What was the point of putting a maple cap on the LP Goldtop?

Dak0t4

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Were they seeking a sound difference with the Custom? cheers and thank you.
 

Kennoyce

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maple is bright....mahogany darker
Yep, the normal LP tone comes from the combo of the darker toned mahogany coupled with the brighter toned maple. All mahogany LPs definitely have a different tone than the typical mahogany with maple cap ones.
 

Popeye

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Driving people insane 50 years later.

And yes supposedly to make the guitar brighter sounding
 

ARandall

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The history of the wood combos was the result of a LOT of prototypes to get the wood types and dimensions right for the tone and sustain they wanted. As the goldtop was the first, that construction was the archetypal ideal for their goals.
The Custom that came later sported a brighter neck pickup. Maybe that is why they thought to forego the maple cap.
 

truckermde

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I also remember reading somewhere that Les wanted a maple body, but it was decided that maple was to heavy to use by itself, and so it was coupled to the mahogany body and neck.

I have not verified these claims, and only share them anecdotally...
 
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DarrellV

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The history of the wood combos was the result of a LOT of prototypes to get the wood types and dimensions right for the tone and sustain they wanted. As the goldtop was the first, that construction was the archetypal ideal for their goals.
The Custom that came later sported a brighter neck pickup. Maybe that is why they thought to forego the maple cap.
Word that came my way was that Lester himself liked the more mellow tone of the all
hog build, so he asked for it on the Custom.


@VictorB posted a really good paper on the experiments that led to the maple hog combo a while back.

Maybe he can dig it up again.

It was definitely a choice, as you said.
 

VictorB

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Word that came my way was that Lester himself liked the more mellow tone of the all
hog build, so he asked for it on the Custom.


@VictorB posted a really good paper on the experiments that led to the maple hog combo a while back.

Maybe he can dig it up again.

It was definitely a choice, as you said.
I did?!? Good Lord I cant remember.
 

jcsk8

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My all magogany custom is brigther than my maple top LP.
 

DarrellV

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none2low

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While I'm sure there were many reasons a maple cap was ultimately chosen, I speculate one reason not mentioned so far was production.

Mahogany has a tendency to tear out easier than maple when it's being routed and carved. This isn't a huge issue within the control cavities and pickup routes (since these aren't seen) but the top carve is another story.

My guess is maple was chosen as a commonly available hard wood that provided the path of least resistance. For Gibson and their production purposes, gluing on a maple cap is a whole lot quicker and easier, than having to start a build over because of an unfortunate tearout later on in the process with a softer mahogany.
 

Kennoyce

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While I'm sure there were many reasons a maple cap was ultimately chosen, I speculate one reason not mentioned so far was production.

Mahogany has a tendency to tear out easier than maple when it's being routed and carved. This isn't a huge issue within the control cavities and pickup routes (since these aren't seen) but the top carve is another story.

My guess is maple was chosen as a commonly available hard wood that provided the path of least resistance. For Gibson and their production purposes, gluing on a maple cap is a whole lot quicker and easier, than having to start a build over because of an unfortunate tearout later on in the process with a softer mahogany.
I'm going to have to completely disagree with that speculation. Genuine mahogany cuts like butter and has absolutely no tear-out issues at all. Yes, african mahogany (not used in 50's les pauls) has an interlocking grain structure and is prone to tear-out, but that is not the case at all with honduran mahogany. Flamed maple (like what is used on bursts and even is hidden under many gold tops) is incredibly likely to tear out when machining because of the curly grain structure. Yes I do a lot of woodworking, and yes I have ample experience working with both mahogany and maple.
 

Dak0t4

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This video compares a 1957 Goldtop Solid Mahogany (7 6186)
to a 1959 Burst Mahogany body with Maple Cap (9 0349).
I think it demonstrates the tonal differences very well.

i had no idea there were mahogany goldtops produced... thanks for the video
 

jcsk8

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troublemaker :)
Haha. It´s just the truth. I expected the opposite, but no. The custom has a raw sound and is brighter than the maple capped, wich is mellower. Not drastic, but noticiable, as both have the same pickups.
 

Mark_the_Knife

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The real reason they chose maple caps for goldtops was that they knew that decades later, luthiers were going to do Burst conversions on GTs. This is nearly impossible to do with all-mahogany bodies. There you have it- Gibson designers had amazing foresight, just like our ancestors who put a pyramid with an eye on our paper currency.

Chemistry majors may argue that mahogany and its filler react unkindly with a gold-colored finish.
 

delawaregold

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I don't know how many Solid Mahogany Goldtops were made, but this is the tell.

7_2566a.jpg

The Pick-up wires exit through a square routed channel, with a Maple Cap.

7 6186a.jpg

The Pick-up wires exit through a round drilled hole on a Solid Mahogany.​
 


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