Specialty Woods

Since the mid '70s, I have been searching out and stockpiling fine instrument woods; some of it has been aging for 20 years. I cut wood to my own specifications from the logs I bring home. I have exceptional figured maple available for special guitars, and use figured wood even on my less expensive instruments.

Adirondack (American Red) Spruce

I have been using Adirondack spruce for guitar tops since 1993. This is the strongest spruce available, and many builders consider it the best-sounding. Dana Bourgeois, in an article comparing spruces in Acoustic Guitar, called red spruce "the Holy Grail of spruces." Martin and Gibson used it until it became scarce in the early 1940s. I have found a source of logs from old trees, so I have many years' supply. I know of only a few other high end archtop makers who are using red spruce, some of them purchase thier red spruce from me; there is very little available in the width and thickness necessary to carve archtops, although some flat-top makers are using it. And red spruce is not red - in fact, it is whiter than Sitka spruce, which I also have available.

In 1976, I bought a large quantity of Gaboon ebony, which doesn't have the brown streaks of much of today's wood. I have a good stack of Brazilian and Indian rosewood purchased the same year, which I use to make flat-tops and classical guitars. And I have beautiful highly-figured walnut from California, for those who want something a little different in archtops and flat-tops.

- Carl Barney

Fine Handcrafted Guitars since 1968

Return to previous page