What Exactly is Korean "Flame Maple"?

Discussion in 'rec.music.guitar' started by lbrty4us@aol.com, Aug 14, 2003.

  1. Beginning to wonder about the popular new marketing terms versus
    factual definitions. Ex: it took me a bit to realize that "select
    spruce" and even "spruce" is now "plywood." I have an Alleykat & it
    looks nice. But according to my antique-wood-expert-refinish friends,
    real "flame maple" is from a crotch of the tree & has a pattern that
    speads out like a flame. These "flame maple" guitars look like
    striped maple, which is even more valuable than flame maple if it is
    real (doubt it). What exactly IS this wood (or more accurately, top
    veneer layer of the plys), and is the pattern created by some
    artificial means or coating process? Please no guessers. :)
  2. Chances are it is not veneer or flamed. Many companies are using a "photo"
    flame process. Basically a thin translucent photo of a flame top is laid on
    top of whatever wood the body is made of. Not sure if it works best w/
    specific woods or what.

    Someone else can probably give you more specifics on this process. But most
    guitars under $700 or so that look really quilted or flamey are of this
    type.

    Peace,
    Pilgrim

    >I have an Alleykat & it
    > looks nice. But according to my antique-wood-expert-refinish friends,
    > real "flame maple" is from a crotch of the tree & has a pattern that
    > speads out like a flame. These "flame maple" guitars look like
    > striped maple, which is even more valuable than flame maple if it is
    > real (doubt it). What exactly IS this wood (or more accurately, top
    > veneer layer of the plys), and is the pattern created by some
    > artificial means or coating process? Please no guessers. :)
  3. Tom Yost

    Tom Yost Guest

    On 14 Aug 2003 12:02:41 -0700, lbrty4us@aol.com wrote:

    >Beginning to wonder about the popular new marketing terms versus
    >factual definitions. Ex: it took me a bit to realize that "select
    >spruce" and even "spruce" is now "plywood." I have an Alleykat & it
    >looks nice. But according to my antique-wood-expert-refinish friends,
    >real "flame maple" is from a crotch of the tree & has a pattern that
    >speads out like a flame. These "flame maple" guitars look like
    >striped maple, which is even more valuable than flame maple if it is
    >real (doubt it). What exactly IS this wood (or more accurately, top
    >veneer layer of the plys), and is the pattern created by some
    >artificial means or coating process? Please no guessers. :)



    Please stand by. Our resident wood expert will be around shortly to
    fill you in on grain, flame, etc.




    Tom
  4. "Tom Yost" <tom@gSePsApMac.com> wrote in message
    news:lu7ojv04fffvu215dl865nae6lohk9o3kk@4ax.com...
    > On 14 Aug 2003 12:02:41 -0700, lbrty4us@aol.com wrote:
    >
    > >Beginning to wonder about the popular new marketing terms versus
    > >factual definitions. Ex: it took me a bit to realize that "select
    > >spruce" and even "spruce" is now "plywood."

    <snip>
    >
    > Please stand by. Our resident wood expert will be around shortly to
    > fill you in on grain, flame, etc.
    >
    >
    >
    >
    > Tom

    'Fill you in on grain'....Heh.....That's a good one....;+)
  5. "Robert Barker" <rwbarker@spambegonecox.net> wrote in message
    news:693%a.4773$Ij4.4309@news2.central.cox.net...
    >
    > "Tom Yost" <tom@gSePsApMac.com> wrote in message
    > news:lu7ojv04fffvu215dl865nae6lohk9o3kk@4ax.com...
    > > On 14 Aug 2003 12:02:41 -0700, lbrty4us@aol.com wrote:
    > >
    > > >Beginning to wonder about the popular new marketing terms versus
    > > >factual definitions.


    When I was growing up Ricardo Montalban (Khan in Star Trek, Mr. Roarke on
    Fantasy Island) did these car commercials emphasizing the interior of "rich,
    Corinthian leather". Someone finally nailed him and he admitted he had no
    idea what it was or if it was even a real product.
  6. Trent Liles

    Trent Liles Guest

    You have to remember that guitarists refer to wood differently than
    woodworkers. Everyone seems to have there own name for what is simply called
    "figured" wood. Flame and Quilt are mainly used by guitar folks. Fiddleback
    is used more frequently by woodworkers but they will usually use terms like
    "Tiger Maple" and stuff like that. Try walking into a hardwood store and
    asking for "flamed maple" and you will be greeted by a puzzled expression.
    After explaining what you want they will show you the figured maple. I still
    think the term "flame maple" was invented by fender or gibson as a marketing
    ploy.

    Trent
    Woodworker and Guitarist
    (Who just picked up a bunch of perfectly quartered Highly Figured
    Purpleheart)
    --
    "Work is the scourge of the drinking classes."
    -- Oscar Wilde



    <lbrty4us@aol.com> wrote in message
    news:205ef942.0308141102.2175b9eb@posting.google.com...
    > Beginning to wonder about the popular new marketing terms versus
    > factual definitions. Ex: it took me a bit to realize that "select
    > spruce" and even "spruce" is now "plywood." I have an Alleykat & it
    > looks nice. But according to my antique-wood-expert-refinish friends,
    > real "flame maple" is from a crotch of the tree & has a pattern that
    > speads out like a flame. These "flame maple" guitars look like
    > striped maple, which is even more valuable than flame maple if it is
    > real (doubt it). What exactly IS this wood (or more accurately, top
    > veneer layer of the plys), and is the pattern created by some
    > artificial means or coating process? Please no guessers. :)
  7. Well, so far we have one possible guess (photo finish), half-dozen
    jests, and no factual answer whatsoever... :)

    While we are at it, does anyone also know for a fact what the plywood
    is that these axes' "flame maple" tops (most notably the semisolids &
    archtops) are made from?

    Maybe we need some Korean factory workers on here...
  8. Dan Stanley

    Dan Stanley Guest

    <lbrty4us@aol.com> wrote in message
    news:205ef942.0308180718.4a167916@posting.google.com...
    > Well, so far we have one possible guess (photo finish), half-dozen
    > jests, and no factual answer whatsoever... :)


    You can tell a photo ( my people call it "gravure") from the real thing,
    pretty easily.
    Gravure won't change under the light as you move the guitar, real figured
    wood will.
    *Most* flame-y or quilt-y or whatever Korean guitars are not gravure. How
    thick the veneer of maple ( or whatever) is can be anyone's guess. The maple
    cap on a LP is ( if I remember right) 3/8"...maybe it's 5/8"? Something like
    that. The Epiphone equivalents are somewhat thinner, I know.

    I've seen guitars advertised as having "authentic flame gravure" tops,
    though. Go figure.

    Dan
  9. Nobody

    Nobody Guest

    From what I understand, it can be a couple of things.

    The real stuff is most likely a thin veneer ( which means thin piece of wood basically ) of real flamed maple wood.

    The workers ( or whoever it is ) slice it real real thin, and use that on the tops of many Korean guitars, for example. Under the
    thin, thin veneer is the regular body, usually of some "cheaper" costing wood.

    Also, they have a thing called "photo-finish" veneer, which is actually applying a picture of a flame piece of wood to the top of a
    guitar body. It can look very realistic depending on the quality of the brand, and can look like poo as well.

    The thing with these techniques is that they don't contribute much to none to the tone of the guitar.

    For example, Gibson USA have a specific depth of maple they use for their Les Paul Standards, for example...and in combination with
    the thick mahogany body creates the tone Les Pauls are known for. The "photo'flame" and thin veneers of flame tops aren't thick
    enough to add to the tone...and the maple top of a Les Paul provides the brightness while the mahogany provides the beef.

    Make sense?

    --
    Jason
    http://www.geocities.com/nobody_upstairs
  10. "Dan Stanley" <vze2bjcf@verizon.net> wrote in message news:<nX60b.6216$N37.1554@nwrdny02.gnilink.net>...

    > Gravure won't change under the light as you move the guitar, real figured
    > wood will.


    Nice point, noticed the same on photo-finished old radio cabinets.

    > *Most* flame-y or quilt-y or whatever Korean guitars are not gravure.


    Nor is the one I have - but it isn't flame maple, either, according to
    woodworking definition. Striped maple veneer?

    One might also ask whether such an appearance might be achieved by
    some sort of chemical treatment, striped maple being somewhat scarce
    in real life. Many other gain finishes are achieved by chemicals
    (fumed oak, for example). Just a SWAG.

    > How
    > thick the veneer of maple ( or whatever) is can be anyone's guess. The maple
    > cap on a LP is ( if I remember right) 3/8"...maybe it's 5/8"? Something like
    > that. The Epiphone equivalents are somewhat thinner, I know.


    I think it's immaterial - but I'd like to know what the rest of the
    plywood is. And I'd like to see it called plywood instead of
    "laminated" or "select."

    > I've seen guitars advertised as having "authentic flame gravure" tops,
    > though. Go figure.


    And I have heard young boys from that land say sad things like: "You
    want my mother, she virgin!", too. I suppose that the claim of an
    authentic photo finish is not as misleading - sort of like selling
    "liquid water."

    I did want to point out that this thread is not about sonic qualities
    - just about what such axes are really made from, or how. I adore the
    acoustic sound of my "flame maple" Epi Alleykat, even if it may be
    made from pressed kim-chi already eaten.

Share This Page