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Grading Cedar

Since 1996 Timbre Tonewood has shipped millions of acoustic guitar and mandolin soundboards

Master Grade:

Master grade is the highest grade. A master grade soundboard will:thumbnail


Have very consistent color

Be perfectly edge grain

Very stiff across the grain

Have no apparent run-out

No knot shadow

Exceptionally straight grain

Have no sap lines

Have very evenly spaced tight grain or alternately slightly more open grain and exceptionally even spaced grain or alternately an even progression of grain spacing with the outer edge grain count not less than 15 grain lines per inch.

Be magnificent visually and structurally.


Special Grade:

Our Special Grade cedar is only slightly lower in quality than a master grade. It must be stiff and on quarter. Usually the only difference between our Special Grade and Master Grade is slight irregularity of grain.


#1 Grade:
1 grade cedar may be slightly lower in quality to our Special Grade. Our #1 grade represents an industrial benchmark and provides Luthiers the best quality for the price.


#2 Grade:
2 grade cedar may have very light color change or slightly course grain or light knot shadow. There may be very light and small sap lines.


#3 Grade:
Color change will be stronger with #3 grade, however, the presence of color will be restricted to the outer edge and will not be a sharp contrast but a gradual shading. Other criteria will be very similar to #2 grade. If smudge is present it will be very light and not cover the entire template.


#1-2 Mix Grade:
The #1-2 mix is a mix of soundboards ranging from the higher of #1 range to the #2 range. The mix is evenly distributed so any order is approximately 50% #1 and 50% #2 within 10%.


#4 Grade:
4-grade cedar may have stronger contrasting color anywhere in the template. Some boards may have curved grain, knot shadow may be moderate and some boards will have smudge. Most boards are in this grade only because the color is strong