3A vs. 5A tops - Jemsite
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-30-2007, 12:48 PM Thread Starter
 
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3A vs. 5A tops

I have seen some really nice AAA tops and have a hard time seeing the difference between those and a AAAAA top.
What is the difference between a 3A and 5A flame top?
What distinguishes them from each other?
Thanks for your insight and help.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-30-2007, 01:03 PM
 
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Re: 3A vs. 5A tops

It's all in the definition of the flame or quilting.

http://www.suhrguitars.com/guitarGallery.aspx?gallery=1

Even when you compare many PRS tops to stuff by John Suhr and Tom Anderson, there is no contest. A 3A top looks nice on its own but put it next to a true 5A and the 3A is a POS
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-30-2007, 01:24 PM
 
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Re: 3A vs. 5A tops

how do they even make these?
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-30-2007, 01:54 PM
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Re: 3A vs. 5A tops

I have two PRS's and two JC's with figured maple tops, and I've come to the conclusion that there are no set rules and there is no definite distinction sometimes. 5A tops should be the best, but some will be better than others. My 2 JC's have tops better than some PRS 10 tops I've seen, as good as some 'Artist' grade tops but not as good as 'Private Stock' grade. Some JC 's I've seen are pretty lack lustre though, but at least you don't pay extra for an exceptional '3A+' top with Ibanez.The 5A tops on the RG8470A (on average) are somewhere between Artist and Private Stock IMO. Again they do vary quite a bit in the quality of the figuring. It's all down to luck and personal taste, and some colours also show off figuring better than others (red for instance is difficult) Quilted maple is even more variable than flame and personally a top notch quilt beats flame hands down any day. I prefer the haphazard 'tiger stripe' type flame as opposed to the boring 'straight' type. Others may not and the guy grading the wood may not either.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-30-2007, 02:00 PM
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Talking Re: 3A vs. 5A tops

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ploki View Post
how do they even make these?
'They' don't, the tree does !!!!
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-31-2007, 10:04 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: 3A vs. 5A tops

Thanks you for the links and comparative analysis but I still don't understand what criteria is used to "grade" the wood. I've heard what PRS designates as a 10 top, but what how does ibanez decide whether it is a 3A or 5A?
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-31-2007, 10:53 AM
 
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Re: 3A vs. 5A tops

They cover their eyes and throw darts at a board with AAA and AAAAA on it.

My guess has to do with the lines or stripes going through the would. I think a AAAAA top has tighter more refined lines, and a AAA has looser, thicker, less refined lines or stripes. I'm only guessing from what I'm observed from looking at pictures of both and that's the only difference I could see.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-31-2007, 11:02 AM
 
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Re: 3A vs. 5A tops

@gaz: *ashamed* thanks
from the looks of it i'd say it is the depth of the texture, or contrast or how should i say. the "3d" feeling of the wood texture.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-31-2007, 03:46 PM
GAZ
 
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Re: 3A vs. 5A tops

It is subjective, and Ploki you're right, it is just the type and amount of figuring in the wood. A 5A top is supposed to be the best/most attractive/most highly figured. So a 3A top should be only be 60% as ''good' in theory. The other difference of course is that a 5A top is a lot more expensive !! Sorry to talk slightly off topic, but my PRS Custom 24 quilt top is what is known as an 'unstamped 10 top' It started off as a 10 in production, but when the stain was applied, it didn't look quite as good as they imagined so the certificate says 10, the cavity says 10, but the back of the headstock doesn't. Having said that it's a '93 model and it's as good as the current Artist grade !!!! PRS are very naughty, 10 used to be the best, then Artist was and now Private Stock is. Make of that what you will.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-31-2007, 05:55 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: 3A vs. 5A tops

Thank you all for your time and insight. After reading your comments, I compared my RG8470A with my USRG30TP, and the 8470A has a deeper 3D feel to it.
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