The soundboard is arguably the most important part of any stringed instrument. It’s the soundboard that turns the quiet vibration of strings into the tones we hear. Whether you choose Sitka for its bright punchy tone, Engelman for its smooth, even response or German spruce or western red cedar for traditional classical tone, it is the top that gives a guitar its overall character.
Soundboards are graded by grain pattern and colour. Tops with tight, straight, even grain and colour are graded higher than wider grained tops that may show variations in color or have curving grain lines. While there is no denying the appeal of a great AAA top it is worth remembering that many very good sounding guitars have tops with wide grain. We’ve seen some truly great guitars with “B” grade tops.