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jerry2015

Solid Top vs. Plywood Concern

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Hi.Gnu here.

 

I just read through a real interesting thread here about Laminate ply vs. Solid Archtop but it didn't in so many words address a specific concern I have.

 

My background is I currently own just one semi-hollow, which is a *1973 Les Paul Signature.

 

*It is, of course, a laminate ply guitar ( and I may not be real precise with these terms, I apologize).

 

I am currently thinking of selling the 'LP Signature, and getting a solid carved top guitar, mainly cause I cannot afford to probably keep the Signature.

 

So I am thinking of getting a Midtown Custom .

 

I do have one question though that would make all the difference in my decision, and its kind of hard to ask , but here goes nothing;

 

Do you know how when you play a ES335 or a plywood laminate top semi hollow like the 335,under gain with considerable volume and some distortion, you get the air moving and coming out of the F-holes and the guitar kind of feels alive or responsive in your hands?...I hope so.

 

My question is then; Would a plywood top guitar do this more so than a carved solid top? Is body size a factor here maybe too( I know the 335 and y Signature are the big bodied models compared to the smaller size 356(?) and 339 I think , which would be the carved tops if I am not mistaken.

 

Anyway, I love that air moving out of the f-holes! I wouldn't give that up.

 

I hope I'm not out in space here- anyone know what I mean?

 

TIA

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Well, there's just one note, c#3 at high volumes to be exact, where the air is moving through the f holes of my single semi-hollow, but I try to avoid that since top and back feel like close to explosion. Don't laugh, these things can happen, in particular to hollowbodies through feedback resonance.

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Don't laugh,

 

Hah! ( sorry).

I believe it. I never thought of that.I might incorporate that into my act? ( he was playing so hard his guitar exploded).

 

In all seriousness, maybe a bunch of that moving air isn't that good for a semi hollow, or another reason to go with the stronger laminate top?

 

Still trying to find somone who has played both solid and laminate this way and compared them, or would.

 

...Hot Marshall would be my amp of choice.

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...

In all seriousness, maybe a bunch of that moving air isn't that good for a semi hollow, or another reason to go with the stronger laminate top?

 

Still trying to find somone who has played both solid and laminate this way and compared them, or would.

...

Maybe this guitar of mine would be long gone if top and back were massive.

 

Sorry, no carved massive versus bent laminate comparison here.

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.

AFAIK the Midtown custom has a FLAT TOP of solid maple - Gibson calls it carved (maybe the F-holes are carved out), but it's not arched - it's flat. The Midtown body is smaller than the ES-335, but larger than the ES-339. The laminate tops with center blocks were brought to help stiffen the top and reduce/eliminate moving-air/feedback.

 

Here's an old thread on it - http://forum.gibson.com/index.php?/topic/78678-gibson-midtown-custom-opinions/

 

 

.

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Just baseing my opinion on a clip I saw a little while ago by a famous player named 'Koch' playing a CS356, I am going to go ahead and try and move my LP Signature, and pick up a CS ,probably CS 336.

If you all know anybody looking- please put a bug in their ear, I would trade.

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Hi.Gnu here.

 

I'm Gnu here too. Do you browse grass and such, or do you forage leaves and twigs?

 

Interesting to hear what the experienced musicians answer to your question.

 

I'll just make a small observation, probably gnu-ish.

 

A solid top guitar has a top made of one or two pieces of solid wood, cut thin, and is hollow, or semi-hollow.

 

A solid body guitar is just that. Solid wood, except for the cavity where the electronics go.

 

I just recently learned the distinction. Such is the life of a Gnu.

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I'm Gnu here too. Do you browse grass and such, or do you forage leaves and twigs?

 

Interesting to hear what the experienced musicians answer to your question.

 

I'll just make a small observation, probably gnu-ish.

 

A solid top guitar has a top made of one or two pieces of solid wood, cut thin, and is hollow, or semi-hollow.

 

A solid body guitar is just that. Solid wood, except for the cavity where the electronics go.

 

I just recently learned the distinction. Such is the life of a Gnu.

 

 

Whaddaya know, another Gnu. Tender shoots ,berries and saplings Gnu two.

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.... A solid body guitar is just that. Solid wood, except for the cavity where the electronics go. ...

 

Actually, most of the modern LP "solid bodies" are either weight relieved (swiss cheese), or chambered, and also have the cavities where the electronics go. . B)

 

weightreliefholes.jpg. modern-weight-relief.jpg

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Actually, most of the modern LP "solid bodies" are either weight relieved (swiss cheese), or chambered, and also have the cavities where the electronics go. . B)

 

weightreliefholes.jpg. modern-weight-relief.jpg

Interesting photos of swiss cheese bodies. You could put on a single thicker veneer or laminated plywood top. The grain on the edge of the single veneer could be finished nicely. The laminated top would have visible layers on the edge and might require binding to cover it up.

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Interesting photos of swiss cheese bodies. You could put on a single thicker veneer or laminated plywood top. The grain on the edge of the single veneer could be finished nicely. The laminated top would have visible layers on the edge and might require binding to cover it up.

 

Yeah..Thats exactly what they do on cheaper imports.

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Interesting photos of swiss cheese bodies. You could put on a single thicker veneer or laminated plywood top. The grain on the edge of the single veneer could be finished nicely. The laminated top would have visible layers on the edge and might require binding to cover it up.

 

Where the good old 14 pound 70's :Lesters that 'ol Ace Frehley used to sling around for 3 hours during a Kiss show??!

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Hi.Gnu here.

 

I just read through a real interesting thread here about Laminate ply vs. Solid Archtop but it didn't in so many words address a specific concern I have.

 

My background is I currently own just one semi-hollow, which is a *1973 Les Paul Signature.

 

*It is, of course, a laminate ply guitar ( and I may not be real precise with these terms, I apologize).

 

I am currently thinking of selling the 'LP Signature, and getting a solid carved top guitar, mainly cause I cannot afford to probably keep the Signature.

 

So I am thinking of getting a Midtown Custom .

 

I do have one question though that would make all the difference in my decision, and its kind of hard to ask , but here goes nothing;

 

Do you know how when you play a ES335 or a plywood laminate top semi hollow like the 335,under gain with considerable volume and some distortion, you get the air moving and coming out of the F-holes and the guitar kind of feels alive or responsive in your hands?...I hope so.

 

My question is then; Would a plywood top guitar do this more so than a carved solid top? Is body size a factor here maybe too( I know the 335 and y Signature are the big bodied models compared to the smaller size 356(?) and 339 I think , which would be the carved tops if I am not mistaken.

 

Anyway, I love that air moving out of the f-holes! I wouldn't give that up.

 

I hope I'm not out in space here- anyone know what I mean?

 

TIA

 

You're mentioning a LOT of guitars unrelated to the guitar you want to buy.

 

First you need to know that the Midtown custom is NOT constructed like a 335. The back and sides are one (or glued as one piece) piece of wood, there's no back. The controls are mounted from the rear like a LP and it has a back

plate. The top of the MTC is flat not arched, and solid. Also the MTC does not sound like a 335, it's more of a LP sound with a warmer overtone, what little acoustic properties it has doesn't (IMO) color the sound much.

 

I've never knowingly experienced air movement from a semi at any volume, and have owned a bunch, but the Lucille does not have "F" holes to reduce feedback so it must be there, but I was probably playing too loud to notice! :-) Now a true hollow? They move air more than my uncle Charlie used to move into the seat of his chair after dinner!

 

I currently have a few Midtown and 335 and other semi models and if push came to shove, I'd be hard pressed to take one over another.

 

The MTC is unfortunately another discontinued victim of bean counters not seeing enough sold and players not getting a 335 or LP.

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I have owned both a les paul signature (man I wish I had not sold it) and currently own an es195. The es195 seems more alive (still laminate but no center block) the price you pay is the increase in feedback. The lower impedence pickups in the signature also reduce that "Live' sound depending om amplification. I tried the midtown Kalamazoo and found that the flat top sounded dead. As we all know , the thing about Gibsons is they are all different. I would suggest you not get hung up on a specific model but try as many as you can in your budget and find the one that feels right. Think hard before selling the signature.

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Maybe, you're approaching the problem at the wrong end. Regardless of either top types, the problem just might be the amp you're using. Is the amp touch sensitive. Does the amp have a lot of headroom before it goes nuke and feedback? Can you control how soon the amp feedback and how much?

 

Case in point.

 

When I play any of my hollow and semi-hollow guitars thru my Marshall amps, all of these guitars will feedback quickly at volume settings from 3-10. But when I used my Marshalls with my Custom Les Paul (solid body 10.5 pounds) feedback starts at 7-10 only if I'm facing the amp. In either situation the "Presence" knob is turned down as well. Now Marshall amps are made to roar, scream and that what you get all the time which can be a problem when you don't want it.

 

Now take the same situation with my Fuchs 100 watt amp. The amp has lots of of headroom before it starts to break up. Believe or not, I can actually play my L5 on the clean channel at volume 1-7 which is pretty loud. And on the crunch channel I can play at volume 1-5 before hearing any feedback.

 

The key is whether the amp feedback can be control or dial in when you want it or not. This is something a few boutique (Fuchs, Bludotone, Two Rock and Dumble) amps can do better than the big named brands like Marshalls, Mesa, etc.

 

Personally I prefer solid tops or nothing, versus laminates.

 

 

Jazz.

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The MTC is unfortunately another discontinued victim of bean counters not seeing enough sold and players not getting a 335 or LP.

The Midtown Custom is currently available from American Musical Supply in sunburst & black.

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The Midtown Custom is currently available from American Musical Supply in sunburst & black.

 

I've decided I want the CS356, so the Midtown Custom is out.SO is everything else. Its a longshot I'll find someone who wnats to trade for my LP Signature, so otherwise I'll keep it. Maybe one day I can afford a CS356.

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The Midtown Custom is currently available from American Musical Supply in sunburst & black.

 

OMG, they re-issued it? Someone at Gibby is reading the reviews? They fired bean counter MBA's? :-)

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One thing I'd like to add to this debate is that there is plywood and there is plywood. By that I mean the "quality difference" between laminates. For example, I have both Epiphone and Gibson ES345s and the acoustic sound quality (unplugged) between the two guitars is outstanding. The Gibson is by far the better. Now not all of this difference is down to the laminate but by perception is by far most of it is.

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It's a question that goes a lot deeper than solid being better than laminate. From an acoustic point of view, that top has a lot of major things going on that compromise its performance compared to a traditional carved top archtop such as an L5 - not least the fact that much of the top is firmly attached to a whacking great centerblock of spruce and maple, and a large section of what surface area is still able to vibrate unimpeded is compromised by having numerous holes drilled and electical componants screwed into it. A 335 is an electric guitar, not an acoustic one, and making judgements on its design based on acoustic instrument principals is a mistake.

 

Would a 335 with a carved, solid top sound different to a laminated one? Almost certainly, yes, but the laminated top of the 335 is a fundamental part of the design and an ingredient in why they sound the way they do. Whether replacing the top with a solid piece of wood might 'improve' the sound is subjective, but the sound of a 335 as heard on many classic recordings is the sound of a laminated guitar rather than a solid one. It's an iconic design and one of the most successful of all time, laminates and all.

 

If someone prefers the tone of a an ES336 or one of those lovely Collings carved top 335s, that's great and they're fine sounding instruments. But a traditional 335 with its laminated top is in no way an inferior guitar because of its construction.

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Hi.Gnu here.

 

I just read through a real interesting thread here about Laminate ply vs. Solid Archtop but it didn't in so many words address a specific concern I have.

 

My background is I currently own just one semi-hollow, which is a *1973 Les Paul Signature.

 

*It is, of course, a laminate ply guitar ( and I may not be real precise with these terms, I apologize).

 

I am currently thinking of selling the 'LP Signature, and getting a solid carved top guitar, mainly cause I cannot afford to probably keep the Signature.

 

So I am thinking of getting a Midtown Custom .

 

I do have one question though that would make all the difference in my decision, and its kind of hard to ask , but here goes nothing;

 

Do you know how when you play a ES335 or a plywood laminate top semi hollow like the 335,under gain with considerable volume and some distortion, you get the air moving and coming out of the F-holes and the guitar kind of feels alive or responsive in your hands?...I hope so.

 

My question is then; Would a plywood top guitar do this more so than a carved solid top? Is body size a factor here maybe too( I know the 335 and y Signature are the big bodied models compared to the smaller size 356(?) and 339 I think , which would be the carved tops if I am not mistaken.

 

Anyway, I love that air moving out of the f-holes! I wouldn't give that up.

 

I hope I'm not out in space here- anyone know what I mean?

 

TIA

 

I'm not familiar with a '73 LP Signature as a semi hollow guitar. Does it have F holes? Is it made like an ES335?

 

As for the laminated thing, I wouldn't be that concerned about a solid top semi hollow vs a laminated top. The most important thing is that it sounds good and especially sounds good to you.

Carvin makes semi hollows that are not laminated. The body is carved from a single piece of wood. They start with a solid single piece and then hollow it out. The top is also a solid piece of wood that is then carved, and then both pieces are glued together. It's a solid construction to be sure. I've never played one, and I've read lots of positive things about how they sound and play. I was seriously considering getting one before I found my ES335 Satin. I feel in LOVE with my ES335 so there was no reason to keep looking. I would like one day to get a solid carved semi hollow Carvin, but for now I'm so very happy with my ES335 that I've got no desire to shop for another guitar.

 

I play my ES335 through my Fender '68 custom deluxe reverb and '68 custom vibrolux reverb amps and the tones are beautiful whether clean or high gain with pedals. With high gain the volume has to be pretty loud and I have to be pretty close to the amp before feedback happens, and it will under those conditions. But, when the volume is cranked you simply have to stand farther away and have a quick hand with the volume control. Any guitar that has a semi hollow construction is designed so that it has a more "acoustic" tone, that's why it's a "semi hollow". A semi hollow shouldn't sound like a solid body electric. If it did, then why bother with it, just get a solid body.

High gain/distortion also sounds different when played with a semi hollow vs solid body, and I really like the distortion tones with my ES335.

 

 

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Hey Jerry,

I have a CS-336, a Custom Shop Larry Carlton ES-335, a Johnny A. and 4 LPs, a Classic and 3 custom shops. They all have 57 classics except the LP Classic. I play through either a small Mesa or a Twin Reverb. They all sound different but they have that "Gibson" tone. My #1 is my 336. It bridges the gap between the 335 and LPs with a body size of an LP. At 6.5 lb it is a dream to play while standing. I can't tell you about the laminate vs solid top. They both sound great to me.

 

I highly recommend the 336. Good luck in your quest.

 

JO'C

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It's a question that goes a lot deeper than solid being better than laminate. From an acoustic point of view, that top has a lot of major things going on that compromise its performance compared to a traditional carved top archtop such as an L5 - not least the fact that much of the top is firmly attached to a whacking great centerblock of spruce and maple, and a large section of what surface area is still able to vibrate unimpeded is compromised by having numerous holes drilled and electical componants screwed into it. A 335 is an electric guitar, not an acoustic one, and making judgements on its design based on acoustic instrument principals is a mistake.

 

Would a 335 with a carved, solid top sound different to a laminated one? Almost certainly, yes, but the laminated top of the 335 is a fundamental part of the design and an ingredient in why they sound the way they do. Whether replacing the top with a solid piece of wood might 'improve' the sound is subjective, but the sound of a 335 as heard on many classic recordings is the sound of a laminated guitar rather than a solid one. It's an iconic design and one of the most successful of all time, laminates and all.

 

If someone prefers the tone of a an ES336 or one of those lovely Collings carved top 335s, that's great and they're fine sounding instruments. But a traditional 335 with its laminated top is in no way an inferior guitar because of its construction.

 

Exactly, and for example the same idea of a carved top hollow body can be seen in various US models such as Hamers Newport Pro and BE. Which in essence is either spruce-mahogany-rosewood board-mahogany neck or Maple back and top with a mahogany neck and ebony board. However, no one would disagree they don't sound like a 335 or LP. Its not a matter of better or worse but of desired tone which is subjective along with electronics. All nice electrics and some just prefer one over the other. It doesn't mean the best tonal constructed instrument was chosen but only to the opinion of the player.

 

I doubt I prefer the 335-359 tone due to its lacking quality of laminated wood. Nor do I prefer valve amps because they are inefficient electric designs relegated to a period of the dinosaurs. I just like the tone, thank you.

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