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> Maple Tops, What do they add?
Cosmin Lupu
post Sep 26 2014, 05:09 PM
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I don't really have any experience with maple tops, to be honest but I love the looks of a maple top, but I had no clue what it really does to the sound. Now, thanks to this thread, I found a lot of interesting things myself smile.gif


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Yash
post Sep 26 2014, 06:45 PM
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QUOTE (fkalich @ Sep 26 2014, 07:33 AM) *
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.


So thickness makes a difference too ? And, I am guessing that the number of A's is how beautiful that piece of wood is ? smile.gif


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Todd Simpson
post Oct 1 2014, 05:53 AM
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Yup smile.gif The thickness matters. If it's just a "veneer" it's just a very thin layer and it's just for looks, it won't have much impact on the tone. Older, and more pricey guitars often can have thicker tops than have more impact on tone smile.gif


QUOTE (Yash @ Sep 26 2014, 01:45 PM) *
So thickness makes a difference too ? And, I am guessing that the number of A's is how beautiful that piece of wood is ? smile.gif


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Cosmin Lupu
post Oct 1 2014, 09:45 AM
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Oooh, so that's what veneer means! Now I got it smile.gif The thicker the top, the more impact it has on the tone - thus the more expensive the guitar. But anyway, I've seen that for instance, some mid range guitars - such as the PRS Zach Myers - have a pretty serious maple top - take a look:



It's pretty solid, or at least that's how it looks to me..


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Yash
post Oct 1 2014, 11:01 AM
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Well, I totally love veneers too, if they are quilt top. Has anyone ever wondered if there would be a graphic paint job or something of a high end PRS on some normal priced guitar ? laugh.gif Get the looks of a high end today ! laugh.gif


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klasaine
post Oct 1 2014, 06:49 PM
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In the mid 90s Fender Japan used a technique called 'photo' flame.
http://xhefriguitars.com/page7.html



This post has been edited by klasaine: Oct 1 2014, 06:49 PM


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Todd Simpson
post Oct 2 2014, 02:13 AM
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Now that's a bit cheese IMHO. ESP is guilty of doing that on their cheaper guitars from what I gather. It's not a flame top but a sticker that's just shlacked on under two inches of clear coat. Sorta bobo.

QUOTE (klasaine @ Oct 1 2014, 01:49 PM) *
In the mid 90s Fender Japan used a technique called 'photo' flame.
http://xhefriguitars.com/page7.html



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klasaine
post Oct 2 2014, 06:30 AM
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It was always advertised as such and did not affect the price at all ... at least with Fender.


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Cosmin Lupu
post Oct 2 2014, 08:08 AM
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QUOTE (Yash @ Oct 1 2014, 10:01 AM) *
Well, I totally love veneers too, if they are quilt top. Has anyone ever wondered if there would be a graphic paint job or something of a high end PRS on some normal priced guitar ? laugh.gif Get the looks of a high end today ! laugh.gif


I have no clue, but, one thing I know, is that I wouldn't go for a guitar that looks nice, but doesn't sound equally nice wink.gif Frankly, I think that's an investment that no company would do - an expensive looking guitar that sounds bad. So, maybe I am wrong here, but I sure can't see this happening sad.gif


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klasaine
post Oct 2 2014, 04:38 PM
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QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ Oct 2 2014, 12:08 AM) *
I have no clue, but, one thing I know, is that I wouldn't go for a guitar that looks nice, but doesn't sound equally nice wink.gif Frankly, I think that's an investment that no company would do - an expensive looking guitar that sounds bad. So, maybe I am wrong here, but I sure can't see this happening sad.gif


May I kindly direct you post # 26 wink.gif


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Cosmin Lupu
post Oct 3 2014, 10:11 AM
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QUOTE (klasaine @ Oct 2 2014, 03:38 PM) *
May I kindly direct you post # 26 wink.gif


Thank you good Sir! I slipped this one it seems smile.gif


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Yash
post Oct 5 2014, 09:46 AM
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QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ Oct 2 2014, 11:08 AM) *
I have no clue, but, one thing I know, is that I wouldn't go for a guitar that looks nice, but doesn't sound equally nice wink.gif Frankly, I think that's an investment that no company would do - an expensive looking guitar that sounds bad. So, maybe I am wrong here, but I sure can't see this happening sad.gif

Well, if you have a nice sounding alder body guitar that doesn't usually have a maple top, you can get the looks by a graphic the paint thingy biggrin.gif tongue.gif That's what I meant smile.gif Beautiful quilted maple tops rolleyes.gif


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Cosmin Lupu
post Oct 5 2014, 12:01 PM
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QUOTE (Yash @ Oct 5 2014, 08:46 AM) *
Well, if you have a nice sounding alder body guitar that doesn't usually have a maple top, you can get the looks by a graphic the paint thingy biggrin.gif tongue.gif That's what I meant smile.gif Beautiful quilted maple tops rolleyes.gif


Well, if that makes you happy, you should aim for that idea on the next guitar you want to acquire biggrin.gif I for one had no clue about what really maple tops meant until very recently tongue.gif We live and we learn, right?


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SixStringSamurai
post Oct 6 2014, 07:08 PM
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QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ Oct 1 2014, 08:45 AM) *
Oooh, so that's what veneer means! Now I got it smile.gif The thicker the top, the more impact it has on the tone - thus the more expensive the guitar. But anyway, I've seen that for instance, some mid range guitars - such as the PRS Zach Myers - have a pretty serious maple top - take a look:



It's pretty solid, or at least that's how it looks to me..


It's common on Korean guitars to have a normal maple top, PLUS a figured veneer on top. So you get the tonal impact of a hunk of maple, as well as the looks of a highly figured top. It's easy to tell the difference - put it next to any USA PRS with a figured top and natural binding, and you can immediately see the flame/quilt figuring in the binding of the USA, while you won't see it on the SE (because it's not a full thickness figured maple top).


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Cosmin Lupu
post Oct 7 2014, 02:02 PM
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QUOTE (SixStringSamurai @ Oct 6 2014, 06:08 PM) *
It's common on Korean guitars to have a normal maple top, PLUS a figured veneer on top. So you get the tonal impact of a hunk of maple, as well as the looks of a highly figured top. It's easy to tell the difference - put it next to any USA PRS with a figured top and natural binding, and you can immediately see the flame/quilt figuring in the binding of the USA, while you won't see it on the SE (because it's not a full thickness figured maple top).


I have the Myers and the Tremonti USA at my right side as I am writing this smile.gif And frankly, they are two pieces of exquisite craftsmanship - it's pretty hard to judge smile.gif I am amzed of how beautiful the Zach Myers really is and the sound is great as well. I have it home for a review and while at it, I did these pics for PRS as well: https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/guitar_fo...showtopic=53153

PS: There's also a wallpaper with the Myers biggrin.gif It came out beautiful and I thought I'd share it with you guys as well!



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Spock
post Oct 7 2014, 09:41 PM
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Not sure because of the dark paint job on your Tremonti, but in the cutout especially you can see the difference in the veneer topped guitar and the maple cap. The cap is thick, about a 1/4" (6 mm) I am guessing. I'll take a quick pick of the two together.

But that is the reason why (I assume) that the Korean made PRS's don't have the contours on the edges and around the knobs (they're all flat) - where on the US models they have little dips, because they can be routed out of a chunk of wood, where veneer wouldn't stick to well to the form.

My Jackson is this way as well - flat top with a veneer.
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Cosmin Lupu
post Oct 8 2014, 02:54 PM
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QUOTE (Spock @ Oct 7 2014, 08:41 PM) *
But that is the reason why (I assume) that the Korean made PRS's don't have the contours on the edges and around the knobs (they're all flat) - where on the US models they have little dips, because they can be routed out of a chunk of wood, where veneer wouldn't stick to well to the form.


Looking forward to see the comparative pic and now I get the idea with the little dips - but the Tremonti doesn't have the little dips sad.gif


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Spock
post Oct 8 2014, 03:32 PM
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I forgot about the pics when I got home. But regardless of if the little dips are around the knobs or not, the tremonti does have a maple cap on it and not a veneer from what I can see - you wouldn't put a veneer on a contoured guitar like this. Notice how thick it is from the binding on the edge to the top where the pickups are. And notice the groove cutout. That's a thick cap put on a mahogany body.

Easier to see in the red finish below.






You can really see the maple cap here...



This post has been edited by Spock: Oct 8 2014, 03:35 PM
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Hexabuzz
post Oct 8 2014, 05:33 PM
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QUOTE (Spock @ Oct 8 2014, 09:32 AM) *
I forgot about the pics when I got home. But regardless of if the little dips are around the knobs or not, the tremonti does have a maple cap on it and not a veneer from what I can see - you wouldn't put a veneer on a contoured guitar like this.


I've seen veneers on contoured and carved tops...



The G&L ASAT Deluxe in their Tribute line of imports is an example, and it's a great playing and great looking guitar. This is the sunburst with maple neck, but they also did a natural finish with a rosewood fingerboard.



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Spock
post Oct 8 2014, 06:42 PM
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Interesting - I stand corrected.

I did put a veneer top on that Jackson I was trying to refinish - and used (2) 50 pound bags of sand to apply it to the contour.

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