Thoughts on Maple

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
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Brian McCombs
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Thoughts on Maple

Post by Brian McCombs » Sat Dec 01, 2018 9:50 pm

This is my first maple guitar in twenty some builds......it doesn't match what my minds eye is used to, very different working with a light colored material. Every time I look at it it seems new and surprising. It certainly scrapes and works differently than RW, it scratches easier and deeper I note.

I think it sounds more cardboard-ish than any guitar I've ever built. Its very light....feels fragile and light.


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David Norton
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Re: Thoughts on Maple

Post by David Norton » Sun Dec 02, 2018 1:47 am

I've owned or played several maple classicals, they all have a sound character "different" from a rosewood or cypress build. Not really possible to describe it. The sound is/was quite good.
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lucho
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Re: Thoughts on Maple

Post by lucho » Sun Dec 02, 2018 2:13 am

I have no relevant comments on maple as a tonewood, but I just want to say that back is gorgeous. The quilting is magnificent. I formally request a follow-up photo once it has finish applied.

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Jason Wolverton
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Re: Thoughts on Maple

Post by Jason Wolverton » Sun Dec 02, 2018 2:28 am

One thing to keep in mind is that not all maples are equal. That looks like Bigleaf maple which is usually pretty airy and soft. I really prefer Eastern hard maple or European maple. I think those varieties of maple with their harder, denser properties yield a better sound. Not to say your current build won't sound good, but I believe there's an extra dimension with the harder maples. Anyhow, it may be interesting for you to try hard maple next time and compare it to the one you're building now.

The quilt will look beautiful once finished. Looks like a nice back and sides. I like the green purfling too. :bravo:
"I have discovered (to my joy) that it is life, not death, that has no limits."- Florentino Ariza

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Brian McCombs
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Re: Thoughts on Maple

Post by Brian McCombs » Sun Dec 02, 2018 4:20 pm

Jason Wolverton wrote:
Sun Dec 02, 2018 2:28 am
That looks like Bigleaf maple which is usually pretty airy and soft.
You got that right, airy like whip cream ...I got it held in my vice to keep it from floating away.
I get a non-inspiring tap-tone out of it. Sort of rubbery in fact....
I put a cedar top on it and braced it as lively as I could.

We'll see... but I am seriously wondering: what is going to keep this thing from folding up like a jackknife at concert pitch? :D

madrilla
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Re: Thoughts on Maple

Post by madrilla » Sun Dec 02, 2018 7:23 pm

Dana Bourgeois said something quite interesting. If you want to hear the top wood predominate the sound of the guitar then choose maple, because it is very neutral and won't add colouration (like rosewood does).

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Re: Thoughts on Maple

Post by simonm » Sun Dec 02, 2018 9:45 pm

European maple is quite hard and a thoroughly traditional wood. I have done 2 or 3 with it and quite liked the results. I find it physically hard work planing it as it is so hard but the plus side is that it takes a finish easily with very little work. I have a few sets however and might even get more although I have not currently plans to build with it.

GuitarsWeB
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Re: Thoughts on Maple

Post by GuitarsWeB » Sun Dec 02, 2018 9:57 pm

One of the best guitars I’ve ever played was a Jose Oribe Bird’s Eye Made with a Colorado Blue Spruce soundboard.
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geoff-bristol
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Re: Thoughts on Maple

Post by geoff-bristol » Mon Dec 03, 2018 12:58 am

I have just made a plain maple guitar - ready now to string. This is hard EU maple - basically sawn plank stock from a local specialist yard.
If you don't want 'bling' - the cost is nothing. This back and sides pro rata - were £3. I bought the plain maple for bandings really.
Even plain maple has a lovely sheen. This is just a seal coat of clear shellac.


Imagemaple-plain by Geoff Richings, on Flickr

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Michael.N.
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Re: Thoughts on Maple

Post by Michael.N. » Mon Dec 03, 2018 6:54 am

Brian McCombs wrote:
Sun Dec 02, 2018 4:20 pm
Jason Wolverton wrote:
Sun Dec 02, 2018 2:28 am
That looks like Bigleaf maple which is usually pretty airy and soft.
You got that right, airy like whip cream ...I got it held in my vice to keep it from floating away.
I get a non-inspiring tap-tone out of it. Sort of rubbery in fact....
I put a cedar top on it and braced it as lively as I could.

We'll see... but I am seriously wondering: what is going to keep this thing from folding up like a jackknife at concert pitch? :D
Give it a chance. It may be on the soft side as far as maples go but it's still going to be quite a bit harder than something like cypress.
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Stephen Faulk
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Re: Thoughts on Maple

Post by Stephen Faulk » Tue Dec 04, 2018 1:11 am

I like maple, I've always heard it as slightly transparent. Like others have mentioned. I have one a day away from being finished.....
Patience at the bending iron pays in rounded dividends!

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Jason Wolverton
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Re: Thoughts on Maple

Post by Jason Wolverton » Fri Dec 07, 2018 2:01 am

geoff-bristol wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 12:58 am
I have just made a plain maple guitar - ready now to string. This is hard EU maple - basically sawn plank stock from a local specialist yard.
If you don't want 'bling' - the cost is nothing. This back and sides pro rata - were £3. I bought the plain maple for bandings really.
Even plain maple has a lovely sheen. This is just a seal coat of clear shellac.


Imagemaple-plain by Geoff Richings, on Flickr
I love the look of that plain maple. Don't think I've seen that before. Super cool. Nice job.
"I have discovered (to my joy) that it is life, not death, that has no limits."- Florentino Ariza

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Brian McCombs
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Re: Thoughts on Maple

Post by Brian McCombs » Sat Dec 08, 2018 11:08 pm

I'm not moving very quickly at the moment...I do hope it is worth the time.

Grafted, bound and scraped as much as I can scrape in a day.

It is teaching me well a few lessons... I'm used to much harder stuff that is for sure. It scrapes so fast, I have to be careful -it digs real easy. A fingerboard and heel-met is next.

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Stephen Faulk
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Re: Thoughts on Maple

Post by Stephen Faulk » Sun Dec 09, 2018 12:05 am

One of the things I like about maple is no more filling. And you can warm the tone without getting too deep into color.

Blond shellac with garnet glazed over it to bring out the darker colors in the wood which helps create a wider scectrum of color and over all warmth.
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Patience at the bending iron pays in rounded dividends!

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