Hard or soft maple for carved-top solid body?

Discussion in 'Guitar Building' started by Dave Locher, Oct 6, 2015.

  1. Dave Locher

    Dave Locher Member

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    Do Les Pauls typically have tops made of "hard" maple or "soft" maple?
    I know either one can be used, but I wonder which one Gibson used in the '50s and '60s.
     
  2. B. Howard

    B. Howard New Member

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    Gibson typically used soft maple. I personally prefer the sound of hard maple but it does add a bit of weight.
     
  3. Dave Locher

    Dave Locher Member

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    Is the hard maple brighter?
    I would think it might have more bite and/or sustain, but I'm just guessing.
     
  4. B. Howard

    B. Howard New Member

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    Yes a bit brighter and crisper attack, more "snap".
     
  5. Dave Locher

    Dave Locher Member

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    Thank you, Brian. I appreciate the helpful info.
    By the way, I took a look at your website and you do some really beautiful work.
     
  6. otterhound

    otterhound New Member

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    Red Maple is the species that will often yield that large rolling flame .
    It is also easier to carve .
    I have a considerable stash of this wood .
     
  7. Dave Locher

    Dave Locher Member

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    Any reason to use two pieces of maple rather than one? All of the flame-top guitars I've seen have two-piece tops, but I think many of the plain wood tops are one piece so I'm guessing they just do that to be able to use smaller pieces of flamed maple? Or is there some structural reason to join two pieces of maple on top of a solidbody guitar?
     
  8. rainH2O

    rainH2O New Member

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    I don't think there's a structural reason, I think it's more to maintain symmetry in the figure. It's a lot easier to make two pieces look symmetrical (even with slip-matched pieces) than to find a one-piece that has good symmetry. From a practical standpoint, it gives a nice centerline to work from.
     
  9. Dave Locher

    Dave Locher Member

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    I guessed it was strictly an aesthetic and/or cost-saving tactic. I personally like the look of a one-piece, so now it's just a matter of whether I can find a piece wide enough to do the whole top.
    Thanks, everyone!
     
  10. otterhound

    otterhound New Member

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    It typically is one piece of maple that is bookmatched , although there certainly are examples of non matched Gibson tops out there .
    Bookmatching is totally esthetic .
    I have some quartersawn flamed Silver Maple that is wide enough for a Les Paul .
    I also have non flamed hard and soft maple that is wide enough .
    PM me if you are interested .
     

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