Wood is the soul of any guitar, and I believe that the best guitars begin and end in excellent wood. I search far and wide for the best cut, slow growth woods that I can afford and offer to you a stock of well seasoned materials that undergo rigorous testing and spectrographic analysis before they ever touch the workbench. I maintain important relationships with sellers and mills to ensure that your guitar is the best that it can possibly be.
There are many misconceptions about spruce and cedar tops that do not often bear out in reality. Some of this has to do with the extremely variable nature of wood. No one piece is alike, and it is possible to find spruce that sounds a lot like cedar and visa versa. I will offer you some general observations about the two woods, but bear in mind that my expertise is not limited to helping you chose spruce or cedar. In every guitar, I seek to deliver a unique piece of wood for your top that matches your expectations and vision. To this ends I have catalogued over 200 pieces of wood using technology that has only recently come of age, and have tested each one for the properties that define it.
My spruce generally comes from the Austrian and Swiss alps, and is hand split, well quartered, and covered with beautiful medullary rays. Spruce topped guitars have good clarity and separation of notes because the overtones of each note tend to be more controlled than in cedar. I believe that all else being equal, spruce can have a larger tone color range, but I think that this is subtle compared to the first point. Guitar designs based off the work of Hauser and Torres, which lend themselves to good tone color ranges are often built with spruce, forming this particular impression.
My western red cedar comes primarily from British Columbia, and represents the very best cedar that can be found right now. I have personally visited several cedar mills and picked out exceptional boards from their best stock, yielding many master grade tops that I have personally cut. It is light and stiff, and certainly lends itself to powerful guitars which have active overtones. The overtone activity can give this wood the impression of being rich and full sounding.
I hand select all my East Indian Rosewood and choose only straight grain, quarter sawn sets. East Indian Rosewood is an excellent choice for any guitar, offering good sustain and a solid harmonic accompaniment for either spruce or cedar. Additionally, it is very stable, and a pleasure to work with.
I mostly use higher density maples such as Eastern Birdseye Maple or European Flamed over their western counterparts. Maple was a very traditional guitar wood used by the great Antonio Torres on many of his guitars. If you haven’t experienced a maple guitar, they are quite lovely and very responsive on account of the lighter weight, with a very strong fundamental and less overtones than the rosewoods. It is usually paired with a spruce soundboard.
I have a large stock of salvage and old growth Brazilian Rosewood which I can offer to you. Brazilian Rosewood is a little denser and stiffer than Indian Rosewood, and I believe that for all the good things Indian has to offer, Brazilian has more. This wood goes well with cedar or spruce.
One of my favorite woods is Madagascar Rosewood, and although it is often compared to Brazilian Rosewood as a ‘substitute’, it has its own unique tonal qualities and stands alone as a superb tonewood. Visually, Madagascar Rosewood is mostly straight grained with some mild spider-web figure in some sets. If you want a tone similar to Brazilian at a fraction of the cost I would highly recommend this wood.
Fretboard and Neck Materials
Fingerboards are made of African Ebony. African Blackwood is also offered, and is by far the best fingerboard material out there–it is both harder and much less prone to expansion than any of the Ebony species.
Necks and heel blocks are made of one or two pieces of Spanish Cedar, with a separate scarf jointed headstock.