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How do they get that quilted finish?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by PanteraFan, Apr 7, 2001.


  1. This has bugged me for ever. How do they get that layered look on a bass? Is it special paint spraying techniques, brushing, what?
     
  2. David-Adler

    David-Adler

    Feb 28, 2001
    Bonn, Germany
    Its the wood underneath it. It`s usually quilted or flamed maple, maybe quilted Poplar.

    It is a kind of wood that is very expensive (around $700 for a layer of wood that is 1cm thick and as big as a bass), and looks very good. They just spray over a thin finish and done..

    David
     
  3. Taurus

    Taurus

    Feb 2, 2001
    Quilted western Bigleaf maple with transparent finishes over top.
     
  4. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    On most lower-priced basses it's just a very thin layer of quilted maple on the top.
    Yamaha and some others even use a photo technique to 'paint' a quilted maple look on a cheaper wood. They don't use real maple on budget basses.
    As far as I know flamed maple is cause by certain environmental circumstances during the growth phase of the tree.
    Quilted maple is caused by a fungus or some other parasite, but I'm not sure about that.
     
  5. Oysterman

    Oysterman

    Mar 30, 2000
    Sweden
    You're confusing it with spalted maple.
     
  6. cb56

    cb56

    Jul 2, 2000
    Central Illinois
    I was told (maybe incorrectly) that quilted and flamed maple came from diseased trees. that would tend to back up what jmx said.
     
  7. Oysterman

    Oysterman

    Mar 30, 2000
    Sweden
    From http://www.tigerlilyworkshop.com/Woodcat/Wood-id.html:

    White maple (Acer saccharum) is also known as rock maple, sugar maple, and hard maple. It is normally off-white in color but often may have a dark brown heart. Maple often has many elegant figures in the grain, the most common of which lead to varieties called birdseye maple, curly maple, tiger maple, quilted maple, or fiddleback maple. Of the more than twenty species of maples in the U.S. and Canada, white maple is the most common.
    .
    .
    .
    Bird's-eye: There has long been uncertainty as to what causes the maple bird's-eye. The accepted belief today is that it is caused by stunted growth or damage to the seed.

    Burl: A burl is a wart-like growth on the side of a tree. Within the burl is whorled grain with fascinating grain patterns. Sometimes it completely encircles a limb or the entire tree trunk. Causes of burls are imperfectly understood: Reasons suggested include injury, bacteria, fungi, and viruses.

    Swirled or patterned figuring, such as that found in quilted maple, fiddleback maple, tiger maple, etc., is caused by irregular grain growth, often around knots and burls, sometimes aided by the mineral content of the wood.

    Spalting is caused by fungus that is nourished by the sugar in the tree sap. After the fungus dies, either by digesting all of the sugar or by being killed by frost, it turns black or dark brown, causing interesting irregular lines in the wood. Spalting can be spectacular in light-colored woods like maple, beech, and birch
     
  8. Luis Fabara

    Luis Fabara

    Aug 13, 2000
    Ecuador (South America)
    Audio Pro - Ecuador
    $700?? No way!!
    It costs a lot less.
    Just think about Carvin Basses charging $100 for Flame Maple Top in premium finishes, including the matching and all the process.

    Think of Spector CRFM basses wich are made of SOLID Quilted Maple Bodies!! and cost around $1000 this days..

    Also, I dont think David Pushic charges even $120 for his figured maple tops.
     
  9. Oysterman

    Oysterman

    Mar 30, 2000
    Sweden
    Not really quilted, they are "only" "figured" maple (which I suppose is cheaper?). FM = figured maple. :)
    Quilt price would depend on the grade. I'm sure that a 5A, exhibition grade, quilt top would cost somewhere around $700.
     
  10. David-Adler

    David-Adler

    Feb 28, 2001
    Bonn, Germany
    Sorry, I meant $100.

    David
     
  11. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    $700US doesn't sound right to me, either. What are you basing that on, O-man?
     
  12. Oysterman

    Oysterman

    Mar 30, 2000
    Sweden
    Basing? Duh, uh... all your base? [​IMG]
    I don't know. Why would basses with 5A tops so darn expensive if it wasn't for the cost of the wood?
    When everyone says that those tops are "ultra-rare" and stuff, it seems logical to me that the cost would escalate. But to what extent, I don't know. And $700 was a quote from David-Adler, I didn't come up with that!

    BTW, is there a standard measurement on how the quilted tops are "graded"? AA this and AAA that, are those ratings unambiguous?
     
  13. neptoon

    neptoon

    Jul 25, 2000
    summerville, sc
    until recently, you know what they did with figured woods, i.e., fiddleback, curly, quilted, flamed, tiger, and especially burled and birdseye grain patterns? and it didn't matter what species it was....they BURNED it!!!!!!!! :eek: yeah, that's right! all of what we consider to be beautiful or unusual would literally destroy the equipment that cabinet makers and luthiers used to craft their art. and spalted wood? man, that's diseased...they just threw that in the garbage! :eek: it wasn't even worth burning... :D
     
  14. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    Next time you're in Home Depot head over to the maple hardwood section-- you may have to look through a number of pieces, but you just may happen upon flame maple in the bunch; just keep looking at it at an angle to spot the pieces. I've picked out some nice-looking pieces for parts of an EUB I'm building for my son.

    Frugal (ok, cheap) Bob
     
  15. Taurus

    Taurus

    Feb 2, 2001
    Oysterman,I'm glad you put that info up because it saves me a lot of work setting the record straight.I was a carpenter,which led me to become a cabinetmaker,which led me to become totally absorbed in woodworking,and am a bit of a stickler on the correct facts being known.My pet peeve is the "flame maple" quote that is tossed around regularly in the instrument field.What people are calling "flamed" is actually curly maple[sometimes called fiddleback or tiger maple].A true flame figure actually looks like a flame from a lighter and comes most often from mahogany and walnut nowadays.It is wood/veneer taken from where the butt[trunk] of the tree branches off into two distinct upper sections.The grain becomes "stretched" and it results in a flame pattern.It's usually made into veneer that is highly unstable and which requires flattening,while moist,in order to be applied to a substrate.Only certain trees produce this kind of figure and I don't think that maple is one of them..I don't recall seeing any true "flame" maple.
     
  16. Taurus

    Taurus

    Feb 2, 2001
    I didn't mean that as a personal attack on anyone here since I realize that people remember the terminology that they read in brochures and on web sites etc...
     
  17. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    Originally posted by Oysterman
    Basing? Duh, uh... all your base? [​IMG]
    I don't know. Why would basses with 5A tops so darn expensive if it wasn't for the cost of the wood?


    Because it's all about what people are willing to pay. I've seen basses where upgrading from chrome to gold hardware cost $200-$300...even though the actually price difference from the same hardware manufacturer is minimal. Granted, a gold bridge is probably harder to screw in than a chrome one...:D

    I talked to a builder today who could do a custom 5 with a layout similar to an Anthony Jackson Fodera...for around $1000. A nice top won't increase it by half.


    When everyone says that those tops are "ultra-rare" and stuff, it seems logical to me that the cost would escalate. But to what extent, I don't know. And $700 was a quote from David-Adler, I didn't come up with that!

    Yeah, but you believed it! j/k (JUST KIDDING!):D ;)

    BTW, is there a standard measurement on how the quilted tops are "graded"? AA this and AAA that, are those ratings unambiguous?

    I don't know. I usually rate them:

    Okay
    All right
    Nice
    Pretty
    Real pretty
    Too pretty
     
  18. Taurus

    Taurus

    Feb 2, 2001
    There is no standard measurement used to indicate the amount of figure in a piece of wood.What one place calls AAA,another place might call AAAAA.Luthiers Mercantile International[lmii.com] sells a wide variety of beautifull woods aimed at acoustic builders.Some of the tops,or backs,might be thick enough for the top of a bass.If you put a sunburst,or tobaccoburst[or anything with an opaque dark painted edge to it]finish on a bass,you could get away with a piece of simple figured veneer on the front and back.The dark edges would cover up where the veneer ends and the body begins.
     
  19. DP Custom

    DP Custom DP Custom Basses

    Feb 7, 2001
    NC, USA
    If someone's paying $700 just for a 5A quilted top on a bass, I'd like to know that person....;)


    Dave P.
     
  20. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    You need to take a look at a bunch of Carvin flamed and quilted tops. Many are as deeply figured and beautiful as the tops on my Laklands and Pedulla, yet cost less than half as much. Further, Carvin figured tops are fully one-half inch thick ... much thicker than most. I have looked at high-grade figured wood at hardwood outlets, and a bass-body size piece about two inches thick is about $150. This is enough for three to five tops, depending on thickness. The plain and simple fact is that figured tops are vanity features, and the price is solely a function of what the traffic will bear. Ditto on gold hardware, only moreso.