Laminate Top Option

Highly figured woods are the hallmark of custom guitars. Unfortunately, their tonal signatures are not always as desireable as their good looks. A Laminate Top allows you to customize the appearance of an instrument with exotic woods without effecting the tone of its underlying core wood.

For example: an Alder body with 1/8" thick top will sound like Alder. The neck will still attach to the core wood, and the bridge screws will anchor through the top into the same core.

How It Is Done - The "Book-Matched Top"

Most laminate tops are done in "bookmatch" fashion. This is accomplished by first sawing a plank lengthwise. The resulting halves are opened like a book and glued in the center. This yields a symmetrical pattern along the body centerline. Occasionally laminate tops are created with a single piece of wood, but it is rare.

Laminate Cut 1

Sawn lengthwise

Laminate Cut 2

Opened like a book

Laminate Cut 3

Pattern is symmetrical

How It Is Done - The "Core"

The laminate top is then affixed to the body slab. If the body is two-piece construction the glue joints align in the center. If the body is three-piece, the glue joints are staggered.

Two-piece body - glue joints aligned

Three-piece body - glue joints staggered

How It Is Done - The "Drop Top"

The "Drop Top" is a process developed by Warmoth wherin a 1/8” thick exotic-wood top is formed over the face and forearm contour of a guitar body. The result is a beautiful, figured laminate top with a forearm contour identical to the original solid body.

Drop-Tops follow forearm contours


How It Is Done - The "Double-Lam Top"

Laminate-tops on Carved-top bodies pose some unique challenges. In order to cut the contours from a single piece of wood it must be ¾” thick. Finding woods in this thickness with high-quality, consistent grain figure is difficult, not to mention costly. Tops cut from a single thick piece of wood can also exhibit a loss of symmetry in the grain figure, especially if the wood is not perfectly quarter sawn.

It was for these reasons that Warmoth developed the “DL Top”. In this process a figured 1/16” thick laminate is perfectly formed over a carved, non-figured top. In order to preserve their tonal signature, these woods are typically of the same species. Once complete the top receives binding around the perimeter to cover the seams. Carved-top bodies like the Regal, Mooncaster, and Royale are created using this technique.

DL Top bodies offer a look that is as beautiful or better than traditional Single Lam Carve-tops, while helping to reduce costs and conserve rare woods.

DL Tops follow body contours, with binding on the edge


How It Is Done - The "Pin Stripe"

A Pinstripe is a very thin line around the perimiter of a Laminate Top guitar body that creates a pleasing, bordered look. It is created by sandwiching a thin (0.030") layer of contrasting wood between the body core and Laminate Top. Light Pinstripes are Maple. Dark Pinstripes are Walnut. Once the body is shaped and sanded this thin layer forms a perfect line around the perimeter of the Laminate Top.

Maple Pinstripe

Walnut Pinstripe

The Woods

Laminate Top Wood Application Guide

Standard grade is AA. If you are looking for extreme figure,
please call us for availability and prices.

(253) 845-0403

Standard Price Woods

  CARVED TOPS (5/8” - 3/4”) THINLINE (1/4”) HOLLOW STRAT® (1/8”) REGULAR LAM TOP (1/8”)
Ash 3/4" or DL YES YES YES
Alder YES YES YES YES
Black Korina 3/4" or DL YES YES YES
Bubinga 3/4" or DL YES YES YES
Birdseye Maple CALL YES YES YES
Flame Maple DL YES YES YES
Koa 3/4" or DL YES YES YES
Lacewood DL YES YES YES
Mahogany 3/4" YES YES YES
Padouk 3/4" YES YES YES
Pinstripe Accent Line $20     $20
Quilted Maple DL YES YES YES
Indian Rosewood DL YES YES YES
Spruce   YES YES YES
Walnut 3/4" or DL YES YES YES
Wenge 3/4" YES YES YES
White Korina 3/4" or DL YES YES Call
Zebrawood 3/4" or DL YES YES YES

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