Backwood Maple

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   Maple is available in a variety of figure and it is an excellent tonewood. It sounds very neutral and allows the top wood to bring out itís own sound. Maple is a very popular wood for necks and fretboards also. Easily identifiable because of its bright tone, characteristic grain patterns and moderate weight. It's tonal characteristics include good sustain with plenty of bite. It is about as dense as hard ash, but is much easier to finish. Very durable. It is very capable of brilliance and less capable of warmth until it plays in. Less common than Mahogany or Rosewood, it is used primarily on archtop (Jazz) guitars, but is found commoinly in many flat or dome-bacvk mandolin family instruments. It is extremely hard and reflective giving it a loud, powerful sound.

Curly Maple (Acer macrophyllum)

European Flamed Maple (Acer pseudoplatanus)

Western Hard Rock Maple (Acer saccharum)

Bird's Eye Maple. (variety of species)

Curly Maple grows throughout most of North America , with commercial species in the east and west  U.S. and Canada . It yields slightly less bass response and volume than either Mahogany or Rosewood, but with greater "punch" and "bite" to the note. A strong, heavy wood (44+ pounds per cubic foot) with cream to reddish-brown heartwood. Curly Maple also takes a finish beautifully, and can be quite stunning visually.

   From Germany. Curly, flamed, tiger-striped, or "Fiddleback" maple refers to the characteristic alternating hard and soft rippling which runs perpendicular to the grain in some rarer maple trees. This particular species of European maple is very hard and reflective, producing a loud powerful projective sound.


   From Northern America. It is very similar to European maple, although the figure in the wood can be different. The difference between European (or Eastern) and Western maple can sometimes be identified by small streaks of minerals found only in European maple. Maple was used for fretboards because it is hard.


   Bird's eye figure is a phenomenon that occurs within several kinds of wood, most notably in hard maple. It has a distinctive pattern that resembles tiny, swirling eyes disrupting the smooth lines of grain. It is somewhat reminiscent of a burl, but it is quite different: the small knots that make the burl are missing. Mainly white in color with shades of pink. Denser than koa and brighter in tone. Very reflective which produces a loud treble sound. Highly figured in appearance.
Acer macrophyllum curly maple.jpg (33677 bytes) Acer pseudoplatanus european maple.jpg (95554 bytes) hard-maple Acer saccharum.jpg (89924 bytes) birds_eye_maple.jpg (65640 bytes)