“Dear Sir,
A few months ago I placed my first order with you and built my very first guitar. Ovangkol back and sides with sitka top.
I have been a craftsman for a number of years, rebuilding antique pianos, including making new soundboards and bridges, and decided to try my hand at guitars after buying a Taylor 814ce.
The results of my first attempt were surprising, to me and to others. Since I'm a bit "old-school" I built it entirey by hand, no table saw, router, joiner etc. (I did use a driss press!). I have already received requests for custom made guitars, and from a store interested in selling them.
It really helped to find quality supplies, all in one place, so I could start this experiment - which may just turn out to be my next and final career.
Many Thanks.
ps. I have just placed a second order so I can start making a few more......”

- Jon Ballard

Adirondack (Red) Spruce


See an Adirondack Red Spruce top, and
David Grier playing a Jim Hay's guitar.

Adirondack Spruce was used for the tops on many of the great pre-war American guitars. Many guitarmakers today believe that this wood is a significant contributing factor to the strong, clear tone of those vintage/collectible instruments. In the last ten to twenty years there has been a resurgence of its use by many hand builders and factories, in an effort to capture that vintage sound. Unfortunately, these guitarmakers have found that the quality and useable sizes of this greatly desired tonewood to be very limited.

Finding available logs that will yield full dreadnought sizes in a quality similar to the Sitka and Engelmann Spruce available today is virtually impossible. True Master Grade tops are only rarely found by the cutters, in fact they are so rare that we no longer carry them. Our WAAAJ and WAAA tops are exemplary Adirondack tops and represent only a very small percentage of Adirondack Spruce being cut, hence the higher price. The cosmetic quality of the AAA is not quite equal to Engelmann and Sitka Spruce at the AAA grade.

Some Adirondack tops will exhibit subtle bearclaw-like figure. Please let us know if prefer not to see this figuring in the top you order. You can use write this request into the “special instructions” box on the checkout page.

In general, the visual/cosmetic quality in use today by the best builders and high end factories (typically the double A tops, WAAAJ and WAAA) has more grain and color variation than either good Sitka or Engelmann Spruce - but that variation has been accepted in acquiring and working with this fine, great sounding wood.

Please note: The first ‘A’ in  the product codes below stands for ‘Adirondack’ and the other A’s designate the grade, so a WAAAJ top is a double A grade top, etc.

Tops Dimensions
Wood Grading article
Soundboard quality terms

SKU Product Name In Stock Each  
WAAAACL Top, Adirondack Spruce, AAA grade, classical
Yes $160.20
WAAAAJ Top, Adirondack Spruce, AAA grade, dreadnought Yes $167.20
WAAAJ Top, Adirondack Spruce, AA grade, dreadnought Yes $89.50
WAAA Top, Adirondack Spruce, AA grade, OM/classical Yes $87.30
WAAJ Top, Adirondack Spruce, A grade, dreadnought Yes $72.25
WAA Top, Adirondack Spruce, A grade, OM/classical Yes $59.95