The best tone is acheived with a solid, non-veneered soundboard made from the finest coniferous woods such as cedar and spruce.
Engelmann Spruce - Rocky Mountains of British Columbia, Canada. This spruce is a popular soundboard wood for North American stringed instrument makers, and has a tone similar to high-altitude European White Spruce. It has a light, creamy colour, and is harder and stiffer than cedar.
The tone it produces is round, open & full with a good, clear treble and is more or less evenly balanced between the treble and bass. Spruce can sometimes take up to a year to develop it full tone.
Port Orford White Cedar - Coastal Oregon, USA. This variety of cedar is white in colour and almost looks like spruce. This species of cedar is not well known outside the Pacific Northwest, but I think that it deserves increased use.
White Cedar is known for its similarity to European White Spruce in hardness and over-all bright tone with the characteristic warm bass of cedar. What is most characteristic of cedar is that it takes only a short time for the voice to mature, and can even sound 'played-in' when new.
Western Red Cedar - Coastal British Columbia, Canada. This variety of cedar is light brown to reddish in colour and sometimes has colour variations running through it. Western red cedar is popular with classical guitar makers and I've found it especially suitable for the small Celtic harp.
Cedar is known for its volume, warmth, wealth of harmonics (overtones) and 'bass-iness'. What is most characteristic of cedar is that it takes only a short time for the voice to mature, and can even sound 'played-in' when new.