Alder (Alnus Glutinosa) - Ruokangas Guitars


When you sit in an airplane and see the aerial view over Finland, you quickly understand what our country is made of. We are about 5.5 million people living on this relatively large piece of land. The density of our population tells its story – on average we have 16 persons living on each square kilometer of our country. That’s not very much people! Instead, our country is filled with lakes and forests. So it’s a good place to be for a guitar maker who needs great material for his instruments and appreciates peace and quiet to get the job done.

I love to use alder as the body material in our bolt-on guitars and basses cause it sounds right, has a comfy weight and it looks great under a transparent finish. It’s also a very nice wood to work with – and as a nice little bonus for us, it grows locally, right here on our backyard. Alder gives our guitars and basses a classic, open voiced and ringing tone that most players would define as “vintage”.

Alder is one of the most common deciduous trees growing in Finland. Regarding tone and weight, the Finnish alder species (Alnus Glutinosa) is similar to its relative species growing in North America. The Finnish alder seems however to have slightly stronger coloured grain structure, especially when thermally aged, as we do to all our alder.

Alder grain has a warm, yellowish to brownish natural color, and when skillfully finished, the grain has a beautiful shimmer to it. Flamed alder is rare, but occasionally we do find a piece or two – so please ask for availability if this sentence caught your attention.

All of our transparent coloured and most solid coloured alder bodies are 2-piece, glue seam on the centerline of the body. Occasionally we use also 3-piece bodies for solid colored bodies. This detail does not have a tonal effect to the instrument.

The alder we use originates from sustainable local sources in our home country Finland. The use of alder does not require CITES or other certification.