North American guitar manufacturers have traditionally chosen Sitka Spruce for their western, steel-stringed guitars. It is a very stiff wood, durable and strong. Flamenco guitarists also prefer this top wood, because it can produce less "sustain" (a sharper note) than cedar or other spruce tonewoods. Sitka spruce soundboards, coupled with particular design and choice of guitar back and sides can also produce a very "loud" sound, treasured by blue-grass players and concert guitarists alike.
Sitka Spruce is frequently somewhat colourful, ranging from a creamy white through to pale pink, with "flaws" such as the "bearclaw" figure that some luthiers prize, and unfortunately, tiny flecks of brown or even tiny sap pockets that are possibly caused by weather damage while growing.
Renowned, traditional manufacturers of steel stringed guitars (and their educated consumers) do not mind these aesthetic variations, and seek instead the outstanding tonal qualities of correctly manufactured Sitka soundboards matched with well designed and expertly constructed guitars.
Guitars made with Sitka Spruce tops also tend to be the most durable guitars, due to Sitka's strength and ability to withstand the abuse of travel and decades of use.
Although the large size of many Sitka logs (frequently clear of any branches and knots) makes it easier to capture true "edge grain" (radial cut) across the entire guitar top, the real advantage of this is that the yield of tops is much better than with smaller diameter logs.
Unfortunately, this does not lower the cost of Sitka tops, for high grade Sitka logs are sold for very high prices. In fact, we take enormous risks when selecting and purchasing Sitka logs. It takes a lot of skill to choose a log that is likely to produce good tops, and a lot of money is invested in every decision to purchase.
At Acoustic Woods, we rarely produce any species of guitar top that is less than near-perfect in structure. This is as true of Sitka tops as it is of Cedar or Engelmann tops. We split our log "rounds" into billets, cut on the radius consistently, and saw with the grain (to avoid run out). Our methods capture the finest appearance and produce the highest quality of sound.
Our quality control is top-notch. You can always buy with confidence.