Word that came my way was that Lester himself liked the more mellow tone of the allThe 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.
I did?!? Good Lord I cant remember.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.
I apologize to Vic and thanks to Artie!
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.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.