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Thread: Maple top vs solid mahagony: any tonal difference?

  1. #1
    Senior Member ExpatGirl's Avatar
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    Maple top vs solid mahagony: any tonal difference?

    As any PRS fan worth their salt knows, PRS released has announced two versions of the 408, the Maple Top and the solid mahogany Standard. There's obviously an aesthetic difference, but does anyone know if there's an appreciable difference in tone between a solid mahogany instrument and a guitar with a mahogany body and a maple top? Thanks in advance!
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  2. #2
    408 Sig Club President Twinfan's Avatar
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    Yep - there's a lot of difference. All mahogany has less high top end brightness, and more lower mid growl. It's a more focussed tone too - big and round and 'cleaner' if you will.

  3. #3
    I'd agree with Twinfan. A good piece of mahogany does emphasize lower mids, though the highs and lows are still present. The prominent mids tend to mask them a bit.

    Since I believe the process is subtractive, the maple top actually acts as a filter on the midrange, allowing the highs and lows relatively more prominence. So you hear the guitar as brighter or more crisp.

    It's my theory that the relative amounts of maple vs mahogany on some guitars simply vary the amount of the filtering. Thus a thicker slab of mahogany, like on a Singlecut or McCarty, will give you a bit more midrange grunt in actual practice than, say, a CU24, despite the maple top.

    The caveat is that every piece of wood is different, and therefore every guitar will exhibit these traits to a greater or lesser degree.
    Last edited by LSchefman; 09-06-2012 at 08:56 AM.

  4. #4
    I am so very new to PRS, I wouldn't know too much about the differences discussed here ... but what I can say is that I noticed right away how much the PRS guitar itself contributes to sustain and tone ... for the first time, I actually feel the whole guitar responding ... with little to no effects I get remarkable sustain from guitar and amp ... so I am sure there are differences with the wood and tops but overall, I am impressed with how PRS is building these to maximize the tone and sustain coming from their instruments ...
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  5. #5
    Senior Member vchizzle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twinfan View Post
    Yep - there's a lot of difference. All mahogany has less high top end brightness, and more lower mid growl. It's a more focussed tone too - big and round and 'cleaner' if you will.
    Pretty much what I was gonna say.

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