#1
I've been wandering around and looking at guitars, and what I've noticed is this:
1. I really like guitars that bring out a lot of bass, and little high ends.
2. Guitars with a coated finish are always way too bright for my taste
3. Guitars without one sound closest to what I really like in a guitar's tone.

I think it would be cool to discuss if there are any guitars out there that break those observations, because I've been looking for a guitar that really has a crap ton of bottom end, but also have a finish, if possible, because they look nice.
#2
I think it depends on the string alloy, "Brass" (80/20), or phosphor bronze, and the age of the string set.

After that, it depends on the maker's design philosophy.

A rough guess is, A Taylor or Fender is much likely to be brighter than a Martin or one of it's Asian clones.

If you want deep bass, look at "dreadnought" or "jumbo" bodies, nothing smaller.

The brightness caused by a new or very bright string set can be either played away, in the case of new, or simply changed in the case of a really hot set of Elixirs or their ilk.

The resonant cavity remains, and that's where the bottom end is generated.

Personally, I like a good thuddy bottom, and a nice sparkle in the highs. After that, it simply depends on which strings you hit the hardest as to what the overall sound character will be.

Trust me, if a guitar doesn't have a nice sparkle in the highs when you play it in the store, it will get real dead, real fast, at home.

FWIW, I find the acoustic 12 string way too bright unplugged. If I'm not merely practicing late at night, I'll plug into an amp with a big ass 12" speaker. Not for volume mind you, but to balance the bottom end. So, plugged in, I use almost a full treble cut, and a full bass boost, just cracking the volume a bit. Perfecta mundo!

The human ear suffers from "loudness contour issues", studied by Mssrs. Fletcher & Munson. This is why there was always a "loudness button" on old audio amps, to compensate for loss of bass at low volumes.

Your ears play tricks at different volumes and in different environments. I suggest investigate "loudness contour".

If anything, I sometimes find shiny guitars dull. My ears are different than yours, and I'm pretty sure mine are older. < (not good for comparison's sake).
Last edited by Captaincranky at Feb 5, 2016,
#5
My Taylor 115e 12 string is a matte varnish finish, and that thing is so bright it practically spits razor blades.

Since Taylor's 1xx series guitars are all sitka over laminated sapele, with the same matte varnish finish, you'd likely find them to have a "familial" sound character. Not as bright as the 12 mind you, but quite sparkly nonetheless.

I imagine if you walked into a guitar store, picked up a Taylor 110e and found it to be a bit dull, it would likely be because everybody else looking for an acoustic has picked it up and played it as well. So, the stings would probably be a bit dead from that... "All play with greasy hands, and no afterwards work on a wipe down, make Jack's strings a bit dull".

OK, that was a horrifically bad job of paraphrasing an old saying. I might as well cop to it and move on....
Last edited by Captaincranky at Feb 5, 2016,
#6
My last pay check was $9500 working 12 hours a week online. My sisters friend has been averaging 15k for months now and she works about 20 hours a week. I can't believe how easy it was once I tried it out. This is what I do..
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#7
If bass response is what you want, I'd go with a Gibson Country Jumbo. I found myself sitting next to one at a jamb and kept looking for the bass player.
Dave Bowers

Instruments
Martin D-28
Martin/Sigma DR12-7
Martin Dreadnought Junior
Washburn EA25SNB
Epiphone F-112 Bard
Epiphone Les Paul Special II
#8
Quote by davebowers
If bass response is what you want, and you have several thousand dollars to spend, I'd go with a Gibson Country Jumbo. I found myself sitting next to one at a jamb and kept looking for the bass player.

Fixed....!
#9
Quote by CherokeShredder
Yep. I would place finish on near the very last spot of things to worry about with how the guitar works


coming from the building side of things, it is a factor but not so noticeable to a lot of people. certainly you will hear a degradation of tone on a guitar that has an overly thick finish for sure as it just dampens the wood. on high end and boutique guitars you'll see nitro lacquer applied in the thinnest possible layers. you'll also see french polish on the entire body and on some builders instruments, you see a combination of a french polished top and a lacquer or poly sprayed body often combined with an oil finish on the neck.

the consensus among many custom builders is that thinnest is often best for tone, but not so good for wear. but this assumes that instruments are purchased for best tone not necessarily for investment value or looks.
#10
Quote by nobbers
I've been wandering around and looking at guitars, and what I've noticed is this:
1. I really like guitars that bring out a lot of bass, and little high ends.
2. Guitars with a coated finish are always way too bright for my taste
3. Guitars without one sound closest to what I really like in a guitar's tone.

I think it would be cool to discuss if there are any guitars out there that break those observations, because I've been looking for a guitar that really has a crap ton of bottom end, but also have a finish, if possible, because they look nice.


well one thing you could do is to find the guitars resonant pitch by singing notes into the sound hole and when the body vibrates in tune to your note, you now have found the Helmholtz frequency of that guitar. finding the lowest response might be a clue to narrowing down that bass tone you're after.

strings and things aside, one of the deepest sounding guitars i've played recently was a gibson jackson brown. deep body, english walnut b&s, adi top, 12 fret dred. really nice guitar.
Last edited by ad_works at Feb 5, 2016,
#11
Quote by ad_works
...[ ]....one of the deepest sounding guitars i've played recently was a gibson jackson brown. deep body, english walnut b&s, adi top, 12 fret dred. really nice guitar.
And IIRC, a $5000.00 instrument. So we're clear and talking about the same instrument, is this the Gibson "Jackson Browne Signature Song Writer"?

If so, Patti and myself discussed this guitar on several occasions. I think we came to the conclusion she might be able to take a bath in that thing.

As far as the effect finish has on tone, it depends whose shit you want to listen to. I think Bob Taylor has the gift of gab in endorsing poly.

And while French polish is indeed used on custom harp guitars and the like, it's not something I honestly believe you're going to walk into the local guitar store and encounter.

If our TS is in the process of trying to determine if shiny guitars are all too bright, I sincerely doubt if he is in the market for a five grand custom or limited run Gibson.

Why not post advice according to what you perceive might fill the needs of a first or low time buyer with modest means, then allow him to escalate the price point if he chooses?
Last edited by Captaincranky at Feb 5, 2016,
#12
Quote by nobbers
I've been wandering around and looking at guitars, and what I've noticed is this:
1. I really like guitars that bring out a lot of bass, and little high ends.
2. Guitars with a coated finish are always way too bright for my taste
3. Guitars without one sound closest to what I really like in a guitar's tone.

I think it would be cool to discuss if there are any guitars out there that break those observations, because I've been looking for a guitar that really has a crap ton of bottom end, but also have a finish, if possible, because they look nice.


Neither bottom end nor brightness have much to do with finish, and a lot more to do with woods, size and construction details. I have a '67 Martin D35 dread that has a lot of boominess at the bottom end, but it's muddy bottom end. I've got a Taylor 814ce that has a far more balanced tone (and also has some brightness at the top end, due partly to the narrower waist, I think).

And I've got an inexpensive Yamaha dread that's nearly the same size as the Martin, but the wood is different, the internal bracing is different, etc. Mostly the sound is very different.

Almost all guitars have a "coated" finish, whether it's glossy or matte or somewhere in between. I have ONE French Polish finished guitar, and it's a 1939 Epiphone Emperor and it didn't ship that way from the factory. It's nice and bright and shiny, has a lot of bottom (and top) end and is a veritable sound cannon in part because it has a body width of over 18".

Taylor uses a UV-catalyzed polyester finish that's applied by a robot arm (and the guitar is mounted to a robot fixture itself). Because the finish is self-leveling (and nitrocellulose lacquer is not), the finish is immediately glossy (or matte) and requires very little handwork, even though it's very thin. And thanks to the computerized application system, the finish is more even than any hand-sprayed finish can be. So a glossy Taylor may LOOK like it has a thick finish, but the truth is that it's likely to be thinner and more even than lacquer-finished guitars. Most lacquer-finished guitars actually do NOT have a thin finish, though they have the distinction of transmitting the grain pattern of the wood below even if they have 30 coats of lacquer. Ask any vintage hot-rodder; no matter how many coats of hand-rubbed lacquer you put on a car, with in a couple of years it will show whatever imperfections are on the surface below. It's not that it's shrinking, either -- if you ding that lacquer, it will be a pretty thick chunk. Those vintage hot rod guys are using rubbing compound to get rid of the chalking, the color change and the "print-through" every two or three years.

Matte finishes are usually the same as gloss finishes; there are just de-glossing agents mixed into the paint. Talc and similar substances usually do the trick.

"Wandering around and looking at guitars" probably isn't going to serve you all that well when it comes to drawing conclusions about finishes. All it will tell you is what specific guitar shapes using specific woods and specific thicknesses of those woods will give you. Listen to a Martin with a really good rosewood back and sides and then listen to the same guitar with a mahogany back and sides. You're going to want to listen to guitars in the $2000+ range if you're going to find accuracy in those distinctions. When you drop into the $500 range, bets are pretty much off.
#13
Quote by dspellman
...[ ]....Taylor uses a UV-catalyzed polyester finish that's applied by a robot arm (and the guitar is mounted to a robot fixture itself). Because the finish is self-leveling (and nitrocellulose lacquer is not), the finish is immediately glossy (or matte) and requires very little handwork, even though it's very thin. And thanks to the computerized application system, the finish is more even than any hand-sprayed finish can be. So a glossy Taylor may LOOK like it has a thick finish, but the truth is that it's likely to be thinner and more even than lacquer-finished guitars.
True in large part but, the Mexi-Taylors are varnished, (semi-matte), and advertised as such.
#14
to the OP, i have played many gloss guitars, and i haven't found them as a whole to be brighter. while some are bright, others aren't.

Quote by Captaincranky
And IIRC, a $5000.00 instrument. So we're clear and talking about the same instrument, is this the Gibson "Jackson Browne Signature Song Writer"?

If so, Patti and myself discussed this guitar on several occasions. I think we came to the conclusion she might be able to take a bath in that thing.

As far as the effect finish has on tone, it depends whose shit you want to listen to. I think Bob Taylor has the gift of gab in endorsing poly.

And while French polish is indeed used on custom harp guitars and the like, it's not something I honestly believe you're going to walk into the local guitar store and encounter.

If our TS is in the process of trying to determine if shiny guitars are all too bright, I sincerely doubt if he is in the market for a five grand custom or limited run Gibson.

Why not post advice according to what you perceive might fill the needs of a first or low time buyer with modest means, then allow him to escalate the price point if he chooses?


i thought the gibson jackson browne was one of the three best-sounding guitars i ever played. ad_works knows this very well because he's my husband and we do most of our guitar/bass store adventures together.
Quote by Skeet UK
I just looked in my Oxford English Dictionary and under "Acoustic Guitar", there was your Avatar and an email address!
#15
Quote by patticake
...[ ]...i thought the gibson jackson browne was one of the three best-sounding guitars i ever played. ad_works knows this very well because he's my husband and we do most of our guitar/bass store adventures together.
And yet still perhaps not the $5000.00 guitar to recommend to a beginner who thinks "glossy guitars are all brighter than matte guitars".

You do recall our joking conversation about the size of the beast, do you not?
#16
Quote by Captaincranky
True in large part but, the Mexi-Taylors are varnished, (semi-matte), and advertised as such.


Did not know that.

Did not care, honestly, but I assumed that things might be done in that plant a bit differently from the US plant across the border.
#17
i don't think he was recommending the OP buy it i think he was comparing it to the country jumbo. (he's sitting on the couch, and confirms my interpretation )

oh, yes - the jackson browne is a beast, one of the deepest acoustics i've played, but it sounds like heaven

Quote by Captaincranky
And yet still perhaps not the $5000.00 guitar to recommend to a beginner who thinks "glossy guitars are all brighter than matte guitars".

You do recall our joking conversation about the size of the beast, do you not?
Quote by Skeet UK
I just looked in my Oxford English Dictionary and under "Acoustic Guitar", there was your Avatar and an email address!
#18
I've just never given thought into how a guitar looks or is painted with or by with them. Never really noticed much difference, but that could be due to the lack of perfect pitch or the lack of hearing much difference to begin with
#19
Quote by Captaincranky
Fixed....!

Thanks for the correction Captain. Brain wasn't fully functioning when I wrote that post.
Dave Bowers

Instruments
Martin D-28
Martin/Sigma DR12-7
Martin Dreadnought Junior
Washburn EA25SNB
Epiphone F-112 Bard
Epiphone Les Paul Special II
Last edited by davebowers at Feb 8, 2016,