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  1. #1
    Atomic Punk
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    07.24.11 @ 04:36 PM
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    Default The Figured Wood Thread

    So what's the big fascination with flamed and quilted maple? I don't get it.

    I look at PRS and Suhr and other "boutique" guitars that use uber-figured wood and I can't get into it.

    Does figured wood have some sort of sonic quality that unfigured wood does not?

    I also can't get into the colours I see used by PRS and similar companies. The finishes are soooo thick and "wet" looking that just don't look pretty to me.

    What do you guys attest this new trend in guitar aesthetics to?

    Personally I prefer regular old wood grain...even birds eye is starting to get really ugly to me.

  2. #2
    Hot For Teacher VanLaing5150's Avatar
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    12.26.11 @ 12:28 AM
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    I agree with you to an extent.

    I'm a much bigger fan of flame maple and birdseye than quilt. Some of the new finishes by Suhr, PRS and even some of the HP specials by Peavey are like you say, "wet looking". I'm afraid to take my PRS singlecut out to a gig for fear of it getting dinged more than it already is...

    to each his own though
    Eddie and Dave...the way it was meant to be

  3. #3
    Atomic Punk
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    07.24.11 @ 04:36 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by VanLaing5150 View Post
    I agree with you to an extent.

    I'm a much bigger fan of flame maple and birdseye than quilt. Some of the new finishes by Suhr, PRS and even some of the HP specials by Peavey are like you say, "wet looking". I'm afraid to take my PRS singlecut out to a gig for fear of it getting dinged more than it already is...

    to each his own though

    oh absolutely. I'm just saying I'm not a huge fan of this current trend in guitar aesthetics. I prefer either solid colours or translucent finishes over more "plain" wood...a little flaming great, a little quilting or bear clawing, awesome but when it gets to be sooooo much, it looks fake....like a decal or something and to me detracts from the beauty.

  4. #4
    Eruption LeftyVanHalen's Avatar
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    08.05.17 @ 01:41 PM
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    Default

    I love highly figured tops on guitars but it's the finish that bugs me. The really thick finish that you described as "wet" is really the issue for me.

    I have Les Paul Premium Plus top and the flame on it is amazing. The finish is super thin nitro and just looks incredible to me. The finish on PRS is really thick and just doesnt give me the vibe that it will age appropriately.

    I'm not so much into quilt tops or birdeye. I'm more of a flame fan.

    Plain tops are nice too but it depends on the top when they are plain...I still like to see figure in the top with lines and such...plain transparent tops with no figure seem boring to me. If that is the case, I'd rather have a solid color.

    As for affecting tone...my guess is that figure has no bearing on the tone of the instrument. I'll defer to other experts here but I can't here a difference.

  5. #5
    Atomic Punk
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    i have seen some super nice les paul's with flame maple that do look very good...it's that goopy stuff that PRS started using and now I see it on all the "boutiquey" places. It doesn't even feel like wood to me.

    Here's another question about wood...

    Woods like Zyrocote that are highly lined with really beautiful grain patterns and such, they are almost never used on electric guitars. I also never see cedar used on electric guitars. Why?

    What is the fascination with maple?

  6. #6
    Hot For Teacher VanLaing5150's Avatar
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    12.26.11 @ 12:28 AM
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    Its a tonewood?
    Eddie and Dave...the way it was meant to be

  7. #7
    Atomic Punk
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    Quote Originally Posted by VanLaing5150 View Post
    Its a tonewood?
    yeah I get that...i'm talking about from an aesthetic standpoint. It's obviously not the ONLY tonewood but it is certainly the most popular. I'm simply asking why so many boutique and upper-end guitar manufactures point to flame/quilt maple as the end-all-be-all of electric guitar caps.

  8. #8
    Good Enough SLEEPER5150's Avatar
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    12.03.10 @ 03:16 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeftyVanHalen View Post
    I love highly figured tops on guitars but it's the finish that bugs me. The really thick finish that you described as "wet" is really the issue for me.

    I have Les Paul Premium Plus top and the flame on it is amazing. The finish is super thin nitro and just looks incredible to me. The finish on PRS is really thick and just doesnt give me the vibe that it will age appropriately.

    I'm not so much into quilt tops or birdeye. I'm more of a flame fan.

    Plain tops are nice too but it depends on the top when they are plain...I still like to see figure in the top with lines and such...plain transparent tops with no figure seem boring to me. If that is the case, I'd rather have a solid color.

    As for affecting tone...my guess is that figure has no bearing on the tone of the instrument. I'll defer to other experts here but I can't here a difference.
    I think you hit the nail on the head lefty, but first, here's my experience. When I first picked up electric, I was'nt a huge fan of wood/flamed finished guitars at all. To me, being the punkass kid I was just figured they looked like an old man's guitar. I liked solid colors. My first Strat was a white on white. My second was black on black. Then one day, I saw a Paul hanging in a pawn shop window. It was a tobacco burst. It was beautiful. I really gained an appreciation for a nice selection of wood. Then around 90 'or 91', I saw the ad for Ernie Ball/ Music Man for the new Eddie Van halen model, and he's holding the deep red one with the gorgeous quilt top. I thought, that looks real cool. Then as time went on I saw him with the amber quilt. Man! Then.....everyone started doing them, not so much because of EBMM, or PRS but it just became the trend. Now it's old hat, and what you say about that "wet" look could'nt be described better. Guitars with these tops and the colors used today have such a thick almost synthetic look about them. I think if you had a thinner finish like nitro, it takes on a whole other personality. As far as tone, the only wood I know of that is mentioned above that is said by purists as having less tone supposedly is birdseye maple. Alot of experts sugest that the the lack of a truly linear grain does not allow vibration to flow efficiently through the instrument. How much this is a factor though I imagine would also be affected by other factors, like moisture content, number of pieces of wood glued together, finish type, etc.
    She looks so $#@!'n good ,so sexy and so frail....Somethin's got the bite on me, I'm goin' straight to Hell.

  9. #9
    Eruption
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    07.04.12 @ 08:16 AM
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    Im constantly reading more about woods just to get a better education. When Im an old man living in Florida, Im thinking of playin around with the wood stuff. Its a whole other world. Im not an exspert by any means.
    Im kinda glad the "pretty" wood phase is over. Its alot of work to get those to look that pretty. And exspensive.
    As far as personal taste, I always liked quilts. But you guys are right. It sometimes looks unnatural. Some guitars actually use a decal instead of real laminate. That I dont get.
    I did an exsperiment on my Les Paul. I wanted the thinnest finish I could produce. I used minimal grain filler and minimal finish. Turned out awesome. If you hold it up to the light, you can barely see a small amout of grain. I cant even take a good pic of it.
    As far as tone goes, I sure as hell cant hear a difference. Some say they can between sniffing corks. But I think they're full of shit.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
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  10. #10
    5150 bunnyman's Avatar
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    11.06.14 @ 04:06 AM
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    I am now convinced that gunstock oil is the best finish. It's easy to maintain, can be reapplied with minimal fuss, doesn't gas out the entire house when applied indoors, and has a nice, raw wood feel without being raw wood.

    All new bunnyman guitars will be gunstock oil from here on out.
    Dammit!!! I still smell like cotton candy!!!

  11. #11
    Unchained coyote's Avatar
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    12.13.17 @ 10:48 AM
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ron4406 View Post
    As far as tone goes, I sure as hell cant hear a difference. Some say they can between sniffing corks. But I think they're full of shit.
    Dave Meniketti insists that plain maple sounds fuller than quilt or flame. I can't hear it, but there are many out there who claim they can.

  12. #12
    5150 bunnyman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coyote View Post
    Dave Meniketti insists that plain maple sounds fuller than quilt or flame. I can't hear it, but there are many out there who claim they can.
    I think it depends on the tree. Some flame guitars sound great and some with the most beautiful figure sound like ass. I dunno...
    Dammit!!! I still smell like cotton candy!!!

  13. #13
    Damage your reputation seenbad's Avatar
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    11.30.17 @ 06:15 PM
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    I love a great piece of wood. I think it's possible to really appreciate the additional art value a really sexy wood can add in nuance to a guitar. A really good grain with a really good stain can just make it stand out beautifully and make you fall in love with it that much more. It's personality outside of tone. What's been described as this "wet" look in this thread is a little over the top. Almost synth'd I guess. The wet look is the OU812 of guitars. Birdseye is awesome. Very unique.
    sheepa latta peepah dabba looka foh a moopy

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  14. #14
    Atomic Punk
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    i don't think I've ever seen a guitar finished with gunstock oil.

    What happens if you DON'T apply a finish to a guitar?

  15. #15
    Good Enough
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    10.26.16 @ 03:37 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by broken9500 View Post
    i don't think I've ever seen a guitar finished with gunstock oil.

    What happens if you DON'T apply a finish to a guitar?
    The neck on a Music Man is basically gunstock oil. And it can range anywhere from that look to much glossier.

    If you DON'T finish a NECK, I like them a lot. If you DON'T finish a GUITAR, it will probably not feel great on your arm where you contact the body, and if you get any moisture on it, you run the risk of having the body soak it up and expand.

    If you want an experiment, get a completed but unfinished body from someone, and finish it with Minwax Satin wipe on Poly. Super easy to apply, gives an extremely thin, but pretty durable and really great looking finish. It almost looks like there is no finish at all.

 

 

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