Experienced luthiers & guitar players all pretty much agree that a solid spruce top is usually the best kind of wood for Acoustic Flat Top Guitars & Archtop Jazz Guitars. I have been doing a lot thinking & research regarding employing this wood for electric guitars.
Most large companies like Gibson use a laminated or plywood top on almost all of their guitars. These can never resonate as well as a real piece of solid carved wood. Some companies actually steam press the wood into an archtop. Steam pressing damages the cells in the wood and will adversely effect the tonality of the instrument. In most cases a pressed solid top is OK, but you always want to try to avoid the laminated plywood tops. (See Overpriced Guitars)
The front of the guitar is commonly referred to as the "top of the guitar", When I talk about top-woods I am talking about the slab of wood on the front of the instrument. The wood on the back of the guitar is normally referred to as "the back or back-wood".
It all started when we were recently talking to Ted Nugent about building him something very special in an electric solid body guitar. Uncle Ted was voraciously adamant when he requested an electric guitar with a Korina back and a solid spruce carved top. Ted was interested in a Macassar Ebony neck with a jet black gaboon ebony fretboard (But that's another tech article).
Many solid body guitarists look for a maple top on their guitars. Companies like Gibson, PRS, Hamer, McNaught, Baker, Dean etc have traditionally used Plain, Flamed or Quilted Maple for their top-woods. In my shop I have been offering 42 to 50 different kinds of different top-woods for more than 5 years. We have offered Myrtlewood, Koa, Bubinga, Cocobolo, Sequoia, Zebrawood, Ovangkol, Macassar Ebony, Korina & many other different exotic woods. Now we are also offering solid spruce tops on our Quicksilver, Centurion, & Abstract guitar lines.
Spruce may not be as pretty as some of the exotics. In fact it's kind of boring looking. But we must ask ourselves, Are we looking for looks or are we looking for tone?
As most people know Ted Nugent uses old Byrdland guitars quite a bit. How does Ted get that heavy tone from that guitar? Well first of all remember the Byrdland is thinner than the traditional Jazz Cutaway guitar and I think it's one of the few Gibson guitars that actually employs solid wood in the construction of the top. That's right, The 175, 135, 335,345,355, Herb Ellis, Howard Roberts are all made from 100% plywood (See Overpriced Guitars)
Most every company that makes an Electric slimline guitar uses plywood in the construction. I am not implying that all companies are overpriced rip off's, many of them put a very fair price on their instruments. Hofner, Guild, Benedetto, Gretsch, Washburn, Ibanez, Stromberg, D'Angelico Etc
The only companies I know of that make an all solid slimline are the Robin, Savoy, & The Ribbecke Testadura. The Savoy is really beautiful but I am lucky to get about 3 a year and they sell for slightly more than $3,000.00. The Ribbecke is even nicer but it costs well above $10,000.00 (Currently, I don't carry the Ribbecke Testadura). Jim Triggs makes a very nice one also but if affordability is part of your equation see the guitar below.
Ed Roman is proud to present
the most affordable all solid wood,
solid spruce top slimline double cutaway on the planet
Also Available In Maple & Figured Maple Tops.
Available In 7 Colors
Best of All Its Available with an all Solid Hand Carved Spruce Top. Also available with an all Solid Hand Carved Maple Top. You get a choice of Mahogany or Maple for back s & sides. Ebony fretboards & large MOP block inlays are standard at no extra cost. You can choose almost any bridge on the planet, Tone Pros, Bigsby, Quadmatic, Roll-O-Matic, Hamer Sustainer , Wraparound, Frequensator, Ebony Tailpiece, Brass Tailpiece, Talon Tailpiece etc. Guitars are fully bound including the F Holes at no extra charge, Built In The USA and available totally customized.
You can place the knobs and switches anywhere you want. Gold,
Black or Chrome Hardware, Choose Sperzel Tuners, Grover Tuners, Schaller tuners.
You can Ebony pins, Abalone Pins, MOP Pins. In short you can have this guitar
your way with no compromises.
Contact Ed Roman for one of these fine guitars
Spruce Top Custom Guitar With Figured Maple Back
Eastman, 16" models 17" models & the John Pisano (Absolute Best Bang For The Buck) \
(All Eastman Guitars Are All Completely Solid)
The Heritage Golden Eagle, & Johnny Smith (Questionable quality & unbelievably deplorable customer service but relatively inexpensive)
The Hofner Jazzica & New President (Excellent Quality, Fair Prices)
Gibson Super 400 & The L5 (Get Out Yer Wallet & get out the Vaseline at the same time.)
Jim Triggs R5 Model (Basically the same as an L5 for about 1/2 the price) (Excellent Quality Fairly Priced)
Benedetto Manhattan Model (Occasionally we will have one available) Excellent
Tacoma V Series Jazz Guitars. No longer in production Tacoma was losing money on these only 1 or 2 pieces left call for info.
Of Course We Also Have Many Completely SOLID Maple Tops Also!!!!
Largest Selection Of Jazz Guitars On The
Ed Roman, The Best In The West