BigLeaf Maple

Big Leaf Maple


Acer macrophyllum


Western North America. Cream in color this domestic hardwood gives a very tight and quick sound. It has sharp midranges and high ends but lacks the depth of Rosewood. A dense hardwood, maple’s tone is like a laser beam — very focused — and dominant on the fundamental.


Often described as having a “bright” sound, maple has fewer overtones than other medium-density woods, resulting in quicker note decay. This makes it a preferred guitar wood for live performance settings with a band — especially with bass, drums and electric guitar — because it cuts through a mix well, allows the acoustic sound to be heard, and is less prone to feedback issues. It has some midrange, and a lot more treble sparkle than rosewood.


Bigleaf maple is a western states maple and grows in California on up the coast to Canada. Not too long ago it was considered a "weed tree" and was priced accordingly. Of course, being a weed tree meant that it wasn't sought out in a big way, either, so that costs as a function of supply and demand weren't all that appealing. But for a wood as striking as this maple can be, the costs are very fair.


Goes Well With Live band performances, recording, lead players who like clean articulation and note definition, 12-strings, players with dark bone tone. Maple's tap tone is rarely a ringing one, but it can't be denied that plenty of wonderful sounding guitars have been made from it, and even a few violins! In fact, many choose the wood as a first choice for creating the sound they seek.


Bigleaf maple usually display a a wider curl than the European or hard maples do. It is also the only maple in which the quilted figure is found, although it is rare, averaging about one tree in a thousand.

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