What's the difference between these two woods?

Turi

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Probably a stupid question but have a look at these two Studios.
One's an Epi, one's a Gibson.

Obviously you can't see the diff if it's a gold top or is just one colour etc etc but what's up with the different wood patterns?

They both say mahogany.
Both weigh about the same (at least the models in my local shop).

Different cuts? Species?
You reckon they should mention that in the specs?


 

stormin1155

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What you see with the mahogany on the Epi is called ribboning. There are a lot of varieties of mahogany, and a number of species that pass as mahogany. The grain patterns vary from species to species, but also by how the wood is cut, so it's real hard to generalize, but I'll try.

The species that Gibson has long used comes from Honduras and is commonly referred to as "genuine mahogany." The ribboning seen on that Epi is more common from species coming out of Africa. Honduras mahogany is getting harder to get, hence more expensive. It is a bit denser than African mahogany, and is easier to work with. Which is better? I don't know. I kind of like the grain patterns more common with the African varieties. I have a couple of acooustics made our of African mahogany, and they sound great.

Epiphone uses mahogany vaneer on some of their models to cover up less attractive mahogany or the number of splices. It wouldn't surprise me if that epi pictured had a vaneer.
 
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Turi

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Epiphone uses mahogany vaneer on some of their models to cover up less attractive mahogany or the number of splices. It wouldn't surprise me if that epi pictured had a vaneer.
Really? I figured the Studio's didn't have maple caps to save $$$.
If one of those has a maple cap then yeah I get why they'd look totally different lol


Cheers anyway though fellas.
 

thebeebs

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Well, from what I understand (please somebody correct me if I am wrong) a maple cap is different than a veneer. The cap will be thicker and affect the tone a lot more, versus a veneer that is very thin and mostly cosmetic.
 

Ron Kirn

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The cap will be thicker and affect the tone a lot more
True... but presented a pejorative, it infers the tone from a veneered piece will be bad..that from the cap, good... that's completely incorrect... anything done to a guitar alters the tone... however, the "way" in which the tone can change can not be predicted. Thus a Veneered body can sound superior to the one with a cap, and vice versa.. Specially if the one playing it knows what he's doing.

Play the guitar, enjoy it, don't ruin the experience by trying to micro analyze the "moving" target.

Ron Kirn
 

BEACHBUM

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3,157
First, other than when specifically stated on certain models, Gibson makes no claim to using better or more highly graded wood than anyone else on their production line guitars. That's because they don't do it. We like to believe that they do because they cost so much but it just ain't so. Second, the system used for grading wood is based purely on cosmetic appearance and has nothing to do with tonal considerations. In fact there is no established system for grading the tonal quality of wood. Based on that, any assumption that choosing a given brand name, wood species or grading will automatically result in better tone is simply a case of wishful thinking.
 
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Guitarworks

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10,560
The Gibson has a maple cap, the Epi does not. To the best of my knowledge every Gibson LP Studio has had a maple cap like the standards since at least the late '80s. It was true for many years that the Gibson LP Studio used a higher grade of Honduran mahogany while Epiphone used a thinner slab of Sipo (African Mahog) in theirs. However, this has not appeared to be the case for the last 10 years. I've seen just as much ribboning in new Gibsons as Epiphones since the late 2000s, whereas before that, I never saw any in Gibsons. It was always the same consistent familiar mahogany grain we saw on every Gibson from Juniors all the way up through the finest custom shop offerings. I suspect Gibson stopped grading select mahogany backs for LPs since they started hogging them out for chambering in 2006, which kind of killed the notion that you were getting "better" wood if you forked out the extra cash for a Gibson. On the plus side, I think the Epi LP Sipo backs match the same thickness as the Gibson backs nowadays. But Ron Kirn is right - obsessing over minutiae and fixating on securing the best quality materials per cubic inch / per dollar of guitar consumes energy that would be better spent practicing.
 

Turi

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9,485
But Ron Kirn is right - obsessing over minutiae and fixating on securing the best quality materials per cubic inch / per dollar of guitar consumes energy that would be better spent practicing.
I couldn't give a **** what wood a guitar is made from. I just didn't know why two guitars made of mahogany looked completely different, wasn't aware the Studio had a maple cap. Which explains the difference.
I did a little research earlier and noticed even the Gibson LPJ has a maple cap too.

So the difference I'm seeing is maple caps v mahogany slabs. Cool. All good.
 

Bossanova

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the system used for grading wood is based purely on cosmetic appearance and has nothing to do with tonal considerations. In fact there is no established system for grading the tonal quality of wood. Based on that, any assumption that choosing a given brand name, wood species or grading will automatically result in better tone is simply a case of wishful thinking.
Don't forget that weight is also a huge factor. Lighter pieces of mahogany are set aside for more expensive models. Thats the main cost difference between R7, R8 and R9s

My R7 is solid wood and weighs 8lbs, very hard to get that from lower end models.
 

Che_Guitarra

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4,168
Not sure you've got the answer you're looking for yet Lithsp. The stripes in the wood are mineral streaks. Can be caused by a number of things, and certain woods are more prone to this streaking than others. African mahogany is one species quite prone to streaking. Black Limba (Korina) is a species extremely prone to streaking.

Causes - tree health and soil nutrition. For example, tree's roots growing through soil irregularities, damage to tree during growth, tree reacting to an infection or disease, dry spells during growth... other things too, but you get the point.
 

old goat

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1,988
True... but presented a pejorative, it infers the tone from a veneered piece will be bad..that from the cap, good... that's completely incorrect... anything done to a guitar alters the tone... however, the "way" in which the tone can change can not be predicted. Thus a Veneered body can sound superior to the one with a cap, and vice versa.. Specially if the one playing it doesn't know which is which.

Play the guitar, enjoy it, don't ruin the experience by trying to micro analyze the "moving" target.

Ron Kirn
FIFY
 




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