How many A’s would you give this flame top?

dscottyg

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It's interesting to read so much obsession with the nature and extent of "flame" with little regard for the overall apearance of various tops. The one in the OP is, IMO, a pretty boring and unexciting top, and whether you list it up or down the AA/AAA borderline where it exists is a trivial and subjective, secondary matter. Ditto, IMO, for the numerous tops with heavy, thin flame but also really unattractive perpendicular grain lines. That straight graining totally compromises the effect of the flame and from a visual standpoint (once you forget about grading the flame and just look at the guitar) is a detriment. Makers are marketing what buyers understand to be good, so we no longer see ribbon curl or wide flames anymore because everyone with a veneered Epi on up is obsessed with flames per inch, high contrast and even mineral streaks (once considered a defect). It's a really formulaic and ultimately boring grading standard, IMO, and yields tops and guitars that all look fundamentally the same. Some of the most beautiful old bursts had irregular tops, variation in presence/kind/degree of flame, etc. These modern tops all look like fotoflame overlaid with too much finish. My most beautiful burst is not a Gibson, and has an arctic birch top with flames that are in places 3 inches wide. It would probably be graded A for failing to look like every other top, but it's the one everybody looks at.
So, would you think it would be rated AA or AAA? Even if it’s not to your liking, your rating of As is important to me.
 

Tinpan

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A, but it depends on the angle of the photo. Gibson grades their guitars ..... not the seller.
 

moreles

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I'd call it AA but expect most dealers and owners would say AAA. I don't think you should "round up" on top grading, but a lot of people do it. Next up: figuring out what makes a 10 top a 10.
 

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Both my Brazilians have different grain, but I love them both. The darker cherry is my favorite with the wide flame, and both are very 3D at most angles, but no dead spots thankfully. I’d love to have one more, maybe a R0 Brazilian, and a lemon burst would be the ticket!
 

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Tim Plains

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Ya, but what rating would you give it on the A scale? The rating isn’t affected by how much you like it. A 50 degree day is still 50 degrees whether someone likes that temperature or not. Would you think it’s AAA even if you don’t like it? It seems like you know your stuff.
Me. I'd give it AA but it's probably rated AAA. The whole rating system is subjective and I don't put much value on a grading systems someone else devised. It's I either like it or I don't.
 

CB91710

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Me. I'd give it AA but it's probably rated AAA. The whole rating system is subjective and I don't put much value on a grading systems someone else devised. It's I either like it or I don't.
+1

OP, do you like it or are you unhappy with it? The number of "As" isn't going to change that, unless perhaps you are in a situation where you are trying to return it and the dealer won't take it back unless it was misrepresented?
Seems unlikely since Sweetwater has a good return policy (that is a Sweetwater photo)
 

jbash

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YEp. I have a feeling Gibson is starting to go sort of the PRS direction, where they buy X amount of wood. Then some gets graded as 10 top. Some artist grade. Some as regular., etc. It's not based on any "industry standard" it's based on the best and worst of the years lot .

Some years those 10 tops are way better on average than others.
 

dscottyg

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+1

OP, do you like it or are you unhappy with it? The number of "As" isn't going to change that, unless perhaps you are in a situation where you are trying to return it and the dealer won't take it back unless it was misrepresented?
Seems unlikely since Sweetwater has a good return policy (that is a Sweetwater photo)
I love it more in person. I think the pics online didn’t do it justice. Here it is at home in poor lighting.
4857662F-970C-48A8-84CC-69ED32D3E074.jpeg
4857662F-970C-48A8-84CC-69ED32D3E074.jpeg
 
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