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Old 10-13-2014, 08:50 PM
Twilo123 Twilo123 is offline
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Default Solid Canadian Cedar Top; Mahogany Back/Sides - Tone?

what kind of tone might i expect from Solid Canadian Cedar Top; Mahogany Back/Sides. Just general information. i know that is only a starting point for sound. just curious as to what that mixture might produce. solid only on the top. is Canadian cedar a special cedar or is it just the most common right now.
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Old 10-14-2014, 04:02 AM
Penrith Pete Penrith Pete is offline
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Hi Twilo123

well, I think a lot of Cedar used is Canadian Red Cedar to be honest. I might be wrong...

I think there is a massive range of possible tones for such a guitar depending on body size and build of course but...

... the words that come to my mind are dry, mid-rangy and woody. Try looking at, for example, a Walden G2070 on Youtube and I hear some of that in there.

There are some Lowden guitars with this combination that are canons!

I don't necessarily find it to be the most versatile combination if I am really honest but on its day it is magnificent.

Try listening to anything off Penguin Eggs by Nic Jones - my favourite guitar tone to listen to bar none! I am pretty sure that this was played with a Fylde of that combination of woods, tuned down to B flat open chords and using medium gauge strings or heavier. Just magnificent. Listen to that spit and sizzle! Helps being a rather marvelous player of course!

I think this combination frequently lends itself to alternative / lowered tunings

All the best

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Old 10-14-2014, 06:34 AM
Judson Judson is offline
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My Seagull Artist Mosaic has that wood combination. It is warm, subtle, responsive ... but doesn't react well to being pushed hard. I don't know if the cedar (sourced in Canada) is special in any way or if it's just from a tree that happened to grow north of the border.
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Old 10-14-2014, 06:45 AM
MBE MBE is offline
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The cedar used for tops is usually red cedar, of which there is no difference between the trees on each side of the Canada/US border. I hear the Canadian ones are more polite sounding, though.

Joking aside, woods are but one part of guitar's tone. If you're unfamiliar with cedar as a tonewood, you're probably unfamiliar with the way most of us would describe it, such as "faster transient", and "more compression". Hearing is believing - you should really go test some guitars out to see for yourself. I love cedar, but many don't.
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Old 10-14-2014, 08:22 AM
Jim Jim is offline
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The term Canadian Cedar is meaningless. What you need to ask is what is the botanical name which will be the genus and species. I would assume it is Thuja plicata but you would not know for sure unless you get the manufacturer to tell you what they are actually using. Thuja plicata is the botanical name for what most people call Western Red Cedar, even though it is not an actual cedar - it is a cypress. It is a softer and less stiff wood than Picea sitchensis - commonly called Sitka spruce - which is the most popular top wood these days. Thuja plicata gives a warmer tone than Sitka which is a pro, but the equal con is that it does not give you the clarity, separation of notes and the same treble component that Sitka gives. It is also not going to be able to take hard strumming as well as Sitka can. It is all a personal preference and there are big fans of both. This is a gross generalization of course. Another major factor in tone is the quality of the wood used on the top. You can get cheap Thuja plicata or Picea sitchensis or whatever to keep the cost of a guitar affordable and it will not sound as good as the choicest high end wood of the same species. For example, Larrivee picks out only the small fraction of top one percent of the best tonewood Sitka they get and let other makers buy the lesser quality wood. You pay more for a Larrivee than you do for budget maker guitars but you get what you pay for.

As for the mahogany back and sides, the way you worded this it sounds like you were copying out of the manufacturer's official description of the guitar. If that is the case, then the back and sides are not actually mahogany - they are laminated wood with a decorative veneer of actual mahogany on the top. Makers of affordable priced guitars deliberately use deceptive advertising when they say something like solid cedar top, mahogany back and sides. The word solid applies only to the first wood named or cedar in this case. Everything that follows that does not also include the word solid before it means it is plywood with the name of the wood mentioned being a decorative veneer. This allows their guitars to be made at much lower costs than all solid wood ones and that makes them able to sell at an affordable price. In such cases the decoration will have no impact on tone - all of your tone will come from the top, plus the shape and construction techniques of the guitar and you could have any kind of decorative veneer you like on back and sides and the sound would be the same.

If you want a guitar that gets part of its tone from mahogany to get that mahogany sound everyone knows, then you will need to make sure the manufacturer says solid cedar top, solid mahogany back and sides.

One other point, a maker can also lower the price of their guitar by using lower grade tonewoods. So a maker can use solid mahogany, for example, but they can buy it inexpensively if it is not the highest quality and so they can make an all solid wood guitar for much less than you see the big name high end guitar makers' guitars. Again, you get what you pay for.
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Old 10-14-2014, 08:43 AM
scottishrogue scottishrogue is offline
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Cool Solid Canadian cedar top, mahogany b/s - tone?

I have several guitars with solid cedar soundboards, with b/s of solid rosewood, laminated rosewood, laminated mahogany and laminated wild cherry. While I get great tone from all (all classical guitars w/nylon strings), I agree that the solid b/s sounds better to my ear. But I attribute that to many other factors that affect tone, such as bracing, thickness of the soundboard and the quality of strings one uses

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