NGD (again...): OM-05

Started by guitarman001, May 14, 2023, 02:00:53 AM

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Long story to go with this one....

I had been eyeing up this particular guitar for a while. It was made in 2022 and had been on a 20% off sale which I just missed out on. I bought a P-03 from the same store last year. I've been ooh-ing and ahh-ing over all the different models and have been on an acoustic journey for some time now after mainly (but not solely) playing electric for two decades. So I've been getting to know what I do and don't like (still uhm-ing and ah-ing whether like rosewood or not).

I got a loan of a friend's OM-05 for a few days. Now I'd previously bought a used one but handed back due to poor intonation on B string (which I probably could have got a saddle job done on, to fix). So I hadn't played one for a while. I wasn't used to the gloss finish (I understand there are a few as per the sticky on front page - not sure if particular one was considered "best" and why they change over time). I initially didn't like the gloss and I thought my trusty old OM-02 (Sapele) sounded better. Read on...

Recently a used, Canadian L-03 Sapele came on my radar. For some reason, I like the thought of having another Canadian-built one (but in summary, it really doesn't matter!) and I'd never tried an L body (which I had considered buying blind prior). A very long story short, it outperformed every guitar in the store and random people came to ask what brand it was... we're talking outperforming custom shop Martins, an initially sublime sounding rosewood (!) Santa Cruz (on second time round, Larrivee beat it due to more earthy tone... Santa Cruz had this hi-fi thing going on that initially wowed but eventually became tiring), Taylors, Collings. Not only was the Larrivee value for money, it literally beat everything else, anyway.

I loved the sound from the L. As described so many times, there is more bass and it's way more natural than that from an OM-40 (which imo loses treble brilliance due to the bracing structure). Fingerstyle sounds great and there's no rattle on the low E when strumming hard - sounds very full and deep, like a dreadnought. The larger bout was no issue. However... I was having trouble pulling the guitar closer to me for the barre stuff and it dawned on me, the body is DEEPER then an OM. I was playing this thing for over an hour, as you have to be sure. So in terms of comfort, I have ruled out the L body (personal preference) which is a shame as the sound is amazing. The OM doesn't have the same bass response but it is more punchy with great separation and might record a tad better, who knows. Having come back home to OMs, I felt justified in my decision. I understand the LS body is same depth as an OM but those, like OOs, are rare here.

So over the days, I'd been playing the OM-05 (after initially wanting to just hand it back) and it grew on me, a LOT. The gloss finish.. I have read that Jean himself said it improves the tone (it HAS to have an impact at a cellular level!) and whether it's that or the upgraded tone woods, this thing rings like hell. There is a real syrupy sound to it that is addictive. The Shoreline Music OM-05 video captures it perfectly. The gloss finish also means I can shift it about on my lap to get a natural reverb (see Andertons Martin sinker videos for good demonstration of this effect) which is impossible to do with a satin guitar lest you get string noise. I also realise now that part of this great sound is simple, the use of good mahogany. I'd been saying my parlour (P-03) sounds stellar and I can hear the same qualities in the OM-05 so it's the wood. The bass is more polite than the L-05 but truly, how much bass do you need (I say that, but the answer is always more -but not to the detriment of other factors)? It records well. The sapele on my OM-02 is a little brasher sounding when strummed (but is still mighty fine). I am undecided if sapele or mahogany has a touch more bass (I think the sapele does... or maybe it's because it's 20 years aged and I believe it's the bass the develops over time, correct?) but the mahogany syrupy sound cannot be mistaken. I initially thought that the two were near identical but they are NOT (same with an OM-03 vs OM-40... the bracing pattern has an effect on sound, which some say they don't hear but it's clear to me). These small effects are noticeable to a player. I don't necessarily wish all my guitars had the gloss finish as I do like the satin feel, too.. but there are pros and cons for each.

So.. I ended up getting said store to give me the OM-05 for that 20% off! What a deal.. this is a luxury guitar which imo beats out makers pumping out £8-10k+ guitars and I get it for way less than a standard Martin model (I'm a fan of a good deal and I know prices are going up so did not want to miss this one). There was also an OM-05 selling private (at the other end of the country) for 2/3 the cost but I decided to get the new one (no fret wear) with warranty to be safe.

It is STUNNING. Both in terms of the sound and in terms of its looks. The sitka top already looks aged -and the grain is lovely. The gloss finish feels great, the syrupy sound is there - it the 05 trim levels are stunning to look at and it is my fourth mahogany-based guitar (OM-02, OM-03BH, P-03 and now OM-05). My OM-02 was always my fave but this might have knocked it off the top spot. I have also played OM-03s in past and yes, great guitars - I think the OM-05 is a step up but that could be subjective. The gloss definitely alters the sound a touch

No nibby fret ends, the "hemholtz resonance" per my OM-03BH thread is next to zero (smidgen of it on G# but only if you listen hard), the action on high E is a tad higher than I like so will shave the saddle a hair's breadth, nut is cut well (no problems playing an F chord and there is just enough space tapping 1st fret while holding 3rd down), intonation is great, no fret buzz or raised frets, overall amazing. BTW it originally came with Fender coated strings (which did not sound great) so I quickly swapped those out!

The only thing I could think to improve on would be a 12-fret join.

Pics and sound clip to follow (apologies for the ropey playing at the end of the sound file!)

Now... I hope I don't run into a used Forum VI as I might have to spend £££ on one as those sound fantastic (or as previously stated. would love a 12-fret OO with cutaway and potential 24.75" scale - please make this a standard model!)
Larrivee OM-02
Larrivee P-03
Larrivee OM-03BH
Larrivee OM-05
Larrivee L-05

Images:
https://ibb.co/JmZJTN0
https://ibb.co/KmbwJTf
https://ibb.co/MRdnSDh

Brief audio recorded with Zoom H2n pointed at ~5th fret (I could maybe do better but this was quick).
I mixed it up with both plectrum and fingerstyle (should maybe have strummed it a bit)
I use gauge 11 strings.
https://soundcloud.com/tommysixstring/om-05-demomp3
Larrivee OM-02
Larrivee P-03
Larrivee OM-03BH
Larrivee OM-05
Larrivee L-05

Congratulation on a great find and interesting story. Your biggest problem in the future will be deciding which guitar to pick up. My suggestion: Keep one of the ones you're not playing on a stand or next to your chair so you can mix and match.

The link below features a 23 minute video made a few years ago with Jason Wilber, sideman for John Prine for 20 years. I posted this on a thread on the Larrivee Facebook page last week.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZuCz8ZXduA

Whenever I have seen Jason Wilber playing live or on You Tube, his acoustic guitar has always been a Larrivee Parlor. His skills and the music he generates confirm the fact that a Larrivee parlor guitar is an extremely versatile instrument and a valuable addition to any guitarist's collection. There are plenty of videos out there and Jason is rarely mentioned on this forum.

My 2004 flamed maple parlor was my first Larrivee and is my son's favorite for fingerstyle blues including slide. It also led me to two more Larrivees including a custom mahogany topped 12 string (LV03) and Forum VI, both with a venetian cutaway. On my short list for another guitar is a custom 0040 12 fret, short scale with a mahogany top, back and sides.

I just registered on that group :)

Parlours really are pro level instruments. Played with a pick they do have decent bass and even have decent bass played fingerstyle if not hammering the thing.

I keep them on stands so I can pick up and play. I need to play one each session instead of flipping between them constantly, though. I'll give that a watch, thanks! A great and varied set of guitars there you have... I would love to try a maple backed Larrivee
Larrivee OM-02
Larrivee P-03
Larrivee OM-03BH
Larrivee OM-05
Larrivee L-05

Beautiful guitar! Congrats! As to reply to your quest to play a Maple-----highly recommend. My new Maple has just moved to the top over the Malaysian Ebony. I love the 000 size and am pleasantly surprised of how much bass sound it has.
I just dabble and I'm good with that!
Larrivee SD-40ME Custom
Larrivee 000-40 Maple
Vintage Ovation

Although you ended up not getting the L body, I'm glad you got to try one! It's such an amazing design.
Larrivee P-03
Epiphone USA Texan
2023  Larrivee L-09

Thanks, guys!

OOO also haven't tried and yeah, the L sound was great .. bit gutted but hey. Also glad I got to try it at last without having to blind buy to try it!

Btw I also tried a Martin sc13 (I see it in Trakait's sig) - quite liked it!

The only non-Larrivee I'm potentially considering is a Martin OO18 sinker + Adirondack but very unsure... It's the only guitar that ever came close to a Larrivee for me and had a deeper bass, but very costly and it was really eeksie peeksie. I really hope the OM05's polite bass develops/deepens that bit more as it ages :)
Larrivee OM-02
Larrivee P-03
Larrivee OM-03BH
Larrivee OM-05
Larrivee L-05

I have a Martin OM35 with sunburst finish with scalloped bracing and a Custom 000 with a 3 piece mahogany back and sides, scalloped bracing and 12 fret, short scale, slotted head stock. It's a combination of a 00018 and and HD35S and I was surprised at the price of my custom Martin when I did not stray too far with the specs. The cost drivers were the neck, slotted headstock and three piece back.

I would guess that sinker mahogany w/Adirondack top would drive up the cost of a 00-18 so I would compare it against a Larrivee 0040.good luck from a fellow enabler.

Haha excellent! How do your Martins compare to the Larrivee's?

Most I play don't hold a candle but that one sinker/Adirondack was special. When I say special, I mean it was about as good as my 20 year old £600 OM02 with maybe a tad more bass (Martin was £5k!). OM40 definitely has similar bass but I sold my OM40 as prefer the sound of the non-scalloped OMs.

My OM-02 has aged wonderfully... My luthier is the official Martin "repairer" in these parts and he says my OM-02 is lovely. I wish I had old recordings... I'm sure it's sound has developed over the years.

It's starting to feel like a mahogany-ish guitar shop in my house with 3 OMs (sapele, mahogany, Bhilwara) and a parlor (mahogany). Larrivee is just so damn addictive...
Larrivee OM-02
Larrivee P-03
Larrivee OM-03BH
Larrivee OM-05
Larrivee L-05

So tonight I shaved the saddle a tiny bit as treble side was 0.125mm too high and it is now playing like butter. I can feel it needs a little time to loosen up so lots of playing time about to go in!
Larrivee OM-02
Larrivee P-03
Larrivee OM-03BH
Larrivee OM-05
Larrivee L-05

This has developed even in the few weeks I've had it. The bass is a bit deeper than the OM-02 and generally does sound better than the OM02 (which I'll be keeping as it's aged and still sounds great, Canadian made and my only one with pickup in it... History!). I really wish I got on with the L body as feel that would have been the ultimate in tone. It's just a joy - plays like butter and sounds like heaven.
Larrivee OM-02
Larrivee P-03
Larrivee OM-03BH
Larrivee OM-05
Larrivee L-05

How do you like the gloss finish? I'm personally a big fan of the satin finish, the gloss looks too shiny to me.
Larrivee P-03
Epiphone USA Texan
2023  Larrivee L-09

I didn't like it at first but now I do... It's thin and it means you can move the guitar about on the leg without noise when recording, and I feel it gives it a different sound. Both options are great tbh
Larrivee OM-02
Larrivee P-03
Larrivee OM-03BH
Larrivee OM-05
Larrivee L-05

Guitarman, yes I have a Martin SC 13 E, loved everything about the guitar, comfortable cutaway, easiest Martin to play, (I had 000 28 that I wanted to love, cussed it every time I picked it up), light, loved the access to the top frets; however, the Larrivee bug hit and I found this 000 Maple. Side by side it makes the Martin sound thin, no volume, decided I will sell it.
I just dabble and I'm good with that!
Larrivee SD-40ME Custom
Larrivee 000-40 Maple
Vintage Ovation

Did the oo28 just not play as easily, then? Must admit I found the same - that new Martin is easier to play. I think Martin's are also typically quite dark sounding and their new adi tops suit them. But those can take forever to break in. Larrivee sounds sweet with plain old Sitka and matures faster imo, and always plays like butter. I always mention base response but iirc my OM02 Vs custom shop oo18 (scalloped), they were on par, the Martin maybe having a touch more bass. How much bass does one man need though lol...

I don't even know why I try new guitars and brands, I've found the brand for me. The OM05 is probably the best guitar I have.
Larrivee OM-02
Larrivee P-03
Larrivee OM-03BH
Larrivee OM-05
Larrivee L-05

Btw I also have to add, using plastic trim on a guitar really sucks. I really appreciate the Larrivee flamed maple binding. And it doesn't fall off lol
Larrivee OM-02
Larrivee P-03
Larrivee OM-03BH
Larrivee OM-05
Larrivee L-05

I completely agree, the maple binding is 10,000% better than the other brand's plastic edge binding. 
Larrivee P-03
Epiphone USA Texan
2023  Larrivee L-09

Guitarman,

Sorry for the delayed response to your question about the differences between my Martin OM35 and my Larrivees. I had shoulder surgery last week so my guitar playing has stopped and I am typing left handed for a while.

It's hard for me to compare my rosewood OM against my Larrivees that are each different body sizes and wood combinations. I can say that Jim Holler from Trinity Guitars got my OM35 as one of the last ones off the line, made a compensated saddle and set it up for me in the shop. It's one of the best sounding OMs I've ever played. He also set up my parlor and 12 string Larrivees as well as my custom 000. I was also fortunate enough to have the opportunity to participate in the Forum VI order. I added a Venetian cutaway and a pickup and upgraded to an archtop case. I can say that my Forum VI arrived with best setup I've ever had right out of the box.

The next guitar on my short list is likely to be a 0040 with Mahogany top, back and sides. I have had great success with satin finish Larrivees too and the hog 00 would be a nice companion to my all hog 12 string. 

 


No worries, teh!
I hope your shoulder improves speedily.

It's great you have a good and trusted tech and wow yeah, I've had Larrivee's like that right out of the box. Incredible.

I have the chance to get an L-05 at a great price but I just got the OM-05 and found the OM to be comfier than the L, though loved the L's bass.

I see Larrivee are now doing Ovangkol/Shedua. Would love to try that.

For me it would have to be an OO (12 fret) gloss cutaway. Maybe with 24.75" scale. Unsure if moonspruce top or not. Love the look, there is a spongey feel to it which I love but I've never tried moonspruce with mahogany and know that I like Sitka hog, and have heard folk say Sitka gives more overtones. Would love to try moon spruce+ hog
Larrivee OM-02
Larrivee P-03
Larrivee OM-03BH
Larrivee OM-05
Larrivee L-05

https://youtu.be/5DaVuHswCMM

Great comparison video
Larrivee OM-02
Larrivee P-03
Larrivee OM-03BH
Larrivee OM-05
Larrivee L-05

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