jungjaesung wrote: ↑
Sat Sep 12, 2015 5:18 am
Hi! I am curious on how spruce and cedar were chosen by the earliest builders to make guitar tops. A friend of mine has this funny idea that the Spanish says 'If it is not a cedar, it is not a guitar' and he believes it to be a fact but I kind of think that it is the other way around because all of the earliest guitars all had spruce tops. Torres exclusively built spruce tops and he practically invented the guitar. So I am just asking the community who can shed some light on the earlier stages of guitar building also when and who introduced the first cedar tops. it is very interesting to know.
In the early 1990's, Jerry Roberts generously sent me one of the proto-type cedar tops that had been taken off of a Ramirez 1a - he said the top was from 1964. I was under the impression that that was the first use of Cedar tops on good classical guitars. Were the German guitars classicals? I don't know when Cedar tops went into regular use by Ramirez. As I recall (I have some pictures, somewhere of that top) it was very close to the bracing pattern of the late 1960's and early 1970's. So Ramirez must have been satisfied with that early try. The apertures in the cross-braces were only on the treble side. I've seen some Ramirez guitars that had apertures on both treble and bass sides of each brace. It had what appeared to be the original finish on it, and the wood was very thin. I cannot recall exactly, but I seem to remember that it was on the order of 0.64" at the edges. Somewhere, I have a drawing of the top and complete measurements. I recall that it wasn't a particularly nice looking top.
One more thought, while I don't know enough to even disagree about whether Torres used spruce exclusively, I have some cedar tops that could pass as Sitka, and some Port Orford Cedar (entirely different type of wood) which could pass as Englemann. Also, I think it was Brune who identified the top of the guitar that Alice Artzt had and for a time was believed to be the La Leona guitar has being Larch. Brune, or Romanillos opined that it was made in Argentina, in the 1930s. Up to that point, I would imagine everyone simply believed it to be spruce. But the consensus seems to be that it is a very good sounding guitar, even if Torres did not make it.