Maple Top Weight

Discussion in 'Historics & Reissues' started by JUNAE9, Oct 5, 2017.

  1. L96A1

    L96A1 Senior Member

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    Not sure about figure and plain, hope this helps.
    Maple.png
     
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  2. PierM

    PierM Premium Member

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    Unless it's Hard Maple, it's all Bigleaf/Silver Maple, doesn't matter if flame or plain (figure in the grain are not related to species).
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2017
  3. L96A1

    L96A1 Senior Member

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    I’ve always wondered if plain tops and those with the mineral steaks can be soft maple.
     
  4. PierM

    PierM Premium Member

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    I'm pretty sure I've seen hard maple with streaks before.
     
  5. L96A1

    L96A1 Senior Member

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    Sorry for my poor English, I meant we hear people say eastern hard maple tend to have the streaks, and I wondered if the westerns have streaks too, just less.
     
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  6. Wingtip4

    Wingtip4 Senior Member

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    The answer is yes, there is hard maple and softer maple that might weigh differently, he might be saying that Gibson mamy times skimps On the top thickness, but back in the day it was “8 poinds, 8 ohms.” As rule of thumb.
     
  7. Sowtondevil

    Sowtondevil Junior Member

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    As a luthier I believe the figuring to be a red herring when considering the weight of your finished instrument. The density of the tone wood and hence its weight when when fully seasoned is determined by the rate of growth i.e. the closeness of the annual rings or grain. But in the overall scheme of things the difference in weight is marginal. Select finely figured Maple if that is the look you are after - don't get too hung up about the weight.
     
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  8. vlammie

    vlammie Junior Member

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    I can't believe this is my first post here, very long-time reader though. :)

    I think I can add some thoughts to this topic. My experience is not with historic gibsons, but I have been playing a couple of months with 12 prototypes of a guitar that's not on the market yet.

    The tops on these guitars are in 3 categories:
    Solid AAA flame top
    Solid plain top
    Laminated plain/flame top (AAA on top of course)

    The maple used for the plain tops (and the lower part of the laminated tops) is more dense than the AAA flame maple.
    The difference in weight between all these guitars is very clear. All the solid AAA's are below 4kg, all plain tops and laminated tops are at least 500 grams heavier, some closer to 1kg.

    These prototypes are all made in the same factoy in Japan, with the same 1 piece mahogany backs, same pickups, etc. The top wood has the same impact on weight and sound on all of them, although there are always minor differences of course. FYI, all of them are chambered, but not a lot. Definitely less than a chambered gibson, or a gretsch duo jet.
    In general, the lighter ones with solid AAA top sound more 'airy' and even have some semi-acoustic properties when played unplugged.
    The ones with a plain top or laminated top sound more 'solid', and exhibit less of the semi-acoustic properties.

    I didn't expect a big difference in different types of maple, but it's very distinctive in my limited experience.
     
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  9. Pleximan

    Pleximan Premium Member

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    I've never built my own guitar. I do have a pretty good ear for tone though. The tap test isn't always a good indicator of tone on wood, but it often will give you an idea of if you have a lively piece of wood. The resonance and piano key like quality of wood; when struck is something to look for. From my own experience heavier les pauls usually (over 9.5lbs) are very midrangey and chunky in the low end. Lightweight Les Pauls (under 8lbs) usually are very airy, and bright in the high end, and the mid range isn't very strong, the lows are fairly subdued and quacky. That's my experience. You could probably find examples of just the opposite of what I said, but. This is coming from a guy who's played tons of Les Pauls. I think a good weight is in the 8lbs range. Imo
     
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  10. freebyrd 69

    freebyrd 69 Premium Member

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    In this case you are comparing different types of Maple used in completely different ways (laminating). Do all of the pickups read the same? How about the harnesses?

    Not to be a downer, but acoustic properties mean little or nothing on an electric guitar.
     
  11. L96A1

    L96A1 Senior Member

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    Agree to this.
     
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  12. freebyrd 69

    freebyrd 69 Premium Member

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    I've got two over 9 that are stellar. Weird.
     
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  13. THDNUT

    THDNUT Senior Member

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    This is my best sounding R9. It weighs 9 1/2 lbs. I ignored the weight and bought it because it sounds stellar.

    [​IMG]
     
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  14. Pleximan

    Pleximan Premium Member

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    I'm sure there are some stellar 9 pound plus Les Pauls. For me 9.5 lbs seems to be about the cut off. When it comes to comfort under 9 lbs is where I'd like to be. A LP much under 8 just didn't sound right to me. Thin comes to mind, and nasally.
     
  15. freebyrd 69

    freebyrd 69 Premium Member

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    Looks stellar too!!
     
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  16. vlammie

    vlammie Junior Member

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    I know, you are right of course, stuff like pickup height, how old the strings are, etc. all matter.

    But this was a rare case of 12 almost identical guitars, with identical pickups, and everything else, the only difference was the type of maple used for the top.
    And it is a noticeable difference, acoustically and (to a lesser degree) amplified.
     
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  17. scovell001

    scovell001 Senior Member

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    Just to put things into perspective:

    Doug & Pat's gold top weighs 8lb
    Mark Knopflers 1958 weighs 7.90lbs
    The Seven Decades 1958 85495 weighs 8.1lbs

    There's 'nothing' wanting about the tone in 'any' of those guitars - go figure.
     
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  18. RAG7890

    RAG7890 Premium Member

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    May as well Post this one in here.

    [​IMG]

    :cheers2:
     
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  19. BBD

    BBD Senior Member

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    Sure, because there's no strong correlation between tone and weight.
     

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