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GUITAR FIGURED MAPLE TOP


Guitar figured maple top

The use of a figured maple top with thicknesses ranging from 4mm to 20mm glued on the body of the instrument to obtain different tonal mixes is very common on guitars and electric basses, and it impacts both the aesthetic and the sound.

Maple adds brilliance and attack to any combination of woods, so its use is recommended in instruments that tend to sound dark and accentuated in the midrange, such as mahogany or alder.

Maple is often used in combination with a mahogany body. The full and medium sound of the mahogany goes very well with the curly maple, flame maple, spalted maple, quilted maple tops giving rise to a timbre audible on all frequencies, which is characterized by harmonic richness and a precise attack.


Frudua Carved Slave Pentabass with top in 20mm quilted maple and mahogany cores.




Here is a brief list of the different types of tops that you can find on electrical instruments:



In rare cases it is possible for the top to be carved front and also back (as in Frudua "Carved Pro" in the photo). In this case, it not only serves a tonal function but also an acoustic one, giving the instrument greater volume and sustain.


A custom Frudua Carved Pro model which top is carved both front and rear.


Finally, we would like to point out that these maple tops, especially the very figurative ones, are suitable for splendid three-dimensional transparent colours obtained with the skilful use of aniline techniques that we can see on many valuable instruments made by guitar makers from all over the world.



Different grain pattern on figured and plain maple.


Drop tops also offer the chance to "tune" the overall instrument tone by adding this bit of extra brightness and attack which some electric guitar made in neutral wood like mahogany, ash (swamp ash) and basswood may need.


An handmade Frudua GFT-SHB with tone chambers
and drop top.



HELPFUL TIPS
The flaming and the vein of the figured woods are undulating (see drawing above). This makes these woods always against the grain when they have to be planed. A trick is to plan the wood blank at 45°. This minimizes the damage of the planer on the marbling.


A Frudua GFF-MIX quilted maple contoured top after aniline treatment
covered by the first sealer coat.








 
Galeazzo Frudua

Galeazzo Frudua

As a luthier and lutherie teacher, since 1988 he has been making about 350 boutique guitars and basses priced from 2,900 to 5,600 Euros and repaired and customized thousands of string instruments. His instruments and amplifiers are used by flagship artists, such as Chick Corea, Peter Gabriel, Ennio Morricone, Carl Verheyen. He owns two YouTube channels—where he teaches music—that count up to 25+ million views and almost 140.000 subscribers.

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