Tonewoods are harvested all around the world and each has distinct properties that luthiers will choose to affect sound, cosmetics and price. Here is a list of the woods that Alvarez uses, along with the benefits of each:
SITKA SPRUCE – By far, Sitka Spruce has become the most popular top wood in the world. It’s a fantastic all round material, and valued among luthiers for its elasticity, response and its ability to deliver great sound no matter what the playing style. It also looks beautiful when finished correctly, and has a very natural and timeless aesthetic.
WESTERN RED CEDAR – One of the softer top woods, Cedar responds with more vibration than Spruce, which is a great benefit to gentler styles like fingerpicking. Cedar will deliver more projection for quiet players, but the trade-off is overall volume. Players that really like to dig in will find other top woods projecting more, but if you’re an intimate player that enjoys warm, soft tones, this is a great wood for you. Cedar has a wonderful, deep and natural look that can vary in color from dark, reddish browns to blonde.
MAHOGANY – Another popular top wood is Mahogany, which is incredibly strong and dense, translating into a very responsive, tonally bright soundscape. Players will notice a lot of sparkle in the high end, a subtle and fun difference in the flavor that a lot of blues and folk players prefer. Mahogany is another natural beauty with a striking reddish brown or chocolate aesthetic.
BACKS & SIDES
ROSEWOOD – One of the most popular body woods, Rosewood has a great tonal range from deep lows to shimmering trebles, and can benefit any player’s style. It has wonderful color and grain, enhanced by its dark, reddish hue.
ACACIA – Wonderful color, grain and tone. Like Mahogany, its density gives it a brightness that many fingerstylists and folk players love, with deep low end tones and bright highs.
MAPLE – It’s a very hard wood with excellent tonal properties, often valued for its sustain. We use this wood in our Jumbo for this very purpose, so you not only have a guitar with great punch and projection, but tones that really soar and can hang extended in a sonic space.
MAHOGANY – Another popular body wood is Mahogany. It’s a fantastic all round material, which is why it’s used in our tops as well. As a body wood, Mahogany lends itself to great mids and bright tone. It is again valued by blues, folk and fingerstyle players, and can be recognized by its wonderful, chocolate color.