#1
Share your experiences!

- I played the Fender CD-60 today. I've always judged this particular guitar, because of its laminate, but when I sat down and played it... It sounded rather nice. I was well surprised.
#2
I'm a big fan of the cheaper Recording King guitars.
#3
Yamaha 310 in the local hock shop, those Gretsch cowboy guitars from a few years back, though I don't think that the bridge was very well attached.

In general, and after a lot of listening, I don't think that there is much relationship between tone and price in factory acoustic guitars.
#4
Quote by imgooley
I'm a big fan of the cheaper Recording King guitars.


Me too
#5
Quote by Gingerlocks
Share your experiences!

- I played the Fender CD-60 today. I've always judged this particular guitar, because of its laminate, but when I sat down and played it... It sounded rather nice. I was well surprised.
The trouble with laminate guitars in general is the fact they rely heavily on string resonance to sound their best. As soon as the strings "break in" they sound pretty dull.

I have an Ibanez AEL-10 which I've taken to equipping with 80/20 brass strings to brighten it up. If you're going to be using through an amp, a healthy dose of reverb, and a modicum of chorus will make it sound like a million bucks. OK, so not a million, but at least a hundred thousand, swear to Jim.

The CD-60 is generally well regarded. Still, I'd bump up to the CD-100 solid top, were I going to buy another Fender. I have a "Sonoran" which sounds pretty good, but there's a hefty left hand model penalty, along with a kitsch tax, (maple Strat neck, cutaway & electronics), which bangs the price up well past the point of, "great bang for the buck".

A couple of the Epiphone "Artist" series, (all laminate, acoustic only), such as the EJ-200 are supposed to be, "surprisingly good", but I can't swear to that from personal experience. (Most guitars are way to right handed for me to evaluate properly).

I think if you really want to be pleasantly surprised, you might try a
"Rogue" or similarly priced OEM piece. Any playable guitar you can get for less than a carton of smokes, has to astound you on that fact alone.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Nov 15, 2015,
#6
I'm very impressed by my Alden AD143 Jazzbox. Two hundred pounds in cash (Shop originally wanted three hundred for it). Plays like a dream and sounds pretty decent unplugged and great when plugged in!
#7
Quote by Captaincranky
The trouble with laminate guitars in general is the fact they rely heavily on string resonance to sound their best. As soon as the strings "break in" they sound pretty dull. . . . . .


I don't agree with you on this, Cap'n. I really don't believe you can determine how a particular guitar will sound from it's materials, construction or what strings you put on it. You have to play it to find out. And I've often found that some guitars with laminate tops sound brighter than solids - perhaps because a laminate top can be made thinner because of it's greater inherent strength? And I also don't believe that a laminate top somehow "inhibits" the transfer of sound from the strings - why should it?- I've yet to see any scientific proof and my ears certainly don't confirm it.
#8
Quote by Garthman
I don't agree with you on this, Cap'n. I really don't believe you can determine how a particular guitar will sound from it's materials, construction or what strings you put on it.
OK, that quote is flat out absurd. I doubt it was your intended meaning, and I'm pretty sure if you had given it a bit more thought, you wouldn't have published it.


Quote by Garthman
You have to play it to find out. And I've often found that some guitars with laminate tops sound brighter than solids - perhaps because a laminate top can be made thinner because of it's greater inherent strength? And I also don't believe that a laminate top somehow "inhibits" the transfer of sound from the strings - why should it?- I've yet to see any scientific proof and my ears certainly don't confirm it.
I'm going to retract "dull", or at least redefine it for you. The finer transient response can be missing from a laminate guitar, and dependent on the woods chosen, along with the laminating adhesive, an excessively stiff top can result. A stiff top is more resistant to energy applied to it, and lower output along with poor transient response result. Since there is less energy coming from the high, unwound strings, it stands to reason the guitar's highs may be the first to suffer.

Although, high frequencies bounce off hard surfaces better than soft ones, so it's as likely that a stiffer top would reflect highs better. There's no clear cut answer, at least not without measuring each guitar electronically, which jibes with what you're saying.

However, laminate guitars do generally have less body resonance, and hence somewhat less sustain. I think the sound coming from guitar dying away sooner could also come under the umbrella of dull. Here again, different horses for different course. Dependent on what style of music you're playing, excess sustain could be detrimental. After all, pianos have damper pedals whose sole purpose is to kill sustain.

None of this is to conclude that you can't have a better all laminate guitar, than a shitted up solid top. Bracing pattern, wood species, a lousy chunk of wood, overly stiff bracing, and too much film thickness in the finish, all can have a profound effect on the guitar's sound.

While they are solid tops, Guild 12 strings had (still have ?), the reputation of being the best twelvers in the world. This is particularly true of their maple jumbo offerings. These have laminated maple backs. The violin shaped forming of their backs, would be very difficult and prohibitively expensive to do in solid wood. But, the shape of the back, along with the surface reflectivity of maple, make these guitars sound clear and loud. Or,if you'd prefer guitar player parlance, "they're cannons".

Another prominent but seemingly incongruous place to find a laminated top, is on the Gibson ES-335. (Especially when you consider its $4000.00 price tag). When these were first released, they were solid tops. The proud new owners found they couldn't play them at their chosen volume, and Gibson solved the issue with laminated maple tops. And B.B.King and his darling Lucille lived happily ever after. The end.

(I'm pretty sure the lack of F-holes in B.B.'s guitars, served to further squelch feedback).
Last edited by Captaincranky at Nov 15, 2015,
#9
jay turser "Vintage" strat series. Almost every one ive touched was surprisingly awesome. The regular strats were lousy, but the "vintage" series ones surprised me. i ended up buying one, and its become my primary gigging strat. no worries about theft/damage/loss. great guitar
#10
the glue between the laminations inhibits transfer. glue doesn't vibrate at higher frequencies as well as wood and it isn't going to be the same density as the laminations it's gluing.

while each guitar has its own exact tone, i can always count on a solid adi top to be able to be played louder, to have more of a presence and to have a sweet sound that sitka, for example, lacks. red cedar has a somewhat airier sound than a lot of other woods, and tends to be balanced. i didn't used to believe that brazilian rosewood sounded that much better than good old indian rosewood, but it was the b&s for several of the best-sounding acoustics i ever played, and i have played a LOT of acoustics from $100 beaters to $8000 boutique guitars, although haven't played any of the high enders personally. i find that each wood does have its own sound, and the more i play, the more i find that to be the case.

Quote by Garthman
I don't agree with you on this, Cap'n. I really don't believe you can determine how a particular guitar will sound from it's materials, construction or what strings you put on it. You have to play it to find out. And I've often found that some guitars with laminate tops sound brighter than solids - perhaps because a laminate top can be made thinner because of it's greater inherent strength? And I also don't believe that a laminate top somehow "inhibits" the transfer of sound from the strings - why should it?- I've yet to see any scientific proof and my ears certainly don't confirm it.
Quote by Skeet UK
I just looked in my Oxford English Dictionary and under "Acoustic Guitar", there was your Avatar and an email address!
#11
I have a bunch of old 1960's Yamaha Nippon Gakki classicals, and paid next to nothing for them. They are phenomenal guitars for the money.
WTLT 2014 GG&A

Quote by andersondb7
alright "king of the guitar forum"


Quote by trashedlostfdup
nope i am "GOD of the guitar forum" i think that fits me better.


Quote by andersondb7
youre just being a jerk man.



****** NEW NEW NEW!
2017-07-07 2017-07-07 Update and a Chat On Noise Constraints *** NEW FRIDAY 7/7
2017-04-13 RUN AWAY from COMPUTERS!!! TCE? RANT ALERT!!!
2017-03-02 - Guitar Philosophy 1001- Be Prepared For the Situation (Thursday 2017-03-02)
2017-02-21 How to Hot-Rod the Hell of your Stratocaster for $50! (Tuesday 2017-2-21)
Resentments and Rambling from a Guitar Junkie
---> http://trashedengineering.blogspot.com/
#12
Quote by trashedlostfdup
I have a bunch of old 1960's Yamaha Nippon Gakki classicals, and paid next to nothing for them. They are phenomenal guitars for the money.
First of all, money was actually worth something in the 60's. (We didn't go off the silver standard until 1963, (or 4).

Second, during those "good old days", Japanese branded product, was actually made in Japan, and not China, (or elsewhere).

So I guess those two factors helped contribute to your good fortune. Well that, and you must be taking pretty darn good care of them..
Last edited by Captaincranky at Nov 16, 2015,
#13
Quote by Captaincranky
OK, that quote is flat out absurd. I doubt it was your intended meaning, and I'm pretty sure if you had given it a bit more thought, you wouldn't have published it.


Nope. I mean it. (BTW you forgot to include my words: "You have to play it to find out"). I've played many many guitars over the years, Cap'n, and, whilst it's often difficult to do, I've tried to do it objectively. So I give each one several minutes of playing and often pick up another git or two to compare. I make allowance for old strings too. Similarly, over the years, I've tried all sorts of different strings on the guitars I own - different makes, different compositions, different gauges, etc.

My judgement after all that is that the "perceived" qualities of the "tones" of different woods and different strings is rubbish. Some guitars sound great, some guitars sound crap: that's it! BTW I've played a cheap (<£100 new) laminate guitar that sounded better than an expensive (£1500 used) Martin on sale in the same shop.


Quote by Captaincranky
I'm going to retract "dull", or at least redefine it for you. The finer transient response can be missing from a laminate guitar, and dependent on the woods chosen, along with the laminating adhesive, an excessively stiff top can result. A stiff top is more resistant to energy applied to it, and lower output along with poor transient response result. Since there is less energy coming from the high, unwound strings, it stands to reason the guitar's highs may be the first to suffer.

Although, high frequencies bounce off hard surfaces better than soft ones, so it's as likely that a stiffer top would reflect highs better. There's no clear cut answer, at least not without measuring each guitar electronically, which jibes with what you're saying.

However, laminate guitars do generally have less body resonance, and hence somewhat less sustain. I think the sound coming from guitar dying away sooner could also come under the umbrella of dull. Here again, different horses for different course. Dependent on what style of music you're playing, excess sustain could be detrimental. After all, pianos have damper pedals whose sole purpose is to kill sustain.

None of this is to conclude that you can't have a better all laminate guitar, than a shitted up solid top. Bracing pattern, wood species, a lousy chunk of wood, overly stiff bracing, and too much film thickness in the finish, all can have a profound effect on the guitar's sound.

While they are solid tops, Guild 12 strings had (still have ?), the reputation of being the best twelvers in the world. This is particularly true of their maple jumbo offerings. These have laminated maple backs. The violin shaped forming of their backs, would be very difficult and prohibitively expensive to do in solid wood. But, the shape of the back, along with the surface reflectivity of maple, make these guitars sound clear and loud. Or,if you'd prefer guitar player parlance, "they're cannons".

Another prominent but seemingly incongruous place to find a laminated top, is on the Gibson ES-335. (Especially when you consider its $4000.00 price tag). When these were first released, they were solid tops. The proud new owners found they couldn't play them at their chosen volume, and Gibson solved the issue with laminated maple tops. And B.B.King and his darling Lucille lived happily ever after. The end.

(I'm pretty sure the lack of F-holes in B.B.'s guitars, served to further squelch feedback).


Yeah. Well, I've heard all these sayings about how a guitar top has to be "driven" to get a good sound and how the back and side woods make a huge difference to the sound (I must admit that "surface reflectivity" is a new one LOL) and it's all total crap.

I think a lot of people actually believe that a guitar top moves back and forth like a loudspeaker diaphragm: it doesn't. An acoustic guitar produces it's sound as follows: the energy of a vibrating string is passed via the saddle to the guitar top. The energy causes sympathetic vibration in the molecules of the guitar top (the energy is transferred, molecule by molecule, through the top with increasing damping as it moves away from the bridge). When the energy reaches the outer surface of the top the vibrating surface molecules cause a sympathetic vibration in air molecules and then that energy is transferred (again from molecule to molecule in the air) until it reaches the ear of the listener. There is also a contribution from the air within the guitar (its molecules set to vibrate in the same way by the inner surface of the top) which act like a Helmholtz resonator (look it up) and enhance some of the frequencies.
#14
^^^ There was a discussion recently in the UMGF on "traditional"and "modern" acoustic builds by, IIRC, Bruce Sexauer, that I found interesting. He suggested that in "traditional" builds, the b&s are part of the resonating system, whereas in "modern" builds they act as a more as a reflective surface. An extreme example of "modern" build is Greg Smallman.

My opinions one this topic are ego-driven. - "I'm good, I don't need an [expletive] ****** to prove it". This doesn't stop me buying expensive guitars though, because I'm a sucker for mojo of kind or another.
#15
Quote by Tony Done
^^^ There was a discussion recently in the UMGF on "traditional"and "modern" acoustic builds by, IIRC, Bruce Sexauer, that I found interesting. He suggested that in "traditional" builds, the b&s are part of the resonating system, whereas in "modern" builds they act as a more as a reflective surface. An extreme example of "modern" build is Greg Smallman.

My opinions one this topic are ego-driven. - "I'm good, I don't need an [expletive] ****** to prove it". This doesn't stop me buying expensive guitars though, because I'm a sucker for mojo of kind or another.
Well, it isn't an ego driven topic by my standards. I can't afford expensive guitars and the "mojo' they would "afford" me.

I do believe that different woods have different tonal characteristics, and that those differences can be realized without spending enormous quantities of money. IE, a $400.00 sapele guitar sounds different from a $400.00 maple guitar. Not dramatically different, but different nonetheless.

If everything sounds the same, and the "Helmholtz resonator" along with simple molecular movement are all that is in play, you should save a ton of money, and build your guitars out of cardboard boxes (*) and be done with it.

When you come right down to it, all woods are mostly cellulose. However, the grain, pore structure, stiffness, and weights, and surface reflectivity all vary greatly, and can't be discounted as factoring into the sound.. In other words, you won't get the same bounce back when you yell at a Sheetrock wall, as you would when you yell at a plate glass window.


(*) Obviously with some sort of rugged thermoplastic for the neck.
#16
I believe in tone wood effects to about the same extent as you, but it is also in the build - I'm sure you've heard of Torres' famous papier mache guitar. Taylor's "palette"guitar was also a bit of a milestone. More ego - I'm confident and trust my ears more than specs. I don't doubt you are tired of reading this, but my favourite guitar for ragtimey fingerpicking is all-laminate. It isn't very loud, but the tonal quality is fantastic to my ear.
#17
Quote by Tony Done
....[ ]....I don't doubt you are tired of reading this, but my favourite guitar for ragtimey fingerpicking is all-laminate. It isn't very loud, but the tonal quality is fantastic to my ear.
Not really, in fact I was going to mention it in my earlier, "expose'", on laminated guitars in seemingly unlikely places.

It could be easily argued however, that the lower volume is a byproduct of diminished top movement. Either by virtue of macro movements, or at the microscopic, molecular level. In any case, pleasantness of sound wouldn't enter into that paradigm.

The only way that sound quality in and of itself, could be made to be the sole determining factor is by blind auditioning of many different guitars, and polling a broad cross section of listeners, of both professional musicians and laypersons. Then you record the guitar and measure it scientifically, much in the same way grand pianos are recorded at various positions and at various volume levels, to create the modeling template for digital pianos. Arguably, the result would give you the sound a guitar should have, in order to sell it to the greatest number of people possible. But then, Taylor, Martin, and I'm sure others, already undertake this type of testing, yet still manage to sell copious quantities of vastly different sounding guitars to different people.

Of all the major factors affecting the sound of a guitar, the greatest of these are the strings.

But every other facet of the guitar's makeup effects sound, including wood species whether parts or laminated or not, along with build. bracing, paint, and whatever else the builder and/or buyer, decide are the particular bragging points of the instrument in question. What exact percentage each component contributes to the final outcome, is a fool's errand down a rabbit hole, at best.

Whether those factors matter to the extent that some a**hole who just paid a hundred grand for some crap pre-war Martin would like you to think it does, is another 10 page, (minimum),and very contentious story..
Last edited by Captaincranky at Nov 16, 2015,
#18
There's merit in all the opinions here, why? because of the "different strokes" thing, you know it's all about personal perception. I have seen models whereas a laminate top was better for a given sound with certain strings, I do not always consider that a laminate top is a disadvantage depending on the sound you're looking for. Different woods and whether they are laminate or not definately have significantly different sound properties.
Cranky is right on about arched laminate maple backs on the Guild Jumbo 12's, a case where a piece of laminate is better than solid, my dream is to own one before I die.
Almost forgot the OP! "Cheap guitars which surprised you".
My Nippon Gakki issue Yamaha FG200 is absolutely awesome in all regards except the weak neck (which I compensated for). It's got great tone with any strings, volume, sustain, action. I like it better than any Gibson or Martin I've played except maybe a Hummingbird. Open tunings on this Yamaha are incredible.
Then there's my Kay Effector (electric) which I've held onto for 35 years, with built in effects board, a cheapo incredible guitar I have never had to adjust! I actually prefer it to my Strat.
#19
Quote by Captaincranky
First of all, money was actually worth something in the 60's. (We didn't go off the silver standard until 1963, (or 4).

Second, during those "good old days", Japanese branded product, was actually made in Japan, and not China, (or elsewhere).

So I guess those two factors helped contribute to your good fortune. Well that, and you must be taking pretty darn good care of them..




i bought five of them around 2004-2005. most i paid was $125, least was $25 (at a garage sale). some are in fantastic shape, but my favorite is pretty beat. They just ring out so beautifully.

the only better model is a pre WWII Mazoni (i think that is what it is called, i have it burried in my house),which i paid $15 for at a garage sale. according to a local tech and my research it is worth several grand. the pre WWII ones are much different than the ones made after though. it is utterly amazing.

seriously though, its hard to beat a Nippon Gakki, and they can still be found very easily, and very cheaply.
WTLT 2014 GG&A

Quote by andersondb7
alright "king of the guitar forum"


Quote by trashedlostfdup
nope i am "GOD of the guitar forum" i think that fits me better.


Quote by andersondb7
youre just being a jerk man.



****** NEW NEW NEW!
2017-07-07 2017-07-07 Update and a Chat On Noise Constraints *** NEW FRIDAY 7/7
2017-04-13 RUN AWAY from COMPUTERS!!! TCE? RANT ALERT!!!
2017-03-02 - Guitar Philosophy 1001- Be Prepared For the Situation (Thursday 2017-03-02)
2017-02-21 How to Hot-Rod the Hell of your Stratocaster for $50! (Tuesday 2017-2-21)
Resentments and Rambling from a Guitar Junkie
---> http://trashedengineering.blogspot.com/
#21
Quote by Captaincranky
Not really, in fact I was going to mention it in my earlier, "expose'", on laminated guitars in seemingly unlikely places.



I agree with all that post, but for the sake of brevity, I have edited most of it out. The Maton in question is piano-like and tight sounding, loud enough to be satisfying in my man cave but not a banjo-killer.

Just a comment/blog about my guitar choices, I'm a fingerpicker, and my major influences have been the likes of John Hurt. When he came out of retirement in the '60s blues revival, he chose a Guild F-30 in preference to a fancy Martin, both offered as freebies. The tight punchy sound of the Guild is well suited to that style of playing, but it certainly isn't the kind of sound I would choose for playing slide, my other major interest. It is a question of horses for courses, but if I had to choose only one, it would be a big open-sounding flattop for slide, because I could live with it for fingerpicking. OTOH, playing slide on my fingerpicking guitar would be very frustrating. Maybe we should have a "one guitar" thread.
#22
Quote by Captaincranky
. . . . If everything sounds the same, and the "Helmholtz resonator" along with simple molecular movement are all that is in play, you should save a ton of money, and build your guitars out of cardboard boxes and be done with it. . . . . .


. . . . . When you come right down to it, all woods are mostly cellulose. However, the grain, pore structure, stiffness, and weights, and surface reflectivity all vary greatly . .


I don't believe I said that "everything sounds the same" I merely presented an explanation of how an acoustic guitar works - something that, when you read some of the posts in forums, it is evident a lot of people don't know.

Obviously (well, fairly obviously), sound (or more precisely the energy that we detect as sound) is transmitted with differing efficiencies in different mediums. We all know the old adage about getting advance notice of the approach of a train by listening to the railway track - because iron transmits sound more efficiently than air and the sound energy travels faster.

But the material of choice for the top of an acoustic guitar is wood - and not just any old wood but spruce. And spruce is used because historically it was (1) fairly easily worked with the tools of the day and (2) was found to have great strength when cut into thin sheets - better than any other wood (the only other wood that comes close is cedar but its use for guitar tops is quite recent). Spruce is still, far and away, the most popular wood - used in 90%+ of guitars.

And, whilst as you say, different woods are variable, I would venture that it's also fairly safe to say that the variations within the same species of wood are pretty small (and the same holds true for closely related species). So again I would venture that, since we are talking about the transmission of sound energy through the same material in 90%+ of cases, in pretty much most cases it's going to be pretty much the same.

And, come on, lets be honest: guitars do sound pretty much the same. There are nuances to be sure: different body shapes and sizes, different strings, and yes, different woods too, plus construction variations, etc, etc. Every guitar is an individual really just as is everything we make - no one thing is exactly the same as another. What is impossible to predict is to what extent each small variation is going to affect the sound of the finished article.

So, I'll remind you of my original statement. It was:

"I really don't believe you can determine how a particular guitar will sound from it's materials, construction or what strings you put on it. You have to play it to find out".
Last edited by Garthman at Nov 18, 2015,
#23
Quote by Garthman
....[ ]...."I really don't believe you can determine how a particular guitar will sound from it's materials, construction or what strings you put on it. You have to play it to find out".


No, you actually can predict the way a guitar will sound. It will sound like a guitar.If you can't predict the general differential between 80/20 "brass", and "phosphor bronze" strings, you, ("royal you"), need your ears checked.

If body resonance and molecular movement in the top were the sole factors responsible, why would one jumbo sound different from another?

There are wildly differing samples of wood from the same species of tree.Take balsa as a prime example. This wood can vary from between less that 6 lbs per cubic foot, to over 24 lbs. per CF.

While I don't subscribe to the concept that the best spruce is cut down under a full moon, or you need to serenade your forest as they do in Cremona, Italy, environmental factors DO influence, at the very least, the density and flexibility of any species. Which translates to different sounding woods, even within the SAME species.

Another 10 page winner of a question I've seen is, "call you tell the brand and or species of wood of a guitar in a recording". I'm gonna say for the most part "no". The recording process alters tone to a degree which "sands off the differences in sound"between different woods and guitars, no matter how "high fidelity", the undertaking might have been. Tonal accuracy is essentially destroyed altogether by most, if not almost all, home playback equipment.

If molecular movement were the ONLY factor involved in sound production by a guitar, why would a guitar with scalloped braces and solid top routinely be louder than a typical laminate instrument?

For that matter, why would Ovation go out of the way to "float" the tops on their "Adamas" models? I suppose they could in fact be full of shit and dishing out ad hype, or they could be onto something..

As far as, "you don't know what a guitar is going to sound like until you play it goes", I provisionally agree for the simple reason, it's a patent declaration of the obvious.

I believe you can make at least a very broad assumption, based on construction and materials.

Here's a link to the "Wood Database": http://www.wood-database.com/ A relaxing perusal through the different densities of the same woods, and the differences between species will hopefully convince you there's at least a component of truth to the ideology that, "all woods are not created equal".
Last edited by Captaincranky at Nov 18, 2015,
#24
Just a comment on tops, for the record. A lot of it is about stiffness to weight ratios, strength, stability etc, and availability. Adirondack was popular in the US until it ran out, then they switched to sitka, and are now pushing regrowth adi since the good-looking sitka is running out The Chinese have used paulownia, a hardwood, for tops for a long time. - The tone of a good guqin is testament to its suitability. Cedar works, as does the mahogany family. Bunya, an Araucaria, is excellent if you can get past the looks. HPL and carbon fibre also work. There are, IMO, overall differences between the top materials, but appropriate build can get a lot out of any of the them, and probably a lot of others that haven't been used extensively.
#25
Quote by Captaincranky
No, you actually can predict the way a guitar will sound. It will sound like a guitar. . . .


Isn't that what I said? Did you not see the bit where I said "guitars sound pretty much the same"?

Quote by Captaincranky
. . . If you can't predict the general differential between 80/20 "brass", and "phosphor bronze" strings, you, ("royal you"), need your ears checked. . .


Well, I don't worry too much about the very tiny differences - after a day on the guitar they sound pretty much the same to me.

Quote by Captaincranky
. . . If body resonance and molecular movement in the top were the sole factors responsible, why would one jumbo sound different from another? . . .


Sorry - I forgot to mention the fairies.
#26
Quote by Garthman
Quote by Captaincranky
No, you actually can predict the way a guitar will sound. It will sound like a guitar.If you can't predict the general differential between 80/20 "brass", and "phosphor bronze" strings, you, ("royal you"), need your ears checked.
Well, I don't worry too much about the very tiny differences - after a day on the guitar they sound pretty much the same to me.
Don't shoot the messenger, but that IS an issue with your hearing.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Nov 18, 2015,
#27
Quote by Tony Done
Just a comment on tops, for the record. A lot of it is about stiffness to weight ratios, strength, stability etc, and availability. Adirondack was popular in the US until it ran out, then they switched to sitka, and are now pushing regrowth adi since the good-looking sitka is running out The Chinese have used paulownia, a hardwood, for tops for a long time. - The tone of a good guqin is testament to its suitability. Cedar works, as does the mahogany family. Bunya, an Araucaria, is excellent if you can get past the looks. HPL and carbon fibre also work. There are, IMO, overall differences between the top materials, but appropriate build can get a lot out of any of the them, and probably a lot of others that haven't been used extensively.
Um well, did you know that botanically speaking, balsa is a hardwood?

With respect to availability, woods which weren't used by virtue of being "unconventional", apparently have a lot to offer, giving a nod to the newly popular, walnut, myrtle, and a spectrum of domestic species of maple. My sapele Taylor 12 string sounds pretty darned good, considering sapele is mostly thought of a a poor substitute for tropical mahoganies...

In addition to "tone", machine-ability is an underlying concern. Although tropical mahoganies machine very well, the gamut of substitutes, can be a bit more cantankerous and/or inconsistent.

Now if we were at AGF, we could start a roaring argument about where the myrtle came from, as to how it sounds.

Since the voodoo of pre-existing environmental conditions have in actuality, quite likely affected the grain structure of old growth Adirondack (red) spruce, ponder the "Methuselah Tree": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methuselah_%28tree%29

I'm pretty sure, (were that a top wood), you wouldn't be able create the same tone with cultivated, environmentally optimized regrowth. But now I'm just being a bit silly, am I not?
Last edited by Captaincranky at Nov 18, 2015,
#28
Balsa? Yes I knew, I'm an ex-botanist.

I don't think you're being silly at all. (genotype * environment interactions was one of my specialities) I agree that environment could be a big deal in determining the physical properties of acoustic materials. Which factory did the HPL come from?
#29
Quote by Tony Done
Which factory did the HPL come from?
Don't you mean which forest did the Richlite come from?
#30
Basically you will say i made every mistake i might have...

As a beginner ( started to play last year, Age 44 ), i got myself a beginner's guitar...from ebay...never seen in original, never Held in Hands.

Model: Epiphone AJ 100 VS, price: 80,00€ incl. shipping

BUT

i felt "home" instantly.. great Feeling, great Setup ( strings ), easy playing, great Sound. even with the original old strings.
after a couple of months i changed the strings. Yamaha .11-.52, bought for 5,00€
I simply love it now.

It doesn't sound "cheap" or poor at all...even my teacher, who has been playing for decades already and owns himself a Gibson Jumbo likes the Sound and the Feeling.
Last edited by schalk70 at Nov 23, 2015,
#32
Quote by schalk70
Basically you will say i made every mistake i might have...

As a beginner ( started to play last year, Age 44 ), i got myself a beginner's guitar...from ebay...never seen in original, never Held in Hands.

Model: Epiphone AJ 100 VS, price: 80,00€ incl. shipping
How is any of that a mistake? I think that model usually goes for $100.00. You'd never played, so refinancing you home to spring for a "really good guitar", would be equivalent, (more or less), to shooting yourself in the foot.

Quote by schalk70
BUT

i felt "home" instantly.. great Feeling, great Setup ( strings ), easy playing, great Sound. even with the original old strings.
after a couple of months i changed the strings. Yamaha .11-.52, bought for 5,00€
I simply love it now.
Well, since Epiphone is owned by Gibson, some of their philosophy, such as neck profile, is bound to spill over to the Epiphone line.

Quote by schalk70
It doesn't sound "cheap" or poor at all...even my teacher, who has been playing for decades already and owns himself a Gibson Jumbo likes the Sound and the Feeling.
About this aspect of the story. Your guitar teacher is perhaps being sincere. OTOH, I'[m pretty sure it would be stupid, rude, self indulgent, and harmful to your progress, for him to tell you the guitar is a piece of crap.

The truth is likely somewhere in the middle. even a bit biased toward, "best guitar ever". Chinese luthiers make maybe $2.00 an hour building guitars. That doesn't mean they don't take pride in their work. Gibson factory workers likely make in excess of $20.00 an hour. So, you have 10 times the labor cost going into the Gibson.

Laminated guitars don't necessarily sound "better" or "worse" than solid guitars, but they do sound different. A solid top guitar will most often have more "sustain". Sometimes players "palm mute" their guitars to get rid of sustain.

When you come right down to it, there are many, many people who are quite happy with inexpensive Epiphones. When you get further into it, there is inconsistency in sound between the sound of the same model guitars at any price point. There are apt to be a few corners cut, to get "XX" guitar out the door for a hundred bucks. As long as they don't affect the overall play-ability, who cares?

So, when you find one which makes you happy, play the snot out of it, and pay no attention to the price tag.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Nov 23, 2015,
#33
yesterday my Iraqi mate brought around his MIC "Rocket"brand dread that he had purchased in Bagdhad. After about three hours work I got it more or less playable, another three hours might get it fairly decent. It will never be good, because the neck angle is too low. However, it sounded fine IMO, so I got two surprises 1) how much i liked the sound, and 2) how bad the build and set up were. But it does illustrate that fixing up awful guitars can be a rewarding hobby.
#34
Wow! I was 18 (1963) when I bought my first guitar for $40 - a Harmony nylon-string. In retrospect, it was a piece of crap, but I learned some basics and replaced it about 9 months later with a Harmony Sovereign dread. A nice guitar, but still not where I wanted to be.

About a year later, i discovered that my local music store had an Epiphone 12-string that had been on the rack for several months. I finally talked the owner into selling it for $250, which for me at that time was a pile of money. I played it until about 5 years ago when the top bracing got weak and I wandered around with various instruments until ending up with my current D-28.

In all that time, until a few years ago, there was damned little information available regarding tone wood, setup, intonation or any of that stuff. You bought a guitar and played it the way to was. If you weren't in Greenwich Village, there were very few guitarists to learn from. It's really wonderful to have the amount of information that's available in this forum at the click of a mouse.
Dave Bowers

Instruments
Martin D-28
Martin/Sigma DR12-7
Martin Dreadnought Junior
Washburn EA25SNB
Epiphone F-112 Bard
Epiphone Les Paul Special II
#35
captaincranky,
my "teacher" is a good friend of mine. we know each other a certain time already and sing in the same choir for several years.
he would have been very honest to me if he rated this guitar a piece of crap.
myself, i was at the Frankfurt Music fair this April and held an epiphone hummingbird in hands...i was shocked about how poor this thing was...Sound and condition was nothing to be presented at a fair.
that is one reason why i posted it in this thread, in the first place.
#36
Quote by schalk70
captaincranky,
my "teacher" is a good friend of mine. we know each other a certain time already and sing in the same choir for several years.
he would have been very honest to me if he rated this guitar a piece of crap.
myself, i was at the Frankfurt Music fair this April and held an epiphone hummingbird in hands...i was shocked about how poor this thing was...Sound and condition was nothing to be presented at a fair.
that is one reason why i posted it in this thread, in the first place.
So, clarify a point for me, you like the less expensive Epi AJ-100 more than the "Hummingbird".

First, I think the AJ-100 is what's commonly called a "slope shoulder dreadnought". These have a narrower waist than a Hummingbird, and so, might feel more comfortable.

I'm not sure where you're going with this, but I'm very far from a "guitar snob". I've also heard the best and worst things said about both models you've mentioned

Epiphone has changed their OEM to Samick in Indonesia, away from China. I have 2 Epi EJ-200-SCE's from there, and both are virtually flawless. Both also came out of their boxes almost perfectly set up.

What have we learned? Perhaps China, along with other Asian countries have what we Americans call "Monday or Friday" guitars. If someone feels they've been stuck with a lemon of a car, it usually gets blamed on the day of the week it was produced.

Not all Martin guitars built are ever sold. Given their price tag, if they don't meet standard, out comes the chainsaw, and the guitar meets its fate in the dumpster.

If you're happy with the guitar you have, it gives you plenty of time and opportunity to stop and smell the roses, so to speak, and play all the guitars you can before you decide what your next purchase might be.