Here is an example of one of two grades of Maple we use to build guitars: Quilted Maple (other is Flame Maple).
Quilted Maple is generally a flat-sawn version of Big Leaf Western maple. Flame Maple is generally quarter-sawn version. Western Maple is more commonly used to build guitars than Eastern Hard Maple because of it’s ability to bend more easily.
In terms of physical appearance, Big Leaf Maple is very similar to Eastern Hard Maple, but it is not as dense or hard. The sapwood in the soft maples is considerably wider than that in the hard maples and has a lighter heartwood color. Maple lumber sometimes has olive or greenish black discolored areas known as mineral streak or mineral stain, but this grade of wood is not used by Larrivee to build guitars. Maple wood stains and polishes well, and has low decay resistance.
Maple is considered to be the brightest sounding tone wood, and is commonly used in large bodied guitars such as Jumbos. Maple is used for backs and sides.