Here’s what some of our clients have said about the soundboards from Kootenay Tonewood:

Awesome! Stiff, great colour and loads of silk.

Great value with world class tone.

Excellent quality. Some of the finest spruce on the market.

Very nice wood. Tap sound is great, looks great. Fantastic instruments to come.

Excellent. Clear, straight, narrow grain wood. Great value.

Very nice wood ... these tops will make some sweet-sounding guitars!


Kootenay Tonewood produces music wood for all stringed instruments in a range of grades from Master grade sound boards for a custom hand builders (often only one in one thousand sets make this grade) to paint grade sets for production guitars. Kootenay Tonewood will also produce custom sound boards or sets for individual needs. 

Engelmann spruce is an amazingly strong, light and flexible wood which is prized by guitar makers for its stiffness-to-weight ratio. It also has beautiful colour and grain. The trees selected by Graham Hein at Kootenay Tonewood are large enough to produce fine concert guitars.

Instruments made from Kootenay Tonewood:

  • Guitar
  • Mandolin
  • Ukulele
  • Parlour guitar
  • Srchtop guitar
  • Violin
  • Mandolin
  • Cello

Englemann Spruce Tonewood Grades

Grading of guitar soundboards is very subjective to the eye and experience of the grader. Therefore the grade description below attempts to capture the major characteristics involved in assessing the soundboards and will be used as a guide.

Master (5A)

  1. Quartersawn within two degrees. 
  2. No run out.
  3. Minimum of 20 annual rings/inch.
  4. No color or compression.
  5. Even grain spacing across the entire piece.
  6. Cosmetically perfect.
  7. Very stiff.
  8. Absolutely no defects allowed. These soundboards are perfect.


  1. Quartersawn within five degrees.
  2. No run out
  3. Minimum of 16 annual rings/inch.
  4. Very faint color allowed, no compression
  5. Even grain spacing across entire piece.
  6. Cosmetically pleasing, very close to Master grade.
  7. Very stiff.
  8. No defects allowed.


  1. Quartersawn within 8 degrees.
  2. Very limited run out.
  3. Minimum of 12 annual rings/inch.
  4. Faint color banding allowed, very small amounts of compression wood allowed.
  5. Grain spacing may be slightly less consistent than allowed in a 4A piece.
  6. Cosmetically pleasing, close to 4A.
  7. Stiff.
  8. Small defects allowed outside of the working area.


  1. Quartersawn within 12 degrees.
  2. Limited run out allowed.
  3. Minimum of 8 annual rings/inch.
  4. Medium color allowed, medium compression allowed.
  5. Grain spacing can be less even than is allowed in a 3A piece.
  6. Cosmetically sound.
  7. Not as stiff as 3A but a very usable soundboard.
  8. Small defects allowed outside of the working area.

A Grade

A Grade soundboards are allowed more defects than the above grades will. These boards are sound and very usable but are less cosmetically pleasing than the higher grades. Most often used as a “paint grade” where visual defects will not be seen.

Englemann spruce Tonewood price sheet

8 3⁄4” wide 

  • Master $85/set
  • 4A $65/set
  • 3A $45/set
  • 2A $20/set

8” wide

  • Master $70/set
  • 4A $55/set
  • 3A $35/set
  • 2A $15/set

7 1/2” wide

  • Master $55/set
  • 4A $35/set
  • 3A $25/set
  • 2A $9/set

6” wide

  • Master $15/set
  • 4A $12/set 
  • 3A $10/set


All soundboard sets are 22” long and 3/16” thick.

Custom sizes are available, and special pricing is applicable on volume orders. Please contact us for details. Prices are listed in U.S. funds.