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01-May-2015 17:45

Stability-wise, cross-grained ply glue-ups formed into an arch yield a very strong result.In all such cases, a well-conceived design using laminated woods often offers the rigidity and neutral platform to best get the job done, along with a savings in manufacturing costs that benefits all parties.Gibson was the most prominent pioneer in quality acoustic- and semi-acoustic-electric guitars using laminated woods. The end of the exercise being, “Are they really all that special?” The answer requires some unraveling of what we mean by laminated, and where it is used.

In a world where solid tonewoods are celebrated, anything laminated is usually seen as cheap and inferior.

This might very well be the case with acoustic flat-top guitars or carved-top acoustic archtops, where thin fillets of solid wood enable the sweetest, most lively resonance from the instrument.

When the company designed the ES-175 in 1949 and the ES-335 in 1958, both became overnight classics, and the laminated body woods enhanced these guitars’ snap, clarity, and definition, and helped to combat unwanted feedback.“The Electric Spanish guitar’s airy vocal ‘cluck’ seems to only be obtainable through laminated builds,” says high-end builder Ron Thorn of Thorn Custom Guitars.

“In addition, their reluctance to reach the ‘non-musical’ undesirable feedback point is usually a welcome feature.

In the world of semi-acoustic electrics, however, the situation is often reversed.

In a world where solid tonewoods are celebrated, anything laminated is usually seen as cheap and inferior.

This might very well be the case with acoustic flat-top guitars or carved-top acoustic archtops, where thin fillets of solid wood enable the sweetest, most lively resonance from the instrument.

When the company designed the ES-175 in 1949 and the ES-335 in 1958, both became overnight classics, and the laminated body woods enhanced these guitars’ snap, clarity, and definition, and helped to combat unwanted feedback.“The Electric Spanish guitar’s airy vocal ‘cluck’ seems to only be obtainable through laminated builds,” says high-end builder Ron Thorn of Thorn Custom Guitars.

“In addition, their reluctance to reach the ‘non-musical’ undesirable feedback point is usually a welcome feature.

In the world of semi-acoustic electrics, however, the situation is often reversed.

With other design goals in mind, solid tonewoods might actually impede a performance, rather than enhance it.