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Author Topic: Low volume in my new Larrivee OM-03  (Read 2473 times)
zurdillo
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« on: July 18, 2009, 07:33:31 AM »

Hello all,

From four months ago I have a new Larrivee OM-03, builded in 2007. I'm a amateur player with 30 years of experience mainly in classic guitar, now very interested in steel string fingerpicking guitar.

I have too a very good spanish made Alhambra dreadnought all solid cedar/ovangkol (W-2), and a cheap old Framus for the battle.

I'm happy with my new Larrivee, I like some aspects like the workmanship, the fret work, the selected woods, the design, the tone, etc. But I'm very dissapointed with the low volume that the guitar produce, really is a handicap when playing because is a beutiful but plain sound and in some music a powefull sound is needed here or there. Factory strings (Cleartone, I think) was changed for Ernie Ball and the thing improved a bit, and too a new real bone was fitted in the bridge.

Comparing with my Alhambra, there is not colour, the Alhambra has a powerfull and nice sound (I understand that is a dread) but the cheap Framus (not solid wood and parlor size body) too has twice the volume of the Larri. I know the great prestige of Larrivee and I don't know if is possible that one guitar between thousands can sound more "dead" or plane, perhaps this is my guitar.

I know that some players think that a good guitar like my OM-03 usually "open" the sound with the time (or with the playing or both) and this is my consult to this forum, I know that there are experts players here that can give me advice in this point. I'm waiting the guitar "open up" like we wait the rain in Andalusia. Is probably that my guitar improve in volume with time and/or playing or is better sell the guitar and go for other OM? When I adquire the Larri, the other posibility was a Martin 000-15 and now I'm doubting if think in this alternative.

Please, let me a second and last question: somebody know a way to make  guitar more confortable to play? Strings are very low now but is a bit hard to play.

Any comment would be very appreciate.

Greetings   

Juan Carlos
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Oetomoepi
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« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2009, 10:45:59 AM »

Hello Juan,

I emphatize with you.
I bought a D09, sweet tone and all, but when I first had it three months ago, it just could not compare with my laminated Ibanez vintage guitar. The Ibanez vintage is louder and definitely richer in tone when strummed.
Then I chanced upon some forum suggesting a change to Fozzilized Mammoth Ivory saddle, I asked the local luthier to help, and it definitely improves the clarity and loudness, I even went as far as to change the nut to FMI and the pins to bone pins. Even with the improved tone, the volume still can't compare to my Ibanez.
Anyway, I played that guitar 2hours daily, this is the fourth month now, and guess what. When I A/B my Ibanez to to D09 now, there is just no comparison, I have come to appreciate the sweetness of the tone of this guitar more and more and my ears are telling me that the volume is now comparable to my Ibanez. Perhaps this is due to my ear being biased to the D09 and my playing style has adapated to this guitar because of the hours that I spent on it daily. But I know for sure tone wise, there is just no comparison, the D09 wins handsdown.
 ne more thing, if you are living in humid region like I do here in Singapore, you want to invest in a dehumidifier to dry your guitar. I dry mine weekly, and I think that  also helps to bring out the volume on the guitar.
Keep playing it, and I hope you have that pleasant suprise one day just like I did.
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ncognito
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« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2009, 12:04:20 PM »

Juan--

I don't play nylon string guitar, but I'd imagine that it's quite an adjustment to your fretting hand fingertips.  You have the action low for your comfort.  Maybe others with more experience can verify this, but I would guess that the low action inhibits the instrument's volume.

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Stephen Basil
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« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2009, 12:07:28 PM »

I have an OM-03R and it is not a loud guitar.  It doesn't project to the same extent as my other Larrivee, LSV-03R, nor as my rosewood cedar classical.  I play quite softly with finger nails and have never really been able to get a decent sound out of the few mahogany guitars I've tried -I don't use a pick.  While my OM is not loud, it creates a wonderful, blooming sound especially in the mid range and is my favourite guitar.  It came with bone nut and saddle, ebony pins and I use Newtone Custom strings which amplify the low end compared to other light gauge strings.

After four months of playing the guitar and you haven't bonded with it yet, the guitar is probably not for you.  The Larrivee Traditional Series are designed to be louder than the regular line.  There's Youtube video from Guitars of Pikesville that compares the rosewood and mahogany models.
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tadol
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« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2009, 03:45:35 PM »

I think you've gotten some good feedback Juan - I would agree that maybe the action is too low, and the break angle on the bridge may be too shallow. There is a good thread on modifying the bridge to increase the break angle. If you try this, have the guitar set-up with a little more height on the saddle, just to start. If the volume is still not acceptable to you, then maybe you should sell it and find another. After 3 months, its probably opened up some, and I wouldn't want to assure you it would get louder if you play it longer.

I assume you have a good tech to talk this over with. They may have some other suggestions. But the OM is not really a loud guitar, and it may not be the right one for you -

Good Luck, and let us know what you try and what you decide!

Tad
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DaveyO
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« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2009, 01:53:01 AM »

Try a set of Elixers
should make it louder for sure
dave
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Colo Springs E
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« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2009, 11:44:52 AM »

My OM-03 is nearly as loud as a "typical" Larrivee dread, and certainly louder/punchier/more toneful than most other brand's dreadnaughts.

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zurdillo
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« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2009, 05:47:19 PM »

Thank you very much for your replies.

From your messages I can extract interesting conclusions. Perhaps one is that there are some quiets OM30 and others more louders.

I will try Elixir strings too. The topics about shaving braces are very interesting too. I have experience like amateur luthier, with six instruments completed.

In any case I think I have a very good instrument and sell it perhaps is not into my goals at the moment. Perhaps will improve the volume with the time, perhaps will not improve. The more important now is keep playing.

Thank you very much. This time include coffe!
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Bltprf502
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« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2009, 12:50:20 PM »

I have to say that the OM-03R's are louder than a standard sapele 03 OM.  I have an OM-03R and it rings out just great for fingerstyle and if light to med strummed.  If you flat pick it, it's never going to sound like a dread in any way.  If it is new...you are gonna have to play it for a while to get it to open up.  If the saddle is too low, call Mark at Larrivee in Oxnard, CA and tell him you are not happy with the action.  He will send you a new Tusq saddle for correct setup.  Try EJ16's on it.  They sound great on mine and have more balls than other strings I have used.  This all should do the trick.  Best of luck.
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alvinlam
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« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2009, 02:18:21 PM »

I suspect that your action is too low for you; seeing that you've been a classical guitarist for long while. IMHO, the tonewood plays a part as well as the strings.  Folks earlier has given given feedback. Before you ditch your OM for something else, take it a good luthier and hear what he has to say. 

Having said that, OM-03 is not going to have the same tone as rosewood which you are apparently very used to-- your classical guitar is the benchmark for you. Perhaps if you do change guitar, I would suggest a rosewood for starters.  I chose D-03R over D-03 because of the sound that it was able to project.  Pikesville youtube helped sealed that decision as i was able to hear the difference.   
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« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2009, 02:53:46 PM »

Some people will disagree, but IMHO I do not think that the majority of Sapele guitars will match the sound of RoseWood in your choice of models such as the OM-03. I'm not hating and I think the OM-03 is a fine, fine guitar. 
Case in Point.  I owned a Sapele Dread and I now on a Mahogany Dread. Although the two tonewoods are related, my Mahogany does sound louder and  better than the particular Sapele I had.  To be fair, both dreads were from two different manufacturers and had characteristics that set them apart in their own positive way.
Experiment with different strings and action, play it and give it some time and it will open up a bit for you.  You probably have one of the best bang for buck guitars you can own.

Mix.
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BenF
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« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2009, 02:59:51 PM »

My OM-03 is not loud at all, but it sure sounds sweet.  If I wanted a loud guitar I wouldn't buy an OM though.
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jeremy3220
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« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2009, 03:13:05 PM »

Having owned an OM-03R, an OM-03MT and played OM-03's, I have to say that they are not loud and not even that loud for an OM.
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hadden
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« Reply #13 on: July 22, 2009, 07:08:34 PM »

If a guitar isn't really doing it for you you should get something else. Hoping it will get better usually doesn't work.
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zurdillo
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« Reply #14 on: July 23, 2009, 07:44:43 AM »


Thank you for the info. I suspect that low action can be part of the problem. I will raise the action a bit and will change the strings.

Bltprf502, what type of strings are EJ16's?
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jeremy3220
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« Reply #15 on: July 23, 2009, 08:04:59 AM »

What is the action height?
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zurdillo
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« Reply #16 on: July 23, 2009, 08:26:02 AM »

What is the action height?

The action in the 12th fret is 2 mm in the trebble and 2,5 mm in the bass. Excuse me for write in milimeters.

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jeremy3220
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« Reply #17 on: July 23, 2009, 02:17:24 PM »

That's really not that low. I doubt you'll gain much by raising it. I would at least make sure you keep the original saddle so you can go back in case the only thing raising the action gives you is higher action.
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Southern Cross
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« Reply #18 on: July 23, 2009, 02:53:19 PM »

Hello and welcome to the forum.  One thing that has not been mentioned is that the L-03R or a regular L-03 in mahogany(that is what mine is) are probably much louder guitars than your OM-03.  I play in a band at church, and haven't had any problems with volume.  We do play amplified, but during our practice sessions we play acoustic only.  That is another possible solution-try your OM-03 amplified, and see if you like it better.  You can get an Ultrasound AG-30 amp which is great for home use, and probably for playing small rooms for a reasonable amount.  Good luck.
Clifford welcome
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Bltprf502
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« Reply #19 on: July 24, 2009, 02:13:15 AM »

EJ16's are Daddario Phospher bronze 12-53 guage strings that are uncoated.  They are a great, good ole stand by classic strings tha sound pretty darn good on any Larrivee I have owned.  Give em a shot!
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