Lately, it seems, maple-bodied classical guitars have been gaining recognition among guitarists, and for good reasons! Maple as a tonewood has been around for a very long time. Maple has been the traditional choice for the violin family instruments (with the occasional use of Lombardian poplar and fruit woods, such as pear). In addition to violins, countless guitars, lutes, mandolins and violas da gamba have been built with maple.
Somewhere along the way, the classical guitar world became increasingly obsessed with rosewoods, which lead to a sort of “color” discrimination: blonde was okay for soundboards, but not for the rest of the box! If the backs and sides did not look brown, the guitar was suspected to be of dubious pedigree, likely being some sort of a folk instrument, or even “flamenco” (insert a dismissive, derogatory inflection here). Fortunately, for both the guitarists as well as the listeners, rosewood’s paler cousins are making a comeback to the plucked chordaphone scene. Maple’s centuries-old reputation as a fabulous tonewood is once again on display, pleasing the ears and eyes of guitarists and concert-goers alike. Below is a photo diary of a recent maple classical guitar I built.