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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was looking for the definition of what these tops are and found the description in the link below. It seems, while the tops are usually nice and shiny, the definition can be a bit murky.

Seeing this description, I have decided that all my maple topped guitars are AAAAA.:)

AA, AAA or AAAA—What Does It Mean on Flame Maple Top Guitars?

"This means sadly that it is very difficult to give a solid definition for each grade of wood, which is what most people want when they are looking into the grades of wood used in guitars.

Also depending on the person what they think means "good figure" may differ, some maple may have lots of these flames close together. Some maples may have fewer flames, however, these flames are deeper. Which one is better is completely objective.

However it is possible to give this rough guide/definition,

  • AA flame tops are nice, they are the standard flamed maple top. Normally they are the lesser flamed ones that are nicely matched or the very flamed ones that are not perfectly matched.
  • AAA flame tops are very nice, they will take your breath away. Commonly they are very flamed and have good matching on both sides.
  • AAAA/AAAAA flame tops can be either a marketing exercise or a stunning top depending on the exact top. These tops should be the "one of a kind" tops that only come along ever so often, however when Gibson or other companies use these tops on production models they are now requiring themselves to have a certain number of these "one of a kind" tops. This may cause the companies to push nice AAA tops up into this band to fulfill their orders."
 

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It is subjective. And in some cases, you'd need to have them side by side to understand the differences between the different grades. But an expert eye would be pretty good at it. My FIL is a wood worker hobbyist who builds furniture and frames etc...he can spot variations in woods to a very high degree that a layperson wouldn't.
So I wouldn't say it's completely subjective. You or I just don't have the experinc and skill set to discern. Much like my wife can't tell th difference between a Marshall and a Line 6.

It's like going to the paint dept at Home Depot and looking at the hundreds of variations of "white". Any one of them will look like white once on your wall (hopefully) but when compared to each other, you can see the tones of pink, beige, grey etc they may also reflect.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Objective?

I believe you mean SUBjective.
I think you are correct. I just quoted this from the article and didn't notice it, Mr. Sharp Eyes. So I looked it up and here is what I found which, I believe, proves you are correct.

"An objective perspective is one that is not influenced by emotions, opinions, or personal feelings - it is a perspective based in fact, in things quantifiable and measurable. A subjective perspective is one open to greater interpretation based on personal feeling, emotion, aesthetics, etc."
 

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This is where namebrands, reputations, etc. become important. Do you believe JoeBlow is using tripleA when he says he is? Do you believe Gibson and Martin when they say it? I know who I'm more likely to believe - although I still like to be cautious non-the-less.
 
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