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Tops ??? Sycamore vs Maple
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little-odgie
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2004 7:14 am    Post subject: Tops ??? Sycamore vs Maple Reply with quote

been perusing the specs of the current UK available Love Rocks ... a question ... what's the difference between a sycamore and maple top apart from the obvious pattern of the grain? are there any tone differences? Why more cash for the sycamore topped LS70F???


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Paladin2019
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2004 7:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

All the MIJ love rock models sold in the UK have maple tops. The LS75F has a sycamore veneer (paper thin sheet of wood) on top of the maple to give it the flame (tiger stripe) appearance. The only reason the LS75F and LS80Q are more expensive is their appearance due to the use of veneers. The jury is out on whether they affect tone, but if they did have any effect it would be bad - the veneers are glued on and glue is not good for tone. Also the maple underneath *may* be of poorer quality as it's not on show and doesn't need to look good or well matched.

But if you can't live without flame or quilt, they do what you need.
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Paladin2019
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2004 7:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

EDIT: double post.

Last edited by Paladin2019 on Fri Jun 04, 2004 7:24 am; edited 1 time in total
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ArthurS
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2004 1:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In addition to Paladin's (completely correct) post, I'd like to say that, as far as I know, sycamore is a maple species. So it is maple
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ArthurS
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2004 1:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

EDIT Double post... the board gave me an error message about failing to send e-mail??

Last edited by ArthurS on Fri Jun 04, 2004 1:40 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Steve250SWB
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Joined: 25 May 2004
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 05, 2004 1:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I always thought the LS series had maple 'caps', not veneers, in fact just like Gibson Les Pauls. The cap is a half inch or so layer of maple bonded to the top of the Love Rock and Les Paul mahogany main body. Maple is a very good tone wood and a cap shouldn't be confused with a thin veneer. The various finishes, flame quilt etc, are according to the type and cut of maple used, again like the Gibson version. I believe the cheaper Epiphones do have a veneer top though. As regards glue affecting tone, well, you can buy a Strat or Tele that have no glue in their construction at all. But then again a $2000 top line acoustic guitar couldn't get by without it. Does it affect tone? Only if badly applied perhaps.
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little-odgie
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 05, 2004 1:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

my own thoughts were that I preferred the LS65 anyway which has maple - bit of a traditionalist! I can't say I've ever heard of sycamore being used before but maybe news just travels slow down here.

Funny isn't it, the only local dealer who stocks Tokai thinks it's cool to add 100 to the list price of his guitars. Maybe I'll keep an eye on ebay.
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Steve250SWB
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 05, 2004 5:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't think Dorset has the monopoly on expensive Tokai's. Here in Yorkshire it just isn't possible to find a bargain. They simply aren't discounted like other guitars. About ?700-?799 depending on model is what I see for the Japanese builds. I got mine new on ebay for a 'good' price and bidding on second hand ones can get very close to new price.
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ArthurS
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 05, 2004 4:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steve250SWB wrote:
I always thought the LS series had maple 'caps', not veneers, in fact just like Gibson Les Pauls. The cap is a half inch or so layer of maple bonded to the top of the Love Rock and Les Paul mahogany main body. Maple is a very good tone wood and a cap shouldn't be confused with a thin veneer. The various finishes, flame quilt etc, are according to the type and cut of maple used, again like the Gibson version.

Indeed they all have a thick maple cap. However, the LS80F and LS85Q have a paper-thin flamed or quilted veneer on top of the cap. It is real wood though, unlike many cheap copies that feature a so-called 'photo top'.


Last edited by ArthurS on Sat Jun 05, 2004 4:55 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Steve250SWB
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2004 9:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Point taken ;- )
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Paladin2019
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2004 12:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steve250SWB wrote:
As regards glue affecting tone, well, you can buy a Strat or Tele that have no glue in their construction at all. But then again a $2000 top line acoustic guitar couldn't get by without it. Does it affect tone? Only if badly applied perhaps.


Yes, but it's not smeared all over the top on acoustics is it?

Anyways, like I said the jury's out. Until someone refinishes a solid wood topped guitar with a veneer top we'll never really know.
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Steve250SWB
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2004 3:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Yes, but it's not smeared all over the top on acoustics is it?"

Everybody loves a smart alec No, it isn't 'smeared' all over the top, especially on the Love Rock. You are absolutely right. It is administered in a controlled and metered fashion in order to do the job, but no more, or no less than needed. Its the idea that 'we'll never really know' that bugs me though. We do know, and you don't have to cover a perfectly good solid top acoustic to know it. It is written in guitar and instrument making history. How many Stradivari violins have had a new fingerboard glued on in their lifetime. All. And that is with ancient glue formula's. I guess it must make them second rate though, until the 'jury' comes back from lunch.
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Paladin2019
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2004 4:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't be daft, I'm not saying all guitars should be glue free. But glue doesn't exactly have very good properties of resonance, so the less used the better all things being equal. Why do you think solid wood and 1 piece bodies are so highly coveted? And if you're talking love rock with veneer VS love rock without, that's about as equal as you can get without retopping the same guitar.
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Novosel
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2004 8:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote=Anyways, like I said the jury's out. Until someone refinishes a solid wood topped guitar with a veneer top we'll never really know.[/quote]


Scott Lentz, the well known and highly respected luthier from California, has refinished early fifties Les Paul Goltops with bookmatched flame maple veneer, converting them to late fifties specs. I'd say if it's OK with him, knowing his reputation, it should be acceptable for us.

Now, having said that, my '84 LS60 with a flame veneer top does sound terrific, but the best sounding Tokai I ever played was an 80's Goldtop - solid maple top, no veneer. So, yeah, the jury's still out.
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Steve250SWB
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2004 1:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Don't be daft, ..............."

But the whole thing is daft. Glue = bad? So what does a nice smooth coat of lacquer equal? Its 'glue' in another form, spread all over the guitar, not just the top. Pickups are screwed to the top, holes routed in it for wiring and pots, a neck is glued on, it gets hot, it gets cold. A guitar body gets some stick before you even pluck a note. A layer of thin veneer glued in turn onto a glued on cap ain't going to make much difference
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