Some beginners who want to learn guitar with a classical guitar may get hung-up on the materials of guitar top. The top of an acoustic guitar contributes most to the tone. Some cheap guitar use laminate top and the sound in my opinion is not as good as solid top. If possible, don’t buy laminate top guitar.
For entry level acoustic guitars, the most common materials of top are cedar and spruce. So which is better? Cedar is considered better for classical guitars because the cedar top guitar sounds warmer than spruce top. This warm and mellow tone is great for classical guitar.
Another reason is that there are different kinds of spruce. The best one is European spruce which is very expensive and is mostly used on premium models. Good quality cedar is cheaper and easy to get. Sitka is also good quality spruce but much cheaper and is often used on entry level acoustic guitars.
The sound of cedar top guitar is said to open quickly. That is the cedar top guitar will in best condition after being made. Spruce top guitar will sound better and better as time goes by. Some acoustic guitar models use both cedar and spruce to give buyers more option. The ears of guitar buyers are different and their perceptions of tone are also very subjective. It is hard to say which is better and all depends on your preference.
As to back and side, they contribute to the tone of acoustic guitar but are not as important as the top. All wood featured guitars are great but solid back and side also increases the costs. Most entry level guitar use laminate back and side which is consider much stronger and less sensitive to change of humidity and temperature.
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