Well, HPL isn’t subject to the same whims and idiosyncrasies of wood. It's not that scary. The Pros and Cons of HPL use in guitar building and repair. So, epoxy is the order of the day and that is — not to mince words — a pain in the ass. The surface is super hard and it will laugh at scratches, pick-wear, etc. There’s no finish to provide some camouflage and, because it’s so incredibly difficult to get shattered HPL pieces to mate nicely, there’ll be high and low spots that have to be flattened down. Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window), Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window), Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window). It's quite sensitive. If you want to talk tone, there are plenty of forums where you can do that until every single cow has come home. Happy to be corrected. However, in order to comply with privacy regulations, I also need you to provide consent to store and process the information you've entered. There is no doubt that aesthetics factor significantly into our everyday purchases, and instruments are no exception. Pairing the solid Sitka spruce top with Hawaiian koa-pattern high pressure laminate (HPL) back and sides, the DX1KAE Koa features Fishman electronics and a … Well, other than the ‘not-wood’ issue that bugs traditionalists, there are two main problems. Martin Guitars, for instance, have widely embraced HPL materials and offer a number of models where some — or even all — of the back, sides, or top are made from HPL. This will act as a 'former' or support to glue the HPL pieces onto. Fretboard care If you’re fretboard is too dry, then it might be an idea to oil it (again whilst your changing over the strings that the guitar came with – or when you’re changing to another set sometime down the line). Michelle is the author of three country living books. Guitars starting at $125. Oh, man, that's not pretty. Shop the beginner friendly Manhattan acoustic guitar. Formica is one, well-known, brand of HPL. A solid top on a well-built and well-used guitar has a sweet, resonant, complex sound that cannot be matched. Buy Guitar Scale Chart Poster of Chords | Scales | Triads | Tune, Guitar Reference for Beginners and Teachers, A Large Laminate Music Theory of Acoustic Electric Guitar, 24 x 47 inch: General Accessories - Amazon.com FREE DELIVERY possible on eligible It reminded me of a D-18 Martin I played years ago. It's a lot of messy, fiddly work, which means it's not cheap. Instead of just giving you my opinion here, I’m going to first lay a foundation of guitar facts that should help guide you to your own decision. A hand-drawn, illustrated guide to setting up your own Strat. There is some logic here, as the bulk of the guitar will be sturdier, but the top (which accounts for about 85% of the sound) will be more flexible and resonant. And, when working with HPL, lovely friendly wood glues are out. Beginners who want something to learn on, that doesn’t break the bank, often go with the cheap laminate choice. Also, I’ve read that I can actually expect my guitar to lose its tone over the years because of the laminate body. It will handle heat better than a wooden instrument. There are lots of great in-case humidifiers available and some cases even have them built in to the lid. HPL guitars have a lot of advantages. For example, in cutting solid wood panels for acoustic guitars, the yield is about four pieces per inch of thickness (the typical thickness of … For an everyday example of HPL, chances are your kitchen counter tops are covered with a HPL material. Pressed plywood is made up of multiple layers of processed wood, typically pressed and bonded together with adhesive. What are they. That is, different layers will break in slightly different places and in irregular ways. Obviously, this isn’t an invitation to stress-test a guitar to destruction but HPL guitars should hold up to environmental hassles better than an instrument made from a dead tree. As good as a laminated top can sound, it cannot compete with the upper levels of guitar construction, particularly in the hands of a practiced guitarist who plays with a wide dynamic range. Third, I began to play up and down the neck, there was no fret buzz or adjusting needing to be made. While laminate products use synthetic materials, veneer office furniture is covered in a thin layer of real hardwood. Set up in Los Angeles, CA. This one was a special case. Solid Wood vs. Laminate Wood Fact #1: Quality Manufacturing Trumps Quality Materials Taylor Guitars, a premier guitar maker based in California, once did a test that I found incredibly interesting. And, if you do end up with a heap of jagged guitar-jigsaw pieces, be aware that repair will probably be very difficult. Clean mostly with a damp cloth, use naptha on really grimy areas. The DX1KAE acoustic-electric guitar features a D-14 platform and a Dreadnought body design with attractive looks and playability. A guitarist who frequently travels and likes to play guitar casually on the road, particularly outdoors. HPL repairs are the Frankenstein’s monsters of the guitar world. Boutique builders will often utilize more exotic wood species, such as Brazilian rosewood, cocobolo, or koa, but the limited supply of these materials means that these options – though visually striking – are simply not available at the more modest price points. That probably means you’ll sand through the overlay, and even the ‘grain’ layers, so it’s going to look ugly as sin. Guitar players who truly care about the sound of their instrument– and its nuances– will seek out solid wood guitars. This process makes the wood strong and stable. I paid $240 for an incredible sounding guitar. A guitarist who wants an acoustic guitar with a pickup. Download Truss Rods Made Easy for free. It’s slightly different to the paper we use every day but, for all intents and purposes, it’s paper. And that brings me to the second problem. I hope this hasn’t been too much of a downer. Hope that’s ok. Shout out in the comments if you've questions or, you know, comments (just not about tone ). Grand Concert shape with a layered spruce top and layered mahogany back and sides. I’ve read of repairers using CA (cyanoacrylate — super glue) but, to me, that’s never felt the right choice for this job. Some beginner models are built with laminate, or pressed plywood. You could find a laminate guitar that plays beautifully. Luthiers Mercantile International, Inc. 7975 Cameron Drive, Bldg. Call Text Email Support Toll-free: (800) 222-4700 Español: (800) 222-4701 Local: (260) 432-8176 Fax: (260) 432-1758 View our hours Music Store Account And lastly, thanks to those who were kind enough to email to say nice things, or just to commiserate , This article written by Gerry Hayes and first published at hazeguitars.com, Tagged: repair, HPL, high-pressure laminate, martin, acoustic, tonewood, wood, alternative materials, side, glue, epoxy. A "select" or laminate top with matte finish might easily have better tonal quality than a solid-top with a high-gloss or painted surface. Check out these other great articles…, Follow-Up: HPL and Laminate Wood Instruments. I don't do spam and you can unsubscribe at any time. Laminate wood simply means money (and wood) was saved by using thinly veneered layers of wood combined to create your guitar. For more information, please read our affiliate disclosure. As a slight aside, from a wider manufacturing point of view, the move to more sustainable guitar materials is well underway and we, as players, will have to get used to it. Higher end guitars use solid wood, which is not only traditional in guitar making but generally produces a better sound than laminate. This can be very nice for new players who are not concerned so much with the daily care of an acoustic guitar, and can be a great consideration That said, I’ll try to summarise what I know and — I think — what you need to know*. Free Shipping & Easy Returns. *Actually, I lied — you probably didn’t need to know the ’sciency’ bit but I reckoned it would be useful as we went on. While a Spinal Tap None-More-Black colour is popular, HPLs for guitar use will often have a wood-grain pattern printed onto that ‘decorative’ layer we mentioned earlier. A laminate is created by shaving thin strips of wood and gluing them on top of each other. Laminate top guitars provide good sound combined with affordability. And Im curious as to why? Bear in mind the potential risk should the worst happen. Buuuuuut… The nature of that instrument lends itself more readily to repair. Don't look at me!!! I know there are a lot of repairers that read these articles so, if you have some solution or improved method that I’m missing, please drop me a line and let me know. I glued this shaped piece to the inside of the guitar side and built my jigsaw on top of it. What you should know about High-Pressure Laminate (HPL) guitars, You are signing up for my email newsletter so the understanding that you'll receive emails is pretty explicit. To my knowledge, Epiphone doesnt make an entry level laminate Rosewood body guitar. Exaggerated example of how HPL laminations can shatter 'separetely'. Not that that matters because, if HPL does break or shatter, the laminations will often break ‘separately’. The following stuff, you probably do need. A wonderful midway point—you might call it a compromise, but we won’t—is a guitar with a solid top and laminate back and sides. Ever hear someone say: "I'll do anything else with my guitar but I won't touch the truss rod."? If you can find a repairer to take it on, cut him or her some slack. While Wood itself can be shaped, and formed, and bent. HPLs are made from a number of laminations or layers of what is, essentially, paper. Many other repairers are in the same boat. When not pursuing hobbies ranging from music to cooking to birdwatching, she can usually be found researching, writing, or living out the country dream. Despite my whinging, I think they have a lot going for them and no one should disregard them. There’s generally an overlay layer, sitting over a ‘decorative’ layer (more on this in a sec), and then one or more layers of a stronger paper. I've had to bend some wood to glue to the sides. These layers are usually glued together to form a thicker surface. There are three scenarios that beg for a laminated guitar: Beginners should not hesitate to purchase a laminated guitar for their first guitar despite the drawbacks. I’ll also touch on the repair I did to illustrate things. Now, let’s face it: if you whack your wooden guitar, you may well break it too. You might never do anything to care for your fretboard – like in the minimalist approach – or you might choose to be more active than that. If you decide to use the links to make a purchase, please be aware that we will receive a small compensation. So what’s the problem with this wonder material? Laminate Guitar Straps Laser Etched Leather Laser etched, 2.5” wide, brown leather guitar strap. For smaller HPL repairs, this is certainly useful. Cheers. So is solid wood or a laminate the right choice for you? Should I Slacken String Tension For Storage? Avoid laminate like the plague. 2+mm thick leather for strength, comfort and durability. But back to the main story…, “I don’t care about how easy or hard it is to build a guitar,” you cry, “what’s in it for me?”. Dings and dents can sometimes be lessened or removed altogether. Throughout this site you will find affiliate links to items that we have read or used and highly recommend. The result is a thin sheet that’s very hard and very tough. If you live somewhere with warm summers and cold winters where you have to use I picked up a 1969 Yamaki (not Yamaha, Yamaki) that is my bread and butter. The pieces are arranged so that the grain of one layer runs in the opposite direction of the grain of the next. Taking care of the wood...laminate? No content on this site may be reproduced in any way without prior written permission. 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