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Author Topic: Mahogany top Guitars  (Read 205 times)
William2
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« on: June 04, 2022, 03:58:40 PM »

 
 How effective is an all mahogany instrument for fingerstyle playing? I always read they are great for fingerstyle yet I mostly see demonstrations of them performed mostly with a plectrum. They also have less volume than spruce top instrument I have heard. I play lefty and have little chance to play instruments. I did hear a Taylor 312 that was very loud and wondered if it was the African Blackwood back and sides that enhanced it's volume. Would a Dreadnought body version offset any volume loss in one of these instruments? I'll probably go with a Larrivee, but is their another company that makes a successful mahogany instrument at an affordable price? I do like the looks of the Martin 15 series, but some of the backs of their instruments don't seem to match the tops.  And most of their demos are primarily with a plectrum. Would this instrument be satisfying or should I just get a mahogany tone wood instrument with a spruce top?
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Queequeg
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« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2022, 06:46:25 PM »

I have owned a number of all hog guitars and I never use a pletrum but I do have three acrylic nails on my right hand.
Frankly, I don't worry or even think about volume. I play solo. If I'm playing out, I plug in. Possibly hogtops might not be as loud as spruce but you couldn't prove it by me. If there is a difference it is incrementally insignificant in my humble opinion. YMMV
Personally, I'm not a big fan of dreadnaught guitars, myself. Just not my thing, is all.
 I do have a Larrivee L. Great guitar. I have had two different CFM 15 Series all hog guitars. Pretty good but I sold them both several years ago, simply to get something else. No real problem with them.
I've had all the Larrivee models in mahogany tops except the dread.

Other than Larrivee, Guild makes an all hog, model M-120. I played one but I have never owned one. Pretty nice and not expensive.

Why are you concerned about the volume and in what situations?
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teh
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« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2022, 12:37:37 AM »

I have owned a mahogany topped 12 string Larrivee that I ordered for my 50th birthday in November 2005 and it is a great guitar for both finger picking and strumming.

I started with an L03, added a Venetian cutaway, mahogany top, bone nut and saddle and archtop case. My dealer installed an I-beam pickup and I am completely satisfied with my purchase 16 years later. I use a thumb pick (Fred Kelly slick pick) and often use dropped D tuning plus a Shubb capo for finger picking. My son has also used this guitar for slide with good results.

I wish you the same success.
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jpmist
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« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2022, 01:21:29 PM »


I think hogtops and fingerstyle are viewed favorably together because hog tops do well in presenting the primary note you're playing without a lot of competing overtones. Tastes differ and my experience with hog-tops have been unsuccessful after 3 tries, a Taylor and two Larrivee OO's. I don't use a pick and the lack of crispness on all three guitars was a problem for my ears. Having a spruce top as my main guitar for quite a few years I felt the stiffer mahogany top produced less resonance than I was used to. "Less volume" might be an unfair generalization as there are so many factors affecting volume, but I do think that hog tops give a more compressed tone where the loud and soft peaks are averaged out more than on a spruce top.

I have a track on Soundcloud comparing two spruce tops with a Taylor hogtop blackwood back & sides 322ce you might check out. Decide for yourself if the 322 is quieter. https://soundcloud.com/jpmist/test-track-05-g-322

You might ask your question on the AGF forum, I recall a recent thread on hog tops. I really like the looks of a hog top which is why I kept trying 'em but ya don't hear the looks . . .
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Larrivee OO-05 • Larrivee OOV-03 SS • Larrivee OO-44  • Taylor 322ce • Gretch 9521 • Strat • Soundcloud https://soundcloud.com/jpmist
William2
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« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2022, 07:18:08 PM »

I think hogtops and fingerstyle are viewed favorably together because hog tops do well in presenting the primary note you're playing without a lot of competing overtones. Tastes differ and my experience with hog-tops have been unsuccessful after 3 tries, a Taylor and two Larrivee OO's. I don't use a pick and the lack of crispness on all three guitars was a problem for my ears. Having a spruce top as my main guitar for quite a few years I felt the stiffer mahogany top produced less resonance than I was used to. "Less volume" might be an unfair generalization as there are so many factors affecting volume, but I do think that hog tops give a more compressed tone where the loud and soft peaks are averaged out more than on a spruce top.

I have a track on Soundcloud comparing two spruce tops with a Taylor hogtop blackwood back & sides 322ce you might check out. Decide for yourself if the 322 is quieter. https://soundcloud.com/jpmist/test-track-05-g-322

You might ask your question on the AGF forum, I recall a recent thread on hog tops. I really like the looks of a hog top which is why I kept trying 'em but ya don't hear the looks . . .

Thanks for the SoundCloud comparison. I like the Larrivee, Gretch, and Taylor in that order. I think you might be correct; you can't hear the looks. That 05 was the best by far.
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William2
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« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2022, 07:29:18 PM »

I have owned a number of all hog guitars and I never use a pletrum but I do have three acrylic nails on my right hand.
Frankly, I don't worry or even think about volume. I play solo. If I'm playing out, I plug in. Possibly hogtops might not be as loud as spruce but you couldn't prove it by me. If there is a difference it is incrementally insignificant in my humble opinion. YMMV
Personally, I'm not a big fan of dreadnaught guitars, myself. Just not my thing, is all.
 I do have a Larrivee L. Great guitar. I have had two different CFM 15 Series all hog guitars. Pretty good but I sold them both several years ago, simply to get something else. No real problem with them.
I've had all the Larrivee models in mahogany tops except the dread.

Other than Larrivee, Guild makes an all hog, model M-120. I played one but I have never owned one. Pretty nice and not expensive.

Why are you concerned about the volume and in what situations?
Maybe I was wrong using the term volume. I play some classical pieces on guitar, and I like to have the ability to utilize big dynamic changes. Maybe the hog guitar is like what another responder mentioned that everything is compressed. I used to own an Eastman which had a spruce top and mahogany back and sides. I loved its clarity. Maybe I should consider a spruce top and mahogany tone woods. Having gone through a few Eastman's, a couple of Waterloo's, I now own 2 Larrivee's (D-40R and an SD-40R Limited Edition). I love the sound of rosewood as a tone wood and was thinking about one last instrument with a different color to it just for variety.

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ducktrapper
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« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2022, 11:51:35 PM »

The thing to remember is that every guitar, regardless of material or builder, is an individual and it's very difficult and perhaps useless to over generalize. Play it and judge it for itself. Comparisons are odious.

https://literarydevices.net/comparisons-are-odious/
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William2
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« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2022, 03:40:04 PM »

I have owned a number of all hog guitars and I never use a pletrum but I do have three acrylic nails on my right hand.
Frankly, I don't worry or even think about volume. I play solo. If I'm playing out, I plug in. Possibly hogtops might not be as loud as spruce but you couldn't prove it by me. If there is a difference it is incrementally insignificant in my humble opinion. YMMV
Personally, I'm not a big fan of dreadnaught guitars, myself. Just not my thing, is all.
 I do have a Larrivee L. Great guitar. I have had two different CFM 15 Series all hog guitars. Pretty good but I sold them both several years ago, simply to get something else. No real problem with them.
I've had all the Larrivee models in mahogany tops except the dread.

Other than Larrivee, Guild makes an all hog, model M-120. I played one but I have never owned one. Pretty nice and not expensive.

Why are you concerned about the volume and in what situations?


So mahogany guitars are your favorite instruments? I'm still considering a mahogany instrument. Are there tonal differences between the various makers of these instruments? Does a Martin 15 series sound much different than a Larrivee mahogany instrument? And the modern instrument makers instruments (Furch, Taylor), is there sound much different than the Martin 15 series? One of my favorite sounding mahogany instruments is the Waterloo. I don't know if it i the short scale, 12 fret body connection, light construction, or its light finish. He is Carl Miner playing a Waterloo Mahogany instrument.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNqdu4YqSOY
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B0WIE
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« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2022, 05:11:20 PM »

So mahogany guitars are your favorite instruments? I'm still considering a mahogany instrument. Are there tonal differences between the various makers of these instruments? Does a Martin 15 series sound much different than a Larrivee mahogany instrument? And the modern instrument makers instruments (Furch, Taylor), is there sound much different than the Martin 15 series? One of my favorite sounding mahogany instruments is the Waterloo. I don't know if it i the short scale, 12 fret body connection, light construction, or its light finish. He is Carl Miner playing a Waterloo Mahogany instrument.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNqdu4YqSOY

The brand/maker, makes the vast majority of difference. That's why people pay under $2k for a Martin vs $7k for a Santa Cruz. There's the quality of the wood, the massive complexities of the bracing and top tuning (which Martin isn't doing on basic models). Think of it like two chefs making the same dish. Technique and ingredients make a big difference in the results.
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Queequeg
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« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2022, 01:17:06 PM »

So mahogany guitars are your favorite instruments? I'm still considering a mahogany instrument. Are there tonal differences between the various makers of these instruments? Does a Martin 15 series sound much different than a Larrivee mahogany instrument? And the modern instrument makers instruments (Furch, Taylor), is there sound much different than the Martin 15 series? One of my favorite sounding mahogany instruments is the Waterloo. I don't know if it i the short scale, 12 fret body connection, light construction, or its light finish. He is Carl Miner playing a Waterloo Mahogany instrument.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNqdu4YqSOY
I should say at the onset before replying to your question which even five weeks later I only just saw now, that I do not claim to have the most discerning or discriminating ear.
Any differences I (might think that I) hear are generally rather subtle. Have mercy on me if I was ever faced with the guitar version of the old blind Pepsi/Coke taste test.
I have often read that mahogany is more articulate with less sustain than other woods. I suspect this might be true.
Finally, I do certainly agree with BOWIE that the luthier's top-tuning is a very important factor in getting the most out of a guitar in the build process. Requires both time and expertise to get this right, of course.
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William2
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« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2022, 02:49:58 PM »

Thanks for your reply. Among guitar companies, I have noticed that Furch supposedly tap tunes all or their guitar tops. And I have been very impressed by the videos I have seen and heard on YouTube. Maybe if I go with a mahogany dreadnought, I should consider one of their instruments.
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William2
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« Reply #11 on: July 30, 2022, 06:51:46 PM »

As an update to this post, a couple of weeks ago I bought a mahogany instrument. I have always felt that a spruce top instrument would be my main instrument based on the variety of things I play. But I wanted to try something different and not spend a fortune on the instrument. The choice was between a Furch Blue-DM and a Martin 15 series dreadnought. The various Furch demos I've seen have always had good fingerstyle players playing them. Most of the Martin 15 series demos have had primarily plectrum strummers doing the videos. Discussing this on another site, I found a couple of excellent videos of the Martin D-15M, and it had a fingerstyle section on the video. Many weighed in and the Martin seemed to be the preferred between the two instruments if for no other reason than Martin holds its value better than other guitars. So, I went with the Martin D-15M. I've never owned or played a Martin. And at that price point, why buy a European instrument? The instrument has dispelled many of my preconceptions of a mahogany instrument and the Martin company. I have read about Martin quality issues and having to get the action adjusted because they set their action too high. And I was concerned about volume as people seem to use the word compressed when talking about mahogany instruments. All these concerns were dispelled by this instrument. The D-15M arrived in perfect condition and the action is perfect. I was amazed at its light weight, power, note separation.  I love that flat finish it has just like on my Larrivee D-40R and my SD-40RW. I got the instrument to use for Celtic music and early medieval music, but find it is also very good foe other styles as well. I'm wondering over time if an all-hog guitar will be my favorite as I've seen people comment on videos that it is their favorite type of guitar.
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teh
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« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2022, 09:44:28 PM »

Congratulations.

I have three nice Martin guitars and three nice Larrivees including an all mahogany custom 12 string. Good luck and keep us posted after you have 90 days under your belt with this guitar.
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William2
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« Reply #13 on: July 31, 2022, 10:11:33 AM »

Will do. Actually, a 12-string instrument is something I am considering in the future. I have been listening to a couple of Duck Baker CDs that are solo albums played on a 12-string guitar. Love that sound. Reminds of my lute playing days.
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