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Carpathian Spruce

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Thanks unclej. that's almost word for word what that guy has in his listing  :D

I'm going to get a set and see what happens. I'm replacing a Sitka spruce top that sounded absoutely incredible before it was broken...... :D

I'll post my progress and results as I go.

Carpathian is nothing more than European Spruce (Picea Abies) from the Carpathian mountains. It's a fantastic tonewood, highly sought-after, and generally more expensive than an equivalent grade of Sitka. Generally stiff, light, resonant, deeper, I'd say slightly richer taptone than Sitka, but then, I may be slightly biased towards the Euro, since I can get it more easily/cheaply than I can Sitka (I'm in NL, and Italy's not too far away..) Suited for fingerstyle as well as strumming, although it does take some time to 'play in' and 'wake up'. If you want to emulate the sound you had, stick with the same woods and copy the bracing pattern/basic dimensions.

Ed Dicks' AAA or HAA Sitka (Acousticwoods.ca) is top-notch, and very fairly priced, And Bob C (rctonewoods.com) has some pretty nice stuff too, although he's not quite so specialized in tops.

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  • 2 weeks later...
I dug up a little more info on the carpathian/european spruce. It is a hybrid of Sitka and Engelmann spruce that was planted in Europe and is managed and harvested for tonewood and other uses.

Ummm....no. I'm afraid you've gone and bought one of the several BS stories floating around hook, line and sinker.

Sitka is one of the oldest spruce species, if I'm not very much mistaken. It, and Engelmann, are native to North America. Red Spruce (Adirondak), ditto, and that's considered the 'golden standard' by many, and is the wood pre-war martins are made of. Each of these is a distinct species, and recognizable in wood form. There are various Sitka/Engelman hybrids out there, including 'Kermodie' Spruce, but how well their existence/nature is documented scientifically, and how much of it is marketing talk is up for discussion.

There is a story that some monk dragged Red Spruce over to Europe, and the Euro is really Red, but that's pretty much completely bunk. Either that, or Euro went stateside. Something like that. Either way, I don't believe a word of it, and neither do any botanists of note. To my knowledge, there's no proof of any spruce species crossing the ocean and taking hold. Douglas Fir, there's tons of all over the place. The spruces, no. If it's Sitka, it's American, ditto if it's Red or Engelmann, if it's Picea Abies, it's Euro, and a very different wood in look and feel.

'Carpathian' is, 99% certainly, Picea Abies. European Spruce, native to Europe, a distinct species, harvested in the Carpathian mountains. There's a slim chance it could be Picea Orientalis, which is a different tree entirely, and purportedly provides excellent tonewood, but it's uncommon to say the least, and most found in the east of europe, as I understand it. Unlikely it's any of that stuff.

Quite some spruce sold as 'European', however, may be Engelmann that's been sold to Europe, and sold back as 'German' spruce (not necessarily by the German suppliers, but by people misleadingly claiming the spruce they sell is 'German' since they got it from a German supplier.). Engelmann is quite different from good Euro, which I think is most similar to Adirondack, although perhaps a little lighter, and with generally more rich, full, but still very 'sparkling' overtones (based on the Red stuff I've tapped, and the sizeable amounts of European I've got and compared side by side).

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