Maple back and sides guitar

mattew

Re: Maple back and sides guitar

Post by mattew » Wed Feb 01, 2017 7:51 am

For me outstanding benefit is the sound of a maple guitar in chamber music ensembles.
It "cuts through the mix" like a telecaster in a big band or a baroque guitar in a period ensemble.
Even with less power compared to bowed instruments a maple guitar is always plainly audible.
Maybe the demands for the classical guitar as a solo instrument led to the usage of the rosewoods?

Altophile
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Re: Maple back and sides guitar

Post by Altophile » Sat Feb 04, 2017 3:28 pm

mattew wrote:Maybe the demands for the classical guitar as a solo instrument led to the usage of the rosewoods?
That's a good question. As I've now listened to and played a number of classical guitars with maple sides and back, I can't help but wonder myself why rosewood became the 'traditional' wood of choice. It's beautiful looking and sounds nice, to be sure, but guitars with maple are also attractive, and sound just as nice.

Just listen to these:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYQhxiMFy0o
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5dRcy7_FMcg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SoF4c1RBDlo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxCNDwF3PU8
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5Bt7aE2Hrk
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0joAffUYto
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pmry5uquwDI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQkkcc9BCCM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLTzVbeaKeA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CsBhn9y9vWo

~Sean

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Michael.N.
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Re: Maple back and sides guitar

Post by Michael.N. » Sat Feb 04, 2017 4:14 pm

We have to look to lutes to understand why rosewood became the wood of choice. The renaissance lute was extensively built of woods that were commonly found in Europe. Yew, Maple, Spruce. As trade started to flourish with the Americas an 'exotic' and relatively expensive wood became available, rosewood. The European woods couldn't compete with the dark vibrant and colourful striations found in rosewood. It became a symbol of wealth and then quickly associated with quality. In comparison to readily available local woods it was still rare. People like the rare, the exclusive. It was seen as the preserve of kings and queens, the wealthy. On the other hand the violin family of instruments firmly held with using maple. Carving rosewood into a violin plate is obviously no fun and besides Amati, Strad and Guarneri had firmly established that the pinnacle of violin sound was to be found with maple and spruce. So the plucked instruments diverged from the bowed instruments when at one time they were largely using the exact same materials. Of course it's not quite as simple. Maple and other European woods were continually used for guitars throughout the romantic period and Torres made a fairly large number of guitars that were of non exotic woods. Even in the north European tradition of guitar making (think early Hauser I) maple still remained an important wood. Rosewood still had the perception of expense and the exotic though. I think by the time Segovia had reached his peak maple had become very much a minority wood. It still is although there may be indications that other wood types are becoming slightly more popular, including maple.
Historicalguitars.

CathyCate
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Re: Maple back and sides guitar

Post by CathyCate » Sat Feb 04, 2017 4:45 pm

mattew wrote:For me outstanding benefit is the sound of a maple guitar in chamber music ensembles.
It "cuts through the mix" like a telecaster in a big band or a baroque guitar in a period ensemble.
Even with less power compared to bowed instruments a maple guitar is always plainly audible.
Maybe the demands for the classical guitar as a solo instrument led to the usage of the rosewoods?
I agree completely. My "conversion to maple" makes playing duos with my sister (on violin) and my playing in guitar ensembles (10 or more participants) effortless. Achieving the proper definition and balance so easily is a joyful experience.
Cathy
Matthew Chaffin 2014 spruce/quilted maple
Andy Culpepper 2015 bear claw spruce/flamed maple

powderedtoastman
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Re: Maple back and sides guitar

Post by powderedtoastman » Sat Feb 04, 2017 7:07 pm

CathyCate wrote:
mattew wrote:For me outstanding benefit is the sound of a maple guitar in chamber music ensembles.
It "cuts through the mix" like a telecaster in a big band or a baroque guitar in a period ensemble.
Even with less power compared to bowed instruments a maple guitar is always plainly audible.
Maybe the demands for the classical guitar as a solo instrument led to the usage of the rosewoods?
I agree completely. My "conversion to maple" makes playing duos with my sister (on violin) and my playing in guitar ensembles (10 or more participants) effortless. Achieving the proper definition and balance so easily is a joyful experience.
Interesting. I really wonder if there's anything I hear in the above samples of maple guitars that you couldn't get out of rosewood... but another bit of anecdotal evidence, the last couple times I've practiced with my violinist friend, I've used my new-to-me romantic guitar, which is solid maple back and sides. And even though it is a small body and seems like a quiet instrument, it keeps up just as well as or better than my modern rosewood guitar.

Very interesting because the guitar sounds a bit quiet from my vantage point while playing, but I've been told by listeners that it really projects very surprisingly nicely. I don't know if it's the maple, or if it was built with a magic touch, or a little bit of both?

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Feynman
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Re: Maple back and sides guitar

Post by Feynman » Sat Feb 04, 2017 9:59 pm

I don't know why anyone buys anything else (except cypress). :)

In my not-at-all-scientific conclusion, maple lends a 'sweetness' to the trebles that is very hard to give up. Plus, it's the best looking of the woods, which is a purely objective position.

There is good reason that the waiting list behind me for Riff's maple Velazquez is a mile long. I have to remind him on occasion that I was the first person of record to call the legally binding dibs on it.
-mitch

lux
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Re: Maple back and sides guitar

Post by lux » Thu Nov 01, 2018 1:50 am

For most large-scale manufacturers, the percentage of instrument-grade wood that you'll find in a typical log is a major consideration in species preference. Rosewoods, mahogany, sapele and bubinga tend to be quite uniform, with hard, dense wood throughout. Hardness tends to be more variable in temperate tonewoods than in tropical ones...from one log to another and even within the same log. While it is certainly possible to make an excellent guitar out of maple, pear or walnut, for example, it might be less than 5% of a large load of logs that will include wood with real luthier-grade potential, particularly if figured wood is wanted. TYPICAL flitches of these woods are likely to be of uninspiring character, and the large number of instruments made with these lesser grades no doubt suppresses the overall reputation for quality that these woods carry. Much of this softer wood comes from second-growth forests. With old-growth maple becoming rare and protected, it's not surprising that guitar makers are looking for more reliable and abundant sources of top-grade supply.

We should also remember that "maple" is a genus (Acer), not a species, and the hardness range runs from quite soft (Acer macrophyllum, for example, with an average Janka rating of 850) to nearly twice that hard in the best examples of Acer saccharinum or Acer pseudoplatanus. Nice tonewood...if you can get your hands on superior pieces of it.

madrilla
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Re: Maple back and sides guitar

Post by madrilla » Fri Nov 02, 2018 1:10 am

^ I would have thought A. saccharum is the hardest on average and plentiful, going by how common it is to find Canadian maple used in flooring.

rikroberts
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Re: Maple back and sides guitar

Post by rikroberts » Wed Dec 26, 2018 11:40 pm

I'm a Maple fan, and have owned a Pablo Requena Maple, Spruce and currently play a Mark Arnott lattice Maple, Spruce. I know there are many factors in the make up of a guitar sound, but for me most Maple guitars have a certain 'woody tone' that I really like and seem to have great tonal variety from pont to dolce. I have also noticed that they 'mic up' better if you need to amplify, as the sound is very direct and pure. Finally, I'm convinced Maple does something quite special to the tone of the bass strings, you get a very rounded sound.

Chuah Hui Hsien
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Re: Maple back and sides guitar

Post by Chuah Hui Hsien » Sun Jan 06, 2019 3:04 pm

My new spruce top with maple back and sides Torres style guitar gives a total different dimension than the other two guitars with Indian rosewoods.

Despite its shorter scale length and smaller dimension,I notice a softer volume, but it rings beautifully with good resonance.The darker color body guitars have deep voices and good sustaining powers.

I love the maple guitar, especially when you play it with short nails, the notes seperation and tone colours are like greater pallette that enable the artist to paint the hue and shade at their own ease,without restriction.
2017 Karel Dedain Spruce/Maple (Torres) 64cm
1998 Yamaha GD 10, Spruce/IRW 65cm
1988 Alhambra AL 8, Cedar/IRW 65cm

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