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Author Topic: Larrivee Guitar finishes Matt vs Gloss  (Read 319 times)
William2
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« on: January 23, 2023, 03:44:32 PM »

I was watching a review on the Acoustic Guitar Shoppe of the Larrivee D-40R Bluegrass special. It was a very favorable review. At one point, the reviewer gave his opinion that the matt finish offers an open omnipresent sound and that a gloss finish offers a more focused out to the audience sound. Is there a noticeable sound difference between these two finishes? I own two Larrivee's, both with a matt finish. I chose this because I like the look over gloss. and didn't really consider a sound difference. I'm planning on ordering a Larrivee soon and want to know if this is a factor I should consider. Specifically, is there a tonal difference between the SD-40 and the SD-50 because of the finish differences of these two instruments.

The discussion on finishes starts a little after 4:00 minutes and ends around 7:00 minutes. They also talk about the enlarged sound hole.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQKlROQKMEM&t=466s
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headsup
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« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2023, 04:31:16 PM »

As an old school guy, I would always prefer a gloss/laquer or french polish finish.

Just recently I stopped into a local shop and played an OM 40 (hybrid bracing) with matt or what almost felt like a non existent finish.

no I didn't care for the look or the feel.

The sound, however was absolutely exceptional!

very vibrant rich and alive.

I have a 1992 larrivee OM and a 2004 OM-60 with enlarged sound hole .
I used them both on a recording session after I played that new one.

I'm inclined to take them in to compare against the new one..
It was really a lovely sounding new guitar.
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mike in lytle
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« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2023, 04:34:21 PM »

Specifically, is there a tonal difference between the SD-40 and the SD-50 because of the finish differences of these two instruments.
The SD-40 and SD-50 are quite different instruments.
A more fair comparison would be the SD-40 vs the SD-44. The SD-44 would be the full gloss version of the SD-40.
I don't have any knowledgeable opinions on gloss vs satin, as I have had both and wouldn't know what to listen for, or how to describe it.
Mike
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Rockysdad
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« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2023, 04:40:56 PM »

IMHO, I don't honestly think there is a sound quality difference between matte vs gloss finishes.

I fail to understand how an equal amount of finish (thickness) can change the sound quality.

A finish vs no finish is something I can accept as sounding different, but as to whether it's gloss or matte, sorry, I think peoples eyes are the difference.
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William2
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« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2023, 10:01:42 PM »

"The SD-40 and SD-50 are quite different instruments.
A more fair comparison would be the SD-40 vs the SD-44. The SD-44 would be the full gloss version of the SD-40.
I don't have any knowledgeable opinions on gloss vs satin, as I have had both and wouldn't know what to listen for, or how to describe it.
Mike"

That would be a better comparison. However, if the sound difference is minimal or not really noticeable, I am thinking of the SD-50 with a matt finish if they will do this.
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B0WIE
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« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2023, 10:58:54 PM »

There is a difference, because they are not (usually) equal thickness. Gloss requires more material to get a straight, non-wavy finish. It can start around 3x as much, then gets sanded and buffed down. The extra material changes the way the top vibrates and "more focused" is a good way to describe it. You really hear it in the highs and the bass. On a satin top the highs will be a little more diffuse and harmonics more wild. The bass is less of a deep thump and a little wider "boom".

 You may think dampening the top is undesirable but, it does something similar to what bracing does. One is not inherently better and it's all subjective to other factors.

It's important to keep in mind that the more expensive tops are usually used on gloss models and these are sometimes better sounding tops (there's a lot of debate about that but that probably needs its own thread).

Understand, that's all subjective as the maker can alter the top thickness which counters some of this. I don't know if any of the major producers do this for their gloss models but the finish is something a luthier considers when thinning the top.

So, the satin texture itself does not alter the sound. Well, it does in the extreme high frequencies but that's minutia. It's the thickness.
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« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2023, 12:25:08 AM »

There is a difference, because they are not (usually) equal thickness. Gloss requires more material to get a straight, non-wavy finish. It can start around 3x as much, then gets sanded and buffed down. The extra material changes the way the top vibrates and "more focused" is a good way to describe it. You really hear it in the highs and the bass. On a satin top the highs will be a little more diffuse and harmonics more wild. The bass is less of a deep thump and a little wider "boom".

 You may think dampening the top is undesirable but, it does something similar to what bracing does. One is not inherently better and it's all subjective to other factors.

It's important to keep in mind that the more expensive tops are usually used on gloss models and these are sometimes better sounding tops (there's a lot of debate about that but that probably needs its own thread).


Some geed points here, thanks

Understand, that's all subjective as the maker can alter the top thickness which counters some of this. I don't know if any of the major producers do this for their gloss models but the finish is something a luthier considers when thinning the top.

So, the satin texture itself does not alter the sound. Well, it does in the extreme high frequencies but that's minutia. It's the thickness.
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teh
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« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2023, 04:16:19 PM »

The satin finish used on the 03 series made it possible for me to buy two new guitars within a year of each other while I still had my youngest son in college. I have found no significant difference in the sound quality between my satin finish Larrivee guitars after 17 and 18 years and my gloss Martins.

I will say that the durability of the satin finish was also a key factor in my decision to jump on the Forum VI bandwagon in 2021. The set up from the factory out of the box for my Forum VI was the best I have ever had.
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William2
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« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2023, 09:54:10 PM »

Thanks for the comment. I really prefer the look of the Satin finish more than the gloss. I will say there is something different about the Larrivee matt finish. My Waterloo instruments had a satin finish but in the year that I owned them, where your right arm holds the lower bout, it started becoming shiny. This hasn't happened with my Larrivee instruments and also hasn't happened with my Martin DSS-17 and D-15. So there has to be something different with these low gloss finishes.
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B0WIE
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« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2023, 04:04:09 AM »

Thanks for the comment. I really prefer the look of the Satin finish more than the gloss. I will say there is something different about the Larrivee matt finish. My Waterloo instruments had a satin finish but in the year that I owned them, where your right arm holds the lower bout, it started becoming shiny. This hasn't happened with my Larrivee instruments and also hasn't happened with my Martin DSS-17 and D-15. So there has to be something different with these low gloss finishes.

Larrivees can certainly go glossy from friction. I've seen it. I even purposely glossed one of my satin Larrivees as I just like the way wood grain looks under gloss (plus, satin can't be repaired very well and this one had a few dings).

If the Waterloo glossed quicker it's probably a different material. My Waterloo is varnished (not satin but not deep gloss) and the finish is very different than the uv cured finishes on my Larrivees. I tried asking Collings what the material was but it was around the time Bill passed away and I never got a response.
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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.
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