Of the many Spruce trees, Engelmann Spruce is one of the woods used in Guitar making as well as other instrument making. Engelmann spruce originates in Western North America – extends northward at higher elevations in the Cascade, Monashee, Selkirk, and possibly the Rocky Mountains, as well as the highlands surrounding the Interior Plateau. Picea engelmannii is a medium-sized to large evergreen tree growing to 25–40 m (82–131 ft) tall, exceptionally to 65 m (213 ft) tall, and with a trunk diameter of up to 1.5 m (4 ft, 9 in).
Engelmann spruce is of economic importance for its wood, harvested for paper-making and general construction. Wood from slow-grown trees at high altitude has a specialised use in making musical instruments such as acoustic guitars, harps, violins, and pianos.
Engelmann Spruce is usually a cream to almost white color, with an occasional hint of red. Easy to work, as long as there are no knots present. Glues and finishes well, though it can give poor (blotchy and inconsistent) results when being stained due to its closed pore structure. A sanding sealer, gel stain, or toner is recommended when coloring Spruce.
With regard to sustainability, this wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices, and is reported by the IUCN as being a species of least concern.
Engelmann is also known as white, European or German spruce, although they are technically different species. It is usually visually distinguishable from Sitka by its creamier complexion. The high quality of Spruce amongst all species is running out and guitar makers worldwide, are having to compromise the quality to what is available.
Engelmann has a mature tone, and yields a slightly richer midrange than Sitka, which makes a guitar sound a bit older. Old growth Engelmann tends to have a sonic attribute of smoothness or refinement to it, but the days of older growth Engelmann trees are essentially gone for now.