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Thickness of maple on mahogony affect tone?

Discussion in 'The Small Company Luthiers' started by JDW3, Jun 13, 2006.

  1. JDW3

    JDW3 Member

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    A friend is building a guitar similar to a LP. The maple on the top will be thinner than a normal LP.

    How much will this affect the tone? I am wondering how the maple on top of mahogany changes sound, and what the difference(thickness) in maple would affect tone.

    I was thinking the thicker the maple the brighter the sound. (?)
     
  2. paintguy

    paintguy Long Hair Hippy Freak Silver Supporting Member

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    I think you are right. Less maple might mean your guitar will be slightly warmer and less bright than a thicker maple top.

    Could work out good. The tone guys would probably say a all mahagony body might be the ticket.

    Who knows for sure?:confused:
     
  3. mrfjones

    mrfjones Member

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    You are right, the thickness of the maple will effect the tone, even the hardness of the maple will effect the tone, but that is another discussion.

    How thick is he making the top?
     
  4. shoe

    shoe Member

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    IMO, the thicker the maple top, the "bigger" the guitar will sound (more full spectrum from lows to highs). However, with that "bigness" the guitar may loose its "thickness" or "chunk" in the mids. This is by no means a scooped sound.....its just that the mids become less prominent in this case.

    I prefer a thick sound with a little high-end sparkle. As a result (for example) in owning two mahaogny Suhrs, one with a carved maple top and the other with a flat (thinner) maple top, I prefer the sound of the thinner maple top. Hope this helps.
     
  5. HHB

    HHB Member

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    I've played LP's w/ the thick top , they seem brighter than the vennered top Hamer Sunburst I played for a while, IMO the thicker maple adds to cut and brightness
     
  6. JingleJungle

    JingleJungle Member

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    I can only confirm what has been said so far.
    Nik Huber recently built a front and rear maple capped guitar, the rest of the body being mahogany (w/ a BRW fretboard and mahog. set neck).
    Sure enough, the overall "eq" shifts towards the highes, increasing "airiness" to the detriment of some low end growl.

    In your case your top could simply become more of a decoration than a real tone-component (nothing wrong w/that, mind you).

    Best,

    JJ
     
  7. Reeek

    Reeek Member

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    Funny though - I have an Agile AL-3000 Prestige Gold Top. The Gold Tops do NOT have a maple cap under the paint. All mahogany. And this guitar has the tonal characteristic of a guitar made from swamp ash and a maple neck almost. It's fat but it is clear and articulate and leans on the mid/bright side. It was this way with the stock pickups and the new High Orders. It is a million miles from dark for sure.
     
  8. JDW3

    JDW3 Member

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    Well, to be honest, it was supposed to be a thicker top and I believe he made it thin on accident. The edges are carved down to only an 1/8th of an inch(!) while the center is about 3/8 to a half inch. I was upset about it but I'm trying to get an idea what it may sound like. I know all wood and guitars are different but the maple/mahogony combination is quite common. I really don't want a dark sounding guitar.
     
  9. mrfjones

    mrfjones Member

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    it shouldn't be too dark, it is only about 1/8th of an inch short of what a normal les paul would have.
     
  10. Quinny

    Quinny Member

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    Personally I wouldn't worry about it and would instead focus on pickups. IMO you'll get a wider variety, not to mention more user specifiable, tone shift in different types of pickups than in variation of top wood thickness. You don't want a dark sounding guitar? Absolutely no reason in the world you should have one.

    Q.
     
  11. JingleJungle

    JingleJungle Member

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    I agree...
    Go ofor something like alnico V mags and if that ain't enough, which I doubt BTW, try upping the pots from 500k to 1 Meg.
    If you have an ebony fretboard you will be getting more attack - maybe you're lucky enough and you're still able to change it?

    Best

    JJ
     
  12. Karmateria

    Karmateria Member

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    The original 1970s Deans had thin veneer tops and are reputedly the best sounding one of all. I have heard the same about the all mahogany LPs, that they are warmer and "sweeter".

    Karma
     
  13. DrJamie

    DrJamie Silver Supporting Member

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    I have a Kendrick Townhouse, basically a thinner LP. The body has a thinner piece of mahagony, with a belly cutout. It's almost twangy, which cuts nicely through the mix. It doesn't have that chunk, but it's a different animal. It's pretty cool, when you're more a Fender-style player. I'm sure pickups are important too.
     

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