List of Red Spruce Top Acoustic Guitars
Gibson Acoustic Series
Gibson has a lot of red top Spruce acoustic guitars. However, as you would expect from most Gibson instruments, they're very expensive. Red Spruce is also not as commonly used (we normally see Sitka Spruce), so there's some rarity here that adds to the cost.
This is a simple roundup and curation of Red Spruce top acoustic guitars.
Note that we've also included Adirondack Spruce, since they are a very similar tonewood and often used interchangeably. I'll add some more info about the difference between those two below this list.
If you're looking for the red color, the Gibson acoustic guitars are your best bet, since they have that darker shade. Breedlove and Martin use Adirondack Spruce for the most part, which will have a more natural acoustic color, unless a stain or gloss is used to darken it.
Read more: Best acoustic guitars
In general, red Spruce is a stiffer wood, and produces a very powerful, tight, and resonant response. Your options are listed below. Feel free to mention additions that I might have missed, via the comments section below.
Roundup of 15 Red Spruce top Acoustic Guitars
- Gibson Acoustic 1942 Banner J-45
- Gibson Acoustic Pre-War SJ-200
- Gibson Acoustic 1960 Hummingbird
- Gibson Acoustic 1942 Banner J-45 Murphy Lab
- Gibson Acoustic 1939 J-55
- Gibson Acoustic 1936 J-35
- Martin 000-16 StreetMaster
- Martin 28 Style Herringbone
- Martin 28 Style Herringbone 000
- Breedlove Legacy Concerto CE
- Breedlove Premier Concertina CE
- Breedlove Premier Concerto CE
- Breedlove Premier Concert CE
- Breedlove Legacy Concertina CE
- Martin D-35 David Gilmour Custom Signature Edition
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Some guitars will have different tonewood "recipes" for guitars in the same series. Make sure you pay attention to the specs sheet.
Differences between Adirondack and Red Spruce
Adirondack spruce and red spruce are not technically the same type of wood, but they are closely related species of Spruce that are often used interchangeably in the construction of musical instruments, especially acoustic guitars.
Adirondack spruce, also known as Eastern Red Spruce or Appalachian Spruce, is a species of Spruce native to the northeastern United States and eastern Canada. It's often used as a top wood in the construction of acoustic guitars, violins, and other stringed instruments. Adirondack Spruce is known for an excellent stiffness-to-weight ratio, which produces a clear, resonant, and powerful tone.
Red spruce is the same species as Adirondack spruce (Picea rubens), hence the terms "red Spruce" and "Adirondack Spruce" are often used interchangeably in the context of instrument making. These red Spruce trees grow in the Adirondack region of New York, though there are a lot of red Spruce trees harvested that are no in the Adirondacks. So if you always say "red Spruce" you'll never be wrong, whereas "Adirondack Spruce" is often used as an alternative name for red Spruce.
To summarize, the difference is - at best - subtle and more so an issue of naming convention. Even the suggested geography isn't always accurate.
I'd recommend viewing them as essentially the same thing.
Tone Quality of Red Spruce
The stiffness of red Spruce produces a lot of clarity and volume. Depending on the size/body type of the guitar, you might have a more balanced instrument, particularly if it's a dreadnaught combined with the red Spruce top, like the Gibson acoustics in our list.
But to my ear, it's almost always bright.
You're also paying some extra for red Spruce because it's more rare than something like Sitka Spruce.
But you'll get a lot of projection with red Spruce - perhaps making it a good acoustic for mic'ing on stage or in the studio.
Do you know of any red Spruce top acoustic guitars that we've missed?
If so, drop them in the comments section and we'll take a look.
If it's a good fit, we'll add to the list and credit you with an update at the top of this page. Thanks for trusting our content hanging out.