What Is the Best Exotic Wood for Making Guitars?

What Is the Best Exotic Wood for Making Guitars?

15th Mar 2022

There's really nothing more inspiring than acoustic guitar music.

The guitar is a seemingly simple instrument made of a few pieces of wood, metal frets, tuners, and strings. And yet this rather small collection of elements comes together to create a sound that is truly something special.

If you've ever dreamed of building a guitar , it's important to understand the best exotic woods to use for the project. After all, not all species of wood are created equal.

Here we take a look at a few types of exotic wood that are ideal for building a guitar. Keep reading to learn more.

Western Red Cedar

Let's start by talking about western red cedar. This species of tone wood is traditionally considered the best guitar wood for finger picking.

It's softer than other species of wood on this list. Thus, it works best with lighter gauge string and produces a warm, gorgeous tone. This species of wood is also darker in color and is typically used in smaller-bodied guitars .

Sitka Spruce

Spruce is one of the most common types of wood used for making guitars. That's largely because it creates a bright tone and is easy to source. This species is best for guitar tops and is a great choice for players using a pick.

Engelmann Spruce

Engelmann spruce tends to be more expensive than Sitka due to limited supply. Engelmann generates stronger overtones when played, making it very popular among serious guitarists.

Adirondack Spruce

Adirondack tends to be hard to come by these days. It was also expensive. And yet the complex and gorgeous tone definitely makes it worth the price.


Koa wood is found only in Hawaii. It's a stunning wood that produces a bright, clean sound and has a wood grain pattern that is truly unique among woods used in the building of stringed instruments.


Maple burl woodoffers balanced tonal qualities that provide nice sustain long after a chord is strummed. Maple is most often used for guitar backs, sides, and necks, though it's also occasionally used for guitar tops as well.


Ebony is the species of hardwood that is traditionally used for guitar fretboards, along with rosewood. It's a durable species that provides quality intonation and will typically hold up nicely even after decades of frequent use.


Here is a fairly common hardwood popular with luthiers for sides, backs, and necks. This durable wood will hold up very well, even after many years of heavy use.

Indian Rosewood

Indian rosewood is a much-coveted species that is hard to find and comes with a hefty price tag. It ranks among the most desired exotic tonewoods with luthiers and guitarists alike, but it is not nearly as available astraditional rosewood.

Choosing the Best Exotic Wood for Guitars

When it comes to making guitars, a beginner luthier has a lot to learn. It's a complicated process that requires focus, discipline, and hard work. You'll also need the right material, including exotic wood, to offer the ultimate beauty and tone for your instrument.

Please contact us today to learn how we can help you choose the perfect wood for your upcoming project.

Global Wood Source is a family-owned and operated lumber yard and mill specializing in exotic woods from around the world and rare domestics. We personally acquire and inspect each piece of log and timber obtained from forests and jungles worldwide.