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Vine of Life Custom Melted Top Bass
Melted Top 6 string guitar with Flamed Redwood, Figured Walnut, Spalted Maple and Purpleheart strips
Custom 3D Lava Melted Top 11 String Bass with Pummend Bubinga, Zebrawood, Wenge and Figured Maple
Melted Top 7 String Guitar with Quilted Maple, Curly Maple and Purpleheart
Melted Top 5 String Bass with Birdseye Maple, Spalted Maple, Cocobolo and Purpleheart

The Magnificent “Melted Top”

     Conklin Guitars and Basses has become known for its many unique creations and exclusive innovations, but nothing sets us apart from the pack like our magnificent "Melted Tops". Early in 1990, Bill began experimenting with using several different species of wood to make a guitar top; something that would be in sharp contrast to the standard bookmatched top. After playing around with inlaying and intarsia he came across a woodworking method that had been used in old-school furniture manufacturing and the light went on in his head. He realized he could adapt this technique to making guitar tops (as well as fingerboards, headstock veneers and even pickguards). Excited at the prospects, Bill and his partner Phil Goschy made drawings of simple but elegant free-flowing graphics that followed the traditional lines of their Sidewinder and Crossover guitar and bass bodystyles. From there they developed the process of joining various species of exotic woods to create stunning "organic graphics" with visually stimulating contrasts, that portray movement, harmony and colorful excitement. Find out more about "Melted Tops" in our Custom Shop catalog available in the "Downloads" section.

How do they do that?

     The process of making Melted Tops is a radical departure from the standard bookmatched top (i.e. figured Maple tops) seen on virtually every guitar manufacturers’ products today. Conklin's highly skilled luthiers carefully sort through hundreds of boards from several different species of wood such as figured Walnut, Curly, Quilt, Burl, Spalted or Birdseye Maple, Lacewood, Cherry, Wenge and Purpleheart just to name a few. Each piece is selected for its particular grain pattern or color contrast when combined with the other woods.

It's a work of art that works!

     Once the boards are chosen, the Conklin craftsmen must figure out how each of the woods will interact in the pattern to create the finished top. From there, Conklin uses a secret process to “melt” each piece into the pattern with super precise airtight joints. It’s hard to believe these woods didn’t grow this way in nature! Every finished Melted Top is a one-of-a-kind creation as unique as the woods that go into it and the artist that owns it. Conklin offers four basic patterns in 2, 3 and 5-piece tops which allow for an infinite number of designs that can be created using different species of woods and grain patterns. Custom patterns can also be specified.

Other items exclusive to Conklin are our "Off-sides" position markers which are located along the upper edge of the fingerboard doubling as top and side dots which allow viewing from any angle. Our original ergonomically-designed bodystyles which feature our exclusive "neck-thru-body-feel" heel, the most radically contoured neck heel anywhere. Finally, our limited lifetime warranty which covers defects in construction for as long as you own your instrument.
Custom Ulti-Melt Melted Top 7 String Bass with Birdseye Maple and Wenge Melted Top 7 String Bass with Figured Purpleheart, Quilted Maple and Macassar Ebony Melted Top 7 String Guitar with Curly Maple, Quilted Maple and Wenge
Custom Melted Top Sidewinder Snake with Custom Roswell inlays
Melted Top 5 String Bass with Spalted Maple, Wenge, Birdseye Maple and Purpleheart Strips
Custom Melted Top 9 string guitar with Wenge, Bacote, Pommeled Bubinga and Redheart
Custom 3D Ulti-Melt Melted Top 7 string Hollow Body Bass with Burl Maple and Wenge Woods
Melted Top 7 string guitar with Figured Spanish Cedar, Burl Maple and Wenge Strips