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Author Topic: LSV-11e First Impressions  (Read 1118 times)
Scott LSV-11E
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« on: September 12, 2007, 02:20:26 PM »

LSV-11e first impressions:

So, I get it out of the shipping carton and the case looks small. It reeks quality, with the semigloss black color and close sculpure to the body.

It lifts out straight. It doesn’t work to set the body in then the neck; it can’t be angled in, just dropped in parallel to the case. The woods are very nice, the spruce tight, rosewood dark and consistent. One quibble with the finish: the back had the tiniest bubbles and tiny dropouts from the absorption of the rosewood. The sides were perfect and the top nearly so. The back and top had a couple of tiny, 2mm dimples just deep enough to distort a reflection; not enough to see otherwise. This might be use, but I think it is an artifact of their finish process.

The style is nice. The cutaway style is handsome. I never liked the Venetian (?) style that looks like the guitar’s mother took thalidomide, or like Nemo’s special fin. I also don’t like the sharp point; it looks like it was inspired by an electric. This one is just right.

The guitar looks like the offspring of a dreadnought dad and a classical mom. It is midway between the two in size, in depth, and in neck width. It is above a parlor; the lower bout looks wide compared to the rest of the instrument. The neck is a definite working surface; style takes a back seat. The abalone is nice in and of itself, but the creamy color of mother of pearl seems to me to be a better match to the straw gold of finished spruce and the russet black of rosewood. This abalone reflects blue, which coordinates with nothing on the guitar.

I love the shape of the swirly fret inlays. They’re interesting without too much flash, and each one is a little different, though all in the same theme. This fluidity of shape is followed through in the soundhole, and the shape of the guitar nicely. However, the rounded trapezoid of the head and the pyramid bridge just don’t belong, or would have belonged with geometric inlays. The style seems to be a mishmosh of different shapes. It is like seeing Shania Twain in an evening gown. She looks great, but you can still tell she’d be happier in jeans and a flannel shirt, whereas Gwineth Paltrow looks like she lounges around in Versace.

If Jean could have an artist make a swirl on the top of the head, a la D’addario (sp?) or after The Gibson Mandolin, and an asymmetrical bridge with an echo of the fret inlay swirl, the style would come together. Of course, I get the impression that Larrivee designs conservatively, and that they just feel obligated to dress up their top of the line instruments, when they’d really rather be all about the sound. But maybe just a little style, my dour Canadian friend? Or do your Calvinist Protestant roots go too deep?

After tuning, I play. The strings are dead. I don’t want to change them quite yet, because it just came from across the country and I don’t want to add stress. I have a spare elixr phophor bronze lights around, but would love to hear recommendations. The guitar falls immediately to hand, is comfortable, and just plain easy. It takes some effort to make the thing wake up, but again, the strings. My standard effort results in a soft sound, softer than my dreadnought, but a little more effort and it is suddenly loud. I will look at the bone bridge piece, since another poster found a defective one. Sustain is excellent. There are lots of complex harmonics going on. The attack sound is dramatic; something I’ve heard on classical recordings, but never in person. Tap the back, and the strings resonate. It feels live against my body, like my solid wood classical. Strike an inner chord, mute them, and the echo lives on in the outer strings for a long time. Over all, I think you can tell Larrivee first designed classicals, there is much more of a Ramirez lineage than a Washburn one in this instrument.

The guitar seems most comfortable in the 5-9th position. I'm already working on an arrangement I wouldn't have dared with a lesser instrument, high up. The resonances seem centered around notes that are up the neck. William Ackerman would love this guitar, Al Dimeola would too. David Wilcox would love it for his quieter stuff, though I know he plays a Taylor. Speaking of Taylors they have a more rounded fretboard, but I didn’t mind the Larrivee. Taylors I have played have seemed brighter than this guitar, but this one sounds more complex, contemplative, and just pretty than the Taylors. It is not a Neil Young, Stephen Stills or Melissa Etheridge guitar, but you knew that.

The imix no-cut was not tested. Looks like a pain in the butt to replace the battery, and to adjust. They should give you a tool to dial in different settings without removing the strings. Maybe the original owner didn’t include it. I would say the ritual before a gig will be to remove the strings (or loosen them very far), replace the battery to make sure it doesn’t die on you, and go. How do you turn it off?  No directions, and their website doesn’t help. Does it just know when it is plugged in? They should have a special powered connector in the back, to eliminate the internal battery problem. I bet they will in future years.

I can’t fathom the seller. He lost $780 in value in a year. He didn’t even fill out the warranty card. I’m not going to look this gift horse in the mouth.

In sum, a keeper.
 

Scott
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06 Larrivee LSV-11e
95 Lucio Nunez Nava 'Balbina' Classical
81 Ibanez Artist AS 200 semi-hollow
80 Alvarez Yairi DY76 Dreadnought
1905 Vega Lansing Special bowlback mandolin
mazareth
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« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2007, 02:53:18 PM »

Thanks for the report. So, do you like the guitar??

Almost forgot... Welcome to the Forum! 
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Mark from Wis.
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« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2007, 06:30:58 PM »

Hi Scott ...

Nice to meet another LSV-11 owner. I'm the one that had the saddle problem. I agree with your observation that the guitar really sounds good up the fingerboard. As for strings, I have tried a lot of different sets prior to fixing the saddle, so I feel I need to go through the whole process again now that the guitar came out of its slumber. I did have Martin Fingerstyle P.B. mediums on it right after I fixed the saddle and although I was getting a very nice sound, the guitar just seemed a little tough to play with mediums. I now have Newtone P. B. 12-54 on it. A little lighter and mellower sounding than the Martins and have a very soft feel.

This is a rather specialized instrument and people seem to really like it or ... not. As you said, this isn't a strumming cannon. To me, it is a steel string classical guitar, capable of subtle nuance if my technique will allow me to pull it out of the instrument. Hope you enjoy it as much as I am, finally!
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« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2007, 06:42:35 PM »

Hi Scott,

Nice to hear from another LSV-11 owner. On the strings issue, my latest try is a set of GHS Laurence Juber Signature Phosphor Bronze 12-54. Best I've tried, so far. I prefer the lighter strings on the smaller body guitars; I've found it is possible to overdrive the LSV-11. On the next string change, however, I'm going to follow CF's lead and give that saddle a good inspection.

Welcome aboard,

Gary
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« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2007, 10:10:44 PM »

Just a thought - thou im not a LSV-11e owner i do have a OMv60 ( thou an OM it is a close relative ) I had trouble finding the right strings for it , another member had the same guitar and sold it because he did not bond with his - I liked the sound of the cleartone stings but they were missing something - especially because they were Mediums - i tried the opposite end on string and used Ex-lights ( Dadarrio PB ) they were bright but not loud and were very disapointing - then i tried a set of EXP's Custom lights - and i couldnt be happier -
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Scott LSV-11E
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« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2007, 11:22:40 AM »

Just a thought - thou im not a LSV-11e owner i do have a OMv60 ( thou an OM it is a close relative ) I had trouble finding the right strings for it , another member had the same guitar and sold it because he did not bond with his - I liked the sound of the cleartone stings but they were missing something - especially because they were Mediums - i tried the opposite end on string and used Ex-lights ( Dadarrio PB ) they were bright but not loud and were very disappointing - then i tried a set of EXP's Custom lights - and i couldnt be happier -

I have cleartones on order and elixir's on the instrument now. The low E is a little weak, but they sparkle like new strings should. Coated strings always seem to me to be a compromise. Before Elixirs I was always happy with D'addario PB lights, but one stressful sweaty gig and they were toast. These Elixirs, which I liken to strings with a condom, are never as fresh and immediate as an uncoated, but sound better longer. I'm hoping the cleartones are a good compromise: thinner coating. And, if the factory uses them standard, they are worth a try. Certainly an individual taste.

What is this about the donuts?    If you saw my waistline you would agree I don't need them!

Scott
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06 Larrivee LSV-11e
95 Lucio Nunez Nava 'Balbina' Classical
81 Ibanez Artist AS 200 semi-hollow
80 Alvarez Yairi DY76 Dreadnought
1905 Vega Lansing Special bowlback mandolin
Scott LSV-11E
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« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2007, 08:32:48 PM »

If you wanted to see the pics, btw:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=250159533623&ssPageName=STRK:MEWN:IT&ih=015

From the seller, but that's the one.
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06 Larrivee LSV-11e
95 Lucio Nunez Nava 'Balbina' Classical
81 Ibanez Artist AS 200 semi-hollow
80 Alvarez Yairi DY76 Dreadnought
1905 Vega Lansing Special bowlback mandolin
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« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2007, 10:38:52 PM »

The imix no-cut was not tested. Looks like a pain in the butt to replace the battery, and to adjust. They should give you a tool to dial in different settings without removing the strings. Maybe the original owner didn't include it. I would say the ritual before a gig will be to remove the strings (or loosen them very far), replace the battery to make sure it doesn't die on you, and go. How do you turn it off?  No directions, and their website doesn't help. Does it just know when it is plugged in? They should have a special powered connector in the back, to eliminate the internal battery problem. I bet they will in future years.

Scott - First, welcome to the forum. Second, the donuts are an offering to the members, not to keep. Although my waistline wouldn't need any either. More of a polite thank you than anything of nutritional value. I don't know how it started, but remains tradition.

I also have an I-Mix and can hopefully answer some of your questions.

The battery should be held in a bag. The bag has velcro and you can position the bag just about anywhere. Traditional placement will be near the neck joint, but you can easily move it to a more accessible location if desired. Straight down from the sound hole on the waist is a pretty easy area to get to it.

As well, the adjustments made to the amplification unit are easier to do if you have access to the unit from the sound hole. Looking at the pictures, you have a fairly traditional placement that should be able to be adjusted easily. Use a screwdriver with a long shaft. You will not have to remove, or even loosen, the strings for adjustment.

The batteries last a long time and you should not have to replace it every time you play. No where near that often. I get years out of the batteries as long as I turn it off when I'm not playing it. Speaking of which...

When you plug the guitar in, you activate the unit. When you unplug, you turn it off. The insertion of the 1/4" jack is what turns it on and off. I picked up a cable with a silent plug, the kind that doesn't throw a spike to the amp when you plug in or unplug your guitar, and just unplug it when I'm not playing it.

You can get a non-powered unit and use it with an external pre-amp. The traditional I-Mix is active, meaning powered. But, you can get them passive, meaning non-powered, and add an external pre-amp along your cable line to the amp. However, I'm sure you will not have any problems with the set up you currently have once you dial it in to your preference.

Here are the instructions from the Baggs site:

There are six controls along the right exterior of the preamp: Ibeam gain, Ibeam low cut, Ibeam mid cut, Relative Phase, Element mid cut, and Stereo/mono. Setting these controls is an essential part of perfecting your sound. To set these controls, you will need a small screwdriver.

The likelihood of the Ibeam and Element gain levels being naturally equal is extremely low.

Gain: First, make sure everything is plugged in and turned on, and rotate the mix wheel completely to the Element. Now test the overall volume of the Element by playing all the strings in your normal playing style. Then, rotate the control completely to the Ibeam and do the same.

Note the difference between the two pickups and adjust the gain control accordingly. Once the gain has been adjusted, again test both pickups individually using the mix knob to pan between the two.

Ibeam low cut: This is a 12db/octave low cut that adjusts the iBeams’s low-end cutoff from 60Hz to 640Hz. Make sure that the mix control is panned completely to the iBeam before testing.

Ibeam mid cut: This adjusts the Ibeam’s midrange frequencies around 900Hz. Rotating the control completely clockwise will give the Ibeam full midrange output and essentially deactivates this control. The counterclockwise end reduces this part of the output by 9db

Relative Phase: The default position is shown on the label and this is the proper phase for the standard Ibeam/Element setup.

Element mid cut: This control has the same operation as the Ibeam mid cut, but affects the Element. Be sure to have the mix control panned completely to the Element when testing this setting.

Stereo/Mono: This determines whether the output is summed to one mono channel or split into two signals. Stereo mode requires the use of stereo cables. The Element is on the tip channel and the Ibeam is on the ring channel.

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2006 Larrivee LV-10 MR   1980 Les Paul Custom Natural   Larrivee LV-03-12   1998 Carvin LB75 Koa Bass
Scott LSV-11E
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« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2007, 05:56:38 PM »

I really appreciate your comments. It is hard getting this second hand without instructions. The Bagg site didn't mention how it was turned on and off, so I figured what you said was probably the case but it is good to know.

I have a cable on order so I should be able to try it out soon. I suppose I could just plug in a mono cable and try it with my 60's tube fender deluxe reverb amp. But it isn't anything that a contemporary player would call fidelity. I have a pro sound system and my church has a sound reinforcement system I designed (I am an insufferable snob about sound quality), so I was going to try those venues first.

Nice to hear that the 9V doesn't have a short life.

Scott

Thanks again.    +1
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06 Larrivee LSV-11e
95 Lucio Nunez Nava 'Balbina' Classical
81 Ibanez Artist AS 200 semi-hollow
80 Alvarez Yairi DY76 Dreadnought
1905 Vega Lansing Special bowlback mandolin
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« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2007, 07:43:30 PM »

Scott - If the system is set to mono, it won't make any difference if you have a stereo cord or not. If you are trying to split your signal for live performances, you will need a stereo input to the board. I don't know if you are going to run two separate channels or if your board has stereo capability inputs. I run mine mono into a DI box and let the sound guy worry about it. I would rather have one balanced signal than one that is heavy on the low end on one side and one that might be thin on the other. Especially in a performance setting, you might sound good in the middle where you have some crossover, but for people sitting on one or the other side it might not be as good. I've found stereo to be nice in a recording or studio setting, but mono for performances works much better. IMHO

For an amp, especially if you practice what we call sound snobbery (yes, I'm guilty too), you will probably want to get a dedicated acoustic amp and a dedicated electric amp. Believe me when I say I have tried to get an amp that will do both, but it has been nothing but a waste of time, energy, and money. The key in an acoustic amp is transperency, the key in an electric amp is coloring the sound. They just don't cross over anywhere.

This will also depend on what you use for monitors in your church. We went to ear buds and everyone has their own mixing station at each position. I don't need an amp since I can mix my ear buds to my preference and the sound guys will make it sound good "out there". For the electric, I mic an amp, which is the only reason I need an amp. Using an attenuator I don't need it loud. Again, I mix my own monitor mix and let the sound guys worry about the room.

If you are using your amps as your personal monitor or if you are projecting into the room with them, you will definitely want to get a higher power acoustic amp and use your Fender for your electric needs. Hope that helps, Dale
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"The barrier to knowledge is the belief that you have it"

2006 Larrivee LV-10 MR   1980 Les Paul Custom Natural   Larrivee LV-03-12   1998 Carvin LB75 Koa Bass
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