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Author Topic: Controversial Tone Wood discussion.  (Read 12690 times)
headsup
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« on: November 23, 2014, 05:03:12 PM »

I'm sure the mod's can place this in the appropriate place," technical"?

I say caution, because there's more attitude here than fact, but the lines do blur, and if nothing else, it certainly will open up discussion.

See for yourself.

http://www.guitarnation.com/articles/calkin.htm
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Walkerman
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« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2014, 05:36:27 PM »

Not so controversial.  Except to answer the question "why do we need more types of tone wood?"  , one only needs to answer "because we are running out of the usual suspects."
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B0WIE
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« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2014, 07:14:00 PM »

Could you paraphrase?  I don't have time to read through that without knowing what it's about.
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« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2014, 07:31:07 PM »

The more the merrier. What the heck. Anyway, back and sides have got much less to do with tone than tops and ... fingers.
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« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2014, 07:33:16 PM »

Could you paraphrase?  I don't have time to read through that without knowing what it's about.
Will try and save you 5  minutes .

Detailed description of various woods.  Doesn't believe that unquartered wood is a handicap. Doesn't  think the species of wood contributes to the tone of a guitar. Don't  be concerned with with tap tones or tap tuning. Believes that good work and experience is everything. None of this will sway a mind that is already drenched in traditional guitar mythology.
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« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2014, 09:18:37 PM »

I wont read that unless they mention this as the true secret to good guitar tone
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« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2014, 11:03:11 PM »

There is some interesting info there....  all opinion, about as much as any woods disertation. 

Ed
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broKen
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« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2014, 01:12:32 AM »

Half way through I realized that I had read this once before. Anyone with that amount of experience is worth listening to so I read all of it. Ill forget it all by next week. Twas interesting anyway. Thanks Kevin
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« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2014, 02:47:11 AM »

Same experience for me, Ken.  Someone on the forum posted a link to it a year or 2 ago.  I also found it very interesting.  I don't have the experience to agree or disagree with what he has to say.
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« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2014, 04:13:07 AM »

Well I guess I felt it controversial because of the notion that no-one can tell the difference between guitars made from different tone-woods.
I found the author's rhetoric and vernacular a bit off putting with regards to his personal experience with wood, which maybe just comes from his own use of the different kinds of woods, rather that the over all differences those same tone woods might have of the sound or feel of a guitar.

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« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2014, 05:45:33 AM »

Well I guess I felt it controversial because of the notion that no-one can tell the difference between guitars made from different tone-woods.
I found the author's rhetoric and vernacular a bit off putting with regards to his personal experience with wood, which maybe just comes from his own use of the different kinds of woods, rather that the over all differences those same tone woods might have of the sound or feel of a guitar.

Kevin, et al.
I think I actually do detect differences among body woods, even with my limited exposure to anything other than rosewood, mahogany, or "laminate".  I became a bit more of a believer when I got my recent OM-03.  Never had a solid mahogany before.  There is definitely a different vibe to it compared to my rosewood L-07.  But then again, it's a different body style, so how much does that contribute?

The only "non-traditional wood" guitar of better quality I ever played happens to be an OM-style that a co-worker made herself at one of the guitar building courses offered.  I think it was in BC or maybe in the USA, I can't remember for sure.  She built this incredible guitar with Olivewood back and sides and sitka top.  Shortly after it was completed, she brought it to work and I played it for 10 minutes or so.  It is one of the most stunning guitars I've ever seen in person,  It sounded absolutely terrific.  But if you were to ask me if it's tone was due to the olive wood or if I could quantify  how it was different from say rosewood, or mahogany, I wouldn't be able to give you an answer.
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« Reply #11 on: November 24, 2014, 01:04:21 PM »

Unless a blind test is done, claims of the ability to tell swamp ash from silver oak with eyes closed will have to be met with some skepticism. I believe I can tell one of my guitars from another but is it because of the back and side woods or other more or less apparent factors? I think I'd know the glassy sound of my '75 Brazilian L from the woody tones of my mahogany OOO-50, for instance. The debate goes on.    
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headsup
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« Reply #12 on: November 24, 2014, 01:16:24 PM »

I have very strong feelings on this matter which is why I posted it.
I don't think I have been in the music business and made a living at it for 50 years because my ears are bad.
 I am told I can still tell when a guitar is a few cents sharp or flat with out a tuner.
I have different tone wood guitars for very different reasons for my ears and what I want from a guitar at any given time.
 
Not unlike the electric choices, around pick up configurations, different acoustic tone woods give me different options.

My most recent Maple L Larrivee, was the first guitar I actually liked in that wood, and I've auditioned  many, and tried to own a couple.
MY "dislike" was because of the "sound" of the wood.

Similarly, I have had some incredible Koa guitars, including a Larrivee OM-10, in that wood, and an OsKar Graf.
 Koa does not call to me, I find it a tad too sweet, and lacking real depth that need for my style of playing.
It's shimmery, and clear, with out the punch of the Maple. (just MY opinion)

My C-05 is a lovely, light and bouncy guitar, sweet, rich, but lacks progection, (as Mahogany does) and some tend to distort if you lean on them too much.

Since selling my old Martin D-28 to Finance my first Larrivee in 1972, I didn't think I would notice the difference and miss a BR guitar UNTIL I got my C-09 in BR, traded it, then got it back. And yes there's no question, it's a boomer, banjo killer, and is a completely different sounding, playing and feeling guitar than it's mahogany brother.

But according to this article, there is really no difference, and evidently people can't tell the difference.

Heck, even WITH electronics installed, just this past week-end, for my friday gig, I took the BR C-09, but decided it was too over bearing, and the next night I took the C-05.
 Same pick up system, same sound system, same guitar body, same maker, different tone woods, and (for me) completely different stage and sound responses.

So THAT is why (I felt) this is a controversial article, and the author had tin ears or something.

I WOULD like to think all this junk I have just spoken to was about my justification for owning several guitars, if I followed the authors line of thinking, I would/should be happy with a $300 solid top, plywood Yamaha.
Imagine what I could then do with all the funds I have invested in the guitars I own and LOVE to play!!!
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« Reply #13 on: November 24, 2014, 01:33:52 PM »

Kevin, I certainly agree with you as far as most of it goes. But is talking about our own guitars and other guitars somehow a little  different? Do we come to know what to expect from a guitar we own as opposed to one right off the wall? I do think knowing when a guitar is slightly out of tune is a horse of a different color. One doesn't necessarily imply the other. Heck, a decent pyanny player can tell that.  
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Strings4Him
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« Reply #14 on: November 24, 2014, 04:10:20 PM »

It simply comes down to playing what sounds good to you.
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B0WIE
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« Reply #15 on: November 24, 2014, 05:43:39 PM »

Will try and save you 5  minutes .

Detailed description of various woods.  Doesn't believe that unquartered wood is a handicap. Doesn't  think the species of wood contributes to the tone of a guitar. Don't  be concerned with with tap tones or tap tuning. Believes that good work and experience is everything. None of this will sway a mind that is already drenched in traditional guitar mythology.

Thanks.  I think I've read that before.  I do believe that there are things that negate the assumed benefit of tap tuning though I haven't built anything myself.
Sides have little impact and one only needs to knock on the sides to hear how dead they are.
As far as the back and the species goes, my ears hear clear differences there.
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D-02-12
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« Reply #16 on: November 25, 2014, 02:09:53 AM »

Kevin, I certainly agree with you as far as most of it goes. But is talking about our own guitars and other guitars somehow a little  different? Do we come to know what to expect from a guitar we own as opposed to one right off the wall? I do think knowing when a guitar is slightly out of tune is a horse of a different color. One doesn't necessarily imply the other. Heck, a decent pyanny player can tell that.  

I think one of the points he was trying to make is 2 similar guitars made of the same tonewoods can sound just as alike or just as different as 2 similar guitars built of different tonewoods.  wacko
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« Reply #17 on: November 25, 2014, 02:50:14 AM »

I think one of the points he was trying to make is 2 similar guitars made of the same tonewoods can sound just as alike or just as different as 2 similar guitars built of different tonewoods.  wacko





I'm a bit lost on the question, and the subsequent follow up.
We certainly all have ur own preferences and bias around such matters.
My only experience is with my guitars, and others i have tried, and how I felt at the time.
Suffice to say, for me, I have narrowed my own feelings down, around experience, and making the same mistakes, expecting different outcome (insanity).

I have no doubt missed a very important point around the article and misread the wrong thing(s) into it.
(I'm good at that), for that error, I apologize.
But over the years, I have become pretty good at playing different guitars in different stores and towns, from different companies, made of different woods etc.
Rarely do any of them call to me, even thpugh I want them to.
 maybe, like others, I am simply spoiled and mostly happy with what I own and what my expectations of those guitars now are.
 Of course, I could be just old and set in my ways, but it took many a Maple guitar before I finally was won over by my current purchase....
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« Reply #18 on: November 25, 2014, 03:08:13 AM »

I was trying to clarify one of his points.  I didn't do a very good job methinks.

I certainly wasn't saying I agree with the article, Kevin.  Your experience and conclusions are just as valid as his, as far as I'm concerned.  Maybe more so since you have a lifetime of playing and performing behind you.  I'm basically on the fence, I guess, and I defer to those with more knowledge and experience than me.
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« Reply #19 on: November 25, 2014, 03:25:59 AM »

I don't think the article is controversial. I think many of his contentions are wrong. I and most can readily tell the difference in sound between a rosewood and mahogany B&S guitar. However I don't think it is nearly as likely to differentiate between swamp ash and say silveroak. On the other hand I agree with that author that there is too much obsession with little details and a tendency toward magical thinking, as if the specs make the guitar and not the skill.
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