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Best Wood for Classical Guitar

Are you a beginner in the musical world or the world of the guitar? Here I am for you. Let me allow myself to say something first. When we decide to buy something for the first time, what are we looking for? Obviously, what are they made of? Right? Therefore, when it’s about guitar and especially classical guitar, then wood is one of the most important materials to consider before buying one. 

Classical guitar is the easiest platform to learn guitar. But remember, the construction process of any guitar is not so easy.  It’s not only about the shape and size of the guitar, but also the wood which will influence the sound. Additionally, since the woods used in the guitar are the influencer of producing sound the woods are called, “Tone Woods.” The tonewoods are perfectly capable of producing a tone when the tone struck. 

Various types of woods are used to construct a classical guitar. Actually, various woods are used for various sides like the back, sides, and top of the guitar. 

The top and the bottom end of the guitar must function admirably together and the guitar makers have to be talented at choosing integral blends. If you have already ended up baffled by the decisions on offer, at that point this article will assist you with understanding the characteristics of the different woods and which may suit your playing style best and give you absolutely the best sound you are searching for. 

This article will cover all the information about the Best Wood for Classical Guitar.

Classification of various types of woods

In the following part, I will show you the variations of wood so you will be able to decide what will be the best wood for the classical guitar. I will divide the woods into two sections.

So let’s dive into the article:






Backs and Sides




Hawaiian Koa


Top Woods

Generally, the soundboards may have the best impact on the sound produced by classical guitars. The woods that are used here are known as the top woods. The tone of a classical guitar is totally dependent on the thickness of the top woods used. But the fact is, what type of tonewoods are going to be used in the soundboards. The type of tonewoods is the starting factor to manipulate the tone of a guitar. 

You have already gotten to know that the top woods have many variations. I have already added them to my article. Now you will get to know the details of the variations. 

Just go with the flow of my article:

1. Spruce

Spruce is the topmost favorite wood for guitar makers since it is suitable for every playing style. Various types of spruces are used to construct soundboards like Sitka, Engelmann, and Adirondack. All of them are light in weight and strong. These qualities are perfect for a highly qualified sound. Spruce is colored in something like creamy white and a little bit pinky light brown but after using it for a long time the color gets tan and the guitar looks old. The color may turn into a yellow hue. Gradually the guitar can become a topic of jokes compared to the new one for the average guitar player. The whole appearance will start to change over time.

What type of spruce it is, will help your guitar to produce a very broad and wide-range sound. Spruce produces a powerful tone with little overtone which will result in a sound without any complications. The produced sound is suitable for every different playing style. Though spruce will be played strongly without decreasing the clarity of the produced sound it can have failings of features when you will play your guitar in a soft mood. This is an absolute truth about the Sitka. 

Now I will look into Engelmann. This wood is lighter and more flexible. This provides a more deep sound. In comparison with Sitka, this produces a harder sound. 

Next, Adirondack is the most ideal top wood though it is too costly and may lack brightness in the grain and color. You can get this wood within your budget.

Spruce soundboards are undoubtedly the best choice for all players who play with one instrument with a variety of styles. Engelmann is the choice of players who like to play with a light touch and Adirondack is for hard sound. 

2. Cedar

Cedar is used traditionally on classical guitars. Cedar is much darker in comparison with spruce It is a little bit less dense than spruce. It helps to produce a warmer sound and that’s too with a high ratio of overtone to the basic. Cedar produces a clear tone with more unique features. Basically, cedar is quieter than other woods but it loses its quality when it is played hard. Players who value features and warmth are ultimately their choice. 

You should also note that cedar will open up quicker than another designed spruce. However, spruce tops produce rich harmonics with a warm tone even when it’s new.

Cedar may lose its clarity at high volume though it possesses a very wonderful richness of tone. The musicians who love to play with a light touch will love cedar.

3. Mahogany

Mahogany is generally used for the sides and backs of classical guitars. Now, this mahogany is used for the soundboards. Mahogany is rich dark reddish-brown in color. You may find this wood unpolished. Mahogany creates a warm tone. One basic note is this wood will emphasize the basics but mahogany will need significant tuning in. 

4. Maple

As mahogany, maple is generally used for designing backs and sides. There is a difference. Maple wood is light in color, and sometimes the wood is nearly white. Maple is very dense and heavy. This density and that high degree of internal damping will provide brighter sound with high frequencies. Maple allows an excellent note with a separate meaning and each note in the chord will be expressed clearly. Maple top woods are particularly suitable for the classical guitars which are played plugged in on stage or in a public concert.

Backs and Sides

The backs and sides of the classical guitars are usually made from the same wood which is used for the tops. A little bit of difference may be notified. This wood is a must choice because of its capability to eliminate the frequencies which will be produced by the top of the guitar. However,  the backs and sides have a great impact on the tone of the guitar. Whatever it is, the woods should be chosen carefully to get the desired tone.


Rosewood is a popular and a must-have choice for classical guitars. There are two types of Rosewood:

  • Indian rosewood 
  • Brazilian rosewood

The Brazilian rosewood maintains a gorgeous look. In color, it’s dark brown with orange shades. Its striking figure offers an appearance that is more luxurious than the Indian rosewood. If it’s about quality then I must say the Brazilian rosewood is valued highly because of its tone. One thing you have to know that there are some trade restrictions on the Brazilian rosewood, on the other hand, the Indian rosewood is very easy to produce, and obviously, it’s the cheapest option.

Both Brazilian and Indian rosewood are famous for their sparkly notes. A great clarity across the frequencies. The wood offers a metallic sound that is more attractive than the woody tone produced by mahogany and also offers a tight bass projection. Both types of woods produce a very consistent tone and the tone suits a broader range of styles. So the rosewood is sometimes paired with the spruce top which seems like this wood is an all-rounder.


Mahogany is rich dark red in color. You will find mahogany easy to spot. Mahogany wood produces a stylish woody warm tone. It emphasizes the mid-range tone. It pays lower attention to the uttered highs and lows of rosewood. This wood provides a sound that is punchier and darker than the one which is provided by rosewood. 


A very fast-growing African Wood that is highly sustainable. This is somehow similar to mahogany. Sapele is light in weight. Even the low end of Sapele is also the same as mahogany.  It offers a top end which is more sizzling and for the zing. It has become a great choice for the players who are brighter and obviously it is the most perfect material for those who want to use their classical guitar as a multi-purpose guitar.


Maple is famous for its good looks. This dense hardwood produces a superb quality tone. Undoubtedly this wood is the best choice for those who always perform live. Every tuning note is described clearly. Maple wood classical Guitars will produce a loud and bright sound. Maple wood loves to amplify the sound. It doesn’t like to reshape the sound. 

Hawaiian Koa

Koa wood is very limited and obviously, it’s a special edition to the woods needed to construct a classical guitar. Undoubtedly, this wood is a very rare collection. Do you find it costly? Generally, this koa wood is perfect for the ukulele too. It produces a sound that is within mid-range. Koa wood is not for those who love to play with pickups. 


Cocobolo is the material that will make your classical guitar an attractive one. Its origin is Mexican. Cocobolo can suit every different playing style. Cocobolo is the best option for those musicians who always love the bright sound with a high balance. And for sure you won’t find it in Koa or Maple. 

Additional Options

There are various options of woods like Walnut, Macassar, Tasmanian blackwood, Granadillo Macassar, etc. The fact is these woods are harder to find. Walnut is a very beautiful hardwood that offers a bright top end and a mid-range which will fall between the mahogany and the rosewood. It is deeper than koa. This is the best choice for players who love to blend brightness with warm overtones.

Tasmanian blackwood is another version of koa. The tonal range lacks the physical beauty of koa. This wood is produced from sustainable forests and its quality makes this wood an ethical option.

Granadillo is not completely available everywhere. However,  you can compare this wood with that of rosewood. 

Macassar produces a wide dynamic range sound with a very clear and high volume tone and you will love to play it loud.

Solid or Laminated?

Let me tell you, the classical guitars which are generally cheaper than the others are designed with laminated wood, and those which are a little bit costlier are designed with solid wood. 

Laminated woods are shaped with the aid of using fusing layers of inexpensive woods after which including a respectable wooden veneer. This cloth is a great deal inexpensive to apply than strong wood however produces an inferior tone. Laminated woods can even become worse over time. Solid wood is an excellent alternative when you have the price range for it however you must be conscious that strong wood can range significantly in high-satisfactory and the better grades may be used at the extra high-priced devices. If your price range is tight then you can choose a tool with a strong pinnacle and laminated returns and aspects as this is a great compromise.

Wood Chart:

I’m not certain if this has been posted earlier than as a search grew to become up with no references, however, it is interesting. Wood Luthiers agree with the common tonal traits ascribed in the chart below:

Perhaps, if you are Purchasing a factory-made instrument, the place they graph around the ‘average’ products of the wood and construct them all the same. All woods differ a lot: there can be giant variations between two portions of the identical species, and even from the equal tree.

There can additionally be a lot of overlap between species. If you have a Western Red Cedar top in your stash that will nearly precisely suit most of the Woods of a Red spruce top (which is greater like a dense Sitka usually, and no longer on the chart you have). Would these two tops sound ‘alike’ in a matched pair? Almost absolutely not. Would they be greater special than two guitars topped with the ‘the same’ wood? It’s challenging to say. So far you have no longer had any good fortune making ‘identical’ guitars that sound the same.

Of course, if you favor the sound of Brazilian rosewood it helps to begin out with that, or something definitely similar such as Osage orange. “The race is now not usually to the swift, nor the struggle to the strong, however, this is how the clever money goes”. Most of the luthiers I comprehend work ‘to the wood’ and do not pay as much interest to the species when sound and playability are the major concerns. Players are understandably reluctant to spend a lot of cash on an ‘experiment’, and non-traditional woods can be a challenging sell, no matter how nicely they work. 

Final Verdict

Hopefully, you presently have a higher know-how of the to be had alternatives and are beginning to get a concept of which tonewoods might shape your gambling style. Your subsequent step must be to concentrate on as many special devices as you could and, of course, to play guitars long-established from the diverse tonewoods to benefit a higher experience for the outstanding substances to be had. There are a splendid and various series of devices in the London Guitar Studio. I hope my article will help you to choose the best wood for classical guitar.

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