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Anders Eliasson

Posts: 5780
Joined: Oct. 18 2006
 

Sitka spruce for flamenco guitars 

Over the years I´ve built a handfull of flamenco guitars using Sitka spruce for the soundboard.
The guitar that stayed with me the longest time (+10 years) had Sitka soundboard. I sold it when I stopped playing the guitar.
Sitka is different. Its hard, pretty heavy and has another feel when flexing it compared to Euro spruce. I think its more flexible and more resistant at the same time. Difficult to explain if you havent had it in your hands.
The one i had develloped some very beautifull singing trebles. and was a joy to play. It also ended up with a very nice deep yellow brown color and Sitka is in my eyes the most beautifull spruce and actually one of the most beautifull woods i know. If its a good quality it has very strong medular rays.

So, i made another one, a 2A which I gave away for 1800,-€
Here´s a video where thankfully, I´m not the player. The guitar is a couple of weeks old and will devellop a lot more over time. It has already grown a good deal.



and a picture:



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Attachment (1)

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 19 2016 21:27:34
 
koenie17

Posts: 438
Joined: Feb. 25 2011
From: España

RE: Sitka spruce for flamenco guitars (in reply to Anders Eliasson

She sounds lovely Anders! The top looks amazing.
I know you're not in to promo vids but I really liked the video.
I know there are many great players in Huelva, so shouldn't be difficult to get someone playing/trying your guitars.
Great job!

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 19 2016 22:07:20
 
constructordeguitarras

Posts: 1496
Joined: Jan. 29 2012
From: Seattle, Washington, USA

RE: Sitka spruce for flamenco guitars (in reply to Anders Eliasson

Sounds great, Anders.

Do you construct the Sitka spruce soundboards the same way you would with other spruce?

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Ethan Deutsch
www.edluthier.com
www.facebook.com/ethandeutschguitars
www.youtube.com/marioamayaflamenco
I always have flamenco guitars available for sale.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 20 2016 1:23:35
 
Anders Eliasson

Posts: 5780
Joined: Oct. 18 2006
 

RE: Sitka spruce for flamenco guitars (in reply to Anders Eliasson

quote:

I know there are many great players in Huelva, so shouldn't be difficult to get someone playing/trying your guitars.

Well, I have no plans on getting anyone besides myself or my clients to play any of my guitars. I could write a long essay about why, but lets just leave it the way it is.

Here you have another photo of the top:



Images are resized automatically to a maximum width of 800px

Attachment (1)

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 20 2016 8:32:08
 
Anders Eliasson

Posts: 5780
Joined: Oct. 18 2006
 

RE: Sitka spruce for flamenco guitars (in reply to constructordeguitarras

quote:

Do you construct the Sitka spruce soundboards the same way you would with other spruce?


Ethan, I dont really know what to say to your question, so here you have three answers :

*Yes, I final thickness it, flex it, weigh it, tap it, humms it, look at it and have a chat with it, just as I do with any soundboard .

* No, I treat all soundboards as individuals and try to find their own little personalities, their own "soft spot" where it´ll sing

* I have made at least a handfull of guitars with the following Spruce soundboard materials: European Alpine Spruce, Engelmann Spruce, Caucassian Spruce (version of Euro spruce) and Sitka.
Of the 4, Sitka is the least generic and has to be spoken to in its own language. It comes closest to the Caucassian which is also a bit heavyer than Euro, but its feel is different when final thickness has been found. Its very difficult to put words on. Sorry.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 20 2016 8:50:28
 
Vince

Posts: 141
Joined: Oct. 21 2012
From: Germany

RE: Sitka spruce for flamenco guitars (in reply to Anders Eliasson

I have made one flamenco guitar with Sitka spruce.
I love the lock of the wood too, especially with a darker/yellow FP Finish.
The sound is in my opinion more like a cedar top than an Engelmann or German Spruce top.
Top thickness is the same or a little bit thinner than a moderate stiff German Spruce top.



Images are resized automatically to a maximum width of 800px

Attachment (1)

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Vince
http://www.gitarrenbau-held.de/
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 20 2016 14:55:45
 
Dave White

 

Posts: 36
Joined: Feb. 29 2016
From: Buckinghamshire, UK

RE: Sitka spruce for flamenco guitars (in reply to Anders Eliasson

Anders,

The guitar sounds lovely !!

Have you ever tried Lutz spruce? It's a natural hybrid of Sitka and White spruce (occasionally at higher elevations Sitka x Engelmann) that grows in British Colombia, Canada. It has the "harder" feel and colour of Sitka but also feels and behaves a lot like European spruce too - very light weight and stiff. It would make a fine flamenco guitar.

Did you mean Caucasian spruce in your post above or the wood known in the trade as "Carpathian spruce"? I thought there were two native European spruces Picea abies , or European spruce with the numerous Swiss, German, Italian etc labels of which Carpathian spruce is also a variant, and Picea orientalis or Caucasian spruce.

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Dave White
De Faoite Stringed Instruments
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 20 2016 17:14:21
 
ngiorgio

 

Posts: 168
Joined: Nov. 1 2005
From: Florida, USA

RE: Sitka spruce for flamenco guitars (in reply to Anders Eliasson

Anders, is that Antonio Cobra playing the guitar?

Hard to tell from a video but for a blanca, it seems to have more color to its tone, especially for a green instrument. It sounds really nice.

I have previously owned a Sitka spruce top blanca and the tone of that guitar was very warm.

Anyway, nice job on that one, whoever bought it got a nice deal.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 20 2016 17:29:40
 
Anders Eliasson

Posts: 5780
Joined: Oct. 18 2006
 

RE: Sitka spruce for flamenco guitars (in reply to Anders Eliasson

Yes, its Antonio Cobra playing the Minera. He´s the happy owner of the guitar. The guitar has a very big range of tones. Its very big sounding and it suits the player very well. I expect it to devellop more even stronger and singy trebles. At the same time, its a very fast reacting guitar with short sustain if you push it. Its very good for jerez style as well.

I meant Caucassian Spruce (from Kaukasus) Its a very nice soundboard material, slightly harder and heavyer than Alpine Euro spruce. It also has to be worked on its own premisses and can be worked very thin while maintaining stiffness cross grain. That is good if you remember to control the stiffness along the grain.

I havent tried Lutz and doubt I will. If its available where I normally buy woods, I would maybe give it a try, but I try to keep down the diversity of woods that I work with.

The thickness of this Sitka spruce top is some 2.1mm in the center and a little bit thinner towards the edges. (not much)

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 20 2016 19:23:08
 
Cervantes

 

Posts: 480
Joined: Jun. 14 2014
From: Encinitas, CA USA

RE: Sitka spruce for flamenco guitars (in reply to Anders Eliasson

I knew that Antonio had paid you a visit and when I saw the video I thought that might be him just looking at his hands.
He had very good things to say about Ander's guitars which says a lot coming from a player of his caliber who already has a Carrillo, Bernabe and Jose Rodriguez.

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Ah well, there was a fantastic passion there, in my case anyway. I discovered flamenco
very early on. It grips you in a way that you can't get away - Paco Pena
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 20 2016 20:19:03
 
ngiorgio

 

Posts: 168
Joined: Nov. 1 2005
From: Florida, USA

RE: Sitka spruce for flamenco guitars (in reply to Anders Eliasson

I enjoy Antonio's playing. He is a very versatile guitarist. I especially like his versions of Brazilian composers such as Jobim.

I will be looking on YouTube for some new performances of AC using your guitar.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 20 2016 20:19:07
 
Anders Eliasson

Posts: 5780
Joined: Oct. 18 2006
 

RE: Sitka spruce for flamenco guitars (in reply to Anders Eliasson

I am building another one for him at the moment. More about that in the near future.
I agree that he´s a very interesting guitarists and with a very deep way or interpreting what he plays.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 20 2016 21:19:41
 
TANúñez

Posts: 2547
Joined: Jul. 10 2003
From: TEXAS

RE: Sitka spruce for flamenco guitars (in reply to Anders Eliasson

My first few guitars were Sitka and I really like this wood.

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Tom Núñez
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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 3 2016 14:53:05
 
tijeretamiel

 

Posts: 438
Joined: Jan. 6 2012
 

RE: Sitka spruce for flamenco guitars (in reply to Anders Eliasson

Superb work Anders. That might be one of my favourite guitars of yours I have heard. Really sweet lyrical trebles. Lovely stuff.

When it comes to spruce soundboard guitars, IMO the heavier the spruce the more time it takes to 'break in' for the guitars I have owned. I have a Red Spruce/Adirondack steel string which I really didn't like the sound of for the first year or so, but it's getting better - still not quite there though. Sitka IMO takes a while to 'break in' and I imagine after a year or two of heavy play the Sitka flamenco above will sound even better.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 3 2016 22:59:27
 
Anders Eliasson

Posts: 5780
Joined: Oct. 18 2006
 

RE: Sitka spruce for flamenco guitars (in reply to Anders Eliasson

One of the first guitars that I built was a Sitka blanca. It had a few visual "issues" but played really well, so it stayed with me for 11 years and it was my "swing around guitar" and was played often. Every day in periods.
I sounded good right out of the box, slowly develloped and after some 5 - 6 years it had develloped some of the nicest trebles that I have ever heard on a flamenco and at the same time the soundboard color had turned into a really pretty natural amber.
The owner of this one says its the best flamenco he has tried (and its only a little more than a month old) and he has a couple of guitars that cost him 2 - 3 times more. Hopefully I can stop making 2A guitars one day.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 4 2016 7:09:51
 
Cervantes

 

Posts: 480
Joined: Jun. 14 2014
From: Encinitas, CA USA

RE: Sitka spruce for flamenco guitars (in reply to Anders Eliasson

Is there a way to identify what kind spruce is on a guitar by looking at it or any other means?

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Ah well, there was a fantastic passion there, in my case anyway. I discovered flamenco
very early on. It grips you in a way that you can't get away - Paco Pena
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 5 2016 15:19:19
 
Sr. Martins

Posts: 3075
Joined: Apr. 4 2011
 

RE: Sitka spruce for flamenco guitars (in reply to Anders Eliasson

Is that Cobra?

(Ok, now I remembered to open in youtube.. answered my own question )

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 5 2016 15:36:58
 
Anders Eliasson

Posts: 5780
Joined: Oct. 18 2006
 

RE: Sitka spruce for flamenco guitars (in reply to Cervantes

quote:

Is there a way to identify what kind spruce is on a guitar by looking at it or any other means?


Sitka is normally easy to identify because it looks different. It also feels different in the hands both in bending and surface feel. On other spruces can be very hard to identify the exact specimen.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 5 2016 16:35:52
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