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Old 08-27-2014, 04:49 PM   #1
ken styles
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How are "quilt top" bodies made?

I'm curious to know how the quilt top patters on some guitars are done?

Is that the actual pattern in the wood?
then painted over then clear coated?

I know that some of the cheaper prs guitars are veneer, (which I think means they are the quilt design is printed then pasted on to the guitar body)

I just saw a guitar made by "JET" that have some amazing patters on them!!

http://www.jetguitars.com/oneofs.html

http://www.jetguitars.com/G1.html
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Old 08-27-2014, 04:51 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ken styles
I'm curious to know how the quilt top patters on some guitars are done?

Is that the actual pattern in the wood?
then painted over then clear coated?


I know that some of the cheaper prs guitars are veneer, (which I think means they are the quilt design is printed then pasted on to the guitar body)

I just saw a guitar made by "JET" that have some amazing patters on them!!

http://www.jetguitars.com/oneofs.html

http://www.jetguitars.com/G1.html



Yes. Stained though, not painted.






veneered guitars have a really thin piece of wood with figuring generally glued on top. You use it to make the guitar look pretty etc...
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Old 08-27-2014, 05:00 PM   #3
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Theres quite a few different figures maple can show.

Theres flame and quilt, mixes, and other more unusual ones. Dont forget spalting.
Saying that, you can get a guitar with that finish painted on, a "photo-flame", havent seen one in person tho.
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Old 08-27-2014, 05:26 PM   #4
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Everyone has got this all wrong. All you need to do is grab your quilt off your bed, cut two guitar-shaped holes in it, super glue the pieces to the guitar body and invite someone that's around 20-30 stone to sit on it for a couple of days. Then slap a bit of varnish on it from your local DIY shop.

Job done
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Old 08-27-2014, 05:27 PM   #5
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Some of the inexpensive ones are just photos stuck on, I don't know the technical name or process. You can tell them by looking at the centre seam of the two plates, it will be slightly fuzzy instead a a sharp boundary.
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Old 08-27-2014, 05:27 PM   #6
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You can actually get leather finished guitars, never seen one in person...
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Old 08-27-2014, 05:30 PM   #7
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A top is cut from a slab of quilted maple, usually only about half the width of the guitar body itself. Then this is cut in half again along the side (think like you are slicing a roll or bagel in half) and the one side is flipped over, creating a mirrored effect along the middle of the body (called bookmatching). The two top halves are glued together and then glued to the body. Once the glue is dried any carving of the top is done. Then it is stained, usually with a very dark stain at first, then sanded back and stained again with a lighter stain, then again and again. This creates the quilted effect where the grain is darker than the rest of the body. Then a clear coat is usually applied.
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Old 08-27-2014, 05:32 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Snapple
You can actually get leather finished guitars, never seen one in person...


Ibanez made a Talman for a while (Noodles model?) cover in silver duct tape. It didn't look too outrageous, except that they oversprayed it with poly. Soon the adhesive on the tape started to move and lift, and the whole poly finish cracked and started flaking off. It looked like it had some kind of horrible skin disease. Not one of their better ideas.
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Old 08-27-2014, 06:39 PM   #9
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Yes, it's an actual pattern in the wood. I don't know of any guitar makers who actually paint on wood-grain patterns. Sounds like it would be way too much work to be worth it, for what would have to be an obscenely cheap guitar. I've heard that it happens, but I've definitely never seen it.

As for how it happens, it's at least partially natural. For some patterns, they might manipulate the wood a bit with certain sanding and staining techniques to make the patterns really stand out, but it is a natural occurrence in the wood. Maple is the most common wood used for such tops, and since maple isn't a typical body wood for an electric guitar, the maple top is usually cut relatively thin, and glued on top of the body wood, which may be something like mahogany or alder or ash.

Anyway, bottom line is: No, the wood patterns you see on the top of a guitar are NOT painted on. Wood actually looks like that.

Oh, and those JET guitars you linked to are gorgeous. And that's all definitely real wood. They use some weird exotic ones, too. Not just the typical quilt and/or flame and/or spalted maple.

Last edited by the_bi99man : 08-27-2014 at 06:41 PM.
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Old 08-27-2014, 07:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheStig1214
A top is cut from a slab of quilted maple, usually only about half the width of the guitar body itself. Then this is cut in half again along the side (think like you are slicing a roll or bagel in half) and the one side is flipped over, creating a mirrored effect along the middle of the body (called bookmatching). The two top halves are glued together and then glued to the body. Once the glue is dried any carving of the top is done. Then it is stained, usually with a very dark stain at first, then sanded back and stained again with a lighter stain, then again and again. This creates the quilted effect where the grain is darker than the rest of the body. Then a clear coat is usually applied.


Just want to say thank you for actually providing a intelligent response.
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Old 08-27-2014, 07:53 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by derkym
Just want to say thank you for actually providing a intelligent response.


I also forgot to mention real quilted maple is essentially a tree with cancer. So yay tree cancer

BTW, example of a slab of AAAA natural (no finish) quilted maple --> http://www.ebay.com/itm/Q-4-FIGURED...=item540c1a263e
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Old 08-27-2014, 08:10 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheStig1214
I also forgot to mention real quilted maple is essentially a tree with cancer. So yay tree cancer

BTW, example of a slab of AAAA natural (no finish) quilted maple --> http://www.ebay.com/itm/Q-4-FIGURED...=item540c1a263e


Mmmm.... Now that's some sexy wood.
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Old 08-27-2014, 08:32 PM   #13
ken styles
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Wow thanks all. I'm now more informed.

So when they have a guitar with a white / blue quilt finish..

Like this

http://cdn1.gbase.com/usercontent/g...v5byijeh_so.jpg

I'm sure that the under base coat is white
Vs. A blue quilt finish like this

http://www.vintageandrare.com/uploa...86/original.jpg

Which I think has a dark base coat

Right?
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Old 08-27-2014, 10:49 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ken styles
Wow thanks all. I'm now more informed.

So when they have a guitar with a white / blue quilt finish..

Like this

http://cdn1.gbase.com/usercontent/g...v5byijeh_so.jpg

I'm sure that the under base coat is white
Vs. A blue quilt finish like this

http://www.vintageandrare.com/uploa...86/original.jpg

Which I think has a dark base coat

Right?


Yup you got it.
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Old 08-27-2014, 11:02 PM   #15
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So many companies have their own way of involving these tops on guitars, but it is important to acknowledge the difference between a (for example) flamed maple TOP vs. a flamed maple veneer. Veneer's don't do a whole hell of a lot to change the tone - they are generally just an aesthetic. They aren't thick enough to influence the resonance of a guitar all that much.

Just something to keep in mind!
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Old 08-28-2014, 12:20 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the_bi99man
Yes, it's an actual pattern in the wood. I don't know of any guitar makers who actually paint on wood-grain patterns. Sounds like it would be way too much work to be worth it, for what would have to be an obscenely cheap guitar. I've heard that it happens, but I've definitely never seen it.

As for how it happens, it's at least partially natural. For some patterns, they might manipulate the wood a bit with certain sanding and staining techniques to make the patterns really stand out, but it is a natural occurrence in the wood. Maple is the most common wood used for such tops, and since maple isn't a typical body wood for an electric guitar, the maple top is usually cut relatively thin, and glued on top of the body wood, which may be something like mahogany or alder or ash.

Anyway, bottom line is: No, the wood patterns you see on the top of a guitar are NOT painted on. Wood actually looks like that.


"Photo tops" are literally that -- photos of maple or other woods printed on vinyl (like the transit vinyl that covers some cars and trucks with graphics) that are applied to the guitars and then sealed with clear paint.

Maple's a common top wood because it's easily available, both here and in Asia (Chinese maple has some of the best figuring, by the way). The patterns aren't caused by wood "cancer", but they are, mostly, due to a kind of stress. Softer maples usually have more figuring; the eastern hard rock maple is commonly used for both necks and bodies, but is straight-grained and dense.

The most common types seen on guitars are flame (those tight, straight lines) and quilt (or "curly" maple -- wider stripes that look a bit like ocean waves). But spalted maple (actually, maple that's begun to rot a bit) and maple burl are also fairly common.

Contrary to the quoted material above, maple IS a common body and neck wood, all by itself. For years, all Carvins were solid hard rock maple. Gibson's most expensive guitars have traditionally had maple bodies (the Gibson L5S solid body, for example, the L6S, the very expensive L5 archtop and many more), while less expensive mid-range guitars (like the original Les Paul Standard and Custom) and student guitars like the LP Junior, Special, SG and Melody makers, were traditionally mahogany.

Maple tops are generally decorative, but there are those who swear that it brightens the sound of the guitar, while others ignore that, suggesting that any contribution the top wood makes is minimal.

The thickness of the maple top is often the subject of serious cork sniffery. Carvin uses a 2" thick slab of figured maple to make the carved top of its SH-series guitars, while the Les Paul type guitars start with about 3/4". Others have a 1/4" slice of figured maple on top of the guitar, and others have just 1 /16th" molded to the top of the guitar. The latter is usually referred to as a veneer. It's real maple, and you can't tell the difference between it and a thicker slab simply by checking out the face of it. All real figured maple, no matter the thickness, exhibits the same "chatoyance" or changeability in different light. Photo tops don't.

This guitar has a natural figured maple top. Nothing's been done to it other than to put a slightly amber-colored clear coat on it:



This one has had some dark dye worked into the grain and then sanded back to emphasize the grain:



Here you can get an idea of the thickness of this flat-topped guitar's maple cap:



This is my flying V; the back AND the front of the guitar have a facing of burled maple over body wings of mahogany, and the neck, which runs all the way through the body, is made of more than one piece of flamed maple (the fretboard is Brazilian rosewood):




And this guitar has a Spalted Maple top:

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Old 08-28-2014, 08:54 AM   #17
ken styles
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this is crazy...I've have a new found appreciation and knowledge for guitar woods, what they are and what they look like!
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Old 08-28-2014, 09:36 AM   #18
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We haven't even gotten to non-maple tops yet.

Buckeye Burl:


Bubinga:


Swamp Ash (Ceruse finish)
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Old 08-28-2014, 10:06 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by dspellman
This guitar has a natural figured maple top. Nothing's been done to it other than to put a slightly amber-colored clear coat on it:





This is seriously one of the best looking tops I've ever seen. What brand/model is that?
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Old 08-28-2014, 10:17 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by darrenram1

This is seriously one of the best looking tops I've ever seen. What brand/model is that?



It's a Carvin semi-hollow.
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Dude i like rap and stuff. Im a furry and I also have a wolf plush with a hole that i use at times.


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