Yellow Cedar


West Coast Guitar Series

All guitars in the West Coast Series only use locally harvested woods from the west coast of BC. From Vancouver Island to the Skeena River, BC has the largest biomass per square meter in the world. The BC Raincoast is responsible for some of the most important tone woods used today in musical instruments. I would personally LOVE to get more experience playing instruments restricted to local Raincoast and Boreal forest woods. The few I have played have been SPECTACULAR!! I look forward to showcasing the power of the Raincoast and its incredible history here at Symphontree Music: in word, wood, and song.


Yellow Cedar: Cupressus nootkatensis

  • Specific Gravity: .42
  • Avg. Weight Per Board Foot:3.00 lb/bf
  • Color Range: white-gold-yellow
  • Typical Width: 3″ to 9″
  • Typical Length: 6′ to 12′ feet feet


Yellow Cedar grows all along the Raincoast. The wood is soft, yellowish and pungent. Yellow-cedar is one of the world’s most durable woods with exceptional longevity.  It was valued for carving such things as adze handles, digging sticks, paddles, dishes, masks, rattles and in historic times, bedposts. The wood was not associated with food because of it’s strong odor.


Yellow cedar was used specifically for coffins by most First Peoples. It was also prized for it’s malleable soft tissue amongst contemporary carvers, like Bill Reid. The Raven and the First Men (pictured above) is a famous carving by Reid that was carved entirely out of yellow cedar.


The inner bark was used in the same fashion that the bark of western red cedar was used except yellow cedar was considered to be of finer quality. To learn more about the use of the bark or it’s preparation click here




Yellow Cedar is said to have a load and dry sound with a very quick attack. It is commonly used on guitars today as both the box as well as soundboard. It is favored to have a “Mediterranean” sound.