How important is the 3/4" maple cap?

The_Sentry

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Mine is all mahogany and a real moody tonal wonder. Dark when I want it that way, but the P90 and Alnico ( going back in this week ) make it ooze with overtones when both clean and dirty. So it gets quite bright.

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The '54 was a real winner. Now to get a '57 and then an all White '68 so I can have a Custom with a maple top too! I miss my '68.....

Yeah, My R9 is killer, has maple top, but it's just the wrong color, some sorta Burst. :laugh2:I'm an ebony Custom Guy.:D Dunno how the R9 happened, but it a keeper too.

Really, the difference in overall brightness between the maple capped R9 and the all mahogany R4 is minimal. The pickups are very different, so I would guess that is where the difference is adjusted. The P90/Alnico setup is bright while the PAF style Humbuckers on the R9 are thicker and darker. Though the WB 6707's I replaced them with are much more alive than the stock Gibsons were and I get more in the higher overtones than I did previously.

Killer guitar...and response, Harpozep! :thumb:
 

kluson

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when everything is on 11 and the amp is working hard I can't hear much at all!, At that point I don't give a monkeys toss whether I've got a condom on my truss rod or anything else!
 

PSM

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It seems like sometimes a top wood has a huge affect on the tone and other times it doesn't (in my experience anyways). Obviously what it comes down to is that it's not just any one ingredient that makes up the final sound coming out of the speakers, it's a mix of everything: woods on every part of the guitar, pickups, strings, amp/pedals, speakers, pick material, etc. The biggest difference I've seen in guitar wood types, though, is my Ibanez Prestige S2170SE and my singer's Ibanez AX1220. Both have a mahogany body and similar neck but his has this strange textured finish on the body while mine has an ebony top. We put the same exact pickups in them and played them through the same amp, A/B-ing back and forth with the two guitars. While they have a similar sound, his is much brighter and edgier, if that makes sense. It really cuts through and lets you hear the scrape of the pick on the strings a bit more, while mine with the ebony top sounds a lot more tame.
 

The_Sentry

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I guess here's the reason for this thread...

I see this selling point all the time, you know?? "MAPLE CAP!! IT'S GOTTA HAVE THE MAPLE CAP!!", and it's an expensive proposition on a guitar.

OK..so that's cool and all...and even though I know it's supposed to add some brightness and attack, how much does it do?

Damn....I hope the Grumpy Old Bastard finds this thread. I need me some edumacation on this...
 

PSM

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I guess here's the reason for this thread...

I see this selling point all the time, you know?? "MAPLE CAP!! IT'S GOTTA HAVE THE MAPLE CAP!!", and it's an expensive proposition on a guitar.

OK..so that's cool and all...and even though I know it's supposed to add some brightness and attack, how much does it do?

Damn....I hope the Grumpy Old Bastard finds this thread. I need me some edumacation on this...

I think anyone telling you it "needs" a maple cap, or advertising it that way, doesn't understand the concept of sound preference and looks being subjective. If you like the look of the maple top or you are after a brighter sound, then chances are you'll want the maple top. But that's not necessarily what everyone's looking for depending on their personal preference for sound and looks.

I think what we need someone to do is A/B two Les Pauls with similar specs (same fretboard wood, pickups, etc), but one that has a maple top and one that doesn't. Put them through the same amp back and fourth and record the sounds. It doesn't even have to be a really great quality recording as long as they are done back to back so you can hear the change. I'd do it if mine had the same pickups in them.
 

Lampens

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Hey, that's cool. I didn't know customs were all mahogany. Or were only the first models made that way?
You learn something new every time here. :thumb:
 

Boleskinehouse

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Hey, that's cool. I didn't know customs were all mahogany. Or were only the first models made that way?
You learn something new every time here. :thumb:

Only '54-'61(yes, there are single cut, '61 Customs) and the '54 and '57 Historic reissues. All other Customs have maple tops. :thumb:
 

lp_junkie

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Well if you want to do some good comparison, get a hold of a mid 50's LP Custom and A/B it against the same years Standard. The tonal differences are clear, with the Custom having an all mahogany body/cap it is a bit darker sounding than the Standards.

So the maple adds some brightness to the overall tone, it's importance is up to you if you don't think it is necessary there are some options out there that use solid mahogany.

On some of the custom shredders I build I use solid mahogany for the bodies just to add some balls as the typical shredder guitar was all bite and no growl.
 

zslane

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I guess I don't really care if there is a maple cap as long as:

  1. I like the tone I hear
  2. The top is carved
  3. The flame, if visible, is beautiful
  4. The construction is solid
 

RocknRoller

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has anyone compared a VM studio side by side with a regular maple cap studio?
Pick ups being the same though, either both with the BBs or both with 490/498 to make it fair.
 

zontar

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There is a noticeable difference with a maple cap.
the veneer does little if anything for the sound, but the cap does.

It gives it an extra something--I can't quite explain it.
I have a guitar with a solid mahogany body (my Iceman) and it sounds great for somethings, and my Les Paul with the maple cap sounds better for other things. They do have different pickups as well, which affects things.

This comparison is not just made on these two guitars. A friend of mine has two Les Pauls customs with the stock pickups, and there is a similarity in tone between them and mine with different pickups. His SG with mahogany body also has a similarity to my Iceman-which has Super 80's and his SG has an Invader in it.

Over the years I have played many other guitars--mahogany alone & maple cap, and other woods.

There are general characteristics to each type of wood, even though I do agree that two pieces of wood from the same part of the same tree can sound different. there still are general characteristics, and mahogany with maple top is a very nice one.

That said I have solid mahogany and solid mahogany with maple cap & solid ash. So if I do get another solidbody guitar it will likely be another type of wood-alder or walnut or something like that.
 

ozone_00

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I think anyone telling you it "needs" a maple cap, or advertising it that way, doesn't understand the concept of sound preference and looks being subjective. If you like the look of the maple top or you are after a brighter sound, then chances are you'll want the maple top. But that's not necessarily what everyone's looking for depending on their personal preference for sound and looks.
Don't tell that to Ed Roman, OH SNAP!
The only all mahogany LP that I have is an Epiphone Studio Baritone which probably isn't the best to use as a comparison, but it does have a noticeably darker, cooler tone than my Gibson Studio Gothic. I would love to play a Gibson Studio Baritone (which has a maple cap) for comparison.
 

River

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I think it's all hooey. These are solid slabs of wood we're talking about (taking weight relief and chambering into account), listened to (usually) amplified and distorted (from a little bit to the point of being unrecognizable).

My best sounding solid-body electric guitar acoustically is my slab of "mahogany" Epi Junior. It's brighter and more crisp than the maple-topped Gibsons. Plugged up, some nights it's better, others it's not, kwim? Different, yeah - but then it has a different pickup on it.

A carved maple top on a solid-body electric guitar is beautiful. That's "all".
 

checkedgoldtop

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I think it's all hooey.

Big things happen when you add up all of the subtle tone variables such as pickguard vibration, poker chip feedback, speed knob mass induced sustain, pick brand, and the always crucial string selection and method of installation. Apparently this this is how guitars with nice tone can be visually identified?:D
 

1981 LPC

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I would say that the maple top ads a bit of brightness and attack.. I'm not so sure it really ads sustain... I would need a good mahogany LP to compare. I guess it's time to get a '57 Custom. :wow::laugh2::laugh2:

Have Les Paul Custom models always had a solid mahogany body as the original late '53/early '54 had? Or has Gibson added a maple top in later years?


:hmm:
 

rockstar232007

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Have Les Paul Custom models always had a solid mahogany body as the original late '53/early '54 had? Or has Gibson added a maple top in later years?


:hmm:
Customs were all-mahogany up until 1961. The maple-top Customs started in '68 (the year they were reissued), with the exception of the early '70s '54 RI.
 

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