The Soundboard

The soundboard is the part of the instrument that receives the vibrations of the strings which will be transmitted to the body through the bridge. They are almost always made in coniferous woods.

One species of wood will not be considered better than another, but the choice of it will be essential to the color of the sound that the musician wishes to obtain or to the typology of certain instruments. The quality of the wood itself will however be essential.

Personally, I only use first choice soundboards, carefully selected and perfectly dried.

 

European Spruce

(Picéa Abies)

Sitka Spruce

(Picéa sitchensis)

Spruce grows in mountainous regions of Europe (Austria, Italy, France, Poland Russia etc …). Its color varies from white to light beige and will tend to take on a slightly yellow-golden hue as it ages. Mainly used for Folks and classical guitars, it produces clear and crystalline sounds in the treble.
Average mass ρ 405 KG / m3 – Janka hardness 1.68 N

Sitka is a variety of spruce from North America whose name is taken from the city of Sitka in the state of Alaska. It is a rigid wood with a darker color than the European one.  From pink to orange nuances, it has an excellent sound definition and has been adopted by most American manufacturers.
Average mass ρ 425 Kg / m3 – Janka hardness 2.27 N

Engelmann Spruce

(Picéa Engelmannii)

Oriental Spruce

(Picéa Orientalis)

Engelmann’s spruce is native to the Rocky Mountains of Montana. It is found mainly in North America and Canada, but also in Europe. It looks relatively close to the European spruce, but with a generally less regular thread.
Average mass ρ 385 Kg / m3 – Janka hardness 1.74 N

It is a relatively rare wood found mainly in the mountains of Turkey. It is more particularly used for the manufacture of Ouds and in a more atypical way for the Guitars soundboards. The grain tends to be irregular and its color quite variable. It is a stiff wood with strong resonance which gives the instrument a clear sound in the treble.
Average mass ρ 460 Kg / m3 – Janka hardness 2.14 N

Red Cedar

(Thuja Plicata)

Mediterranen Cypress

(Cupressus Sempervirens)

Red cedar actually belongs to the thuja family and comes from North America and Canada. It is lighter and softer than spruce but relatively stable and rigid. Its brown color gives to the instrument a warm appearance. It is widely used for making classical guitars and produces a powerful sound and very present bass.
Average vol. Mass ρ 370 Kg / m3 – Janka hardness 1.56 N

Atypically used for the production of soundboards, it is the traditional wood for the back and sides of Flamenca guitars. It produces a clear and brilliant sound.
Average mass ρ 535 Kg / m3 – Janka hardness 2.49 N

Red Spruce (Adirondack)

(Picéa Rubens)

Redwood

(Sequioa Sempervirens)

This spruce is quite colorful with a spaced and generally irregular thread. its structure and great rigidity produce complex harmonic and very present bass.
Average vol. Mass ρ 370 Kg / m3 – Janka hardness 1.56 N

“Yew Sequioa” is native to California and Oregon. It is one of the largest trees in the world. Its high weight/rigidity ratio makes it possible to obtain clear and precise tones, very appreciated in particular by Picking players.
Average mass ρ 415 Kg / m3 – Janka hardness 2.00 N

Bunya-Pine

(Araucaria Bidbillii)

Billy-King Pine

(Athrotaxis Selaginoides)

This species is endemic to eastern Australia. the wood patterns are very varied from tree to tree and its high Rigidity/Weight ratio gives the instrument a very clear and metallic sound.
Average mass ρ 530 Kg / m3 – Janka hardness 2.3 N

The “Australian Black Cypress” actually doesn’t belongs to the family pine but to the Cupressaceae. Its color can be sometimes slightly pink with a tight thread. It generates a soft sound, strong bass and open treble. Protected species, it can only be sold on old stocks, so it has become difficult to obtain.
Average mass ρ 400 Kg / m3 – Janka NC hardness

Huon-Pine

(Lagarostrobos Franklinii)

Tasmanian Blackwood

(Acacia Melanoxylon)

This very yellow species from Tasmania is protected. It is therefore extremely difficult to obtain them. it produces clear, crystal clear sounds in the treble.
Average mass ρ 560 Kg / m3 – Janka hardness 4.11 N

Native from Australia this Acacia can have color variations ranging from deep pink to rust brown and can sometimes be wavy. It is generally used to make the entire instrument (Back, Sides and Soundboard) and more rarely only for the Table. Its tonal range is quite close to Koa with a good balance of bass and treble.
Average mass ρ 640 Kg / m3 – Janka hardness 5.18 N

Sinker Redwood

(Sequioa Sempervirens)

Curly Redwood

(Sequioa Sempervirens)

It is neither more nor less than a redwood whose logs have been risen from the depths of the rivers of Northern California where they stayed for several hundreds years. Deep brown with lines darker or even black, it takes its coloring from silts and minerals. These  Soundboard produce a warm and brilliant sound.
Average mass ρ 415 Kg / m3 – Janka hardness 2.00 N

This Redwood whose cellular cells have deflected the fibers of the wood creating waves produces Soundboard generating warm and brilliant sounds. It is relatively difficult to obtain it with strongly marked waves.
Average mass ρ 415 Kg / m3 – Janka hardness 2.00 N