Sonically Graded Soundboards
At Pacific Rim Tonewoods, we personally select all of our spruce logs. We split those logs into guitar top blocks, maximizing quality while minimizing any twist that a log might have. The sawyer then cuts the blocks into vertical grain boards, locking in the radial stiffness. Once sawn and dried (but prior to testing), we sort our production for aesthetics and mechanical soundness. Based on appearance, knot proximity, compression grain, etc., less than 50% of the production makes it into the sonic sort. The tops that don’t make our sonic grade will then go into the traditional sort. Although all of these rejected tops will find a guitar home, half of our wood doesn’t even make it to the point of being tested.
Those boards selected for further sonic testing are acclimated in a climate controlled lab for some weeks; their final moisture content is around 8.5%. The boards are then sonically tested and sorted based on their material properties. Following this, they are resawn into bookmatched sets, which are again inspected for mechanical defects (like pitch pockets) which may have been exposed.