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Author Topic: Sitka vs Moonwood (European Spruce)  (Read 1148 times)
Bazyliszek
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« on: July 15, 2017, 05:44:30 PM »

What are the differences in tonal characteristics for these top woods?

On an OM-style guitar, with EIR, which would have more sustain, overtones, clarity, etc. and be better for fingerstyle/strumming?

Thank you!
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Wildwood Music
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« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2017, 07:27:01 PM »

Alpine Spruces are wonderfully versatile, and support both flatpick and finger styles. Sitka is stiffer and takes a harder playing style to push tones out of the guitar. Both Italian and Swiss Moon Alpines respond wonderfully and comfortably to fingers, without much drive or pressure. Flatpicked Alpines can be driven without digging into the strings.
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broKen
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« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2017, 08:34:00 PM »

That is my experience as well.
Glad to see you folks here.  welcome
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B0WIE
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« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2017, 09:15:31 PM »

Nice to see Wildwood here.
If you like a more dry tone, go with Sitka.  Euro spruce tends to be richer/thicker sounding.
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AZLiberty
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« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2017, 09:36:18 PM »

What are the differences in tonal characteristics for these top woods?

On an OM-style guitar, with EIR, which would have more sustain, overtones, clarity, etc. and be better for fingerstyle/strumming?

Thank you!

Sustain : equal.  Sustain is primarily driven by bracing and the stiffness of the back/side woods.

Overtones: Sitka

Clarity: European (by whatever name they call it this week, Euro/Italian/German/Moon etc is all the same wood)

Fingerstyle/Strumming: depends if you like clarity or overtones.


I like more overtones, and will probably never buy another guitar with a European top.  The clarity sounds harsh to me.  I prefer the fuller/richer sound of Sitka, or even better Engelmann.
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mattwood
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« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2017, 10:13:09 PM »

I purchased a Larrivee with Austrian Red Spruce(Moonwood) which I assume is the same species as Italian/Swiss/German Alpine spruce that are also called moonwood..  I've read in places that it is stiffer than Sitka but I think that Wildwood knows better.  From my time with this guitar I would say sitka is a little warmer while the Moonwood tends to be crisper and give more ring to the trebles.  It seems to have more volume than sitka and responds better to a light touch and is very rich in tone.
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Bazyliszek
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« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2017, 10:16:14 PM »

I purchased a Larrivee with Austrian Red Spruce(Moonwood) which I assume is the same species as Italian/Swiss/German Alpine spruce that are also called moonwood..  I've read in places that it is stiffer than Sitka but I think that Wildwood knows better.  From my time with this guitar I would say sitka is a little warmer while the Moonwood tends to be crisper and give more ring to the trebles.  It seems to have more volume than sitka and responds better to a light touch and is very rich in tone.

That's good to hear, I ordered an OMV-40R with moonwood option. I was hoping the moonwood was more responsive to the touch and maybe equaled out the bass of the new bracing.
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broKen
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« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2017, 10:46:45 PM »

  From my time with this guitar I would say sitka is a little warmer while the Moonwood tends to be crisper and give more ring to the trebles.  It seems to have more volume than sitka and responds better to a light touch and is very rich in tone.

I would agree with this
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mattwood
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« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2017, 10:59:14 PM »

That's good to hear, I ordered an OMV-40R with moonwood option. I was hoping the moonwood was more responsive to the touch and maybe equaled out the bass of the new bracing.

I think it will be just what you are looking for.
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Bazyliszek
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« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2017, 11:14:45 PM »

I think it will be just what you are looking for.

Do you have the mahogany or EIR w/ moonwood?
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mattwood
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« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2017, 11:22:12 PM »

Do you have the mahogany or EIR w/ moonwood?

No, I have Zebrano or Zebrawood back and sides on mine.  Tonally I would say it's kind of in between rosewood and mahogany. 
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Bazyliszek
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« Reply #11 on: July 15, 2017, 11:27:35 PM »

No, I have Zebrano or Zebrawood back and sides on mine.  Tonally I would say it's kind of in between rosewood and mahogany. 

Ahh, I want the overtones, so I got rosewood. I hope the alpine spruce doesn't hinder them haha. I guess it's a trade off between extra overtones with sitka and more responsiveness.
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mattwood
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« Reply #12 on: July 16, 2017, 12:20:13 AM »

Ahh, I want the overtones, so I got rosewood. I hope the alpine spruce doesn't hinder them haha. I guess it's a trade off between extra overtones with sitka and more responsiveness.

I hear plenty of overtones and numerous builders expound on that characteristic about European spruce.  Here is an excerpt from an article by Ervin Somogyi referring to it:

"Nonetheless because of this internal brittleness, and when made into a guitar face, European spruce makes a beautiful sound rich in overtones -- a sound that is limpid, focused and full of nuance and tone color. Fingerpickers tend to like this sound, which is a little like having a choir of singing voices inside your guitar, or like listening to the clear fundamental and harmonics of a church bell. In comparison American spruce is supple and springy (in a ropy way) rather than brittle, as a function of its cellular structure. Because of these qualities, when it is made into guitar tops, it makes a sound that is not so much in focus as the European spruce is. Its sound is heard as not being so cleanly defined but, instead, as warmer, more fundamental, and largely free of overtones."

I think what it comes down to is what our own ears hear.
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Bazyliszek
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« Reply #13 on: July 16, 2017, 12:29:32 AM »

I hear plenty of overtones and numerous builders expound on that characteristic about European spruce.  Here is an excerpt from an article by Ervin Somogyi referring to it:

"Nonetheless because of this internal brittleness, and when made into a guitar face, European spruce makes a beautiful sound rich in overtones -- a sound that is limpid, focused and full of nuance and tone color. Fingerpickers tend to like this sound, which is a little like having a choir of singing voices inside your guitar, or like listening to the clear fundamental and harmonics of a church bell. In comparison American spruce is supple and springy (in a ropy way) rather than brittle, as a function of its cellular structure. Because of these qualities, when it is made into guitar tops, it makes a sound that is not so much in focus as the European spruce is. Its sound is heard as not being so cleanly defined but, instead, as warmer, more fundamental, and largely free of overtones."

I think what it comes down to is what our own ears hear.

Wow, that's a really good description. Thanks!
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Bazyliszek
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« Reply #14 on: July 16, 2017, 03:59:56 AM »

This is a bit off-topic.

I know the fretboard radius of Larrivee is flatter than most guitar makers, but how about the fret height and fretboard width?
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mattwood
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« Reply #15 on: July 16, 2017, 12:42:35 PM »

The fretboard width is 1 3/4 which is no different to me than other 1 3/4 width guitars and I don't notice the fret height being any different either.
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Zohn
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« Reply #16 on: July 20, 2017, 10:03:41 AM »

I just love the responsiveness of my Italian spruce 00-40. That is the best guitar I've had for a very long time. It is pretty loud too...
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George
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« Reply #17 on: July 20, 2017, 02:12:29 PM »

I own three Larrivee's with European spruce tops, one Alpine and two high altitude Moonwood.  I agree with the input from Wildwood, they are very responsive and the Moonwood braced with moonwood has an exceptional volume cast, but so does my Alpine top.  That said, I also have a "hunt for spruce" top (Canadian Sitka) on a D-10 that is crystal clear and very well rounded and balanced.  I think that the fact that Jean picks and matches all the tops is a big factor in why so many Larrivee guitars just simply sound better...  JMO...
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George
Bazyliszek
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« Reply #18 on: July 20, 2017, 02:32:51 PM »

I own three Larrivee's with European spruce tops, one Alpine and two high altitude Moonwood.  I agree with the input from Wildwood, they are very responsive and the Moonwood braced with moonwood has an exceptional volume cast, but so does my Alpine top.  That said, I also have a "hunt for spruce" top (Canadian Sitka) on a D-10 that is crystal clear and very well rounded and balanced.  I think that the fact that Jean picks and matches all the tops is a big factor in why so many Larrivee guitars just simply sound better...  JMO...

I'm assuming when you order the moonwood top option today, the bracings aren't moonwood also? Yeah, I saw that "hunt for spruce" video, that's really awesome!
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Walkerman
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« Reply #19 on: July 20, 2017, 02:38:17 PM »

I love the milky whiteness of the Austria spruce.  Another reason I keep my guitars in cases.
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