Sitka Spruce

Sitka Spruce (Picea stitchensis) comes from Alaska and western Canada. Its color ranges from white to pink although some examples may be light brown. Sitka usually ages to a warm golden color. It shows more variation between earlywood and latewood than other spruces giving some tops a candy-stripe appearance. Usually exhibits fairly strong medullary silking (an attractive cross-grain pattern caused by cells that radiate out from the center of the tree). Extreme examples are called bear-claw, because it looks like a bear clawed across the grain.

Sitka has one of the highest stiffness-to-weight ratios of any wood in the world. Unfortunately, it is rather sensitive to changes in humidity.

Sitka is the most common choice for guitar soundboards because it is reasonably priced and very versatile. It has a good balance between the bass, midrange and treble. It may tend to be stronger in the bass than the treble, especially in large guitars. Sitka has a strong fundamental with light overtones giving it a strong metallic bite. Sitka gives good volume for fingerstyle playing but it doesn't break up when picked hard. When picked or strummed hard, it has a powerful sound that is excellent for blues or bluegrass.