Results 1 to 22 of 22

Thread: Sugar and western maple

  1. #1
    music with whales Jim Nollman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Friday Harbor WA
    Posts
    1,582

    Default

    I've always been curious that some builders (and most owners) seem to equate western maple and sugar maple. besides the fact that they look similar, am I alone in perceiving them as totally different sounding tone woods?

    Sugar maple is just about as hard as any rosewood, which (I assume) is the reason it was a wood of choice for the old mandolin builders. Western maple is quite soft by comparison. It reminds me more of Douglas fir than sugar maple.

    Lately, researching lots of custom builders, i have been surprised and a bit concerned to notice so many of them acting is if the two maples were interchangeable. #I have a western maple floor in my house. It has proven to be far less durable than an oak floor in another room. #In fact, #it scratches more easily than my next door neighbor's douglas fir floor. Just a thought.
    Explore some of my published music here

    —Jim

    BRW 3-point #65 (2009)
    Altman 2-point (2007)
    Portuguese fado cittern (1965)

  2. #2

    Default

    Well I don't know about anyone else here but I try not to walk on any of my instruments. I am pretty sure that neither a hard nor a soft maple back would put up much resistance to my 240+ pounds.
    Yeah, I know I am being a bit of a smart alec. The point is there are several tonewoods used in guitars and mandolins and scratch resistance just isn't near as important as tonal qualities in choosing which to use. If wearability were the factor being looked for you would see a lot more mesquite being used for tonewood. As a floor it wears like iron.
    Bill Snyder

  3. #3
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    14,475

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by (Curious @ Feb. 01 2007, 22:12)
    If wearability were the factor being looked for you would see a lot more mesquite being used for tonewood. As a floor it wears like iron.
    Makes a pretty good guitar too, and a tasty barbecue!

    I don't equate sugar maple with any western maple, unless black maple is considered western. Those are the two hard maples (that I know of), sugar and black.
    When I think of western maple I think of big leaf maple, and that's pretty soft, usually, and I don't know of anyone equating it with sugar maple.

  4. #4
    music with whales Jim Nollman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Friday Harbor WA
    Posts
    1,582

    Default

    smart alecky is the word for it. My point is not that the big leaf scratches easily, but that the two woods are usually being advertised by builders with the implication that maple is maple and they are interchangeable with no effect. I only brought it up because i know both woods well, and i guess i'm curious what the real acoustic difference is in similar shaped mandolins using the two woods.
    Explore some of my published music here

    —Jim

    BRW 3-point #65 (2009)
    Altman 2-point (2007)
    Portuguese fado cittern (1965)

  5. #5

    Default

    I certainly wouldn't equate them as being the same tonally speaking. You are right, they are different and produce different results. Most the hard maple that I get comes from the Northeast.

  6. #6
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    14,475

    Default

    I've built very similar mandolins with sugar maple and with big leaf for the back plate. There are subtle differences in the sound that seem to be general, though my sample size isn't very big, but they sound like Hamlett mandolins. In other words, they sound more alike than one of mine with a sugar maple back and another builder's mandolin with a sugar maple back will usually sound. In short, a builder will generally build a similar sound into his/her instruments with whatever material he/she chooses.

    The sugar maple sound, at least in my mandolins, tends to be a little more complex in the overtones, with possibly more potential for dynamic range, while the big leaf tends to more open and big sounding.




  7. #7
    Café habitué Paul Hostetter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Santa Cruz, California
    Posts
    6,286

    Default

    There is a sugar maple, Acer saccharum, in the west, but it's not common. And IIRC, there is an historical connection (pre-glaciers) between the usual eastern A. saccharum and A. macrophyllum, which makes them key out almost identically. You can even get syrup from bigleaf. But their ranges have been separate for so long that the actual trees are quite different now. It's a bit like the European spruce that grows on the southern face of the Alps versus the same species that grows north of them: same tree scientifically, but because of environment and so on, it seems like a different species. In fact it was considered a different species for a long time, and they finally rolled them together. I doubt if they'll ever roll both A. saccharum and A. macrophyllum together though.



    .
    ph

    º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º
    Paul Hostetter, luthier
    Santa Cruz, California
    www.lutherie.net

  8. #8
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    14,475

    Default

    A. saccharinum = Silver maple
    A. saccharum = Sugar maple
    A. macrophyllum = Big leaf maple

    No?




  9. #9
    Café habitué Paul Hostetter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Santa Cruz, California
    Posts
    6,286

    Default

    Yah, you rite, John. So much for, um, what do you call it?, memory. I'll go fix the post above now. Thanks.
    .
    ph

    º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º
    Paul Hostetter, luthier
    Santa Cruz, California
    www.lutherie.net

  10. #10
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    14,475

    Default

    BTW, you can make syrup from the sap of almost any Acer that's big enough to tap, including Boxelder (A. negundo).

  11. #11
    Café habitué Paul Hostetter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Santa Cruz, California
    Posts
    6,286

    Default

    THE BOXELDER BUG PRAYS

    I want so little
    For so little time,
    A south window,
    A wall to climb,
    The smell of coffee,
    A radio knob,
    Nothing to eat,
    Nothing to rob,
    Not love, not power,
    Not even a penny.
    Forgive me only
    For being so many.

    SUNDAY IN IOWA
    After the prayers,
    in Swedish, of course,

    I jesu namn
    går vi till bord
    ätta Gud's ord.
    Gud till ära
    oss till gagn
    så får vi mat
    I Jesu namn.

    Father passed the chicken
    calmly to Uncle LeRoy and then
    flattened with his thumb
    the boxelder bug making his slow
    way towards the mashed potatoes.
    "Democrats," he said,
    "Democrats..." in a voice
    quite different from his prayers.

    MONDAY IN MINNESOTA
    The menu in the Comfy Cafe Reads:

    Beef Dinner
    Beef Commercial
    Beef Hot Dish
    Beef Sandwich
    Beef Soup

    Four bib overalls topped
    by four seed corn hats,
    consider the options, gravely,
    silently, like judges
    about to hang a murderer.
    Finally, one stubs out
    his smoke on the back of
    the boxelder bug who crawled
    into the ashtray.
    "God-damn Republicans," he says,
    "I'll have the Commercial."

    -- Bill Holm
    . from Boxelder Bug Variations
    .
    ph

    º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º
    Paul Hostetter, luthier
    Santa Cruz, California
    www.lutherie.net

  12. #12
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    DeKalb, IL
    Posts
    3,451

    Default

    Paul, stop it! I've got boxelder bugs in my house right now and I haven't noticed any political affiliations, although they may have some. I, of course, do. Now if you could take that piece of words and make it into something for the Superbowl, you could sell something. What, I'm not sure.

  13. #13

    Default

    Superb! I've got box-elder bugs all over my shop, always have, always will.

  14. #14
    Registered User buddyellis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Lakewood, CO
    Posts
    1,062

    Default

    Whats a boxelder bug. I have ladybugs all over the place, is that the same thing?

  15. #15
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    14,475

    Default

    Nope, I just googled it because I have ladybugs everywhere too.

  16. #16
    Registered User buddyellis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Lakewood, CO
    Posts
    1,062

    Default

    I'll take ladybugs over those stupid lovebugs we used to have back in FL any day.

  17. #17
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Ann Arbor/Austin
    Posts
    5,227

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by (buddyellis @ Feb. 02 2007, 21:45)
    I'll take ladybugs over those stupid lovebugs we used to have back in FL any day.
    We have them in Texas, too, but use a slightly less polite name.

    This thread has me in an escatological spin. A fun place on a Friday evening.

    Mick
    Ever tried, ever failed? No matter. Try again, fail again. Fail better.--Samuel Beckett
    ______________________

    '05 Cuisinart Toaster
    '93 Chuck Taylor lowtops
    '12 Stetson Open Road
    '06 Bialetti expresso maker
    '14 Irish Linen Ramon Puig

  18. #18

    Default

    What about the term "rock maple"?
    But Amsterdam was always good for grieving
    And London never fails to leave me blue
    And Paris never was my kinda town
    So I walked around with the Ft. Worth Blues

  19. #19
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Central Iowa
    Posts
    1,878

    Default

    We're normally blessed with copious amounts of both the lady bugs and the boxelders, but this year, an early freeze gave a 99% welcome repreive from both. Either one is apparently capable of squeezing through the eye of a very small needle. I think if they are in the area, NOTHING will keep them out of your house.

    This thread has got me once again looking at that huge old boxelder tree down in the pasture and thinking of syrup.. Hmmmmm....

    Ron
    My wife says I don't pay enough attention to what she says....
    (Or something like that...)

  20. #20
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    14,475

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by (Fretbear @ Feb. 02 2007, 23:20)
    What about the term "rock maple"?
    Rock maple normally means sugar maple, but can be black maple where that tree is common.

  21. #21
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    DeKalb, IL
    Posts
    3,451

    Default

    Well, back to the bugs. We can't let this discussion wander into mandolin/wood areas! I've got ladybugs also. Not a huge quantity of either because we had the windows and doors replaced not that long ago. But they still get in. As was said, they can seemingly get through a needle hole. The ladybugs were imported into our area years ago to eat aphids on the crops, soybeans I believe. It's not bad until the harvest in the fall and then their habitat is removed and it's getting chilly. Then they head for the houses. In old country farmhouses, right next to the fields, like the one I grew up in, they come in by the hundreds. At least.

    Oh yeah. Around here, rock maple, AKA hard rock maple, usually refers to sugar maple.

  22. #22
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Hampton NJ 08827
    Posts
    1,502

    Default

    If the sunny side of your house is a light color, just paint it dark and that should send them to a neighbors house.

    Curt

Similar Threads

  1. Western nc
    By buddyellis in forum Jams, Workshops, Camps, Places To Meet Others
    Replies: 9
    Last: Apr-05-2012, 8:14pm
  2. Anywhere in western ny?
    By korki in forum Jams, Workshops, Camps, Places To Meet Others
    Replies: 3
    Last: Apr-16-2008, 4:04pm
  3. Sugar magnolia
    By jtauxe in forum Song and Tune Projects
    Replies: 0
    Last: Mar-19-2007, 9:11am
  4. Dock Boggs - Sugar Baby
    By s1m0n in forum Old-Time, Roots, Early Country, Cajun, Tex-Mex
    Replies: 7
    Last: Feb-06-2005, 7:25pm
  5. Sugar Bowl Festival
    By Paul Kotapish in forum General Mandolin Discussions
    Replies: 0
    Last: Aug-25-2004, 7:48pm

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •