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I'm trying to use maple in most of what I do. I like its building ease and asthetic properties.

Mainly, as I have no allergic reaction to maple and poplar. I have been buying only those woods and have a good stock.

(minus the fingerboards and bridges and the like)

It's an all-around, great wood. I like the crispness of maple acoustics, but those that I have played and heard have all been spruce topped.

I wondered if there are any maple topped steel strings out there.

I think that might be a project.

Thanks,

Mike

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I'm trying to use maple in most of what I do. I like its building ease and asthetic properties.

Mainly, as I have no allergic reaction to maple and poplar. I have been buying only those woods and have a good stock.

(minus the fingerboards and bridges and the like)

It's an all-around, great wood. I like the crispness of maple acoustics, but those that I have played and heard have all been spruce topped.

I wondered if there are any maple topped steel strings out there.

I think that might be a project.

Thanks,

Mike

Mike,

You can probably make just about any wood function. Sitka Spruce has one of the best strength to weight ratios out there. That is really the reason why you see it used so often. **Remember strength to weight** You will need a certain min. strength from whatever wood and bracing you choose(depending on body size, string tension). The idea is to build efficient(which means not build a whole lot stronger than it needs to be) as the less efficient the weaker the guitars sound and performance. Maple will be heavier at the needed strength than Sitka or many other commonly used soundboard woods. So it will lose in terms of efficiency, but that density will also change the dynamics of the guitar(which may work for what you want?). It would be very easy to overbuild .110" would quite likely be way over built, but you would have to wade through the stiffness vs thickness to find the proper dimensions. It would take me several builds to get a feel for trying to use Maple. I believe you will make your task much more difficult, but if it is your passion give it a good shot.

Peace,Rich

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Thank you Rich.

I understand about those woods, but yet I see 335's with maple tops and steel strings with maple backs.

I wonder why spruce wouldn't be used on backs too if it were the best wood.

It is true what you say, but what manufacture's use sometimes puzzles me.

Even in Martin's catalogs they explain the virtues of the finest spruce, but they also make the Koa top.

Beautiful, but I have not heard one yet.

I wonder how much is just because of tradition. I know how fickle the guitar field is.

Anyone out there build a spruce backed steel string? Or solid wood tops?

Thank for the help,

Mike

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Thank you Rich.

I understand about those woods, but yet I see 335's with maple tops and steel strings with maple backs.

I wonder why spruce wouldn't be used on backs too if it were the best wood.

It is true what you say, but what manufacture's use sometimes puzzles me.

Even in Martin's catalogs they explain the virtues of the finest spruce, but they also make the Koa top.

Beautiful, but I have not heard one yet.

I wonder how much is just because of tradition. I know how fickle the guitar field is.

Anyone out there build a spruce backed steel string? Or solid wood tops?

Thank for the help,

Mike

You see 335s with laminated maple tops. Not solid.

As for backs/sides, they're not made out of spruce as the top is the primary vibrating/resonating part (other acoustic gurus here may correct me here) the back and sides aren't as important as the top. Also, the reason for spruce is the strength to weight ratio, because the top takes up the string tension far more than the back and sides. You want it strong enough to stop the strings pulling it apart, but light enough still to resonate when played and therefore project.

Maple would need to be heavier than spruce to reach the same level of strength, thus wouldn't vibrate as readily, and therefore isn't used as often. However, on backs it'll hold together much better. Backs are less critical to the strength of the guitar as they are not holding string tension.

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Hmm.

Thanks for that info.

I forgot about laminated tops.

In a book I read, it had pictures of a New York builder who carved his tops and backs, but those were jazz style guitars, not 335's.

My mistake, but they still were solid.

Many suppliers sell large pieces of spruce and maple for solid back and sides, but again, for arch top and not steel string.

Maybe the experiementation with different woods for tops have been done, (Gibson's older mahogany tops and martin's Koa tops) and it wasn't a success.

I'll keep an eye open for different woods, but might stay with the traditional, as my budget and time doesn't allow for multiple variations.

Thank again.

Mike

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You can use pretty much ANYTHING for back/sides. The reason you can't use anything for a top (well... that'll still sound good at least) is because it won't resonate well or hold up. One thing you're forgetting, tops have string tension on them... back do not! That makes a HUGE difference and explains why you see maple being used as backs and sides, but not tops. Also, the reason you don't see spruce much for back/sides is cause YES it is great for tops, but just because a wood is great for one thing doesn't mean it's great for the other. That'd be like asking Ibanez why, if they use it for bodies, they don't use basswood for necks. Well the answer is simple, cause it's good for bodies and not necks. Just like spruce is good for tops, but is not really the best choice for back/sides (although you CAN... talk to Ron S on here, he's done it twice from what I've seen... I jjust wouldn't call it the first choice to come to mind)

Chris

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MIke,

I thought we were talking about acoustics. You are talking about a semi-hollow(335) which has a solid block of wood running down the middle of the box(pretty much restricting any real "soundboard" movement). A semi-hollow does not rely on the soundboard to produce its volume as it is basically an electric instrument. Because of this you are using the body to color sound more than prduce it(you have much more flexability in what you need from the wood). I would not hesitate to use whatever woods you feel like(they will color the sound, but indirectly as with other electrics).

Now if you want to talk about soundboards or plates(flat tops and arch tops). Then we are having a totally different conversation as the top plate or soundboard is the primary generator of sound. I know the "jazz box" looking guitars are a little confusing because they are designed to look like acoustic instruments. and sometimes people mix the Hollow/Semi Hollow language up in describing what they are building. In a nut shell though the demands and construction are quite different.

Have fun with the selection of wood an build!

Peace,Rich

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Check the MIMF.com library for a report on a maple topped acoustic.

Mahogany is relatively common, mostly very quiet guitars (compared to spruce), Koa similarly so, have their own sort of sound and feel. Maple is, IMO, way too heavy to even consider as a top for an acoustic.

Given the importance of the topwood for the sound (say, 90%), why try reinventing the wheel? Anything wrong with spruce?

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Check the MIMF.com library for a report on a maple topped acoustic.

Mahogany is relatively common, mostly very quiet guitars (compared to spruce), Koa similarly so, have their own sort of sound and feel. Maple is, IMO, way too heavy to even consider as a top for an acoustic.

Given the importance of the topwood for the sound (say, 90%), why try reinventing the wheel? Anything wrong with spruce?

Mattia, He is talking about a Semi-hollow.

Peace,Rich

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No, I am talking about steel string acoustics.

I just gave the semi-hollows as an example of woods used.

Maybe a better example would have done better.

ALL help is welcome.

Thank you guys.

Mike

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