no less soulful.
A handmade, Luthier built guitar can be an absolute joy to own. The years of experience, care and craftsmanship will make a bespoke instrument something very special to own. If you are an aspiring professional, collage student or seious student you will certainly be looking to own a hand built guitar one day.
However, the term 'factory built' can be misleading. Many higher production makers consist of 3 or 4 skilled craftsmen working together to create a higher volume of instruments in a more efficient way. There are of course larger outfits still producing a good quality of instrument. We all drive mass produced cars don't we?
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