Engelmann Spruce vs Sitka Spruce for Guitars

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Many guitar-lovers constantly argue over which is better for guitar tops: Engelmann spruce or Sitka spruce. However, this debate could go on forever, as there is no definitive answer to the question ‘which is better?’.

Both spruces produce completely different sounds. With that being said, all artists have different tastes and styles when it comes to their music. The reasoning behind the major debate between Engelmann and Sitka spruce lies in the fact that some people prefer the sound created by the one guitar top, while others prefer the sound created by the other guitar top.

In this article, we will be mentioning a few of the biggest differences between Sitka and Engelmann spruces and the effect that both kinds of wood have on the sound of the guitar.

Introduction to Engelmann Spruce

Engelmann spruce is often referred to by many names, including white spruce, silver spruce, and mountain spruce.

This guitar top was first designed and created in North America, as the Engelmann spruce plant is native to the land. You will be able to recognize Engelmann spruce by its light and creamy color (hence why it is also called white spruce).

There are various grades of this type of guitar top that each affects the sound produced. These grades include AAA, AA, A, and 2nd grade. More so, the sound will be affected by the quality of wood that your guitar top is made from.

The Sound and Quality of the Engelmann Spruce

Engelmann spruce is much lighter and less stiff than Sitka spruce. With this being said, your guitar top will vibrate a lot more when it is made from Engelmann wood. This causes the sound produced to be much stronger and richer than the sound produced by a guitar top made from Sitka spruce.

More so, the tone is way more complex, and the mids are stronger than with Sitka spruce. Engelmann spruce creates a smooth and less compressed sound – this is all due to the vibrations of the guitar top.

Who is Engelmann Spruce Best Suited For?

If you are debating whether or not you should buy a guitar made from Engelmann spruce or Sitka spruce, our advice would be this: visit your local music store and test out both guitar types. The only way you will know for sure which sound you prefer is by hearing them both for yourself.

However, it would also be wise to consider what type of music you will be creating with your guitar. As we have already mentioned, Engelmann spruce produces a very mature, smooth, and rich sound. If you prefer a distorted sound, this guitar top may not be your best option. However, if your music is very laid-back, you may find that this spruce is perfect for you.

You will also need to consider how you play the guitar. If you are an aggressive player who enjoys fast and complicated music, you may find that the sound produced by Engelmann spruce becomes a bit washy.

Introduction to Sitka Spruce

Sitka spruce is the much more common wood used between the two. This comes down to the fact that it is a very versatile material – it has a very large dynamic range and produces a clear and distinct sound. This wood is very strong and sturdy. In fact, it will be able to withstand damage caused by careless players.

Similarly to Engelmann spruce, you can buy this wood in various grades, including AAAA, AAA, AA, A, and 2nd grade. More so, the quality of the wood that is used for the guitar affects the sound that it produces.

The Sound and Quality of Sitka Spruce

Sitka spruce is much heavier and harder than Engelmann spruce. For this reason, the sound produced is clearer, more consistent, and compressed. There are fewer vibrations, which leads to a less complex tone.

Who is Sitka Spruce Best Suited For?

Again, if you are having trouble choosing between Engelmann and Sitka spruce guitars, our advice would be to visit a music store and test out both types. This way, you will be able to hear the sounds produced for yourself and decide which guitar best suits your music and taste.

As we have mentioned, Sitka spruce produces a much less complex and more compressed sound. More so, it is much more consistent than Engelmann spruce. In other words, if you play vigorously or aggressively, the sound created will be very similar to when you play softly. Because of this, this guitar top is well-suited for various types of music, making it much more versatile than Engelmann spruce.

Which Spruce Is Better for your Guitar ?

In the debate of the Engelmann vs Sitka Spruce there is no definite answer to this question. As we have discussed, some people will prefer Engelmann spruce’s richer tone, while others will opt for the more compressed and dynamic sound of Sitka spruce.

With that being said, a large number of players enjoy Sitka spruce guitars because of how versatile they are. Engelmann spruce guitars are better suited for soft players who have a laid-back sound. However, Sitka spruce guitars can be used for all types of music.

Final Thoughts on Engelmann Spruce vs Sitka Spruce

So, Engelmann Spruce vs Sitka Spruce for Guitars: Which one is Better?

Engelmann spruce guitars produce a very rich and complex sound. On the other hand, Sitka spruce guitars create a much more compressed and dynamic sound.

Sitka spruce is the more popular choice for making guitars. Many people opt for this guitar top because of how versatile it is – in other words, it can be used for different music types. Engelmann spruce is much less versatile – this guitar top is usually used for softer and more laid-back music.

There is no definite answer to the question ‘which spruce is better?’ in the debate of Engelmann Spruce vs Sitka Spruce. You should purchase a guitar based on your style and taste as an artist. If you still have trouble deciding, visit your local music store and test both guitar types out for yourself – this will help you realize which sound is better suited to you.

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