#2
"select spruce top" means laminate. if it's a solid top, better than 99% of the time it will actually say solid.
Quote by Skeet UK
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#3
"Select spruce top", is a euphemism for "laminated". As Patti says, you'll know it's a solid top, when the specs say, "solid top". It's too big of a selling point, for manufacturers not to capitalize on it.

In the same vein, Taylor uses, "layered", as their "secret code" for laminated. However, all Taylors have solid tops, and the "layered" only attaches to the back & sides. (100 & 200 series).

If you're inquiring because you're shopping for a guitar, you can always post what you find here, and we'll look it over for you.
#4
Yeah, "Select" = laminate. Avoid.
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Quote by Anonden
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#5
The term is ambiguous and apparently depends on context. It might mean laminate but it also used by the likes of Collings, SCGC and Tippin, who most certainly do not use laminate tops. Here's an exampl:

http://www.collingsguitars.com/Instruments/?ID=2

I take is to mean that someone chose it, somehow, maybe out of the dumpster or maybe out of a AAAAA pile in the luthier timber supply store, nada mas.
#6
Quote by Tony Done
The term is ambiguous and apparently depends on context. It might mean laminate but it also used by the likes of Collings, SCGC and Tippin, who most certainly do not use laminate tops. Here's an exampl:

http://www.collingsguitars.com/Instruments/?ID=2

I take is to mean that someone chose it, somehow, maybe out of the dumpster or maybe out of a AAAAA pile in the luthier timber supply store, nada mas.
Collings, etc., need to grow a pair, and change the terminology to, "graded spruce top", and then state exactly what grade that might be.

If a beginning shopper stumbled across that, he or she might believe that "select spruce top", implied a "solid spruce top".

Of course the price differential, say from $59.95 to $5,995.00, might be a dead giveaway, to all but the most mentally insulated shopper.

How about if we say that, "select spruce top, stands for, "laminated spruce top", in the under $500.00 price category.

Unless of course, you'd like to challenge your own theory by buying a Rogue, with it's, "select spruce top",(Edit here, Rogues have, "genuine spruce tops"), and challenge it to a "tone off" competition with a comparable Collings, "select spruce top".

EDIT: "Rogues" are apparently made of all kinds of crap and have painted maple fingerboards,

Yamaha seems the most forthcoming and tags its laminated tops, laminated.

Suffice it to say, in the lower price brackets "spruce top", means "laminated spruce top". IIRC, I have seen ads with "select spruce top", relating directly to laminated tops. I suppose you can "select" the material for the laminations, in the same way you can "select" graded top woods. I frankly don't see the point NOT mentioning the grade of top wood on something like a Collings. Although Carvin doesn't market true acoustics any more, on their piezo. thin body instruments, they specify the species, (Engleman Spruce), and the grade, (AAA).
Last edited by Captaincranky at May 14, 2015,
#7
How about if we say that, "select spruce top, stands for, "laminated spruce top", in the under $500.00 price category.



That sounds fair to me except I would qualify it as "probably", because I'm guessing that there are exceptions.

Did I ever tell you that my all-time (50 years) favourite guitar for fingerpicking has a laminate top? Not under $500 though.
#8
Quote by Tony Done
That sounds fair to me except I would qualify it as "probably", because I'm guessing that there are exceptions.

Did I ever tell you that my all-time (50 years) favourite guitar for fingerpicking has a laminate top? Not under $500 though.

In addition to spelling things funny, " favourite", (God save the Queen), you have a much higher opinion of human beings than I do, particularly those of the advertising persuasion.

I've heard you say that about your lam top Maton, unfortunately, I have no idea why, or what to make of it. (With good reason, I've never even seen a Maton).

Suffice it to say, when a top is simply called "spruce", in the under $500.00 category, it's laminate. The "solid spruce" designation, is as much to step the customer up through the same manufacturer's line, as it is for comparison to other makers.
Last edited by Captaincranky at May 14, 2015,
#9
^^^^ I agree entirely about the distinction between spruce and solid spruce. Thing is, I've rarely encountered to term "select" except in the high-end context, so I'm a bit more cautious.

I've never liked big open-sounding guitars for fingerpicking (slide is a different story), possibly because I spent about 13 years playing Japanese cheapos before I bought a more expensive one, a Maton as it happens, shortly after I emigrated to Australia. The cheapos weren't as good in thiose days as they are now. The sound I like is best described as "tight and bright" with no clunk in the bass. I think Maton saw it (an M300) as an attempt to build a good sturdy guitar, not as so much as a cost-cutting measure. Most older* Matons have that tight overbraced sound; this one is unusual insofar as it has double X-bracing of the style that Gibson were using a few years earlier.

* They've recently gone to Taylor-style bracing.
Last edited by Tony Done at May 14, 2015,
#10
One trick I've heard to distinguish laminate from solid tops is to look at the edge of the top of the guitar where it starts to dip into the sound hole, and see if the grain of the wood continues down. If the grain continues, it should be a solid top. I don't know though if there are ways manufacturers can get around this but I'm sure some of the more experienced players on here could verify/discard this trick
#12
Quote by Aiden Cook
One trick I've heard to distinguish laminate from solid tops is to look at the edge of the top of the guitar where it starts to dip into the sound hole, and see if the grain of the wood continues down. If the grain continues, it should be a solid top. I don't know though if there are ways manufacturers can get around this but I'm sure some of the more experienced players on here could verify/discard this trick
One supposes that would be effective. Although, suppose you're looking at a black guitar?

Unless you're dealing with pure crap, I can't picture the bigger makers telling you something is solid when it isn't, nor failing to tell you it's solid when it is.

You can tell right off the bat if a guitar is laminated, when they deviate from spruce , cedar, or mahogany, and start blowing the "exotic wood" smoke. Bubinga, ash, maple, if it's on an acoustic top, it's plywood.

To get back to my original point, looking at the grain in the sound hole is a good idea, but you have to find a natural version of the guitar to check.

For example, my Fender "Sonoran" is solid top. It's also natural, as that's the only color it's available in left handed. Fender makes it in all kind of goofy colors for rightys. Am I sure there's a solid top under that surf green? not entirely, would I suggest anyone not buy the guitar, or strip the paint off to find out. Absolutely not.

So, allegedly tops are graded for appearance only. Moral of the story, why bother using a AAAA top, under "blue mist" solid paint? Now, if the maker is going to tap tone the tops, that would be a different story.
Last edited by Captaincranky at May 15, 2015,
#13
Quote by Captaincranky


In the same vein, Taylor uses, "layered", as their "secret code" for laminated. However, all Taylors have solid tops, and the "layered" only attaches to the back & sides. (100 & 200 series).



Some reps from Taylor were at my store last year for a road show, and they mentioned how they're changing their official term to "layered", rather than "laminate". They claimed that it was because in some other industries, some companies are using "laminate" to describe products that are made with wood and other non-wood materials, like plastics, laminated. They want to be clear that their low end guitars are made with non-solid woods, but still all wood. At least that's the explanation they offered.
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#14
Quote by the_bi99man
Some reps from Taylor were at my store last year for a road show, and they mentioned how they're changing their official term to "layered", rather than "laminate". They claimed that it was because in some other industries, some companies are using "laminate" to describe products that are made with wood and other non-wood materials, like plastics, laminated. They want to be clear that their low end guitars are made with non-solid woods, but still all wood. At least that's the explanation they offered.


Like laminate floors.
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#15
and let us not forget HPL ;-)
Quote by Skeet UK
I just looked in my Oxford English Dictionary and under "Acoustic Guitar", there was your Avatar and an email address!
#16
What really prejudices me against HPL is that they make it look like faux wood. It reminds me of the bedroom suite we bought back in the late 60s as part of our first home furnishings. We thought it looked trendy at the time, and it was cheap. I wouldn't mind if they came in nice dignified plastic colours, like maybe plum and olive; I even like the Felix ones.
#17
Quote by the_bi99man
Some reps from Taylor were at my store last year for a road show, and they mentioned how they're changing their official term to "layered", rather than "laminate". They claimed that it was because in some other industries, some companies are using "laminate" to describe products that are made with wood and other non-wood materials, like plastics, laminated. They want to be clear that their low end guitars are made with non-solid woods, but still all wood. At least that's the explanation they offered.
Well, they do have a point. I've always thought that Formica, Micarta, and the like were thought of, or called, "laminates".

With that said, Taylor is simultaneously distancing themselves from, "plywood", which is mostly the truth.

I can't say I blame them though. "Plywood" runs the gamut from 11 ply Baltic birch, to 3 ply 1/2" CDX, which has gaping knot holes on the "D" side.


Hey you guys, you wanna hear a crappy plywood Ibanez AEL10 sounding really good?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTAyVS3uYq8