What would you pay for this piece, assuming you liked flame maple

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Basschair, May 24, 2005.

  1. Basschair

    Basschair .............. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca
    I like tops such as this, but am not sure what I should expect to pay. Thanks for your input!

    BTW, I mean what would you expect to pay for a top like this that you would use when building your own bass (or for someone else).

    The dimensions are two posts down...
  2. Well since it appears to be the size of a postage stamp about 33 cents. :D

    You really should give the dimensions of the board(s)
  3. Basschair

    Basschair .............. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca


    That's just wrong.

    I believe it's 22" x 17" x 1/2", give or take 1/2"
  4. nateo

    nateo Schubie Fan #1

    Mar 2, 2003
    Ottawa, Ontario
    I believe Alembic would charge in the neighborhood of $1000 for a figured maple top like that. If we suppose that the added cost of a top is minimal (basically a bit more milling and gluing it on) then it would seem reasonable, by their pricing structure, to charge maybe $750 for the raw materials.

    I went to their website and filled out the custom guitar quote form. Personally I thought I was fairly reasonable in my requests, but a price like $18,050 doesn't lie.

    And thems ain't Canadian dollers, neither!

  5. teej


    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    $100, maybe. A little more perhaps.
  6. teej


    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    Wait, that's a 1/2" thick. Make it $160.
  7. LajoieT

    LajoieT I won't let your shadow be my shade...

    Oct 7, 2003
    Western Massachusetts
    You might want to check out the Gallery Hardwoods forum here and run the request by Larry, or drop by www.galleryhardwoods.com and submit a quote request.
  8. Basschair

    Basschair .............. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca
    I'd thought about that, but I believe he's pretty busy milling his own recently acquired maple stock. I'm waiting to see what comes of that as well...
  9. Actually, one of the guys I buy wood from on ebay has sold similar pieces for less than $60.
  10. M_A_T_T


    Mar 4, 2004
    It would depend where I'm buying it from. Am I buying from some guy on ebay, where other people would be bidding on it, am I buying it right from the company that buys the logs and mills them, or am I buying it from a place like LMI?

    I would wager maybe $100CDN from "the company that buys the logs and mills them".
  11. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Looking at the lower half I see several Knots in the piece. I would not use that as a Top at all. I would use the section without knots, which is much smaller for Headstock material matching a similar top without the Knot defect. This Piece has now value at all in our business. Too many builders are trying to pass of defects such as knots and sapwood as 'exotic'. This is the waste area a 'professional' builder would or at least should cut away and use to heat the building in winter!

    Value to KSB; $0.oo......

    If that was defect free, worth about $40. wholesale bought in $1,000. + loads.. If you could get a $1,000. worth of 'Just' that grade in a shipment. That would grade out at 5A as a flamed piece. When we find pieces like that with knots we use it as Veener sets or Cores depending on wether we have one or two matching pieces with knots to Bury in a Core to show the edge under a nice Extoic top and Back combo. Then we would charge extra for a 5A core. This happends often but we would never buy pieces with knots. It just pops up in the Lumber loads and we deal with it as described.
  12. Basschair

    Basschair .............. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca

    Thanks for your input Ken!

    I'd noticed the knots, and though I figured I could deal with them, for what the seller is asking I should probably expect a pristine piece of top-wood. I'll keep looking...
  13. As far as the knots, I agree with Ken, that instruments such as his should not have these kind of defects. However, if you're going to sell your bass for like $1,200 ...then this kind of defect is minimal. Also, If you've got your design ready, maybe those knots do fall on the waste side, then there's no problem at all.

    That's my opinion.
  14. andvari7


    Aug 28, 2004
    Sans knots, I'd say that adds a couple hundred to the price. Au knots? Then, as they say in parlez vous francais, forget about it.

    But if you do consider using the piece, and the knots are too big to remove for a body top, then cut the piece and use it as a headstock top.
  15. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    The knot could certainly give you reason to to pay the premium that you would pay for a piece without the knot. If you could get the same piece elsewhere for the same price, without the knot, then you'd do that. But if it comes at the right price, then decide (a) whether or not you can work around the knot or (b) whether you care about the knot at all. What is the right price? Well, I tend to think that there is enough curly maple in this world to get top-notch figure for $50 or less. I usually buy mine in the rough when I stumble upon the good stuff and pay $10/bf, give or take a few bucks.

    Strictly speaking, a knot is a defect. It should affect what you expect to pay, but a knot or other unusualality (I made that word up) should only concern you if including it in a build causes some undesirable result in the product. This includes structural implications, but also creeps over to the subjective; if it breaks up an otherwise "perfect" piece of maple, then maybe you consider the knot a defect that cannot be allowed. Maybe you think it looks cool.

    But is a pin knot going to affect the tone or somehow cause a structural liability when used as a laminate top in an instrument? I think you'd have a hard time demonstrating that. Are bird's eyes "defects"? How about burl? Why is curl not a defect as well?

    I only go on this rant at the suggestion that using sapwood or wood containing pin knots is not "professional". The maple you are looking at is sapwood. The sapwood of many exotics is just as sound as the heartwood of other trees. Any bass you may have played with burl is full of pin knots and inclusions. A good sounding, well built instrument is what it is. If you can make a high-quality instrument out of these materials, you should not be shamed out of doing so at the suggestion that it is not "professional".
  16. teej


    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    You could always have the lower bout on the side with the knot. Wouldn't it (the knot) just be cut off?
  17. Basschair

    Basschair .............. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca

    If the price were right, I'd be all over this piece. The seller is expecting between $100 and $150 for it, so I'm definitely holding off for another piece. I'd be happy to pay that much for a piece that has high figure and is absolutely pristine, or where the "imperfections" are what makes the piece unique (burls, eyes, etc.). If this piece were a blend, such as some of the tops Larry is getting out of his current log, I'd be happy to pay that much for something that catches my eye. I think the problem I have with this piece is that it has what appears to be very nice figure, but the knots draw attention away from it. Knot ( :D ) a whole lot, and I could certainly try to work around them, but in the end I think that for the amount of extra effort put in to do so I'd want to pay less than the asking price.