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Maple used in Fender necks

exodus

Member
Messages
1,826
Is the maple used in Fender guitar necks basically all the same? Forget about figured maple, different cuts (i.e., quartersawn, etc.). Comparing apples to apples, is the maple wood used to make a USA Standard neck (be it just maple or with a rosewood board) the same stock/quality used to make a custom shop neck? If not, what are the differences?

Just curious...
 

Guitarworks

Member
Messages
10,217
Highly-figured maple may get reserved for CS instruments, but not every CS guitar has highly-figured maple. A less-figured neck has a 50/50 shot at going on either a CS guitar or non-CS guitar. They go wherever they're needed.
 

highrise

Member
Messages
3,841
You can't compare apples to apples...it's the figuring that gets the CS material pulled aside.
All CS stuff is figured?


Highly-figured maple may get reserved for CS instruments, but not every CS guitar has highly-figured maple. A less-figured neck has a 50/50 shot at going on either a CS guitar or non-CS guitar. They go wherever they're needed.

So 1 for "The Same" and 1 for "Different".
 

John Hurtt

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
18,782
All CS stuff is figured?





So 1 for "The Same" and 1 for "Different".
No....but the figured wood is set aside for the CS. Non-figured wood is likely the same, I doubt that there is any prep or spec difference for the raw wood.
 

cutaway

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
18,214
No....but the figured wood is set aside for the CS. Non-figured wood is likely the same, I doubt that there is any prep or spec difference for the raw wood.
some of the lesser models wind up with light figuring. i had an am dlx with a faint flame on the neck. but it was by no means highly flamed like some of the cs stuff
 

Ron Kirn

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
6,796
the "quality" of lumber is graded by a system established by the National Hardwood Lumber Association... Figuring is NOT a consideration.. all responsible guitar manufacturers use the top grade as established by the system..

rk
 

TexMax

Member
Messages
329
Is the maple used in Fender guitar necks basically all the same? Forget about figured maple, different cuts (i.e., quartersawn, etc.). Comparing apples to apples, is the maple wood used to make a USA Standard neck (be it just maple or with a rosewood board) the same stock/quality used to make a custom shop neck? If not, what are the differences?

Just curious...
I don't have any actual verification, but in my experience and estimation I would say yes, I think Fender Maples are generally the same in that they seem sourced from the same place/supplier. I have lots experience with with Fender and other after market necks, and it seems to me that the woods may vary from brand to brand, but stay consistent (same source) within each brand.
 

John Hurtt

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
18,782
the "quality" of lumber is graded by a system established by the National Hardwood Lumber Association... Figuring is NOT a consideration.. all responsible guitar manufacturers use the top grade as established by the system..

rk
So....the huge quantity of figured maple used on CS instruments and the relative lack on non CS is..... chance? Responsible guitar manufacturer Fender apparantly sorts their top grade maple....you think?
 

skydog

Member
Messages
12,294
You can't compare apples to apples...it's the figuring that gets the CS material pulled aside.
I've seen many examples of CS, AS, MIM, and Squier models all run the gamut from flatsawn to quartersawn, birdseye to flamed. Reason being, not everyone likes the same thing!
 

shane8

Member
Messages
30,995
So....the huge quantity of figured maple used on CS instruments and the relative lack on non CS is..... chance? Responsible guitar manufacturer Fender apparantly sorts their top grade maple....you think?
all the wood is top grade but the cs prob will pick out the pretty stuff
 

Ron Kirn

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
6,796
Responsible guitar manufacturer Fender apparantly sorts their top grade maple....you think?
Well probably, if their production manager has any functioning neurons... my point is that all the Maple used in guitar necks is FAS ( top grade)... Figuring does not factor into that grade. The way FAS is achieved is by taking a rough section of wood and cutting out all the "bad sections". That - is - it...

The National Hardwood Lumber Association is a nationally recognized, accredited organization that has established a grade system so that if you purchase a piece of FAS Maple in Skokie, it's the equivalent grade as one purchased in Ipanema or Paris, or Tokyo . . However there IS Figuring... THAT grading method has been corrupted by charlatans...

Figured Maple, such as 5A, 4A, etc., derive their "grade" via a non accredited method... there is no accredited organization establishing such. The way it happens, someone buys a truck load of Figured wood, and calls it whatever his conscience allows him to get away with. That, however ONLY addresses how the piece of wood looks, it has nothing to do with it's acceptability for use in any specific application. Further if you purchase a bulk load of something like Maple, a percentage of it will be figured to some degree by the luck f the draw... they can cull it out, assign whatever grade they want and start selling as "figured" lumber, which it is.. the only question is, is their 5A the same as your idea of 5A? No way to know until you have it in your hands..

Further, once a log is cut into a flitch, (the first cut removed from the wood being a log) the piece of wood may have all grades represented, in that section of lumber, ranging from termite riddled trash, or sections full of knots, to very fine clear FAS. So a mill can cut out inferior sections, perhaps to be ground up and pressed into Fireplace logs, or made into shipping pallets, while the better pieces make it into your guitar. Yeah, the same section of lumber can yield both a shipping pallet, AND your guitar, Hurts, doesn't it? :eek:

Why do you guys wanna make everything an argument... I'm only sharing that "you" as a guitar owner will not have to worry about the grade of Maple in your guitar's neck as long as it came from a reputable manufacturer. And yeah, even the attributes of wood used in superior guitars can be determined by the chance of no two of us wood whittlers are the same. I may have differing criteria than another builder, but . . . BUT still, . . . both guitars can come out equally superb, even though they may be profoundly different. Would you prefer it different?

Someone posted above that he was surprised a builder like me didn't do something like other builders, or . . . the inference was all better builders should do whatever, all the same.... yada, yada, yada... the suggestion being that all builders of my caliber... would think the same... is that whacko or what... were that the case, all our guitars would have evolved over time to be the same ...

Building guitars at this level, be it by the CS, or any of the well known Boutique builders is an art form... I hope we all incorporate our artistic interpretations into our work.. that's where the excellence comes from, it's also where the differences come from. Otherwise anyone with a better level of wood shop savvy could just buy a book of "Guitar Makin' Secrets" and pound out excellence, just by following instructions.

Sure.. I would think any guitar maker culls through a shipment of lumber looking of "unique" looking pieces to set aside for "special" guitars... what, is that some form of dishonest? and If so, is it equally dishonest that in the Diamond industry, those stones are culled through and the "better" ones are set aside for Brittney's bracelet and those on the other end of the scale are glued to the head of a Oil rig Drill Bit... or ground up for your Diamond Sharpening stone. You Think?

And yes, to answer your question, I do think, on occasion.. but it gives me a headache... :p

rk
 

Oldschool59

Member
Messages
1,800
Well probably, if their production manager has any functioning neurons... my point is that all the Maple used in guitar necks is FAS ( top grade)... Figuring does not factor into that grade. The way FAS is achieved is by taking a rough section of wood and cutting out all the "bad sections". That - is - it...

The National Hardwood Lumber Association is a nationally recognized, accredited organization that has established a grade system so that if you purchase a piece of FAS Maple in Skokie, it's the equivalent grade as one purchased in Ipanema or Paris, or Tokyo . . However there IS Figuring... THAT grading method has been corrupted by charlatans...

Figured Maple, such as 5A, 4A, etc., derive their "grade" via a non accredited method... there is no accredited organization establishing such. The way it happens, someone buys a truck load of Figured wood, and calls it whatever his conscience allows him to get away with. That, however ONLY addresses how the piece of wood looks, it has nothing to do with it's acceptability for use in any specific application. Further if you purchase a bulk load of something like Maple, a percentage of it will be figured to some degree by the luck f the draw... they can cull it out, assign whatever grade they want and start selling as "figured" lumber, which it is.. the only question is, is their 5A the same as your idea of 5A? No way to know until you have it in your hands..

Further, once a log is cut into a flitch, (the first cut removed from the wood being a log) the piece of wood may have all grades represented, in that section of lumber, ranging from termite riddled trash, or sections full of knots, to very fine clear FAS. So a mill can cut out inferior sections, perhaps to be ground up and pressed into Fireplace logs, or made into shipping pallets, while the better pieces make it into your guitar. Yeah, the same section of lumber can yield both a shipping pallet, AND your guitar, Hurts, doesn't it? :eek:

Why do you guys wanna make everything an argument... I'm only sharing that "you" as a guitar owner will not have to worry about the grade of Maple in your guitar's neck as long as it came from a reputable manufacturer. And yeah, even the attributes of wood used in superior guitars can be determined by the chance of no two of us wood whittlers are the same. I may have differing criteria than another builder, but . . . BUT still, . . . both guitars can come out equally superb, even though they may be profoundly different. Would you prefer it different?

Someone posted above that he was surprised a builder like me didn't do something like other builders, or . . . the inference was all better builders should do whatever, all the same.... yada, yada, yada... the suggestion being that all builders of my caliber... would think the same... is that whacko or what... were that the case, all our guitars would have evolved over time to be the same ...

Building guitars at this level, be it by the CS, or any of the well known Boutique builders is an art form... I hope we all incorporate our artistic interpretations into our work.. that's where the excellence comes from, it's also where the differences come from. Otherwise anyone with a better level of wood shop savvy could just buy a book of "Guitar Makin' Secrets" and pound out excellence, just by following instructions.

Sure.. I would think any guitar maker culls through a shipment of lumber looking of "unique" looking pieces to set aside for "special" guitars... what, is that some form of dishonest? and If so, is it equally dishonest that in the Diamond industry, those stones are culled through and the "better" ones are set aside for Brittney's bracelet and those on the other end of the scale are glued to the head of a Oil rig Drill Bit... or ground up for your Diamond Sharpening stone. You Think?

And yes, to answer your question, I do think, on occasion.. but it gives me a headache... :p

rk
Hi Ron,

Thank you for a very informative and factual account. I love this place, where experienced pros offer free advice to the rest of us even though some of it is questioned by noobs and wannabe experts. In this specific case, I absolutely concur, and, from personal experience, can confirm that you are spot on: I work with the NSLA (softwood, not hardwood), but their process / methods are the same. HW is different from SW only in the visual grading aspect of its categorization, but the same methods apply to both. To my knowledge, there is no specific, official way to categorize the visual aspect of HW, and whatever it is called (museum-grade, AAAAA, AAA, or whatever), is subjective, and depends on the eye of the beholder. The best way to get fantastic maple for your neck is to go to a reputable builder, who can assess the lumber quality and its suitability for guitar building. Usually, such a builder's stash will contain plain to highly-figured pieces, all of them of equal suitability.

Cheers.
 

John Hurtt

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
18,782
Well probably, if their production manager has any functioning neurons... my point is that all the Maple used in guitar necks is FAS ( top grade)... Figuring does not factor into that grade. The way FAS is achieved is by taking a rough section of wood and cutting out all the "bad sections". That - is - it...

The National Hardwood Lumber Association is a nationally recognized, accredited organization that has established a grade system so that if you purchase a piece of FAS Maple in Skokie, it's the equivalent grade as one purchased in Ipanema or Paris, or Tokyo . . However there IS Figuring... THAT grading method has been corrupted by charlatans...

Figured Maple, such as 5A, 4A, etc., derive their "grade" via a non accredited method... there is no accredited organization establishing such. The way it happens, someone buys a truck load of Figured wood, and calls it whatever his conscience allows him to get away with. That, however ONLY addresses how the piece of wood looks, it has nothing to do with it's acceptability for use in any specific application. Further if you purchase a bulk load of something like Maple, a percentage of it will be figured to some degree by the luck f the draw... they can cull it out, assign whatever grade they want and start selling as "figured" lumber, which it is.. the only question is, is their 5A the same as your idea of 5A? No way to know until you have it in your hands..

Further, once a log is cut into a flitch, (the first cut removed from the wood being a log) the piece of wood may have all grades represented, in that section of lumber, ranging from termite riddled trash, or sections full of knots, to very fine clear FAS. So a mill can cut out inferior sections, perhaps to be ground up and pressed into Fireplace logs, or made into shipping pallets, while the better pieces make it into your guitar. Yeah, the same section of lumber can yield both a shipping pallet, AND your guitar, Hurts, doesn't it? :eek:

Why do you guys wanna make everything an argument... I'm only sharing that "you" as a guitar owner will not have to worry about the grade of Maple in your guitar's neck as long as it came from a reputable manufacturer. And yeah, even the attributes of wood used in superior guitars can be determined by the chance of no two of us wood whittlers are the same. I may have differing criteria than another builder, but . . . BUT still, . . . both guitars can come out equally superb, even though they may be profoundly different. Would you prefer it different?

Someone posted above that he was surprised a builder like me didn't do something like other builders, or . . . the inference was all better builders should do whatever, all the same.... yada, yada, yada... the suggestion being that all builders of my caliber... would think the same... is that whacko or what... were that the case, all our guitars would have evolved over time to be the same ...

Building guitars at this level, be it by the CS, or any of the well known Boutique builders is an art form... I hope we all incorporate our artistic interpretations into our work.. that's where the excellence comes from, it's also where the differences come from. Otherwise anyone with a better level of wood shop savvy could just buy a book of "Guitar Makin' Secrets" and pound out excellence, just by following instructions.

Sure.. I would think any guitar maker culls through a shipment of lumber looking of "unique" looking pieces to set aside for "special" guitars... what, is that some form of dishonest? and If so, is it equally dishonest that in the Diamond industry, those stones are culled through and the "better" ones are set aside for Brittney's bracelet and those on the other end of the scale are glued to the head of a Oil rig Drill Bit... or ground up for your Diamond Sharpening stone. You Think?

And yes, to answer your question, I do think, on occasion.. but it gives me a headache... :p

rk
Ron,

Thanks for the thorough and detailed answer, much appreciated. Please do understand that no one was suggesting you don't do something other "responsible" manufacturers do. My point was that Fender sets aside the figured wood for the CS and Masterbuilders, nothing else. No dishonestly...no slamming....if you took that from my post I apologize.
 

Pedal Dan

The Island of Misfit Pedals
Messages
11,791
This is where MIM differs...

My American Fender's don't get horrible fret sprout in the dry NE winters.
 

exodus

Member
Messages
1,826
Hi guys- I appreciate all the info. Per my original post, I'm really just talking about similar maple, like I said, "apples to apples"--NOT figured/pretty type wood. For example, I have a '66 Fender Custom shop that is plain maple, flat sawn. I also have a Mexican strat with a similar plain maple, flat sawn neck. I've had MIJ guitars with similar plain maple, flat sawn necks. Just curious if all this maple is the same source and/or quality. From what I've read so far, it sounds like it is.
 




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