Cedar Tops for Hard Strummers

Monday, March 26, 2012
By: Bob Taylor

Question: It’s been said that spruce tops are best for strummers, and cedar fits fingerpickers. I play in a duo, songs like “Crash Into Me” by Dave Matthews but also Motörhead, so I do both. I sometimes strum very hard, though I like the warm sound of cedar much better than the clearer spruce sound. Are there any disadvantages regarding the cedar top when strumming hard? Could a spruce-top GS guitar solve those “problems”? My shop doesn’t have one. I could only compare an 814 to a 514 — and the 514 won. Should I take a beautiful 514 and that’s it? -- Bastian Schwinghammer

Answer: Bastian, take the beautiful 514 and go make music. Every rule can be broken. These are generalities that we talk about when it comes to tone. One of the big contributors to tone is what we call “bone tone,” which is the tone that you bring to the guitar. Don’t worry about liking a cedar guitar that most people like for fingerpicking. You can play your Motörhead songs on it. It’s all good.