The Big Maple Leaf

Twisted Epiphytes

Photo © copyright by Adam Gibbs.

West Coast Guitar Series

All guitars in the West Coast Series only use locally harvested woods from the west coast of BC. From Vancouver Island to the Skeena River, BC has the largest biomass per square meter in the world. The BC Raincoast is responsible for some of the most important tone woods used today in musical instruments. I would personally LOVE to get more experience playing instruments restricted to local Raincoast and Boreal forest woods. The few I have played have been SPECTACULAR!! I look forward to showcasing the power of the Raincoast and its incredible history here at Symphontree Music: in word, wood, and song.

 Big Leaf Maple: Acer macrophyllum

  • Specific Gravity: .54
  • Avg. Weight Per Board Foot: 3.25 lbs
  • Color Range: Creamy White (Sap) – Yellow – Orange (Heart)
  • Typical Width: 4″ to 18″ – some times up to 60″ inches wide
  • Typical Length:4′ to 12′ feet – some times up to 16′ feet



Big leaf Maple carries a greater load of mosses and other plants than any other tree species in the Raincoast. Most of the time the bark is not even visible on the outside of the trees. The moss can become so thick that it becomes soil into which roots of other species can sprout and grow and thrive.

The Saanich First Peoples used preparations from Maple to make an internal medicine and to treat sore throats. The leaves were rubbed on boys’ faces when they hit puberty as to slow down the growing process of facial hair.



The Maple is called the “Paddle Tree” by many First Peoples as it was commonly used to build paddles. It was also used for spindle whorls and various other implements.



The big leaves were used to make temporary containers to store food. The sprouted seeds were eaten by many First People as well. The sap can be made in Maple syrup although this was not done by aboriginals of the land.




Maple has been widely used as a tonewood across the globe. It is a highly dense and reflective wood yielding a loud, projective, and sustained tone with a slightly darker and warmer tone. Maple is used as the primary back and sides of Archtop instruments such as guitars, mandolins, violins, violas, cellos and many more. Maple happens to be the only wood used in the violin family.