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Author Topic: Best Tone Wood for a Certain Body Size Instrument  (Read 169 times)
William2
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« on: June 22, 2022, 08:10:54 PM »

I know a tone wood choice is personal. But I have heard comments like rosewood really brings out the sound in a small body instrument. And I've seen people comment that they prefer a Dreadnought with a mahogany body. I'm thinking about getting a mahogany tone wood instrument with a spruce top. Is there a size instrument that serves mahogany best?
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jazzereh
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« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2022, 08:54:51 PM »

Short answer, no. 

That's my opinion and others will chime in.  There is lots of info and opinion posted about top woods combined with body woods so you will not actually know what is good for YOU without going and playing a bunch.  I have OM's and OOO, both in 12 fret and 14 fret in both body woods that you are asking about.  Each has it's own sound quality.  I enjoy each of them.  I don't do dred size so maybe that makes a difference but I think not.

Is there a guitar shop near by you that you can go and try out different combinations?  That's the best way to do this.  It's your ears that matter.
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« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2022, 09:37:55 PM »

I agree with jazzereh.  

A long time ago, when I decided I wanted a "good" acoustic, I saved up a whole bunch of money (for me at the time) and I read and read, and played a bunch of guitars and was completely determined that a Martin 00-16 or 00-18 was THE guitar for me.  I was sure that mahogany/spruce was the perfect guitar for me.  A local shop got in a bunch of new guitars and the owner knew I was in the market so he called and let me know.  I went and tried all the smaller guitars he got in.  One was a Taylor 422 (older style of numbering), mahogany neck, spruce top, and <gasp> maple sides and back.  Within 2 days of playing that guitar I bought it.  It was my main acoustic for several years.  And, I was disappointed it was only about 2/3 of the money I had put together.

20 some years later, and I'm still partial to mahogany, in fact if I was to order a guitar today, it would be mahogany, but that t
ought me to not write off guitars based on the woods.

As long as you can find shops with the guitars you want to try in stock, figuring out what it is you want can be a real blast.  Have fun!

Ed
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« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2022, 09:39:59 PM »

Mahogany is generally my favorite tonewood. Well, especially since Brazilian rosewood and many others have become out of reach. I've owned five and still have a couple of mahogany Larrivees that all sounded terrific and they didn't cost a lot.  
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StringPicker6
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« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2022, 11:28:23 PM »

Cosmetically, larrivee doesn’t stain their mahogany, and the back and sides have a gorgeous golden color (brand new, anyway). I once played a Gibson J-15 with walnut back and sides at a big box store, and it sounded so beautiful I went back the next day and bought it.  Foolishly, I traded it a year later…  But the walnut was very impressive!
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« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2022, 11:46:26 PM »

Mahogany is generally my favorite tonewood. Well, especially since Brazilian rosewood and many others have become out of reach. I've owned five and still have a couple of mahogany Larrivees that all sounded terrific and they didn't cost a lot.  

I've played BRW and EIR guitars and usually, I prefer mahogany.  Though there was a Breedlove Myrtle 12 string I played that haunts me still.

Ed
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mike in lytle
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« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2022, 01:07:35 AM »

I know a tone wood choice is personal. But I have heard comments like rosewood really brings out the sound in a small body instrument. And I've seen people comment that they prefer a Dreadnought with a mahogany body. I'm thinking about getting a mahogany tone wood instrument with a spruce top. Is there a size instrument that serves mahogany best?
Personally, I think you should post a video or sound clip of your playing.
Then we can comment.
Mike
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jpmist
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« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2022, 01:45:11 AM »

Is there a size instrument that serves mahogany best?

What kind of music do you play? Are you a strummer or picker?

I play folky fingerstyle and after trying several body sizes and tonewoods I have settled in on OO sized spruce/mahogany as presenting what I play the way I like to hear and record it. The consensus about spruce/mahogany is that it helps focus your main fundamental notes when you pick out riffs which is why I prefer it.

I don't think there is a consensus about which size serves mahogany best because it depends on your playing style and the music you like. But I'll just add, that small bodied spruce/mahogany and all hog guitars seemed to be favored by blues guitarists.  Keb Mo, is a blues fingerstyle player I know of whose signature Gibson is spruce/mahogany OO size.

There are no absolutes here because luthiers can engineer pretty much any sound quality they want with various woods and body sizes. Keep in mind that if you're relatively new to guitar, it will take you a bit to educate your ear enough to even hear the difference between spruce/mahogany and spruce/rosewood in any body size so you'll have to trust your own judgement when trying out various guitars.

Here's a link to an good tonewood article from Taylor that might be useful. https://woodandsteel.taylorguitars.com/guitar-guide/the-2021-guitar-guide/taylor-tone-woods/. but beware the marketing pitch as we here are rooting for you to buy a Larrivee 


 
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« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2022, 05:15:26 AM »

Personally, I think you should post a video or sound clip of your playing.
Then we can comment.
Mike

 +1 in a big way.How you pick,type of music you play.I'v always been jumbo fan in maple,had a Larrivee J05 mahogany the thing was a monster.Traded it for an LS10 in roswood and I was never a fan of rosewood and it was my main guitar for 2-3 years.My other main guitar is an OM03PA in maple back and sides.I've owned L09 in koa,L09 in rw,and even though I wasn't in the market for another guitar anL10 came my way.I haven't been in a music store in 6 months because I'm afraid of finding some thing else.


Keep smilin and Keep dancin   
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« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2022, 06:08:33 AM »

 On small bodied guitars, it's totally based on the builder for me. Their bracing, how they tune the tops, etc. That's the truly important thing for me as tone woods have far less impact on smaller bodies. One builder's rosewood model can sound thin compared to another's mahogany depending on how each one builds.
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William2
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« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2022, 11:20:10 AM »

Thanks for the comments everyone and the Taylor wood description. I can't provide a video, but I play fingerstyle. My repertoire is classical, jazz chord melody, and a bit of Celtic tunes thrown in. I played classical guitar when I was young and about 5 years ago returned to the guitar and at the recommendation of a couple of friends decided to explore the steel string instrument. I have found its history and size variation fascinating. In these past 5 years I have explore 4 Eastman's, 2 Waterloo's, and now 2 Larrivee's. The sizes ranged from 00 to OM and standard and short scale lengths. The tone woods were rosewood and maple. I like the quick response of the maple on my Waterloo but missed the warmth and color of rosewood. With the 2 Larrivee's, I tried the Dreadnought and SD Dreadnought and I think I have found the body size I like. Both Larrivee's have rosewood tone woods. So, I am thinking about getting a Larrivee Dred in mahogany. There seems to be a slight preference to mahogany in this post. I've never owned a mahogany body instrument. And I have seen people who play Dre's say they prefer mahogany for this size instrument.
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jpmist
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« Reply #11 on: June 23, 2022, 01:56:39 PM »

In these past 5 years I have explore 4 Eastman's, 2 Waterloo's, and now 2 Larrivee's. The sizes ranged from 00 to OM and standard and short scale lengths. The tone woods were rosewood and maple. I like the quick response of the maple on my Waterloo but missed the warmth and color of rosewood. With the 2 Larrivee's, I tried the Dreadnought and SD Dreadnought and I think I have found the body size I like. Both Larrivee's have rosewood tone woods. So, I am thinking about getting a Larrivee Dred in mahogany.

Great to hear back! A tad surprised you're not the newbie I assumed so apologies if I went too basic.

Your leaning to 12 fret SD Dread and 14 fret Dread is interesting and knowing your extensive background with rosewood makes me wonder if maybe you should stick with that. I have a theory that one's ear get "set" to a specific tone and while it's nice to have variety, my tendency has been to go back to the spruce/mahogany I've always played leaving my lovely recent rosewood OO gathering dust.

And then there's the issue of if you're playing to record or playing just for your own living room. I'm the former and I'd argue a smaller body will record easier, but I'm a newbie at sound engineer. But I can't argue against the full tone and great volume of an SD simply to play for your own pleasure. Good luck shopping!
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« Reply #12 on: July 02, 2022, 05:05:57 PM »

William

If possible, try to play both a mahogany dread and L body shape and take a friend along so they can play and you can listen. Several years ago, I took my son’s brother in law and he compared a D18, D28, Larrivee D05 and L body rosewood and mahogany. He went home with the mahogany L body.

In the interest of full disclosure I have a rosewood D35 and a 12 string custom Larrivee (LV03) with mahogany top back and sides, bone nut and saddle. I also have an Alvarez Artist series dread with solid spruce top and laminated mahogany back and sides that I paid a ridiculously low price for. The guitar with the best out of the box setup I own is my Forum VI that I received in March. There are 18 other lucky souls with a Forum VI.
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William2
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« Reply #13 on: July 03, 2022, 11:20:07 AM »

William

If possible, try to play both a mahogany dread and L body shape and take a friend along so they can play and you can listen. Several years ago, I took my son’s brother in law and he compared a D18, D28, Larrivee D05 and L body rosewood and mahogany. He went home with the mahogany L body.

In the interest of full disclosure I have a rosewood D35 and a 12 string custom Larrivee (LV03) with mahogany top back and sides, bone nut and saddle. I also have an Alvarez Artist series dread with solid spruce top and laminated mahogany back and sides that I paid a ridiculously low price for. The guitar with the best out of the box setup I own is my Forum VI that I received in March. There are 18 other lucky souls with a Forum VI.

Thanks, I like the large body instrument and am interested in a mahogany tone wood instrument.
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teh
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« Reply #14 on: July 03, 2022, 12:25:51 PM »

I love the dreadnought body but I have to admit that after seeing and playing a Larrivee L body, when I was looking for a 12 string, I kept coming back to the L. When John Larrivee offered a Forum model with the LS body last year, I jumped on it based on my 14 years of experience with my LV03.

Since you like large body styles, you might also want to compare a jumbo size body against the dread or the L body. Leo Kottke plays jumbos but I always found them a little to big for my taste.
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William2
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« Reply #15 on: July 03, 2022, 02:14:17 PM »

Well, up until recently I owned a Waterloo Jumbo King. I loved that instrument because it is the only Waterloo with rosewood tone wood. It actually was a little more comfortable to hold than a Dred. I*t was a little under 16 inches on the lower bout, body length of 19.5 inches, and 5 inches deep. It just felt more comfortable to me because of its shape. It was very loud and also incredibly light weighing 3 pounds and 6 ounces. But its severe V neck was a problem I wasn't going to deal with at my age. So now I own 2 Larrivee's, the L40R and an SD-40RW Bluegrass. I am thinking about one last guitar, and it would have a mahogany body and maybe a mahogany top as well. I play lefty and the dealer I work with does also. He will be getting in three lefty Larrivee's later this year, a 00, a 000, an OM, and he already has a Dred in mahogany. And I'm still thinking about an all-mahogany instrument, maybe a Martin D-15. But I've got time to decide with what I have now. With Larrivee guitars, are the 03 line of instruments non-scalloped? They don't say anything about this on the Larrivee site. Are there any videos that compare the two bracing systems on You Tube?
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StringPicker6
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« Reply #16 on: July 03, 2022, 03:29:15 PM »

I believe 03 series is all non scalloped. I do know 40 series is scalloped. 
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« Reply #17 on: July 04, 2022, 12:38:53 AM »

Google Heartbreaker Guitars and look at some of their demos on YouTube. They do a nice job showcasing the capabilities of any given Larrivee Guitar and I’ll be they would answer your questions.
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William2
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« Reply #18 on: July 04, 2022, 01:31:42 PM »

Well, I watch Heartbreakers. Mike is the only one that gives good demos in my opinion. The rest seem more interested in showcasing their capabilities rather than the instrument LOL!!! In fact, around 6 months ago they did a demo on an SD-40. I asked what the body length of the instrument was because at the time I sat with the guitar in a classical playing position and the instrument appeared to be very long. Well instead of giving me an answer, the guy says something like I'll have to measure that. I never got an answer. So, what was the point of his initial answer? But Woodstock Music had the answer and a sale on my SD-40RW a couple of months ago. And I found a couple of great Demos on North American Guitar performed by Carl Miner on an AS-50 and an SD-60R. That what sold me on an SD instrument.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qA8aInoW06A&t=51s
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