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Custom Guitar Body Top: Solid & Laminated


Options of Custom Guitar Tops

The top of acoustic guitar or classical guitar body is the critical part to determine the sound performance. Besides bracing system, tonewood of the top is the critical element to determine the quality of the top.

Based on the material, there are some options: solid wood, laminated wood and alternatives like carbon fiber, etc. Here, we want to discuss about the solid wood top and laminated wood top. Through discovering the difference between the two types, we will try to explain which one is better for our clients to choose for their custom guitar order.


What IS the Difference?

Firstly, we’d like to explain what does solid top and laminated top mean. You may get some idea in our previous article: Laminated Acoustic Guitar or All Solid Guitar.

The solid top is made of a single piece of wood. During the handling like carving and shaping, etc., the top is always made of a single piece of wood. In nowadays, we also see some tops are made of two pieces of mirrored wood.

Laminated top is also made of a piece of wood. But that single piece of wood is actually made by a few thin layers of wood sheet that be glued and pressed together. The thin layers can be made of the same or different wood material, even non-wood material like plastic.

Once you look at the soundhole below, if the grain continues from the top to the bottom, it is a solid top, on the contrary, you will figure out different layers and the grain won’t continue.

Visually, we thought it is difficult to tell the difference. And actually, there are arguments about this has lasted for decades and still continue. Especially, an advantage of laminated top is that there is a veneer frequently used on the top surface to make the guitar looks so great.

The main difference can be told mainly through sound performance. Because of the density of solid wood is uniform, different wood has different resonance character, but they all sound great.

For laminated wood, the resonance cannot be guaranteed, it depends on the layer’s material and technology of building. However, there are chances to build real good laminated tops with outstanding sound performance, especially if you prefer strong and high pitch.

When we are talking about durability of guitar and durability alone, laminated top would be our first choice (although someone may want to start an argument about this). Because laminated material performs better in the changing of climate for multiple layers of it. But durability is not everything in the guitar world.

Why Custom Guitar with Solid Top or Laminated Top?

Well, we have been asked for many time that which one will cost higher, solid top or laminated. Based on our experience, custom solid top guitar will cost higher than the one with laminated top for most of time.

Simply consider about economic aspect, to custom acoustic guitar with laminated top is always the first choice for most of wholesalers, retailers and designers, etc. Yet, the quality of laminated top guitar can be various. Thus, make sure all specific aspects are well communicated and figured out before order. If you have such type of needs, please feel free to CONTACT US for free consultation.

But please remember that if you want to sell those guitars to professionals for their concert performances, laminated top guitar should never be in your consideration.

If there is requirement for sound like rich, warm, etc. and stability of guitar, solid top acoustic guitar is still the best choice.

From feedback of many of our clients, they just keep a certain proportion of laminated guitar in their stock. For most of time, there are more solid top guitars than laminated. We assume that solid top is still more popular than laminated.