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A top plate (or tone plate) is a portion of wood, usually an exotic one) which thickness might range from 7 to 15mm which is glued on top of a guitar or bass body made in a neutral tone wood like alder or mahogany to fine it to a specific tone and frequency response.

Neck through top plates
A birdseye maple top plate.

For a more detailed description of the use of top plates please read THIS.
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