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Maple Solid Bodies - Tone? #1412541 01/30/04 06:05 PM
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Mudcat Offline OP
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I'm in the (very) early stages of considering building another guitar and want to do something sort of Gibsony. I've seen some nice looking bodies on E-bay from an outfit called Dragon Mountain and they look pretty nice and seem to be reasonably priced. The only thing I have a question about is the fact that all of their bodies are maple. The only experience I've had with maple solid-bodies is Rickenbacker and I don't care for their tone (solid-bodies only - I love Rick hollow-bodies).

I don't think Rickenbacker is a good reference point as I would like to do a Duncan JB/Jazz combination on the pick-ups. I know this would be a lot different from the tone of the Rick single coils. I am just a bit concerned about maple as a tonewood.

Anyone have any experience with a maple solid-body and a nice set of humbuckers? Would the combination of a maple body with these pick-ups be overly bright?


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Re: Maple Solid Bodies - Tone? #1412542 01/30/04 06:12 PM
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doc taz Offline
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It may be bright, I suppose. I don't remember, but I think Gibson built some electrics in the 1970's that had solid maple bodies. As for the humbuckers, I'd probably get something like Duncan 59's and JB's with the covers in them. That way, the resulting clean tones won't be too bright, and overdriven tones won't sound harsh.

Just as an example, adding a maple neck can brighten the tone of a mahogany bodied guitar. The Zakk Wylde LP's fall in this category.

Re: Maple Solid Bodies - Tone? #1412543 01/30/04 06:43 PM
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i can help you there mudcat. i have owned both a godin SD and a SDxt( the sdxt had poplar wings, but the center was maple) which have bodies made of silverleaf maple. both had humbuckers in the bridge and were bolt ons with a very deep neck pocket. the sdxt had a hum single hum setup with a 5 way switch. these guitars are definately not overly bright, in fact my buddies american strat with ash body and noiseless pickups was way brighter. i really miss my SD's and i can tell you these puppies had some major tone and crunch. i used to solo on the neck hum alot(sdxt) and the in between sounds were good as well. maple as a body scared me until i discovered these. the type of maple may make a diff as well as how you attach the neck. godin takes great care in the neck angle and tightness, check out thier site.
http://www.godinguitars.com there may be more info on the maple there.

Re: Maple Solid Bodies - Tone? #1412544 01/30/04 07:52 PM
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DC Offline
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Maple is just way way heavy. Great for sustain but terrible for the back which is why Les Paul just used it for the top of his guitar instead of the whole body. Maybe an SG sized guitar wouldn't be too bad.

The best tone wood I've found for electric bodies is American Cherry. It's got oodles of sustain but not much heavier than alder. My two cherry bodied guitars also have solid rosewood necks which is the key to the sustain IMO.

Re: Maple Solid Bodies - Tone? #1412545 01/30/04 08:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by DC:
Maple is just way way heavy. Great for sustain but terrible for the back which is why Les Paul just used it for the top of his guitar instead of the whole body. Maybe an SG sized guitar wouldn't be too bad.

The best tone wood I've found for electric bodies is American Cherry. It's got oodles of sustain but not much heavier than alder. My two cherry bodied guitars also have solid rosewood necks which is the key to the sustain IMO.
Good points Dave. Did Les Paul make a maple LP at one point?

The most valuable Les Pauls from the 1950's were the korina bodied, maple topped Standards from 1958. The Custom Shop made a few Class 5 LPs this way recently, big $$$$$, like $5500 street price.

Heritage made some dandy 150s (LP) with korina bodies, AAAAA maple tops and what not for less than half the Class 5.

Jaros is big a cherry wood. A friend of mine has one, and a (real) Baker.

Re: Maple Solid Bodies - Tone? #1412546 01/30/04 08:15 PM
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actually the neither the SD or SDxt were what i would call heavy. could be the type of maple.

Re: Maple Solid Bodies - Tone? #1412547 01/30/04 08:51 PM
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Mudcat Offline OP
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Quote:
Originally posted by DC:
Maple is just way way heavy... Maybe an SG sized guitar wouldn't be too bad.
Funny you should say that. :p An SG body is what I am looking at. Here's a LINK to the auction.

Quote:
Originally posted by Mr Nice Jazz Guitar Guy:
Did Les Paul make a maple LP at one point?
"The Les Paul" was solid maple with rosewood binding. Gibson only made a handful of these in the seventies. Note: This is the only Les Paul model where Mr. Paul does not own the serial #1. It somehow got sent to a dealer by mistake. There's a story posted on the web somewhere about that. If I can find the link I will post it.

Thanks for all of the info guys. I'm pretty confident now that maple will work for what I have in mind. Now I need to figure out where the cash is going to come from to start purchasing parts. \:D


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Re: Maple Solid Bodies - Tone? #1412548 01/30/04 11:58 PM
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I'm REALLY sorry for the size of this image!

I have an all maple, 2 humbucker guitar. It's a Veillette-Citron, one of the first "boutique" electric guitar builders. I bought it directly from Harvey Citron at their Kingston, NY, workshop around 1981. It's not overly bright but I attribute that to the electronics. The relative compact body make it solid but not too heavy.

It's nearly identical to this one from Be-Bop Deluxe guitarist Bill Nelson's website

Re: Maple Solid Bodies - Tone? #1412549 01/31/04 01:57 AM
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I had an all maple neck and body guitar, and have tried out a couple in stores - I would advise to try it before you spend any $$ I thought they were very generic sounding - lots of sustain but lacking character. Maple is extremely heavy for a conventional sized guitar. The one I owned was a Steinberger-licensed Hohner, so it was not heavy. It was very well made, playable, etc. but I didn't dig its sound at all...no mojo... Different pickups would have helped I'm sure, but just listening to it acoustically didn't give me the impression that I should spend the money to go there.

Re: Maple Solid Bodies - Tone? #1412550 01/31/04 04:31 AM
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Dave da Dude Offline
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DC,
Quote:
The best tone wood I've found for electric bodies is American Cherry. It's got oodles of sustain but not much heavier than alder. My two cherry bodied guitars also have solid rosewood necks which is the key to the sustain IMO.
Interesting that you say that. When I was "researching" different types of Mahogany, I considered Cherry (becasue I love the look of it), but was thinking that it didn't offer any advantage over Mahogany. Maybe I was wrong?

Dave


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Re: Maple Solid Bodies - Tone? #1412551 01/31/04 02:08 PM
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Gibson also produced the L6S, it's an all maple solid body. It is one the main guitars Santana used early in his career. I have one and it is not heavy at all, however its body is on the smallish side. I don't have it here at home now or I would weigh it and include a picture. Early Santana=sustainnnnnnnnnnnnnnn...
DUKBUT


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Re: Maple Solid Bodies - Tone? #1412552 01/31/04 02:15 PM
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Sorry, forgot to mention it's equipped with twin soapbar pick ups. Has one of the most amazing range of tones of any guitar made. It's the one with the 6 point chicken head selector. Usualy blond clear coat finish.
DUKBUT


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Re: Maple Solid Bodies - Tone? #1412553 01/31/04 05:04 PM
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Mudcat Offline OP
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Quote:
Originally posted by dukbut:
Gibson also produced the L6S, it's an all maple solid body. It is one the main guitars Santana used early in his career...
DUKBUT
Is this the one that was designed by "The" Bill Lawrence?


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Re: Maple Solid Bodies - Tone? #1412554 02/01/04 03:51 PM
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I'm sorry, I don't know. There are usually a couple of them floaten' around on EBAY if you would like to take a look.
DUKBUT


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Re: Maple Solid Bodies - Tone? #1412555 02/01/04 04:21 PM
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DC Offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dave th Dude:
DC,
Quote:
The best tone wood I've found for electric bodies is American Cherry. It's got oodles of sustain but not much heavier than alder. My two cherry bodied guitars also have solid rosewood necks which is the key to the sustain IMO.
Interesting that you say that. When I was "researching" different types of Mahogany, I considered Cherry (becasue I love the look of it), but was thinking that it didn't offer any advantage over Mahogany. Maybe I was wrong?

Dave
Say Dave,

I worked with a luthier in the early 80s and we experimented a bunch with solid body guitars. He made me a guitar out of cherry with a Carpathian Elm (burl) top and binding. We used a Schecter solid rosewood neck, Schecter Monstertone pickup assembly (it's like a strat but the lead pup has a plate under it like a tele and the tone roll offs are master bass and master treble) and a Schecter locking trem. The thing always just sustained for days. This was in the days when Schecter was made in Texas and Pete Townsend was endorsing that two humbuck, solid black Tele.

I'm not sure how it would compare to mahogany because we never had a supply of it. I know Les Paul originally made his guitar out of solid mahogany and wasn't happy with it so the maple top was the compromise that gave it more sustain.

I think Cherry is a bit stiffer without being much heavier if that makes any sence. I love it but just finding any 2" hardwood these days just seems impossible.

Re: Maple Solid Bodies - Tone? #1412556 09/26/05 09:45 AM
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I have a maple body from Dragon Mountain. It is a bit shrill. I have Burstbuckers in it, and turned the bridge pickup around to counteract the brightness, which works, to a point. I've had the pots replaced with Fender 500K's, and backing off the treble gives it a deep jazzy sound. It has a maple neck/rosewood board, which may lend it some warmth. I think single coils and a maple board would make this guitar way too bright.


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Re: Maple Solid Bodies - Tone? #1412557 09/26/05 04:40 PM
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I would check out the Warmouth guitar parts site at http://www.warmoth.com. The have a section on guitar bodies and the tonal characteristics of different woods.

Re: Maple Solid Bodies - Tone? #1412558 09/26/05 04:45 PM
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You could also try using 300K pots instead of 500Ks. That should throttle it down a bit.


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Re: Maple Solid Bodies - Tone? #1412559 09/26/05 05:59 PM
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Go here, http://www.guitarhangar.com/default01.php?http://www.ricktedesco.com/guitars/gibl6s.htm, for a picture of the Gibson L6S. Don't know why it didn't last longer...



Re: Maple Solid Bodies - Tone? #1412560 09/26/05 06:56 PM
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The L6-S did indeed have its pickups and harness designed by Bill Lawrence. The pickups have ceramic magnets if I recall correctly. I used to own one.

Not a bad guitar, pretty well made, inexpensive, relatively light (although that is indeed because it has a smallish body), good action; almost impossible to believe that it was made by Gibson.

I swapped it, plus a bit of cash, for an ES-335.

Cheers,

Alan Tomlinson

Re: Maple Solid Bodies - Tone? #1412561 09/26/05 08:45 PM
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THe L6S had a lot of problems, from what I have read about them, although I am not sure if they were structural problesm or electronic(I suspect the latter). Carlos Santana compared them to an AMC car, said they spent a lot of time in the shop. Tone-wise, they were great when they worked, but apparently they went down a lot. I really did like the necks on them.


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Re: Maple Solid Bodies - Tone? #1412562 09/26/05 09:17 PM
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I absolutely LOVE the sound of my all maple Rickenbacker 610. It not only does the classic "Ric Jangle" thing, but it's GREAT for crunch tones. Maple tends to be pretty bright and cutting, and I'm not sure how I'd feel about other all maple bodied guitars (although I do like maple bodied Taylor acoustics), but on that Ric, I wouldn't change a thing. It's a KILLR guitar!

Of course, YMMV. \:\)


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