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  #1  
Old 02-24-2009, 03:49 PM
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rlgph rlgph is offline
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Default Blue Spruce?

I have a parlor guitar with a blue spruce top. I've not heard of this species being used on other guitars. Is it because the trees are not usually large enough, or is blue spruce generally inferior tone-wise to sitka, engleman, norway, adi, etc?
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Old 02-24-2009, 03:59 PM
Jeff M Jeff M is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rlgph View Post
I have a parlor guitar with a blue spruce top. I've not heard of this species being used on other guitars. Is it because the trees are not usually large enough, or is blue spruce generally inferior tone-wise to sitka, engleman, norway, adi, etc?
Yes.
Overlapping bell curves of tone.
BTW, "Norway spruce" is the same as what some folks call "German", "Italian", "European", "Swiss" spruce.
It still all "Picea abies"...ie, all the same species.

An article on the topic;
http://www.lutherie.net/eurospruce.html
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Old 02-24-2009, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Jeff M View Post
Yes.
Overlapping bell curves of tone.
BTW, "Norway spruce" is the same as what some folks call "German", "Italian", "European", "Swiss" spruce.
It still all "Picea abies"...ie, all the same species.

An article on the topic;
http://www.lutherie.net/eurospruce.html
I assume that is "yes" to both questions?

I'm aware of that, so i didn't list all those other names. Here in Asheville it is fairly common (obviously introduced), and called norway spruce.
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Old 02-24-2009, 04:38 PM
jeremy3220 jeremy3220 is offline
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Blue Spruce is Picea pungens not abies. They sell them in the US as Christmas trees, I don't know if it grows in Europe or not. I'd also be interested if it grows big enough for guitars and how it compares tonewise to the others.
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Old 02-24-2009, 04:55 PM
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Martin_Nut Martin_Nut is offline
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I've heard it sounds pretty good on this one, which Mike Baranik tells me uses "Colorado blue spruce" (pic is his "black and blue" guitar - check his website for further details):
BTW - JEFF M. thanks for the link to the spruce article, fascinating stuff!
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Old 02-24-2009, 05:41 PM
Jeff M Jeff M is offline
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Originally Posted by Martin_Nut View Post
I've heard it sounds pretty good on this one, which Mike Baranik tells me uses "Colorado blue spruce" (pic is his "black and blue" guitar - check his website for further details):
BTW - JEFF M. thanks for the link to the spruce article, fascinating stuff!
Sure thing.
There was a LONG and heated debate about the tonal qualities of "German Spruce" over at the Acoustic Guitar Forum several years back,some folks weighing in on the subtle differences between German Spruce, Italian, European, etc. etc. etc.

Paul Hostettler, luthier, stringed instrument repair professional, weighed in and posted the link to his article.
I also love the story about how a German wood wholesaler was caught selling Engelmann Spruce harvested in North America as "German Spruce", importing the wood to Germany and then re-selling it back with the different name.
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Old 02-24-2009, 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by rlgph View Post
I assume that is "yes" to both questions?
Depends.
What is the actual species of spruce you are referring to?
The whole problem with colloquial names is people can be referring to different species under the same name (see the different species of wood referred to as "Brazilian" or "Madagasscar Rosewood" for an example)...or, as shown with the whole Picea albia scenario, giving different names to the same species of wood.

If it is actually the same species as "Norway spruce", ie Picea albia, then it has the ability to have the same characteristics/quality as that species.
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Old 02-24-2009, 06:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff M View Post
Depends.
What is the actual species of spruce you are referring to?
The whole problem with colloquial names is people can be referring to different species under the same name (see the different species of wood referred to as "Brazilian" or "Madagasscar Rosewood" for an example)...or, as shown with the whole Picea albia scenario, giving different names to the same species of wood.

If it is actually the same species as "Norway spruce", ie Picea albia, then it has the ability to have the same characteristics/quality as that species.
No, it is blue spruce, which, which according to jeremy3220, is Picea pungens. Also know as Colorado blue spruce, the state tree of Colorado as i recall.
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Old 02-24-2009, 06:24 PM
Jeff M Jeff M is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rlgph View Post
No, it is blue spruce, which, which according to jeremy3220, is Picea pungens. Also know as Colorado blue spruce, the state tree of Colorado as i recall.
With that clarified, I have no experience with it.
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Old 02-24-2009, 06:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin_Nut View Post
I've heard it sounds pretty good on this one, which Mike Baranik tells me uses "Colorado blue spruce" (pic is his "black and blue" guitar - check his website for further details):
Thanks for the reference.
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Old 02-24-2009, 08:30 PM
John Arnold John Arnold is offline
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The only person I know who has cut Colorado blue spruce for guitars is Don Musser. Stew Mac offered blue spruce guitar tops for a short period. It is very similar to Engelmann, and Bruce Harvie has said in the past that blue spruce has often been cut and marketed as Engelmann. It has a much smaller range than Engelmann, but is widely planted in yards. Just like red spruce, the name comes from the outward appearance of the tree, not the wood itself.
Here is a seller on Ebay who is cutting blue spruce for archtop instruments:
http://stores.ebay.com/Simeon-Chambe...QQftidZ2QQtZkm
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Old 02-25-2009, 02:11 PM
12Stringer 12Stringer is offline
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I did not know that blue spruce could be used as a guitar top, I've always liked Sitka spruce. But, now I have a Large Tonewood tree growing in my back yard
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Old 02-25-2009, 11:09 PM
Marc Durso Marc Durso is offline
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I commissioned a lovely guitar by noted solo builder Harvey Leach with a Blue Spruce top/walnut b&S years ago.

http://www.leachguitars.com/
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Old 02-26-2009, 01:03 AM
pakhan pakhan is offline
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There is only one blue spruce I know of: Picea pungens. Picea Abies does not sell under 'blue spruce'

John Arnold beat me to the punch again- Don Musser is the main source of instrument blue spruce

Interestingly there is also a Black spruce...


Terence
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Old 02-26-2009, 06:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pakhan View Post
There is only one blue spruce I know of: Picea pungens. Picea Abies does not sell under 'blue spruce'

Terence
I think we're all in agreement there. The discussions about Picea abies were off on a tangent.

In any case, only a couple of people addressed my question about why blue spruce is so seldom used for guitar tops. My guess from these comments is that the following are the reasons, in order of importance:

1. Its range is much smaller than sitka or englemann, so it is less common.

2. The trees typically don't get as large.

3. The tone is not significantly better than more common species, and maybe is actually worse?

4. Tradition argues against it.

Last edited by rlgph; 02-26-2009 at 09:30 AM.
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