The Characteristics and Uses of Adirondack Spruce for Country Music Acoustic Guitars

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When it comes to crafting the perfect country music sound, the type of wood used in an acoustic guitar can make all the difference. And there’s one wood that’s particularly popular among country musicians: Adirondack Spruce. But what is Adirondack Spruce, and why is it so beloved in the country music world? In this article, we’ll explore the characteristics and uses of Adirondack Spruce for country music acoustic guitars. From its unique properties to its distinct sound, we’ll cover everything you need to know about this wood and how it can help you achieve the perfect country sound. So, whether you’re a seasoned musician or a curious beginner, join us on this journey to discover the magic of Adirondack Spruce.

What is Adirondack Spruce?

Adirondack Spruce, also known as “Eastern Red Spruce,” is a high-quality tonewood used in guitar making. This type of spruce grows in the Adirondack Mountains in the northeastern part of the United States. Adirondack Spruce has a high strength-to-weight ratio, which means that it is both strong and lightweight. This makes it perfect for guitar tops, where it can provide a clear and powerful sound.

Here are some more interesting facts about Adirondack Spruce:

1. History – Adirondack Spruce has a long history in the guitar-making industry. It was a popular choice for guitar makers in the early to mid-20th century. However, the supply of Adirondack Spruce dwindled due to over-harvesting and disease.

2. Conservation – In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in Adirondack Spruce due to its tonal qualities. As a result, there have also been conservation efforts to protect and replenish Adirondack Spruce forests.

3. Characteristics – Adirondack Spruce has a tight, even grain that gives it a consistent look. It is also known for its creamy white color and straight, uniform growth rings. This tonewood typically has a high stiffness-to-weight ratio, which gives it a powerful and responsive sound.

4. Variations – Adirondack Spruce is available in different varieties, including AAA grade, Master grade, and Vintage grade. These different grades depend on the quality of the wood grain and how even it is. Master grade Adirondack Spruce, for example, will have a more even and consistent grain than AAA grade.

Adirondack Spruce has become a popular choice for country music acoustic guitars due to its unique tonal qualities. It provides a rich and full sound with excellent projection and sustain. However, Adirondack Spruce is not the only tonewood used in country music guitar making. There are many other options, including Rosewood, Maple, Koa, Ebony, and more. To learn more about tonewoods for Country music guitars, check out our article on tonewoods for country music guitars.

Why is it Popular in Country Music?

Adirondack Spruce is a popular choice for country music guitars due to its unique characteristics that contribute to the distinctive sound of country music. Here are some of the reasons why Adirondack Spruce is preferred by guitarists in the country music genre:

1. Strong projection and volume: Adirondack Spruce is known for its excellent projection and volume which make it ideal for playing solo or in a band setting. Its high stiffness-to-weight ratio allows it to produce strong and loud sounds that cut through other instruments in the mix.

2. Clear and balanced tones: Due to its tight and even grain pattern, Adirondack Spruce produces clear and balanced tones across all ranges, from low to high. This characteristic makes it easy to play complex melodies and chord progressions that are common in country music.

3. Dynamic responsiveness: Adirondack Spruce responds well to different playing techniques and styles. It can produce a broad range of tones, from light and airy to deep and rich, depending on the intensity of the player’s strumming or picking.

4. Aging and maturing: Adirondack Spruce guitars are known to improve in sound quality over time. As the guitar ages, the wood resonates more, resulting in a fuller and richer sound.

5. Tradition: Adirondack Spruce has been used in guitar making since the early 1900s and has been a popular choice for country music guitars since the 1930s. Many of the classic country songs and recordings were made on Adirondack Spruce guitars, giving it a significant place in the history and tradition of country music.

Compared to other woods used in guitar making, Adirondack Spruce has a unique set of characteristics that make it a preferred choice in country music guitar making. However, there are also other woods that are worth considering for country music guitars, such as rosewood, maple, and koa. To get the best sound from a country music guitar, the combination of woods used in the guitar construction should also be considered. To learn more about the sound of different woods and their combinations in country music guitar making, check out our article on best wood combination for country guitar. Additionally, guitarists should also consider the sustainability of the wood used in their guitars. To learn more about sustainable guitar making, read our article on farm-to-guitar sustainability in wood country music guitars.

Adirondack Spruce vs. Sitka Spruce

Adirondack Spruce Vs. Sitka Spruce
When it comes to choosing the right wood for your country music guitar, two types of spruce commonly come to mind: Adirondack and Sitka. Both are excellent choices, but what sets them apart? Which one is right for you and your music? Let’s dive into the characteristics and uses of Adirondack spruce and compare it to Sitka spruce, another popular wood that’s often used in acoustic guitars. We’ll explore the unique qualities of Adirondack spruce and determine how it compares to Sitka spruce. By the end of this section, you’ll have a better idea of which wood is ideal for your needs.

What Makes Adirondack Spruce Unique?

Adirondack Spruce, also known as Red Spruce, is unique due to its exceptional stiffness-to-weight ratio. This high stiffness results in a powerful, dynamic sound, making it a preferred wood choice among many top guitar builders. In fact, Adirondack Spruce has been used by renowned guitar makers such as Martin, Gibson, and Collings since the early 1900s.

One of the key characteristics of Adirondack Spruce is its strength, which makes it ideal for producing loud, clear, and resonant sounds. Additionally, this wood has a high level of dynamic range, which means that it can produce both soft and loud sounds with equal clarity and definition.

In terms of appearance, Adirondack Spruce has a creamy-white color with occasional reddish-brown streaks, making it visually striking when used on a guitar top. This wood is also lightweight and has a low density, which makes it an attractive option for those who prefer lighter guitars.

Another factor that makes Adirondack Spruce unique is its limited supply. The wood is sourced primarily from the Adirondack Mountains of northeastern New York state, and the rate of growth for these trees is relatively slow. As a result, Adirondack Spruce is considered a premium wood and is often more expensive than other guitar woods.

While Adirondack Spruce shares some similarities with Sitka Spruce, it is generally considered to be superior in terms of tonal quality. Sitka Spruce is known for its balanced and consistent tone, but Adirondack Spruce has a more complex and nuanced sound.

In conclusion, Adirondack Spruce is a unique and valuable wood for guitar building due to its strength, lightness, and exceptional tonal qualities. It is no wonder that it has remained a top choice for many guitar makers and players alike, especially in the realm of country music. However, due to its limited supply and higher cost, there are also alternative wood options for those seeking a similar sound and aesthetic, such as Cedar or Mahogany.

To read more about wood choices for country music guitars, check out our article on country wood guitars. If you’re interested in how Sitka Spruce compares to Adirondack Spruce in country guitars, head over to our article on the sound of Sitka Spruce in country guitars. Finally, to learn more about the significance of Ebony in country guitars, visit our article on the significance of Ebony in country guitars.

How Does it Compare to Sitka Spruce?

Adirondack Spruce and Sitka Spruce are two of the most popular woods used in making acoustic guitars. While they have some similarities, they also have several distinct differences that set them apart from one another.

Here are some key differences between Adirondack Spruce and Sitka Spruce:

  • Density: Adirondack Spruce is generally denser than Sitka Spruce, which means it produces a brighter and more complex sound.
  • Stiffness: Adirondack Spruce is stiffer than Sitka Spruce, making it more responsive to a player’s touch and producing a louder and more articulate sound.
  • Aging: Adirondack Spruce ages well and can sound better over time, while Sitka Spruce is known for its consistent sound throughout its lifespan.
  • Cost: Adirondack Spruce is generally more expensive than Sitka Spruce because it is rarer and takes longer to grow.

The choice between Adirondack Spruce and Sitka Spruce comes down to personal preference and the sound that a player is looking for. While Sitka Spruce is a standard choice for most acoustic guitars, Adirondack Spruce is preferred by many professional players who want a brighter and more responsive sound.

Whether you go with Adirondack Spruce or Sitka Spruce, both types of wood can produce a beautiful and unique sound that can elevate your playing to the next level.

The Sound of Adirondack Spruce in Country Music

The Sound Of Adirondack Spruce In Country Music
Country music is known for its distinct sound, brought to life through a combination of various instruments, including acoustic guitars. The type of wood used in the construction of an acoustic guitar can significantly impact its sound. Adirondack Spruce is a popular choice among country guitar enthusiasts due to its unique characteristics and exceptional sound quality. In this section, we will explore the role Adirondack Spruce plays in country music, its defining features, and its use in famous country songs. So, let’s dive in and explore the sound of this fantastic wood!

Definition of the “Country Music Sound”

When we talk about the “Country Music Sound,” we’re referring to a particular sound that’s defined by key musical elements. These essential elements of country music have evolved over time, but there are some key characteristics that are easily recognizable.

Rhythm and Tempo: Many country songs have a steady beat and moderate tempo, which is ideal for dancing and tapping your foot along.

Instrumentation: Country music often features instruments like the acoustic guitar, fiddle, mandolin, banjo, and steel guitar. These instruments have a particular “twang” or “crispness” that’s well-suited to the genre.

Lyrics: The lyrics of country songs typically tell a story or convey a particular emotion. Often, country songs deal with themes of heartbreak, love, longing, and hometown pride.

Vocals: Country singers typically have a distinctive style of singing that emphasizes natural-sounding phrasing and storytelling.

Melody and Harmony: The melodies and harmonies in country music often use simple chord progressions, making them easy to sing along to and easy to play on the guitar.

The sound of country music is hard to define precisely, but when you hear it, you know it. There’s a feeling of authenticity and simplicity that characterizes the genre, and incorporating an Adirondack Spruce guitar into your playing can enhance that classic sound.

What Role Does Adirondack Spruce Play?

Adirondack Spruce plays a crucial role in producing the signature sound of country music guitars. Here are some reasons why:

  • It’s a strong and responsive wood: Adirondack Spruce is strong and dense, making it highly responsive to different playing styles. This means that even the lightest touch on the strings can produce a rich and full sound that helps to define country music.
  • It’s great for fingerpicking: Country music often features intricate fingerpicking patterns, and Adirondack Spruce is perfect for this style of playing. Its responsiveness means that even the most delicate fingerpicking can be heard with clarity and definition.
  • It’s ideal for bluegrass and flatpicking: Bluegrass and flatpicking are two common playing styles in country music, and Adirondack Spruce excels at both. Its strong projection and quick response make it ideal for fast-paced runs and picking patterns.
  • It adds warmth and richness to the sound: Adirondack Spruce is known for producing a warm and full sound that enhances the overall tone of a guitar. This is especially true when paired with other warm-toned woods like mahogany or rosewood.
  • It’s versatile: Adirondack Spruce is versatile enough to be used in a variety of guitar styles and genres, including folk, blues, and bluegrass. This makes it a popular choice for guitar makers looking to create instruments that are both beautiful and functional.

Adirondack Spruce is a key ingredient in creating the distinctive sound of country music guitars. Its responsiveness, warmth, and versatility make it a top choice for guitar makers and musicians alike.

Examples of Famous Country Songs Featuring Adirondack Spruce Guitars

It is no secret that Adirondack spruce is a favorite wood among many country music guitarists. Its rich sound and impressive projection have made it a go-to choice for many famous country artists. Let’s take a closer look at some examples of famous country songs that feature Adirondack spruce guitars.

Song Title Artist Guitar Used
“Forever and Ever, Amen” Randy Travis Adirondack Spruce Martin D-45
“Tennessee Whiskey” Chris Stapleton Adirondack Spruce Gibson J-200
“The Devil Went Down to Georgia” The Charlie Daniels Band Adirondack Spruce Gibson J-200
“I Walk the Line” Johnny Cash Adirondack Spruce Martin D-28
“Friends in Low Places” Garth Brooks Adirondack Spruce Takamine EF341SC

Randy Travis played an Adirondack Spruce Martin D-45 for his iconic love song “Forever and Ever, Amen.” Similarly, Chris Stapleton’s soulful hit “Tennessee Whiskey” showcased Adirondack Spruce in the form of a Gibson J-200. The Charlie Daniels Band’s “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” also featured Adirondack Spruce on a Gibson J-200.

Johnny Cash’s “I Walk the Line” highlighted the bright tone of an Adirondack spruce Martin D-28. Finally, Garth Brooks’s classic “Friends in Low Places” was famously played on an Adirondack spruce Takamine EF341SC.

Adirondack spruce has played a prominent role in many famous country songs. Its unique tonal qualities have contributed to some of country music’s most iconic sounds.

How to Choose an Adirondack Spruce Acoustic Guitar

How To Choose An Adirondack Spruce Acoustic Guitar
When it comes to selecting an Adirondack Spruce acoustic guitar, there are several factors to consider that can greatly impact your playing experience. With so many options available on the market, it can be perplexing to know where to begin. But fear not! In this section, we’ll guide you through the process of choosing the perfect Adirondack Spruce guitar for your needs, whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned musician. From considerations like tone and playability to your budget and desired features, we’ll provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision. So, let’s dive in and find your ideal Adirondack Spruce guitar!

Considerations When Selecting an Adirondack Spruce Guitar

When selecting an Adirondack Spruce guitar for playing country music, there are several important considerations to keep in mind to ensure you get the most out of your investment. Some key factors to keep in mind are listed below:

Consideration Explanation
Body size The size of the guitar’s body can have a significant impact on the sound it produces. Larger bodies tend to produce more volume and resonance, while smaller bodies may be better suited for fingerstyle playing or more intricate picking patterns.
Neck shape The shape of the guitar’s neck can also have a significant impact on playability and comfort. Some players prefer a thick, rounded neck for added support, while others may prefer a thinner, flatter profile for easier maneuverability.
Construction The way a guitar is constructed can also have a significant impact on its sound and durability. Look for guitars with high-quality materials and construction methods, such as hand-crafted bracing or solid wood construction, to ensure you get the best possible sound and long-term reliability.
Brand reputation When investing in a high-end guitar, it’s important to consider the reputation of the brand you’re buying from. Look for brands with a proven track record of producing high-quality instruments and customer satisfaction to ensure you’re making a wise investment in your music.

By taking these key factors into account, you can help ensure that you select the right Adirondack Spruce guitar for your playing style and budget. With the right guitar in hand, you can enjoy the unique, rich sound that this iconic wood is known for in the world of country music.

Budget-Friendly Options vs. High-End Models

When it comes to selecting an Adirondack Spruce acoustic guitar, there are several factors to consider, including your budget. Adirondack Spruce is a high-quality wood that is often used in high-end acoustic guitars, but there are also budget-friendly options available.

Budget-Friendly Options:

  • Alvarez AD30: An affordable option for those looking for an Adirondack Spruce acoustic guitar. It offers a balanced tone and is great for beginners or those on a tight budget.
  • Recording King RDH-05: A solid top dreadnought guitar that offers a great tone for its price point. It is a great value for those looking for an Adirondack Spruce guitar on a budget.
  • Blueridge BR-40A: Another affordable option that offers a solid Adirondack Spruce top and a classic dreadnought body style. It offers a warm, balanced tone that is great for country music.

High-End Models:

  • Taylor 814ce: This high-end guitar offers an Adirondack Spruce top and a luxurious feel. It is a favorite among professional musicians and offers a clear, bright tone.
  • Martin D-28 Authentic 1937: A traditional take on an Adirondack Spruce acoustic guitar, this model offers a vintage look and feel. It is a high-end option with a premium price tag but offers a rich, full tone that is perfect for country music.
  • Collings D2H: This handmade guitar offers a premium Adirondack Spruce top and a balanced tone with excellent projection. The craftsmanship is exceptional, making it a top choice among serious musicians.

While budget-friendly options may be more affordable, high-end models offer superior construction, premium materials, and exceptional sound quality. When choosing an Adirondack Spruce guitar, it is important to weigh your options and consider what features are most important to you.

Alternative Woods for Country Music Guitars

When it comes to choosing the perfect wood for a country music guitar, Adirondack Spruce is often the first choice. However, there are several alternative woods that can also produce a great sound.

Engelmann Spruce is often used as a substitute for Adirondack Spruce. It has a similar light color and straight grain, but is slightly less dense. It produces a bright and clear sound, but with less volume and complexity than Adirondack.

Cedar is another popular alternative. It is known for its warm, mellow sound and is often used in classical guitars. In country music, it can produce a softer and more intimate sound, with less volume than spruce. It is also a softer wood, so it may not be as durable over time.

Mahogany is a popular choice for the back and sides of country music guitars. It is a dense and strong wood that produces a warm and rich sound with good sustain. However, it is not as bright or clear as spruce, so it is often paired with a spruce top to balance out its warmth.

Koa is a Hawaiian wood that produces a bright and clear sound, similar to spruce. It has a unique grain pattern and color, ranging from pale gold to deep brown with red and purple hues. Its high demand and limited availability make it a more expensive alternative.

Maple is another alternative for country music guitars. It is a hard and dense wood that produces a bright and clear sound with good sustain, but less warmth compared to spruce. It is often used for the back and sides of guitars, paired with a spruce top.

While Adirondack Spruce is the gold standard for country music guitars, there are several alternative woods that can produce a great sound. It ultimately comes down to personal preference and the specific sound you are looking to achieve. Experimenting with different woods can lead to new and unique sounds in your playing.

Wood Type Sound Characteristics
Engelmann Spruce Bright, clear sound with less volume and complexity than Adirondack
Cedar Warm, mellow sound with less volume than spruce
Mahogany Warm and rich sound with good sustain but less bright than spruce
Koa Bright and clear sound with a unique grain pattern and high cost
Maple Bright and clear sound with good sustain but less warmth than spruce

Maintenance and Care of Adirondack Spruce Guitars

As a proud owner of a beautiful Adirondack Spruce acoustic guitar, you want to make sure that it stays in top condition for years to come. Maintenance and care of your Adirondack Spruce guitar is critical for not only preserving its sound but also its look and playability. In this section, we’ll discuss some tips and tricks on how to keep your prized possession in tip-top shape. From preventative measures to common issues, we’ve got you covered. So, let’s dive in and learn how to maintain and care for your Adirondack Spruce guitar.

How to Keep Your Guitar in Top Condition

Once you have purchased your Adirondack Spruce acoustic guitar, it is essential to keep it in good condition to ensure its longevity and optimal performance. Here are some tips on how to keep your guitar in top condition:

  • Invest in a guitar case: A guitar case is an essential investment for any guitar player. It provides protection from dust, moisture, and physical damage. When traveling or transporting your guitar, use a hard shell case to avoid any accidental bumps or drops.
  • Clean your guitar regularly: Dirt, dust, and sweat buildup can affect the sound quality and playability of your guitar. Use a soft cloth to wipe down the body and strings after each use. For stubborn grime, use a dedicated guitar cleaner solution or a mixture of water and vinegar. Avoid using harsh cleaning chemicals that can damage the finish of your guitar.
  • Store your guitar properly: When not in use, store your guitar in a dry and cool place. Excessive heat and moisture can damage the wood and cause warping or cracking. Hang your guitar on a wall-mounted hanger or store it in a guitar stand to avoid any accidental falls.
  • Change your strings regularly: Strings can become dull and lose their tone over time. Changing your strings regularly can help maintain the quality of your sound. Change your strings every 3-6 months, depending on how frequently you play.
  • Get regular maintenance and setup: Take your guitar to a professional luthier for regular maintenance and setup. They can check the neck alignment, adjust the action, and clean any visible damage or wear and tear.

Following these tips will help to keep your Adirondack Spruce acoustic guitar in top condition and ensure that you get the best possible sound and playing experience.

Preventative Measures and Common Issues to Look Out For

Taking preventative measures to maintain the health and longevity of your Adirondack Spruce guitar is crucial to ensure that it continues to produce the beautiful, high-quality sound that it is known for. Here are some preventative measures to consider:

  • Store it Properly: When not in use, make sure to store your Adirondack Spruce guitar in a cool, dry place. Avoid subjecting it to extreme temperatures or humidity, as this can damage the wood.
  • Clean it Regularly: Use a soft cloth to wipe down your guitar after each use to remove any dirt, sweat, or oil that may have accumulated. Avoid using harsh chemicals or cleaners on the wood, as this can damage the finish.
  • Keep it Moisturized: Adirondack Spruce is a porous wood, so it is important to keep it moisturized to prevent cracking or warping. Use a specialized guitar humidifier or leave a damp cloth inside the soundhole when not in use.

While Adirondack Spruce is a durable and resilient wood, there are some common issues that you may encounter with your guitar over time. Here are some to look out for:

  • Cracks: Adirondack Spruce is prone to cracking due to changes in temperature or humidity. If you notice any cracks in the wood, seek professional repair immediately to prevent further damage.
  • Warping: Excessive exposure to moisture or dryness can cause the wood to warp or twist. Again, seek professional repair to fix this issue.
  • Fret Wear: Over time, the frets on your guitar may become worn down or uneven, which can affect the sound quality. Consider having the frets replaced or repaired as needed.

By following these preventative measures and keeping an eye out for common issues, you can keep your Adirondack Spruce guitar in top condition for years to come. Remember to treat your guitar with care and respect – it is a valuable investment that deserves proper care and maintenance.


In conclusion, Adirondack Spruce is a highly sought-after wood for crafting acoustic guitars, with a long history of use in the music industry. Its unique properties and characteristics make it a popular choice for country music guitars, due to the bright, clear, and powerful sound it produces.

When choosing an Adirondack Spruce guitar, it is essential to consider your individual needs and preferences, as well as your budget. There are many budget-friendly options that still offer high-quality sound, while others may be more expensive due to the rarity and quality of the wood.

It is crucial to take good care of your Adirondack Spruce guitar to ensure it lasts for many years. This includes regular maintenance and cleaning, as well as preventative measures to protect the wood from changes in humidity and temperature.

Overall, Adirondack Spruce is an excellent choice for anyone looking to capture the iconic sound of country music acoustic guitars. With its distinctive tonal qualities and unique character, it has become a staple of the industry and a top choice for musicians around the world. Whether you’re a seasoned player or just starting out, an Adirondack Spruce guitar is sure to make your music shine.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the difference between Adirondack Spruce and Sitka Spruce?

Adirondack Spruce is denser and has a higher stiffness-to-weight ratio than Sitka Spruce, resulting in a brighter and more responsive sound. Sitka Spruce is generally preferred for its warmth and versatility.

2. Why is Adirondack Spruce so popular in country music?

Adirondack Spruce is highly sought after in country music due to its ability to provide a bright and powerful sound that cuts through the mix. Its responsiveness also makes it ideal for flatpicking and aggressive playing styles.

3. What is the “country music sound” and how does Adirondack Spruce contribute?

The “country music sound” is characterized by a bright and percussive tone that emphasizes clarity and definition. Adirondack Spruce contributes to this sound by providing a clarity and projection that helps bring out the nuances and complexities of the music.

4. How do I choose an Adirondack Spruce acoustic guitar?

When choosing an Adirondack Spruce acoustic guitar, consider your playing style and tonal preferences. Look for a guitar that complements your playing style and has the tonal characteristics that you desire. Consider both budget-friendly and high-end options.

5. What are some alternative woods for country music guitars?

Other woods commonly used for country music guitars include Sitka Spruce, Engelmann Spruce, Cedar, and Mahogany. Each wood has its own tonal characteristics and can contribute to a unique sound.

6. How do I maintain and care for my Adirondack Spruce guitar?

To maintain and care for your Adirondack Spruce guitar, store it in a cool and dry place, keep it clean and free of debris, and humidify it when necessary. Regularly check for any signs of damage or wear and address them promptly.

7. What are some common issues to look out for with Adirondack Spruce guitars?

Common issues with Adirondack Spruce guitars include cracking and warping due to changes in temperature and humidity, as well as damage from impact or mishandling. Regular maintenance and care can help prevent these issues.

8. Can Adirondack Spruce be used for other instruments besides guitars?

Yes, Adirondack Spruce can be used for a variety of other instruments, including violins, mandolins, and banjos. Its tonal characteristics and responsiveness make it a popular choice for many stringed instruments.

9. Is Adirondack Spruce environmentally sustainable?

Adirondack Spruce is considered to be a limited resource and is protected under the Lacey Act. It is important to purchase Adirondack Spruce from responsible sources and to avoid purchasing illegally harvested or imported materials.

10. Why are high-end Adirondack Spruce guitars so expensive?

High-end Adirondack Spruce guitars are expensive due to the cost of the materials, the craftsmanship involved in the build process, and the demand for these guitars among professional musicians and collectors. These guitars are highly sought after for their quality and unique tonal characteristics.


About the author

Hi there! I’m Jack Little – an avid country music fan with tons of live country performances in the past. I used to play banjo in a country band with my best friend John Peters, who’s a true country harmonica master. Those were great years and I’m still mastering new banjo playing techniques, writing my own country songs and lyrics, and collecting banjos!

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