Re: Quilted or Flamed Maple top vaneer vs. real maple tops
A veneer top is very thin, usually no more than 5mm, and has no noticable impact on the sound of the instrument.
When people refer to a "Real" maple top, they usually mean a thicker maple cap, 20mm or more, which has enough mass and makes up enough of the finished instrument to have an effect on the sound.
Generally speaking, a veneer top is for looks only, a real top will change the tone.
The usual combination is Mahogany back (Warm, thumpy, midrangey), and Maple top (Bright, snappy, trebly). The combination of the two yields a guitar with good tonal balance, not too muddy and not too thin.
There are of course plenty of other woods you could use for tops and bodies. Basswood and Maple seems to be getting more popular recently, as does Koa+Walnut.