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Author Topic: " That Larrivee Sound"  (Read 1748 times)
Play2praiseHim
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« on: February 18, 2004, 02:54:49 PM »

I am new to larrivee guitars. It has been over a year since I played one myself. The closest dealer to me is 1 1/2 hr away. Can someone please describe the larrivee sound to me? From what I hear, and recall, It is somewhere between that of a martin and a taylor. Kind of like the best of both worlds. The bass of a martin and the shimmering trebles of a taylor. Is this correct?  Is there any difference in the sound of an OM and a L larrivee body? Which of these 2 body styles is the most versatile. I need a jack of all trades.....an excellent fingerpicker and equally good strummer. I primarily fingerpick, but ocassionally like to do a good funky strum  ala Ani Difranco or Dave Matthews.  Im trying to decide between an L-10 or an Om-10.   Also I have heard that larrivees necks are flat and can be hard to play? I need something that will be easy to bar chord as well as a have wide enough spacing to make fingerpicking excellent. I do have small (female 5'3) hands. Will the larrivee be a struggle ? How is the ease of playability?   All opinions will be aprreciated.  Thanks, Play2praiseHim <><
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wyodeb
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« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2004, 03:32:38 PM »

Welcome!

I am also female, with smaller hands. I have a Larrivee OM, which I love. I play in our worship team at church (primarily strumming, some finger picking), and play on my own (primarily fingerstyle solo stuff). It seems to handle both easily. I love the 1 3/4 neck for ease of fingerstyle work. The Larrivee neck is very comfortable for me. I am even able to use my thumb to fret the bass if necessary.

I haven't played high end Taylors or Martins much, but I have a friend with a 70s Martin dreadnaught. I would say the Larrivee is more balanced overall. It seems to have a richer sound than the Taylors I've played. Not as thin and bright. I'm sure others in the forum will chime in with better comparisons.

Hope this helps.

Deb :)  
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« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2004, 03:49:52 PM »

Deb's got it rite.Very hard to compare with other guitars.Either one is a good choice.So you know the L body still has a 16" lower body bout like a dread.
Welcome to the club :D  
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« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2004, 05:31:41 PM »

Welcome.....  :)
 Good answer, Deb....  juuuust right...
Don
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orsino
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« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2004, 10:19:43 PM »

Larrivee has its own unique sound, but I wouldn't disagree with the "somewhere between a Martin and Taylor" comment.
Personally I like a larger body size. The L models are VERY well balanced for fingerstyle and good for strumming. Much more of the "well of souls" Martin-like sound than the OM size IMO.
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Imapickn
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« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2004, 11:58:32 PM »

:unsure: What'd he say? :blink:  
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sc morris
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« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2004, 12:12:48 AM »

this will be tough....but i will attempt to explain to you the "Larrivee Sound", as far as i know it.  this may be long....so hold on tight.....

first of all, i love Martins.  there are the original all American guitar and are in a class of their own.  you'll hear people slam them, but it's purely out of ignorance.  Martin is the real deal..period.  Martin is known for making a very loud, bassy guitar that will cut through the mix.

Taylor is also the real deal.  they have really modernized an old dog in what they've done with the acoustic guitar.  the NT neck is brilliant.  and they seem to have really nailed the ease of playability that so many like.  Taylor seems to be know mainly for their playability.  they also have some really cool inlays and original body designs.  they have a nice balanced tone, with clarity being the focus.  

Larrivee is also the real deal.  and imo simply the best value out there in an all solid wood guitar.  Larrivee seems to have really nailed down the "overall" sound of a good guitar.  i play a D-03 Blackwood.  my guitar has a good amount of bass, when you really need it. the volume will get loud when you need it and it will also mellow out to the touch when you want to do some fingerstyle playing.  it is simply the best all around guitar i've found. i could seriously play in a Bluegrass jam, go across town to play blues, and end up in a concert hall playing smooth fingerstyle.  all this, of course, if i was a good enough player to pull off all those styles!!  it is just so versatile in it's tones that it can do whatever you need it to.  it's a dread, but it's not a "typical" dread.

this seems to be the case with most Larrivee's i've played.  they all are very balanced in tone and feel.  the thing that strikes me about every Larrivee that i play is not one certain thing, but it's just a nice mix of everything that makes a guitar great.  they are truly versatile.  

whenever someone plays my guitar, they always say something like, "wow, this thing is so balanced"...and then it's usually followed by, "how come i've never heard of these before?"  

i hope all of this made some kind of sense to you.

-scm
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« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2004, 05:20:02 AM »

I agree with all of the above comments on Larrivee's tone. I don't find their necks hard to play at all. I have a 16 series Martin Dreadnaught and the Larrivee's neck plays just as easy as my Martin does. Their sound is kind of hard to describe in a way that you will know exactly what we're talking about. I've said that they are an excellent cross between a Martin and Taylor tonally, having the best of both worlds in my opinion. They are rich, full, articulate, loud, soft, mellow, bright, resonant, lots of sustain, and on and on... They are very versatile as someone else already said. You can play loud or soft, flatpick or fingerstyle, heavy-handed or light, and there is tone to cover all of "your bases" for these different techniques.

I would say probably an OM or L model would be your best bet for what your style seems to be, especially if you like the wider necks for fingerstyle playing. I hope you can come across one to play just to satisfy your curiosity so you don't have to buy one unseen. However, if you do have to buy it unseen, you probably will get a good one as they seem to be pretty consistent in their QC and sound if you play two guitars of the same model.

Let us know how it goes. BTW, I used to own a Larrivee D-03E that I used in my church's P & W band each week. That guitar sounded great plugged or unplugged. I eventually sold it to a good friend in order to finance the buying of my solid rosewood Martin. Lord willing, I hope to be able to buy another Larrivee D-03, either in mahogany or in blackwood, in the next few months that will be able to compliment my Martin's rosewood sound.

Last week I went to my local Guitar Center and found a lady trying out a D-03R in the "high-end" room. After striking up a conversation with her, she asked me to play the D-03R so she could hear how it sounds out in front of it. She loved its sound and so did I! I was able to kind of help her make her decision to buy a rosewood Larrivee as soon as she saves up enough money. That model Larrivee, along with a D-03 mahogany that they had there, sounded soooo good. Rich, full, vibrant, loud, articulate, dynamic, etc. etc.


Thanks.
Jeff
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sc morris
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« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2004, 05:27:55 AM »

Quote
Their sound is kind of hard to describe in a way that you will know exactly what we're talking about. I've said that they are an excellent cross between a Martin and Taylor tonally, having the best of both worlds in my opinion. They are rich, full, articulate, loud, soft, mellow, bright, resonant, lots of sustain, and on and on... They are very versatile as someone else already said. You can play loud or sound, flatpick or fingerstyle, heavy-handed or light, and there is tone to cover all of "your bases" for these different techniques.

I would say probably an OM or L model would be your best bet for what your style seems to be, especially if you like the wider necks for fingerstyle playing. I hope you can come across one to play just to satisfy your curiosity so you don't have to buy one unseen. However, if you do have to buy it unseen, you probably will get a good one as they seem to be pretty consistent in their QC and sound if you play two guitars of the same model.

 
Your post was very well stated.  It is really hard to explain the tones and personalities of a Larrivee.  It's really just something that has to be experienced to really be appreciated. They are truly a design all to themselves. Jean Larrivee said his design is "success through ignorance".  There are so many builders doing the same old thing and it's cool that he branched out to really make a contribution.  
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« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2004, 10:26:13 AM »

To my mind, a good guitar should provide "grunt" in the bass & should SING across the whole range - & that's exactly what my 00 05 does..
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orsino
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« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2004, 11:22:03 AM »

Quote
To my mind, a good guitar should provide "grunt" in the bass & should SING across the whole range - & that's exactly what my 00 05 does..
I like that!!!!
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KenS
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« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2004, 08:43:37 PM »

I won't add to what has already been said regarding the sound - several good responses there.

Regarding the "flat" neck:  what you are talking about is the neck radius and it is true that Larrivee's have a very flat fretboard.  Much less curved than a Guild, for example - more like the flatness you usually find on a classical (but not quite that flat).  Your desire to have a good fingerpicking guitar and an easy guitar to chord are, in a sense, opposing needs.  A flat radius neck is a little harder to chord but certainly easier for fingerstyle work.  However, I don't think you'll have any trouble chording  - in fact, the action is a more improtant variable than the neck radius.  Just make sure that the shop is able to get the action low enough to suit your needs and you'll be fine.

I am an unabashed lover of OM and smaller bodied guitars, so I would recommend the OM - especially for a person your size.  The OM style is historically a jack-of-all-trades - originally designed as a strumming guitar and only later reaching its popularity as a fingerstyle instrument.  Bottom line - you will be able to do what you want to do with either - you might find the OM a little more comfortable.  

Ken
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bnsinc
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« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2004, 08:54:57 PM »

Sounds like the issue here is playability and comfort versus sound.  The OM may be more comfortable playing for someone smaller.  I just sold an OM and enjoyed the incredible sound that came out of this compact form.  The OM is a good balance for finger and flatpicking.

The larger guitar would give you more presence.  The tradeoff may be that this is too large and causes you to tire more quickly.  

The ideal would be to take the 1 1/2 hour road trip to ensure you get what is right for you in terms of sound and playability.  

I can tell you the necks are wonderful and the fact that it is flat is icing on the cake.  I may be biased having come from a classical background.

The guitars are an excellent value and the craftsmanship is outstanding.

Best.

RB
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