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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 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.
Here is a brief list of the different types of tops that you can find on electrical instruments:
Top on hollow body guitar. The soundboards of the hollow body guitars (semi-acoustic jazz) are made of plywood on the most industrial models and solid fir on the craft models.
While the plywood tops are moulded, the soundboards of the homemade hollow body guitars are first processed in the upper part and then dug into the lower part following precise measurements that are measured with the thickness gauge.
- Top on semi-hollow body guitars or solid body: these are normally maple boards with a thickness ranging from 10 to 20mm glued to a body normally made of mahogany sometimes equipped with tonal chambers. They can be flat, domed (carved top) or built with the "drop top" technique.
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.
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.
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.
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.
covered by the first sealer coat.