Spanish Cedar

“Spanish Cedar is a tonewood that, after years and years of making guitars of, I’ve learned to love and hate. Hate – for the stinging fumes and resins that burn my router bits and for the scarce availability, always a struggle to find it. Love – for the rich aromatic odor that fills my workshop, smooth workability, light weight and above all, the divine tone.”

– Juha Ruokangas

The genuine honduran mahogany, used by Gibson in the 50’s, hasn’t been commercially available in a long time. If you’ve ever played a genuine vintage 1959 Les Paul, you know the difference between old and new. The real honduran weighs half of the mahogany used nowadays and sounds amazing! Did you know the tradename honduran mahogany is still in use, though the wood does not really from Honduras?

Many of us think – the heavier the better – but that’s just not true. A heavy mahogany guitar does hold sustain, but the body tone is weak and unresponsive. Manufacturers have solved the weight problem by making the body thinner or drilling holes in it. This is not, however, the same thing as having a thick solid body built out of lightweight wood.

cedar1In search of perfection, Juha has experimented with many wood species, and as he found Spanish Cedar – the wood traditionally used as neck material in valuable handmade classical guitars – the search was over. Spanish Cedar is a South American mahogany related wood species, that weighs the same as genuine honduran and is very mahogany-like in structure, colour and looks. The acoustic tone is rich, resonant, beautifully balanced – and it never ends.. yes, plenty of sustain! Cedar works perfectly as neck material as well for its extreme stability and excellent bend strength to weight ratio.

Originally Juha built the Duke guitar bodies and necks of Spanish Cedar. Slowly, as the Ruokangas guitar selection broadened, the Spanish Cedar found its way to certain versions of all the models and nowadays Spanish Cedar plays a very central role as body- and neckwood at Ruokangas Guitars.

Spanish Cedar (Cedrela Odorata) is listed on CITES Appendix III. This means that no CITES certification is needed. Only raw lumber needs to be certified when it’s exported from the country of origin. See more info about CITES regulations here.