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Author Topic: Bringing out the bass in my OM-03R  (Read 6955 times)
Broadus
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« Reply #80 on: February 28, 2009, 07:16:48 PM »

I think we are mostly agreeing. I understand the concept of responsiveness and light bracing etc. I just think the Larrivees are lively guitars, in spite of the rather massive cross brace etc. and they compare well across the board. Using Mediums counteracts the heavy build somewhat, matches it better and the differences to other good gits then becomes mostly negligible for me.  I just don't hear as wide a difference. I am surprised they sound as good as they do, really. If I can get the guitar largely equivalent with a higher gauge, yeah for me.

This is off topic though. Sorry Broadus.


Quite alright. I appreciate the discussion.

The one thing I've learned is I really, really need to try out a Martin OM-21.  I just check Jim's site and he has a new one for sale. Unfortunately, I just got my car out of the shop and my wife had to have new glasses . . . . 

Bill
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GA-ME
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« Reply #81 on: February 28, 2009, 08:30:56 PM »

Jeremy, I realize strength to weight isn't the be all end all variable. However, given a guitar that is already complete such as the Om in the original topic of the thread, to me the easiest way to accomplish more bass response is to decrease the wight of the top plate and the simplest most linear way to realize this is to thin bracing. If, you are slow and methodical there should be little danger in going so far as to fundamentally change the resonating frequencies, but I see how someone working quickly without foresight and a very sharp finger plane could cause the ugly old wolves to start howling!

I think you could get noticeable improvement just by slightly rounding all the abrupt right angles found inside most factory guitars, Larrivee included. On my Om build, I went with a knife edge Parabolic structure for the bracing leaving the height unchanged and the width of the brace at the point of contact with the top standard. I don't know how it will sound yet, but it will certainly provide a point of reference in establishing cause and effect for modifications to the basic design of the bracing in future attempts at learning this stuff. I'll be the first to tell you there is a lot left for me to learn and that most of what is left to learn is not theory but application. i will get better by thinking about solutions and doing. There is NO SUBSTITUTE for DOING.

Duck, the sound or quality of a Larrivee isn't the only reason for Larrivee's success. There is more to this business model than merely "his overbuilt braces and clunky design and accomplished so much with it. Heck, everyone should be so lucky to build such unresponsive guitars."    Jean Larrivee is most certainly an enterprising, very bright, astute businessman. Madison Avenue is as important as instrument quality in the success of the company. Larrivee sure knows how to engender mystique into the advertising of his products. Lots of his contemporaries build better guitars, he just builds good guitars better, IE. more efficiently. Different paths for sure.

I am certain that Jean Larrivee can build a better guitar than me out of the same material.  He has more experience building than I do and more experience  almost invariably translates to better results. If he chose to build real hand built instruments, to maximize the materials he has at hand, you would see a very different top plate than his production guitars.  I am just saying that the production Larrivees are a balanced compromise between what is best for the sound of a particular guitar model and what is best for a particular business model.

I'm out of this discussion. peace out!
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jeremy3220
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« Reply #82 on: February 28, 2009, 09:02:56 PM »

Jeremy, I realize strength to weight isn't the be all end all variable. However, given a guitar that is already complete such as the Om in the original topic of the thread, to me the easiest way to accomplish more bass response is to decrease the wight of the top plate and the simplest most linear way to realize this is to thin bracing.

Actually decreasing the weight without changing the stiffness will increase the resonant frequency and will probably move the bias even more toward the treble. So really the easiest way to move the balance more toward the bass is to decrease the stiffness not the weight. However, thinning the profile of the brace will also decrease the stiffness and would be the first thing I would do.
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Skyver
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« Reply #83 on: February 28, 2009, 11:29:57 PM »

I've found that a thumbpick brings out the bass in any guitar.
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rpm60912
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« Reply #84 on: March 01, 2009, 12:45:05 AM »

Thanks GA-ME, Jeremy and Hadden and others - what a rich discussion!

Personally, I'm just beginning my guitar journey into what I consider the perfect size for me, the OM.  The one I recently purchased the OM-40 had light strings. It sounded tinny to my ears. Once, I put Elixir mediums, it brought out the bass more; the mediums stopped my first instinct to sell. So, now, I'm enjoying playing it.

I wonder if the OM-03 (hog or sapele) I tried "just happen to sound more open" (again, this is subjective, balanced to my ears and my dread-jumbo trained ear for bass sound was quite satisfied by the bass it provided; I'm even satisfied with my OM-40's bass now too).

---- end of medium strings part ----


As for Mr. JCL's recipe (perfectly balancing sound AND overbuilding stiff gits which is what's good for a mass produced guitar) - kudos to him!!!

When I asked about writing JCL & Sons about "revoicing" - I meant asking them to do it themselves (not to mess with their tried & true overbuilding method - i.e. thick braces - they can keep on doing it that way), but say, for another series in their guitar model line-up.  And here's my pre-war Martin bracing curiosity which Bill Colling's website clearly states he is modelling his OMs after - I wonder if JCL will consider putting thinned out scalloped pre-war bracing (I'm way out of my league here - too technical now for me) in his "Traditional Series" or may be a totally new line to compete with the legendary Martin OM-21 and Collings OM and Santa Cruzez and Olsens of the world?

Before I bought the OM-40, I tried the Collings OM-2H but it's 4+ price tag dulled my ears from an objective listen.  I tried the same Collings earlier this week, and my ears were "opened" so to speak in appreciation of a well built great sounding little guitar!!!

So, if Mr. JCL can have another say, a "Pre-War Series Gits" that includes an OM, --- wouldn't that be wonderful to expand his already fantastic guitar business establishment and have the rest of the consumers (like me and many Forumites and Larri Fans) enjoy a "Martin OM-21 / Collings" sound at a 03 series price! ??? 

Thanks!!! (discussions, friendly cordial debate and all - you guys have enriched my knowledge, appreciation of guitars - and I can't put down my OM-40 as I'm taking it with me everywhere in the house and bringing it wherever I am - playing it at every chance I get.)

ricky 
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rpm60912
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« Reply #85 on: March 01, 2009, 12:49:41 AM »

BTW, this is one of the most interesting discussions / threads ever... a technical education for me and inspiring me to appreciate & play my gits more!

ricky
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hadden
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« Reply #86 on: March 01, 2009, 01:48:24 AM »

I've found that a thumbpick brings out the bass in any guitar.

Me as well. I tend to have trouble with too much bass though. I find I'm palming to tame the lows a lot. I love a guitar that has a rich growl down low for C or D tunings. Very Metalhead. You can get carried away hitting big chord on a nice dread. With the way I play though I'm always having to put a leash on the beast, even with crisp gits, so if it's leaner on the low notes it works out better for me. 

I can never have enough treble/high-mid strength. Meekness up there is a complete non-starter. 
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« Reply #87 on: March 01, 2009, 10:16:56 PM »

...
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tadol
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« Reply #88 on: March 01, 2009, 11:34:12 PM »

Some great reading here - I want to thank the primary contributors for taking the time to write all that out for the rest of us to try and follow.

The reference to marketing is right on - From what I've read in interviews, Jeans goal was to create a really good guitar at a really good price. I think he's accomplished that very nicely. Could he improve his guitars - maybe. Would they be the same price, and would he be able to warranty them as well? I have doubts.

Maybe someday the family will make a marketing decision to use the name on something higher-end. Their call, and I can see good reasons why they should, and why they shouldn't. But they have the skills, the talent, the experience and the materials to do it if they choose - the questions is whether they would have a market. And I don't mean just among the Larrivee faithful.

Meanwhile, I am still intrigued with the idea of finessing a completed guitar, either through reshaping braces, or some other technique. I hope those with the experience (or guts) to try it will give us all the benefit of their attempts -

Tad

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« Reply #89 on: March 02, 2009, 12:13:10 AM »

I am certain that Jean Larrivee can build a better guitar than me out of the same material.  He has more experience building than I do and more experience  almost invariably translates to better results.
I'm out of this discussion. peace out!

I would be very interesting to see what might happen if Larrivee followed the business model of Taylor, as evidenced in their R Taylor line. I've had the pleasure of playing a few R. Taylors and they are IMHO quite superior to the production Taylor line.

There is a lot of collective luthier experience at Larrivee and if they rolled out a high end department, I have no doubt they could produce some amazingly resonsive guitars. That said, Larrivee has primarily gained a following by providing "bang for the buck" guitars, and they might struggle to overcome that perception. In my opinion, Breedlove has run into perceptions problems by heading in the other direction, namely; building a lower end Breedlove over in Asia.

It's a very tricky balance. At the end of the day, it most often comes down to simple economics. If you want a builder to brace and voice a guitar for your particular preferences, it's simply going to be more expensive than a production build. That does not mean there there are not some excellent productions builds our there, but as someone who owns some smaller luthier builds, I can tell you that you are most often going to find a higher level of resonsiveness and tonal complexity from a luthier who spends the time to 'voice' his or her instruments. But, that comes at a price!

A Honda is a well built, reliable, excellent value for money car. It is however not a BWM or Mercedes Benz, and that's isn't a bad thing, but it is a reality

 ~ Ray ~
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« Reply #90 on: March 02, 2009, 06:03:55 PM »

All the brace altering aside, I believe there is something else going on with this guitar. I recommend a setup by a qualified luthier and then a reevaluation of sound.

    
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« Reply #91 on: March 02, 2009, 06:19:00 PM »

Have any of you seen the prices on Larrivées?

http://www.larrivee.com/3_products/products_models.html

This "best bang for the buck" thing is way passé. I'm sticking to my guns. Jean Larrivée makes fine guitars the way he wants to make them and they sound like he wants them to sound. If you don't think so, buy something else or by all means take a sharp tool and have at it. Other than that ... what's to prove? 
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Broadus
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« Reply #92 on: March 02, 2009, 06:25:26 PM »

All the brace altering aside, I believe there is something else going on with this guitar. I recommend a setup by a qualified luthier and then a reevaluation of sound.

    

I think the biggest culprit was the strings. I've liked D'Addario EXP16's on my guitars previously, but they just seemed to make my OM-03R muddy sounding. The Elixir Nano 80/20's have given greater clarity to the sound. It is much better than before.

I don't know that the Elixirs are the best strings for it, but they are much better to my ear than the EXP16's on this guitar.

Bill
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flatlander
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« Reply #93 on: March 02, 2009, 07:02:14 PM »

I think the biggest culprit was the strings. Bill

Sorry Bill but that's impossible!
Oh man, let me bite my tongue and go laugh in the corner with my nose in the circle.
Before I lost it laughing I was gonna ask how in the world my L has plenty of clear sounding bass with those thick braces.
Mention that Larrivee design was built on balence, not bass, and to mention that it is also true that Larrivee made a decision to go big
after years of saying he didn't want to for fear that quality would not be the same. He stood his ground against the sales force for years.  That being said, I find my new Larrivee to have good bass. If you want an overall bassey guitar get a dread by one of the old dread kings.
 Yes strings can make a big difference on some guitars.
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rpm60912
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« Reply #94 on: March 02, 2009, 07:09:16 PM »

The elixir 80/20 mediums gave my OM a more satsfying

balanced sound & decent bass to my ears.

rickyl
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Broadus
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« Reply #95 on: March 02, 2009, 07:44:39 PM »


Sorry Bill but that's impossible!
Oh man, let me bite my tongue and go laugh in the corner with my nose in the circle.
Before I lost it laughing I was gonna ask how in the world my L has plenty of clear sounding bass with those thick braces.
Mention that Larrivee design was built on balence, not bass, and to mention that it is also true that Larrivee made a decision to go big
after years of saying he didn't want to for fear that quality would not be the same. He stood his ground against the sales force for years.  That being said, I find my new Larrivee to have good bass. If you want an overall bassey guitar get a dread by one of the old dread kings.
 Yes strings can make a big difference on some guitars.


Happy to provide some levity to your morning. 

This thread has gone too long to keep up with who said what when, but a couple pages back I posted that I had switched to the Elixirs. I made a point of saying that there was not really an increase in bass, but the clarity was much better and made the sound much more acceptable. With the D'Addario EXP16's (PB lights), the sound was muddy. Now it's not.

I also said the guitar remained very balanced, evidently the way Larrivee designed its OM's. I still think that.

I'm not after a "bassy" guitar, but one where the lower end doesn't run and hide. I've enjoyed hearing the bass in my Eastman, and the muddiness of the Larri was making me very dissatisfied with the guitar. Now, at least, I can hear the notes better, so I think the strings made the difference, as you noted in your last statement.

Bill
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« Reply #96 on: March 02, 2009, 08:19:58 PM »

Well maybe it didn't take much to levitize me today but just scanning over thread and all the scientific explanations then jumping to the end and seeing that new strings helped much just hit my funny bone.
 You bring up a good point I think about clarity. I discovered also that the clarity of the bass changes my perception of how bassey
a guitar comes across as.
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« Reply #97 on: March 03, 2009, 02:03:46 AM »

Bill, don't be afraid to try mediums. I know a lot of people think they will have a harder time with med's but I find that everyone of my guitars plays easier with med's. I don't know why, but maybe it's because you can have your action a little lower with med's.
Changing from lights to mediums will make a far greater difference than changing brands of string.

I'll give you this challenge. Buy a set of EJ17's and put them on, play it for 3 or 4 days to let the brightness wear off and see if you don't find a big difference. If after a week you are not happy with the sound or you are having trouble with playability let me know and I'll send you the money to buy what you were using so you can change them back.

BTW, I don't plan on having to send you money. Thats how sure I am that you will be happy.

    
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Broadus
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« Reply #98 on: March 03, 2009, 02:46:14 AM »

Bill, don't be afraid to try mediums. I know a lot of people think they will have a harder time with med's but I find that everyone of my guitars plays easier with med's. I don't know why, but maybe it's because you can have your action a little lower with med's.
Changing from lights to mediums will make a far greater difference than changing brands of string.

I'll give you this challenge. Buy a set of EJ17's and put them on, play it for 3 or 4 days to let the brightness wear off and see if you don't find a big difference. If after a week you are not happy with the sound or you are having trouble with playability let me know and I'll send you the money to buy what you were using so you can change them back.

BTW, I don't plan on having to send you money. Thats how sure I am that you will be happy.

    

Hi Roger,

That's a kind offer, but I'll wait till I get more destitute before I ask for replacement money. :)

I'll keep the strings in mind though. I've never seriously thought about mediums because my fretting technique still leaves a lot of room for improvement with lights, especially with barre chords. How much more difficult is fretting mediums than lights in your opinion?

Thanks again,
Bill
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« Reply #99 on: March 03, 2009, 03:21:36 AM »

Remember you may be able to lower your action with mediums, evening it out some as far as playability.
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