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Author Topic: Generalizations about Guitars  (Read 7561 times)
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« Reply #20 on: July 06, 2013, 08:29:58 PM »

Hi headsup,

...
My original question, was going to be around other's experience with mahogany guitars.
 And why, after my own lifetime of having them come and go, why this particular Larrivee guitar seems to have tone, depth and character none others have had, including the OMV-50.

Perhaps because generalizations are meaningless.
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jeremy3220
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« Reply #21 on: July 07, 2013, 01:27:05 AM »


It's a really poor opinion piece. There's real information out there if you look.

This could be called The Scientist's Guide to Lutherie Woods.
Quote
The unique mechanical and acoustical properties of wood and its aesthetic appeal still make it the material of choice for musical instruments and the interior of concert halls. Worldwide, several hundred wood species are available for making wind, string, or percussion instruments. Over generations, first by trial and error and more recently by scientific approach, the most appropriate species were found for each instrument and application. Using material property charts on which acoustic properties such as the speed of sound, the characteristic impedance, the sound radiation coefficient, and the loss coefficient are plotted against one another for woods. We analyze and explain why spruce is the preferred choice for soundboards, why tropical species are favored for xylophone bars and woodwind instruments, why violinists still prefer pernambuco over other species as a bow material, and why hornbeam and birch are used in piano actions.
Max-Planck-Institut für Metallforschung, Heisenbergstr. 3, D-70569 Stuttgart, Germany; and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Materials Sciences Division, Berkeley, California 94720 USA
http://www.amjbot.org/content/93/10/1439.full
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Barefoot Rob
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« Reply #22 on: July 07, 2013, 03:41:25 AM »

Heads I'll just say that sometime's a guitar has a "Kinda Magic" and all you can do is go with it.
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« Reply #23 on: July 07, 2013, 04:15:55 AM »

I think I recall reading that as a person ages, his ears prefer the quicker decay and less reverby sound of mahogany compared to rosewood.




um that's an interesting statement, if it wasn't preceded by "I think, I recall"
bringing age, and aging ears into the theory is pushing things into less objective, or even subjective turf.
 again you folks have baffled me.......
 what do i know, I get paid to play guitar, 4-5 times every week-end-some where in there I have a sonic brain that is fussier than most, and simply tries to make sense of the tonal properties of well made guitars- knowing full well, "it's all in the fingertips" .... mad
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« Reply #24 on: July 07, 2013, 04:51:25 AM »

Just came across this - haven't had a chance to watch all of it - but it seems on topic.

Acoustic Addicts - comparing tonewoods

Acoustic Addicts Episode #2 - The Martin Show
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« Reply #25 on: July 07, 2013, 11:46:52 AM »

I totally agree with unclrob, some guitars have it and some don't. If you have one that does - KEEP IT, LOVE IT, PLAY IT ! 
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« Reply #26 on: July 07, 2013, 04:15:52 PM »

I totally agree with unclrob, some guitars have it and some don't. If you have one that does - KEEP IT, LOVE IT, PLAY IT ! 



 +1

I was never a rosewood fan and now my main guitar is an LS10,its backup is an OM03PA which is a maple.
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« Reply #27 on: July 07, 2013, 07:05:20 PM »




um that's an interesting statement, if it wasn't preceded by "I think, I recall"
bringing age, and aging ears into the theory is pushing things into less objective, or even subjective turf.
 again you folks have baffled me.......
 what do i know, I get paid to play guitar, 4-5 times every week-end-some where in there I have a sonic brain that is fussier than most, and simply tries to make sense of the tonal properties of well made guitars- knowing full well, "it's all in the fingertips" .... mad

Here's the link where I read this statement.  Personally, I never met a tonewood I did not like--as long as the wood is part of a well-made guitar.  A well-made guitar played by someone skilled on the instrument will generally sound good 

http://www.acousticguitarforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=296475

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« Reply #28 on: July 07, 2013, 07:34:56 PM »

Here's the link where I read this statement.  Personally, I never met a tonewood I did not like--as long as the wood is part of a well-made guitar.  A well-made guitar played by someone skilled on the instrument will generally sound good 

http://www.acousticguitarforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=296475



 
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« Reply #29 on: July 07, 2013, 08:11:00 PM »

More writing on the subject
Tapping Tonewoods by Dana Bourgeois
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« Reply #30 on: July 16, 2013, 05:29:18 PM »

Great thread.

There are ways to tie subjective terminology, to objective measures of sound.  This was my job for nearly 15 years in the automotive industry, tying objective measures of sound to what people called 'powerful', 'luxurious', 'smooth', 'rough', 'sporty' etc. for powertrain sound, and 'solid', 'cheap', 'safe', etc. for door closing and other compartment closure sounds.  The science exists.  It is a little bit fuzzy, but less so than one would imagine.  There are sound analysis techniques which can be mapped to the subjective terms (those terms that had good general agreement amongst test persons) with enough precision that for some subjective terms, you can specify what quantity of quality 'x' is needed for a product, and go design the product to that specification.

Here's the difficulty in applying it to musical instruments:  In the automotive world, we had standardized test operating conditions which were repeatable.  I can drive a Camaro SS in a Wide-Open-Throttle acceleration, time and again in a similar fashion and have a smile on my face while doing that!  I can then hop into a Mustang GT and do the same and drive that the same pretty much time and again, and have a smile again.  I can train someone to drive it in such a fashion and the resulting sound is going to be very similar for the both of us driving the vehicle.

Try playing 'Sweet Baby James' the same way amongst different players, or even the same player the same way time and again.  Much more difficult task.

When I met Jean L. in Oxnard on a very lucky chance when he was there on a Saturday, we got a great tour from him.  At the end of the tour, I basically offered to come work for him, at least on a consulting basis, to do what I was doing in the automotive industry, for Larrivée guitars.  His short answer was something along the lines of: " If that could be done, someone would be doing it already."

Here's what you can do - you can train people to hear certain timbres that are 'signatures' for some electric guitar/amp combinations.  For example, if I say to you - imagine the sound of a bolt-on neck guitar, with 3 single coil pickups in their classic locations, with pickup selector in the neck-middle position, played into a Fender Twin Reverb with very little overdrive - any of you that are electric guitar fans can hear that sound in your head.  It's got a characteristic round-yet-thin 'Strat' timbre, no matter what type of wood is used in the body, and no matter what single-coil pickups are used, so long as they are functioning, and all other factors are held constant.

I recall the experience I had listening blind to Larrivée endorsee, and 2002 Winfield winner John Standefer playing my L-03 (spruce top, some type of hog sides and back) back to back with the killer L-10 he has with rosewood back and sides, bling all over.  He played the same song, switching back and forth between guitars (his action was set lower than mine) and I swear I could barely hear any difference at all.  Both of us had new strings, but mine were Elixirs and his something else.  His buzzed ever so lightly more than mine.  I was listening hard to hear tonal differences, but the thing which stood out the most was fret buzz, and just a slight difference there.

-Scott

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« Reply #31 on: July 16, 2013, 11:47:40 PM »

Hi Scott,

Thanks for adding your interesting (and likely unique) perspect here.

I'd like to provide a little insight into the motive for the lead post.

I was hosting an event and quite unusual for me, this was to be an all acoustic (no amplifiers or PA) event.  Just voices and guitars and unfortunately as it turned out, some hand-percussion.
   
The room is about 2500 square feet with a vaulted ceiling that rises up about 25 feet. The room is quite reverberant.

In preparation for this I pulled out several guitars and asked a volunteer tell me which was the loudest. She sat about 15 feet from me, listening, not watching.
   
At one point she said, "that one's louder, but it's because you are playing it harder". To my surprise, I realized that she was right.

For the rest, her comments were basically,

"They all sound about the same"

"That one (the Martin D41) is loudest, but I don't like it as much as the others".

She was able to tell (without looking) that the Taylors were Taylors. The Martin was different from the others.

She also said that all the Larrivées & the Morgan sounded so similar that there was no reason to choose one over another.  She singled out the OMV-KK (all Koa) as sounding slightly but noticeably different from the rest.

So here's the thing... between all the guitars I had a jumbo, couple of dreadnaughts, L bodies, an OM, an LS, different tonewoods, different tops.


My volunteer does not play guitar, but is an avid listener. I am certain that she has spent more time listening intently to acoustic guitar music than I have.

She was far enough away that she could probably not hear the sound as I was hearing it while playing. But I think she was hearing the sound in much the way anyone would hear it in an acoustic environment several feet in front of it.

At the end of the exercise, she asked me simply, "Why do you have so many guitars that sound the same?"



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« Reply #32 on: July 16, 2013, 11:55:41 PM »

        At the end of the exercise, she asked me simply, "Why do you have so many guitars that sound the same?"



                                      That is the question it seems.
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« Reply #33 on: July 17, 2013, 12:02:37 AM »

Technically timbre is defined by harmonic content - that's why you can usually tell an oboe (with a conical bore) from a clarinet (a cylindrical bore).

The parallels to guitar aren't strict, but they are there. Different body structures definitely affect harmonic resonances and frequency response. Within a given body shape, changes in tonewood tend to generate predictable changes in timbre.
I think this best sums up my thoughts on it. Yes the woods make a difference but until you put the guitars properties together in their entirety, you can't just say Hog gonna do this, Rosewood that etc. All parts work together, Wood, Braces, Bridge, Saddle, density of neck, headstock, all of it. I do think some can describe accurately, High-, volume and sustain. Beyond that can get mushy.
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« Reply #34 on: July 17, 2013, 12:07:33 AM »

        At the end of the exercise, she asked me simply, "Why do you have so many guitars that sound the same?"



                                      That is the question it seems.
Well I will say I have 3 Flattop acoustics and they definitely sound different. L-10, 000-60 and Gallagher Dread.
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« Reply #35 on: July 17, 2013, 01:52:04 AM »

Played at a gathering tonight with several different guitars, as well as two fiddles, a stand up bass and a mountain dulcimer. Lots of fun and many different sounds. The guitars, though not all playing at the same time, were 2 Martin dreads, 1 Collings dread, 1 Epiphone dread and a Washburn dread. One particular tune had me playing between the Collings and one of the Martins. I couldn't tell them apart, really, both sounded nice but certainly different than my LV-03 with rosewood and Italian spruce. I wouldn't have traded either one (both spruce over rosewood, by the way) for mine, but I am somewhat prejudiced these days. The other guitars didn't come close. I only offer this up because they were so different sounding and it's very fresh in my mind as I just got home from two hours of playing in this mix.   
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« Reply #36 on: July 17, 2013, 12:12:03 PM »

Bluegrass dread city. When I'm in that kinda of jam, if no one else is doing it, I'll play up the neck to separate. Maybe add some mandolin chop if not a mando there.
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« Reply #37 on: July 24, 2013, 06:33:52 PM »

Guitars can sound different on different days, and can vary with what kind of pick you're using,  and your strings...I've been playing acoustic for almost 50 years and wouldn't know how to describe how "it" sounds.  My Larrivees always sound "good"  sometimes "great"
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« Reply #38 on: July 27, 2013, 06:14:58 AM »

Wonderful reading here.
 we could all just cut to the chase and simply state the obvious.

 Ok everybody,

 ah ONE

 ah TWO

ah THREE  and

all together now!

MY GUITAR IS THE BEST SOUNDING GUITAR IN THE ROOM!!!


 Damn that felt GOOD!!!
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« Reply #39 on: July 27, 2013, 12:52:14 PM »

I've always worn a tin foil hat when playing. My guitars have changed and like a dummy I realized all this time I've added another variable to account for.
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