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Author Topic: Need SD-40 advice  (Read 608 times)
Jecox
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« on: October 31, 2018, 03:31:46 PM »

Hi. I’m new to the forum so have a donut and coffee while I ask your advice. . I’m looking for a 12-fret guitar to play at bluegrass jams. I have a shoulder problem so full size dreadnaughts and jumbos are too large. What I need is something small enough that it won’t hurt my right shoulder but loud enough for jams that sometimes have 15-20 instruments. The SD-40’s specs look perfect, but it’s unlikely that I’ll find one to try around here. So I’m hoping to get your input on the following: (1) Is the SD-40 enough of a cannon for large jams and noisy venues?, (2) would it be worthwhile to get one with maple or American walnut back and sides rather than mahogany?, (3) which type of bracing should I specify?, and (4) would the largest sound hole be the best bet? Any other thoughts would also be very welcome.
Thanks,
Jim
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Mikeymac
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« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2018, 04:25:29 PM »

I think it would be perfect for your purposes - IF - it doesn't bother your shoulder.

Also, I'd stick with the mahogany - it will have just the right amount of cut and warmth. The larger soundhole will help project the sound in all directions, and will also favor the midrange, again, helping with a cutting tone that will get through.

Sounds like a good choice as long as it's comfortable for you to play. The slope shoulder dreads do usually have a slightly thinner lower bout than standard 14 fret dreads (usually 15" versus 15 5/8" for Martins and around 16" for Larrivee dreads).

 welcome

 
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skyline
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« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2018, 05:21:43 PM »

I haven't played beside banjos, but I find my SD-03 quite good at keeping up with most other acoustic instrument groups (fiddles, cellos, piano, other guitars).  With a set of D'Addario Bluegrass you'll have lots of headroom.

They're a bit smaller than a standard dread but still pretty deep, so I usually play standing with a strap to leave lots of shoulder room.
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B0WIE
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« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2018, 07:40:50 PM »

The 12 fret SD should help if it's your left shoulder that's bugging you. I don't know of anything that would help the right shoulder, other than a smaller guitar, in which case you might want to invest on a brand that is known for getting great volume out of mid-sized instruments (Collings, etc). One other thought, have you considered playing with the guitar in your lap, classical style? That takes a lot of stress off the right shoulder.

Walnut has excellent projection and just a little more bite up top than Mahogany. Hog tends to be just a little bigger in the bass. They are similar woods though.

The large soundhole creates a wider sweet-spot and is nicer for the player. The bass is more loose. If you want max projection and focus, traditional soundhole is better. Tighter bass and it feels like it's a tighter/faster response overall.
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Jecox
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« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2018, 03:08:40 PM »

I appreciate your responses. I’m definitely leaning toward getting one of these. One bit of good news is that the only Larrivée dealer in the Denver area will PROBABLY order one for me to try with no obligation in January. If they let me choose the specs, I’ll have some decisions to make but that will be fun. As for my shoulder pain, it’s both. Getting old is not my idea of fun. I have a Waterloo WL-12 and it’s comfortable for both shoulders.  Though people call it 00, the lower bout width is very similar to the SD-40 — 14 3/4”  vs 15”. The greater depth of the SD-40 — 4 7/8”  vs 4 1/4” — is my concern. If the shop lets me play it for a while, I should find out whether it will work for me.
Thanks for your help.
Jim



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Jecox
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« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2018, 10:36:14 PM »

Bowie, I tried holding the guitar classical style. You're right, it's much easier on my right shoulder.
I don't know if I can get used to that posture, though.
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B0WIE
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« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2018, 06:51:54 AM »

Bowie, I tried holding the guitar classical style. You're right, it's much easier on my right shoulder.
I don't know if I can get used to that posture, though.

It takes a couple months to get used to, and may require a foot stool under your left foot, but it's so much easier on the body and ultimately gives you more control when playing.

I have a Waterloo WL-S and it's probably similar dimensions to yours. I do feel that the Larrivee SDs are significantly bigger in actual feel. However, the bigger ones are actually just a little more comfortable for me because the smaller Waterloo causes me to hunch a bit and push up with my left leg to get the guitar higher. A lot of that is likely due to me being tall. If I play on the right hip though, the SD starts feeling real big. It's only in the lap that it's more comfy.
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D-09 Brazilian w/ Eagle inlay. D-02-12
Used to own and love; SD-50, J70 maple Mermaid, SD60sbt, D03R, LV03E.
Jecox
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« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2018, 06:26:00 PM »

I played a few songs with the guitar on my left leg and my foot propped up a few inches. That started feeling more natural in just a short time. I’ll keep at it. Of course, if this becomes my usual way of holding the guitar, it may open the door to trying even larger guitars than the SD-40. But that’s jumping ahead too much. It would be fun to compare the SD-40 and the Waterloo Jumbo King.  I love the several Waterloos I’ve played. I was even craving a WL-S until I realized it would be silly to have three 00’s. I also have a Santa Cruz 00.
BTW, I know general comparisons of brands may not be very informative, but do you have an opinion about whether a $2000 Larrivée is on par with a $2000 Waterloo?
Thanks
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B0WIE
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« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2018, 07:38:20 PM »

do you have an opinion about whether a $2000 Larrivée is on par with a $2000 Waterloo?
Thanks

It really depends on what you're after. Larrivee's strong point is that it tends to out-perform the big brands (Taylor, Martin) in the same price range. When you get above $2,500, you run into the same debate you do with cars, whether you want the base-model BMW or the fully loaded Hyundai. I'd personally take a $5k Collings over a $5k Larrivee, but around $1k to $3k, they are very competitive with other brands in that range.
Waterloos have a distinct, throwback vibe whereas Larrivees are generally more versatile. Waterloos are set up incredibly well with the Collings precision in the fret board. But, I don't think they can be fairly compared as they excel at their specific old-school sound while Larrivees do a lot of things well.

If you want a 12-fret dread and don't want to spend over $5k, the Larrive is a great way to go. I've owned a number of 12 fret dreads in the $2,500 to $10k range and think the Larrivees are solid. As you go up in price, you get things like tighter and deeper low end, greater volume, heavier overtones.

If you get an SD40, I don't think you'll necessarily want or need a bigger guitar after that. 12 fret dreads are in the ballpark with jumbos in terms of power and bass. The positioning of the bridge compared to a standard dread really gets the top moving. Compared to jumbos, the 12-fret dreads just tend to be more focused and have more midrange articulation whereas jumbos are better at a blended sound. That's my experience anyhow.
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Used to own and love; SD-50, J70 maple Mermaid, SD60sbt, D03R, LV03E.
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« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2018, 05:49:39 PM »

My SD40 easily hangs with dreadnoughts and other instruments in jams. My brother-in-law has two Collings and a few other guitars. He called my SD40 a cannon the first time he played and heard it.

For what it's worth, my shoulder has no issues (Knock on wood!), but I can feel the difference in the narrower width on that lower bout.
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Jecox
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« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2018, 08:46:57 PM »

It sounds like the SD-40 has my name on it from what everyone has said about comfort and sound. I hope the guitar shop follows through on its offer to get one for me to try after the New Year. I’m really looking forward to that. Thanks again.
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Jecox
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« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2018, 06:03:03 AM »

Would I be stupid of me to buy one of these without ever hearing one? At a bluegrass jam in a brewery tonight it really hit me that even though my WL-12 has great volume for its size, it’s just too much to expect it to cut through all that noise. From all the good things I’ve heard about Larrivées, I’m tempted to jump in with both feet and have the guitar shop order one for me. Good or bad idea?
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markj
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« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2018, 04:05:17 PM »

Ha! You will not get any discouragement here.   

Order it. Make it yours. Do a custom order.   
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broKen
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« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2018, 05:20:34 PM »

If you just want to hear your guitar, cut a hole in the side facing you...if you dare. It can be nicely done with good results.
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Jecox
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« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2018, 06:16:47 PM »

I don't have the nerve to do that. Anyway, it was my wife on bass saying she couldn't hear me that got me wondering about a bigger but shoulder-friendly guitar.
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broKen
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« Reply #15 on: November 08, 2018, 08:57:07 PM »

My SD is no problem for me, and I'm a little guy. It's about the way you hold it.
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Youser
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« Reply #16 on: November 09, 2018, 09:29:47 PM »

OK, here we go.

I have an SD 03R.  It is very LOUD.  Should be perfect for you.

Now then,  I hardly ever play it as mostly I play around the house, on the couch, and it is definitely too large for my using it in this manner.  I am about 5'7". 

I will not sell it as everyone needs a dread right?  I usually only take it out of the house to play in jams or with friends.

Hope this helps.

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Jecox
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« Reply #17 on: November 10, 2018, 02:27:24 AM »

Thanks for all encouragement. Today I played an L-03, as far as I know the closest thing to an SD-40 in Colorado. The sound was very full with a nice tone (woody?). I spoke to the shop manager and now my only decision is whether to buy a standard mahogany/Sitka model or place a custom order with a moonwood top and mosaic rosette.
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markj
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« Reply #18 on: November 10, 2018, 03:05:21 AM »

Maybe a Torch or similar headstock inlay, and complimentary bridge inlay would be a nice custom touch.   

Snakewood binding or something else non-standard.

The custom options price list is something I look at a few times a year.  lol
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« Reply #19 on: November 10, 2018, 03:22:32 AM »

You can do a lot worse than a stock SD40. Mine is also the standard mahogany/Sitka. It has a thick, woody tone with individual notes that also have a woody pop. This Larrivee design is not as big a body as a Martin 12 fret dread. It has the same length and depth, but it's narrower. Subsequently it doesn't have as big a sound as Martin or Collings 12 fret dreads, but it has an equally rich and complex tone that is due to the 12 fret geometry pushing the bridge down closer to the center of the lower bout. It just crushed my 2016 D18 that ended up leaving the house last summer.
 
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