Wood used for guitars are very important for the sound.
Before a piece of wood can be used for a guitar, it should bed ried. The wood is stored in a room with a humidity of 50% for a few years. Some manufacturers speed up this process by kiln drying it before storing.
Steel string guitar tops are mainly made of spruce. Classical guitars do almost always have cedar tops.
The wood used for the top contributes the most to the guitars sound, along with the bracing patern. The top has a thickness of about 2,5-3,0 millimeters (0.10-0.12 inch).
Sides and back
The sides and back of a guitar are made of the same wood in most cases. Usually this is rosewood, mahogany and sometimes maple.
Necks are made of mahogany or maple. To stiffen the neck, steel string guitars have a truss rod inside. This will prevent warping because of the string tension, and it is possible to set up the action very precisely. Classical guitars donít need a truss rod; nylon strings wonít cause as much tension as steel strings do. Usually classical guitar necks are thicker then steel string guitar necks too.
Usualy the fingerboard is made of ebony, but also rosewood will work. Ebony sound a little brighter than rosewood, but the difference is minimal. The most important aspect of the fingerboard wood the hardness; softwood like spruce would wear way too soon. Ebony is with is constant black color more pleasing to the eye.
In most cases the expensiver the guitar, the better is the woods quality. Good wood has a constant colour. It is quarter sawn; the grain is perpendicular to the woods surface.
Bear claw look like scars in the wood. It is called so because it looks like a bear has scratched the tree. Bearclaw doesnít affect the tone.
The woods name above can be subdivided in subcategories. Depending on the region the tree has grown, properties can vary. Rosewood for example can be devided in a few species, whose most well known are Indian rosewood and Brazilion rosewood. Three well known species of spruce wood are Sitka, Engelmann and Adirondack. In the past Adirondack was being used often, but this is becoming scarce.