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> Maple Tops, What do they add?
Yash
post Sep 20 2014, 05:17 PM
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I've seen so many guitars with a quilted or a flamed maple top smile.gif They look much more amazing than their non-maple topped counterparts smile.gif Especially quilted maple tops. I just love them biggrin.gif The reason I've gotta wait for my guitar (there's a thread on that, if you want to check out) is because of that maple top in an amber sunburst finish. There's one available in the plain black finish, and one in trans black finish. But, that one looked the BEST ! It looked as if the guitar was on fire ph34r.gif My question is - what does a maple top add to a guitar's tone, except the amazing looks of course ? smile.gif How much difference would be between, say a Les Paul with a maple top and mahogany body and one without the maple top and just the mahogany body ? smile.gif


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klasaine
post Sep 20 2014, 06:18 PM
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It all really depends on the exact individual pieces of wood but in general ...

The maple top will add a bit more high-end and sustain.
Mahogany can be a little dark sounding so Gibson decided to 'cap' Les Pauls with maple to bring back a little snap.
*Not all LPs have a maple top and the pickups, hardware and neck can play a major role in a guitar's tone.

Again, this is general info. No two guitars (even two LPs with consecutive serial #'s) will sound exactly the same.


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Sensible Jones
post Sep 20 2014, 06:34 PM
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Exactly what Ken sad Yash! The Maple Cap brings some brightness and top end to the low and mid Mahogany party!!
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Kristofer Dahl
post Sep 20 2014, 06:53 PM
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My impression is that maple in a the guitar (neck or body) make it quite a bit easier to play harmonics. Also i tend to like the brighter tone. Thumbs up for maple! I would like to have another guitar with maple neck like my strat, for example an RG with maple neck.


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Gabriel Leopardi
post Sep 20 2014, 07:00 PM
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I can say that I don't have too much knowledge in the wood stuff but one of the luthier I've been working said that a thick maple top adds more body (bass range) to a telecaster shape guitar... is this possible?

I'm using this guitar in some songs live nowadays and I can say that it has a good bass frequencies and a very good sustain... (and off course maple top).

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Yash
post Sep 20 2014, 07:11 PM
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That's good smile.gif I like bright tones smile.gif I really love the strat chimey clean sound smile.gif So, what if you add Mahogony to an already bright body, like Alder and Ash smile.gif Even brighter ? biggrin.gif tongue.gif


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klasaine
post Sep 20 2014, 07:19 PM
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There are many reasons why a guitar can have great bass response and/or be bright sounding. It's really never just one factor.

Gabriel, is that Tele shaped axe a 'neck thru' or is it a bolt-on? That factor alone can usually affect the tone and response more than any specific wood. Also, your Tele has a carved top - which usually means it has a 'cap' on it.



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Mertay
post Sep 20 2014, 08:23 PM
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ESP Kamikaze is all maple body, might be a good example smile.gif




This post has been edited by Mertay: Sep 20 2014, 08:23 PM


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Kristofer Dahl
post Sep 20 2014, 09:10 PM
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@ gab - I have two all-maple guitars and both lack bottom end. so in general I would not agree to that statement. As Ken said it depends on the specific peace of wood as well, and pickups have a great impact - so scientific comparisons are kinda difficult.


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SirJamsalot
post Sep 20 2014, 10:35 PM
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Keep in mind the moisture factor of your guitar - rosewood and many other types of wood are very pourous, and because only the top is sealed, the inside (the hole) is bare wood - maple is a denser wood, and will weather better, but as a rule of thumb, try to keep your guitar in the 70F range with 50% humidity (45-55 actually).

no comment on the tone. i suspect it would be too subtle to notice - especially if mic'd or using a pickup.

-- edit -- oops, thought this was about accoustic, but the humidity / fingerboard, etc. same applies smile.gif the whole type of wood debate gets heated - i prefer to stay out of thatt! smile.gif


This post has been edited by SirJamsalot: Sep 20 2014, 10:38 PM


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klasaine
post Sep 20 2014, 11:14 PM
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QUOTE (SirJamsalot @ Sep 20 2014, 02:35 PM) *
the whole type of wood debate gets heated - i prefer to stay out of that! smile.gif


+1 and me too!

Even with just the wood you have to consider: age, density, moisture level, grain, quality of, 1 piece or 2 and 3 piece bodies (and necks), is it capped with something, the glue they use, paint, how much paint, lacquer, what type and how much lacquer, who put it together, were they skilled ... ? Too many variables.

I have 20 electrics. Many are the exact same type using the 'same' woods ... and no two (of the same type) sound the same - even acoustically. I have a Gold Top sans maple cap that should be darker than a standard or a custom (w/maple cap) - but it's not - ?.

The wood makes a difference but it's only like 1 of 20 things that 'make a difference' on an electric guitar. And in my experience, which I don't mind saying at this point in my guitar playing life is vast, even just changing tuners or bridge saddles can sometimes drastically alter the tone of a guitar. Sometimes for good, sometimes for bad. *Changing your pick will usually have more of an impact on your tone than anything else.

Case in point: On my Telecasters I (and many others) like the low E and A strings to pop and snap with a little less sustain than the rest of the strings so I put an aluminum saddle under the low E and A and brass under the D, G, B and high E.

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Having said all that, a Tele will usually be brighter than a Les Paul (even w/the maple cap).
Save for that one generalization - all bets are off.

This post has been edited by klasaine: Sep 21 2014, 02:14 PM


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Todd Simpson
post Sep 23 2014, 10:52 PM
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Some great replies!! I have an ibanez with a MAHOGANY body and a FLAMED MAPLE top and the combo is amazing. Even with CRAP pickups, the sustain is great, pinch harmonics are easy to get, punchy and thick, just nice all around tone.

The Mahogany body is a bit dark but has great sustain so the maple top is a great add on. The only thing I don't like about mahogany is the weight. For example, I bought a B.C RICH MOCKING (the one Kerry King used on the Hell Awaits Tour) and it weighed 28 POUNDS!!!

I got rid of that and the Ibanez mahogany weighs about half that.

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This post has been edited by Todd Simpson: Sep 23 2014, 10:52 PM


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Mertay
post Sep 23 2014, 11:43 PM
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QUOTE (Todd Simpson @ Sep 23 2014, 09:52 PM) *
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Thats a sweet top smile.gif

Been playing one for so long when I hold a Fender it feels like a toy biggrin.gif


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Todd Simpson
post Sep 24 2014, 02:40 AM
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Thanks smile.gif It's a beautiful guitar. When these were first issues they were $1,000 each. You can get good examples on ebay now for way less than that smile.gif Getting a mahogany, neck through, maple top, locking trem, guitar for under $500 is a wonderful thing smile.gif



QUOTE (Mertay @ Sep 23 2014, 06:43 PM) *
Thats a sweet top smile.gif

Been playing one for so long when I hold a Fender it feels like a toy biggrin.gif



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Yash
post Sep 24 2014, 12:48 PM
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Wow, so many factors determine tone of a guitar ! I never knew moisture and stuff affects things too.

QUOTE (klasaine @ Sep 21 2014, 02:14 AM) *
I have 20 electrics.


You sir, just gave me an inspiration for a new thread biggrin.gif tongue.gif Get your cameras ready folks cool.gif


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SixStringSamurai
post Sep 24 2014, 10:29 PM
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Ibanez's use of maple tops (essentially veneers) are more cosmetic than anything, really. I wouldn't expect it to figure much into the tone of the guitar.


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Todd Simpson
post Sep 24 2014, 10:49 PM
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This is especially true of the newer guitars and any model with a "veneer", mine is one of the older models thankfully smile.gif


QUOTE (SixStringSamurai @ Sep 24 2014, 05:29 PM) *
Ibanez's use of maple tops (essentially veneers) are more cosmetic than anything, really. I wouldn't expect it to figure much into the tone of the guitar.



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Mertay
post Sep 24 2014, 11:11 PM
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QUOTE (Todd Simpson @ Sep 24 2014, 09:49 PM) *
This is especially true of the newer guitars and any model with a "veneer", mine is one of the older models thankfully smile.gif


True, I just checked mine is 7mm thick. Veneer is actually very new for ibanez as far as I know they started that with the indo factory.

Today the nice tops go to high-end prestige and J. custom line. Nice flame tops were always on the expensive side but I think each year the wood quality is dropping no matter what brand unless its a top of the line model.


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Todd Simpson
post Sep 25 2014, 02:51 AM
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BINGO!!! The "Indo" ibbys have been great for making ibby guitars affordable and obtainable for everyone, but they did take the quality down a notch to make the guitars affordable. They reserve the nice bits for the "Prestige" lines and higher end models.

Thus, why many Ibby Fans are always looking for MIJ or even MIK (made in Korea) Ibanez guitars that were built before "the change". My RGT42FM is a MIK model and my RG560 and RG7620 are both MIJ. You can often find killer deals on these guitars used as many times folks just don't know what they are worth.

Todd


QUOTE (Mertay @ Sep 24 2014, 06:11 PM) *
True, I just checked mine is 7mm thick. Veneer is actually very new for ibanez as far as I know they started that with the indo factory.

Today the nice tops go to high-end prestige and J. custom line. Nice flame tops were always on the expensive side but I think each year the wood quality is dropping no matter what brand unless its a top of the line model.



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fkalich
post Sep 26 2014, 04:33 AM
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QUOTE (Yash @ Sep 20 2014, 11:17 AM) *
I've seen so many guitars with a quilted or a flamed maple top smile.gif They look much more amazing than their non-maple topped counterparts smile.gif Especially quilted maple tops. I just love them biggrin.gif The reason I've gotta wait for my guitar (there's a thread on that, if you want to check out) is because of that maple top in an amber sunburst finish. There's one available in the plain black finish, and one in trans black finish. But, that one looked the BEST ! It looked as if the guitar was on fire ph34r.gif My question is - what does a maple top add to a guitar's tone, except the amazing looks of course ? smile.gif How much difference would be between, say a Les Paul with a maple top and mahogany body and one without the maple top and just the mahogany body ? smile.gif



I have 3 maple top Gibson LP's, and one Gibson LP that is solid Mahogany. The pickups are the same as on 2 of the maple tops. I assure you that they sound significantly different. I like the Mahogany though, I like it a lot. I got one of the first ones that Gibson offered about 7 or 8 years ago, when they came with a hard shell case. I think the quality was better then on what they have sold more recently. Although I think that they are cutting this item out completely in 2015. I can't really describe how the Mahogany sounds different. I don't agree that harmonics are easier or harder to hit. Maybe I could say it has a more mid range sound to it, a bit more clarity also. Not better, just different and a nice change for variety.

Be aware of something. You see some really great looking maple tops on cheaper guitars. If you take off the pickups and measure the thickness you will see how they are able to provide those on the cheaper guitars, they are very thin veneers, not thick as on a Gibson LP Standard or Custom shop. I am not sure how think the top is on recent issue Gibson Studio LP's. The one Studio I have is a premium+ with a AAA top, and it is very thick.

This post has been edited by fkalich: Sep 26 2014, 04:41 AM
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