Western Red Cedar Tonewoods
Guitars have been one of the most used musical instruments in the world ever since their creation. In recent guitar building history, luthiers have experimented with a wide variety of woods as alternatives to the standard tonewoods which have been used for generations. Red Cedar has emerged as one of the important and interesting top tone woods for players looking for a specific sound.
About the Wood
The origin of the wood is Western North America, where they can be found growing with a variety of other species in mature forests. Its latin name is thuja plicata and it belongs to the mahogany family. Some traces of the tree are also found in Afghanistan, Australia, and Papua New Guinea. Other species that also go by the name Red Cedar include the Indian cedar, Australian red cedar, Burma cedar, Moulmein cedar, and Queensland red cedar. Some people know it by the name “Indian Mahogany.”
Why It’s Great for Guitar Building
Typically, cedar is a less dense wood compared to spruce. It is soft, but this feature allows it to have unique sonic warmth. Sitka wood has a dynamic range, but cedar tends to make tones with a sweet, extended harmonic.
For musicians who play the a variety of instrument, or are looking for a very specific tone offered by cedar, guitars made with this tonewood can offer a nice alternative to the spruces and other top tonewoods. This tonewood produces wonderful tones with a light touch, therefore it’s great for fingerstyle playing. If you are a fingerstyle player, then you will love the way this guitar amplifies the sound and tone.
This tonewood usually has a reddish and/or brown color, which makes the guitars very attractive. The color can range from very darker to much lighter in tone, so you have a wide variety of aesthetic options to choose from. This tonewood has a smooth textured surface that looks even more lustrous after finishing.
It is resistant to decay and moisture, which makes the guitar ideal for people who live in humid areas. Moreover, it is light and therefore much easier on the player as compared to heavier tonewoods. Red Cedar works very well with mahogany, rosewood, and other tonewoods, which allows luthiers a variety of tonewood combinations to work with.