Imagine this if you will. It’s a warm sunny morning, you have just finished your short stack of flapjacks and are sitting in the shade of an old tree, playing your guitar. You are feeling grateful and wish to express this gratitude, but aren’t sure who to thank first. The sun is strong this time of day, good thing that you have this shade tree in your yard. As you lean against the trunk of this majestic organism, all of a sudden your surrounded by drones! Hold on, those aren’t drones, they are seed pods cascading from the canopy like tiny helicopters. Without a seconds thought, you crack one of them open and stick it to the end of your nose. So peaceful and silly. Then it hits you like a log truck. Thank you Maple tree.
Try to imagine those fluffy hot cakes with something other than real maple syrup on them. Just so there is no confusion, I am not talking about that stuff claiming to be your aunt. Calling that maple syrup is like calling a pig, salad. Then, see yourself sitting directly in the sun, with nothing on the end of your nose. Starting to get the picture? We haven’t even gotten to the the guitar yet. There is something about your favorite guitar that you really love and can’t quite put your finger on. It’s got such a bright and crisp sound, and its more beautiful than your spouse. I’ll give you a hint…..No I won’t
- As a woodworker, I am constantly in awe of the wide range of stunning grain patterns and the workability of Maple. Be it the hard stuff, Eastern Rock Maple (acer saccharum). or the Softies,(acer rubrum and others), maple is far and away my favorite. As an instrument maker, I can’t think of another species that I rely on more for electric guitars. Visually, it has no equal. There are few trees that exhibit the wide range of extreme figuring like maple does. I have seen birdseye maple with so many ‘eyes’ that it causes dizziness. Tonally speaking, maple is the sharpen feature on your digital camera. A thick piece of maple bonded to a less dense species, will typically add volume and clarity to the sound. Rock maple guitar necks are lively and stiff. A maple bodied archtop guitar like the one on the right in the above photo, broadcasts loudly and clearly separates the notes in a chord.
This time of the year in the great state of Vermont, the maples are doing their best to show their splendor. The sappers are hanging pails and stoking their fires for what we hope is another bumper season. The trees have taken on the glow of an expectant mother and seem to really stand out among the other varieties that they share the forest with. The tiny nodes on each branch are getting plump, and will soon turn the hillsides a vibrant, neon green. For me, it this amazing color that signifies the waking of spring and the promise of another beautiful summer in the Green Mountains.
Thank You Maple Tree, From the Bottom of My Heart.