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Easter Flamed Maple Vs Western Flamed Maple

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Google for pictures, and look up the properties of eastern/rock maple vs. western/big leaf/'soft' maple. They're different woods, and can have different figures (quilt = always in bigleaf maple, or near as. And comes out best when flatsawn). Western/Bigleaf is softer (but still hard, normally. 'Soft' is a relative term), bit lighter, bit easier to work. As a rule.

'Flame' is one of many ways to describe figure, and depending on the vendor, can mean something very, very different (curl, fiddleback, tigerstripe are sometimes used to define how 'dense' the flame figure in a flamed piece of wood is). You find flame in all sorts of woods; it's common in maple, but you can get it in almost anything (mahogany, ash, walnut, cherry, oak, numerous other tropical woods...)

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thanks, however, i know what flamed and quilted maple is (i have built about 3 guitars bodies up to this point with maple tops and have played guitars long enough). btw, i did google (i know that people on this forum live to chime in with their "search" replies). i would like to get some info from members of this forum so i can get another builder's perspective.

my question is, what is the different between eastern and western flamed maple. i cannot buy my wood locally because we don't have a good selection for maple here in hawaii so i order my wood online. so before i order i just wanted to see if anyone on the forum would share any information they might have.

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my question is, what is the different between eastern and western flamed maple.


mattia just explained it...

Eastern Maple is harder to work. It's generally used for necks, because of it's hardness & strenght.

Western, I think, figures better than Eastern, and is usually what you're looking at when you see a figured Maple top.

If you want an example of pictures, THIS GUITAR has an Eastern Maple neck & a Western Maple top, both finished exactly the same way.

What exactly are you ordering? If you are ordering tops, they will probably be Western (unless they're birds-eye), if it's a neck blank, hopefully it's Eastern. Depending on where you order your wood from, they may not even know what it is.

Edited by M_A_T_T
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You can get flamed maple of the eastern hard rock variety. I use that. It will have the same sound properties as unflamed hard rock so you will get that super bright with high sustain sound which is where les pauls get there awesome tone. western big leaf your looking more at a prs type sound.


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The info above is all good. Eastern Hard Maple is harder,denser,stronger and tends to be very bright. Figure tends to not be as pronounced or common (compaired to western). Western is softer,less dense, weaker, about 60% as heavy as eastern hard Maples and tends to be warmer sounding although tone can vary from board to board (in general probably closer to Alder tonally, but not as consistent). It is very hard to generalize the tone for western because it really varies from piece to piece (much more so than other commonly used tonewoods). I think you have the idea.

On a side note: Be sure to get well dried Western Maple. Because of its figure and shrinkage. Buying green is not a real good idea unless you are experienced at drying wood.


P.S. Hows the weather in your neck of the woods :D . Man I loved Maui last time I was over there. I have never been so relaxed.

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wow, thanks for all the info guys. very helpful and i like getting your perspectives in relation to buidling.

a couple of places that i am looking at have both eastern and western variety. i have a couple of quilted capped bodies that i have done, however, i would like to make a flamed top now. actually, i prefer a looser flame, not a real tight flame. perhaps, as fryovanni pointed out, i should look for the eastern variety. i will be using a mahogany back so i would like to tighten it up with something on the bright side.

fryovanni, the weather has been great here... mid eighties!

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