#1
Silly question here: do Parlor style guitars sound better than other guitars? I saw something awhile back that claimed that guitars where the neck meets the body at the 12th fret have a better "tone", in general, than other guitars. Is that the case? Would a "parlor style" version of my BigBaby sound inherently better than the guitar I already have, all other things (craftsmanship, woods, strings) being the same? What's more is this a "common knowledge" thing amongst experienced guitar players? I have to confess I find this sentiment insane as I can't hear any superiority.
Last edited by TobusRex at Jul 11, 2016,
#2
I still think" beauty is an the ear of the beholder" and "prejudice in is the mind of the player".

However I will give you that smaller bodies emphasize treble, which can work to someone who finger picks advantage.
#3
Quote by Captaincranky
I still think" beauty is an the ear of the beholder" and "prejudice in is the mind of the player".

However I will give you that smaller bodies emphasize treble, which can work to someone who finger picks advantage.


Makes sense Cranky. Less boomy sound would emphasize the treble. As for sound quality....I see you stand where I do (don't really hear any "superiority" in 12 fret models).

I found something last week that asserted that 12 fret models were better due to some obscure harmonic related issues and that the 12th fret is exactly half the scale length, or some such. Anyway, thanks!
#4
Quote by TobusRex
Makes sense Cranky. Less boomy sound would emphasize the treble. As for sound quality....I see you stand where I do (don't really hear any "superiority" in 12 fret models).
There's a Gibson, "Jackson Browne Songwriter" signature model, which is an enormous 12 fret jumbo. That might actually make a difference by virtue of sheer body size for the bottom end. Patti knows more about than I do. I think she's actually been able to get her hands on one.

Here's an interesting test on the Epiphone EJ- 200-SCE. It's even a lefty model. The reviewer is complaining about the guitar is "quiet for its size", and it, "might have too much poly on it". Then he takes up a pick and the story does an about face. Pete Townshend said of the Gibson J-200, "they've got a stilff top or something, you have to play hard to get it moving". (Gibson also built a sig model of Pete's J-200 as well).

Although the longer scale of a dread or jumbo likely compensates for the getting the top moving aspect,at least to some. Most parlors are 24.75" short scale, still those little tops are easier to get going, nor do I expect they have to be braced as heavily.

Here, give this a stop, look, and listen. Pay attention to the setting on the EQ panel on screen. You.ll see at bump up at the bass (left), and a treble roll off, (right). New strings, maple body, and a hot room, most likely led to that setting being needed.

Last edited by Captaincranky at Jul 11, 2016,
#5
Whilst I'm cautious of applying the terms "better" or "worse" to tones. I have found that, when comparing similar models of the same small-to-medium sized guitar, I have just about always preferred the sound of the 12-fret. IIRC, the longer body favours fuller air-resonance frequencies, plus the bridge is located in a different position on the lower bout.
#6
Quote by Tony Done
Whilst I'm cautious of applying the terms "better" or "worse" to tones. I have found that, when comparing similar models of the same small-to-medium sized guitar, I have just about always preferred the sound of the 12-fret. IIRC, the longer body favours fuller air-resonance frequencies, plus the bridge is located in a different position on the lower bout.
Which could arguably be categorized as being a "different guitar". (At least if the body chamber volume is truly larger). That's the part I'm not sure about with that Gibson "Songwriter" model.
#7
Captaincranky

I was thinking in particular of the Martin 000-15 and 000-15s - I very striking difference in the ones I've tried - which indeed includes a bigger body. My Bourgeois is 12-fret in a big (16*20) Gibson style SJ body. This was done by moving the fretboard and bridge back, so that the bridge is more centred in the lower bout than it would be on a typical Gibson. It is very loud, and has other tonal features I like. I assume Dana did it that way for a reason, but I'd be stretching it to speculate any further than that, because it also only has a single main tone bar and asymmetric scalloping.
#8
Tony Done Well, the C to C distance from fret 12 to fret 14, (25.5" scale), is approximately 1 7/8".. That means to maintain the same number of frets on the guitar, the sound hole has to be moved back as well. (Obviously 1 7/8" rearward).. So, is the the case with the Bourgeois, or does it have "2 1/2" fewer frets? (After all, they get closer together as you go up the scale).

It also generates the opposing question, "so we're sacrificing tone for extra neck access, on all or most 14 fret guitars"?
Last edited by Captaincranky at Jul 12, 2016,
#10
They always mention in adverts for 12-fretters that they sound better. For some reason they never mention this in adverts for 14 fretters...
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#11
Quote by Dave_Mc
They always mention in adverts for 12-fretters that they sound better. For some reason they never mention this in adverts for 14 fretters...
Then have I got a Gibson for you!
The regular "Songwriter" is 14 frets. You needn't try it, you wouldn't like it...
http://www.gibson.com/Products/Acoustic-Instruments/Round-Shoulder/Gibson-Acoustic/Jackson-Browne-Signature/Features.aspx
#12
Quote by TobusRex
. . . . . . Silly question here: do Parlor style guitars sound better than other guitars? . . .


Of course they do!

OTOH, of course they don't!
#13
Captaincranky

I haven't seen that one before. The body is apparently a tiny bit smaller than my Bourgeois, but the bridge and soundhole location are very similar. If I was looking for a fingerpicking guitar, and had a fistful of $$, I would definitely be checking that one.
#14
Tony Done

Well now Tony........, thank goodness we're not at another Acoustic Guitar Forum on the www., (which of course will remain nameless), because you would have had to say, "I have plenty of money for that Gibby, but I just don't like Jackson Browne". Otherwise, an admission of semi poverty would have drawn ridicule and scorn.

Quote by Tony Done
The body is apparently a tiny bit smaller than my Bourgeois,
Well now Tony......., that's because, "The Jackson Browne Songwriter", is a slope, and your Bourgoise is a J-200 copy..... (Dear god I crack myself up sometimes)......
Last edited by Captaincranky at Jul 12, 2016,
#16
Quote by Captaincranky
Then have I got a Gibson for you!
The regular "Songwriter" is 14 frets. You needn't try it, you wouldn't like it...
http://www.gibson.com/Products/Acoustic-Instruments/Round-Shoulder/Gibson-Acoustic/Jackson-Browne-Signature/Features.aspx


hahahahaha
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#17
the jackson browne is in my top 3 all time favorite dreads and made my top 10 all time favorite guitars list, probably in the top 5. an amazing tone - i heard it from across crowded, busy GC HWD and fell in love. played it several times, got to listen to my husband play it. just a sweet, sweet guitar. at over $4000, though, a bit above my touch.

btw, i do like the sound of 12 fret 0s, 00s and 000s. because of this thread, i considered my personal favorites, and these are they:

santa cruz 1929 0
huss & dalton 0 and 00
santa cruz style 1
and one of my faves at a lower price range is the eastman E10P.

although i did love the 14 fret martin tim o'brien model, as well.

Quote by Captaincranky

Tony DoneAGF
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
There could be something to the "12th fret at the body" claims as it puts more "meat" into the body and it's just a natural way to neck a guitar. I consider other designs to be "offset" for the purpose of getting to the higher notes. I never need to play up there.
There are more factors than just tone to consider such as timber and sustain. You will notice on the Gibson above that the center of the sound hole is half the distance 12th to saddle, they did it just right.
#19
Quote by skido13
There could be something to the "12th fret at the body" claims as it puts more "meat" into the body and it's just a natural way to neck a guitar. I consider other designs to be "offset" for the purpose of getting to the higher notes. I never need to play up there.
There are more factors than just tone to consider such as timber and sustain. You will notice on the Gibson above that the center of the sound hole is half the distance 12th to saddle, they did it just right.
Well, with further reflection about the subject, the neck joint at the 12th fret, also places an octave of scale over the body, and an octave on the neck. Joining the neck at the 14th fret, doesn't construct as natural an even order harmonic relationship. So, does that factor into it? Dunno, but it is something to ponder.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Jul 15, 2016,
#20
Captaincranky

There could be at least two different mechanisms at work, in addition to your harmonic idea.. Crudely, there are two basic ways to transform a 14-fret design into a 12-fret.

1) you can make the upper bout longer and leave the bridge where it is on the lower bout as in most Martins or

2) you can move the neck and bridge back, as in my Bourgeois and the Martin Norman Blake

The first option increases the volume/length of the body, the second puts the bridge closer to the centre of the lower bout. either of these could have a substantial affect on tone, but for different reasons.

Your harmonic factor, if it exist might apply to both of them.
#21
Quote by Tony Done
Captaincranky

There could be at least two different mechanisms at work, in addition to your harmonic idea.. Crudely, there are two basic ways to transform a 14-fret design into a 12-fret.

1) you can make the upper bout longer and leave the bridge where it is on the lower bout as in most Martins or
OK, IMHO, that's flat out cheating. It's a different guitar. In a similar but different discussion about a cutaway vs. a non cutaway instrument, the purists could hear a world of difference in the awesome bottom end of the full body, while I in my naive ignorance, thought, "hm, the cutaway model has a lot less mud, and a lot more sting"...

Quote by Tony Done
2) you can move the neck and bridge back, as in my Bourgeois and the Martin Norman Blake

The first option increases the volume/length of the body, the second puts the bridge closer to the centre of the lower bout. either of these could have a substantial affect on tone, but for different reasons.
From an audio engineer's point, (not that I'm one of those, mind you), centering anything, or creating cabinet with equal dimensions on all sides, tends to reinforce certain frequencies, and mute others. No harm, no foul though. You might find those harmonic centers pleasant. But that might be more likely in a guitar than a speaker cabinet. Our affectation with tube amps is a formidable indicator of exactly that. Harmonic distortion is pleasing to the ear. Inter modulation product, not so much.

Quote by Tony Done
Your harmonic factor, if it exist might apply to both of them.
There's no discounting the fact that octave harmonics are quite pleasing to the ear. Obviously, this is the reason someone inverted the 12 string. One step beyond that, I tune my twelves to D-d, and capo up two. Which arguably, comes close to placing the octave on the neck and an octave over the body. Does it matter? Meh, no comment.


Any of that notwithstanding, octave harmonics are copiously generated by none other than, the pipe organ. Which leads me back to one of my slightly off topic rants:

I've been toying with my "Pitchfork" (multi octave synthesizer), and playing my 12 string semi hollow through it. At a certain point, given the substantial sustain of the guitar, coupled with and upper and lower octaves being synthesized for every note played, you wind up with a guitar that sounds like a pipe organ. It's pretty cool, although it might get a bit tiring, as would listening to a Bach organ recital, 3 hours long...

One of the sales pitches for the stomp box is, "you can make your guitar sound like a 12 or 18 string. Hm...., I'm not sure of the exact polyphony of the pedal, but I count a minimum of 18 strings, possibly as many as 36...

Especially if you're picking individual strings, because the polyphony of the box, guarantees you 6 notes from one pick stroke. (Although the lower synthetic octave of the octave string, would double the prime string's pitch, as would the upper octave of the prime string..
Last edited by Captaincranky at Jul 15, 2016,
#22
Captaincranky

When most folks talk about 12-fret v 14-fret, I think they are nearly always visualising the difference between a longer and short body, that is. the Martin sense. - At least where steel strings are concerned. It is certainly true in my case, though owning the other kind has made me well aware of it.

I once enquired about this "centred bridge" thing, and Alan Carruth suggested that is is just different, not necessarily better or worse. It is the style adopted on classical guitars, but as he pointed out, they don't use centred bridges on banjos, even though it would be easy to do.

I've tried messing with harmonics generators when when I had a digital multiFX. I couldn't get excited about it, too much going on all the time, ad my style is busy enough as it is.
#23
Quote by Tony Done
Captaincranky

When most folks talk about 12-fret v 14-fret, I think they are nearly always visualising the difference between a longer and short body, that is. the Martin sense. - At least where steel strings are concerned. It is certainly true in my case, though owning the other kind has made me well aware of it.
Be that as it may, IMHO, it's still "cheating".

Quote by Tony Done
I once enquired about this "centred bridge" thing, and Alan Carruth suggested that is is just different, not necessarily better or worse. It is the style adopted on classical guitars, but as he pointed out, they don't use centred bridges on banjos, even though it would be easy to do.
Mr. Carruth may be correct, the practical, everyday perceptual, "I can't hear the difference" sor of way.

However, in the sense of basic physics, he's dead wrong. The strings actuate the bridge via torsional stimulation. In other words striking the string shorten it, causing the bridge to "roll" and transfer its energy to the top. A vibrating string is functionally "shorter" than a stationary one, I don't think that could be disputed.Now, depending on where the bridge is situated, the torsional stress required it stimulate its rotation could be symmetric, "centered", or asymmetric ir either direction. Does that matter to our ear? Meh,dunno. But, with all the fuss about 12 frets, and the location of the bridge and sound hole, it very well might.

Quote by Tony Done
I've tried messing with harmonics generators when when I had a digital multiFX. I couldn't get excited about it, too much going on all the time, ad my style is busy enough as it is.
In truth I'm saving up for another Elecrto Harmonix box, "the Mel9". What it does is add sounds which were originally made available via tape replay, in the original "Mellotron".

My "style", (note the shock quotes), wants to have strings ringing at all times. There isn't a "funkadelic" bone in my whole body. I would have liked to take up the pipe organ, but that would have required that I learn to deal with multiple keyboards, while reading music and doing a flamenco type tap dance on 3 or so octaves of pedals. Plus, you simply can't pick up a pipe organ and strum it..

As with other effects used in conjunction with the acoustic, restraint is the key with harmonic generators. If you dial them way down, they'll impart a "fatness" to the sound of your guitar, as opposed to making a nuisance of themselves in the foreground.

Here's the video demo of the Mel9:



Keep in mind I'm only interested in the utility of the "orchestra", "strings", and "chorus" possibilities. They can stuff that saxaphone. The idea that you can those sounds swell in behind the (unaffected) strum, is fascinating. (at least to me).
Last edited by Captaincranky at Jul 15, 2016,
#24
Captaincranky

Wild, but I know I would find it too distracting, same as I did digital multiFX. Some of those effects are certainly interesting though - the "high choir" sounds like a pipe organ to me. It would be interesting to hear it doing one of Bach's fugues.

Alan has done a fair bit on the physics of soundboards, and IIRC, surprisingly, didn't find that the torquing effect of the bridge on top movement was very great compared with the simple "pumping" effect. Also, everything is greatly complicated by differences in bracing patterns. - For many years I've had a hankering to try a (Dana) Bourgeois Blues - a ladder-braced dread specifically designed for honky sounding slide.

Drifting completely OT, but about sounds. Sonny Landreth's sound in this has intrigued for about as long as the Bourgeois Blues has. I've enquired a few times and never got an answer that convinced me. Maybe you want to have a go:



I would commit serious crime to be able to get that sound.

Note that he is using a Pod, but no foot pedals.

I think it is close to a square wave/fuzz, many disagree. IMO he is an absolute master of tone control through his fingers.
#25
Well, the other "CC" is certainly no slouch when it comes to tone either.

To me it sounds like an old fashioned "Plate" or "chamber" reverb, pegged, along with a bit of very slow tremolo. That reverb setting takes me back to the 50's, with "greats" like, "Freddie, 'Boom, Boom", Cannon", were all reverb and very little singing ability. I'm picturing that amp, (whatever it is), likely has a lot to do with it. Possibly the guy at the sound board as well.

That Strat sounds like it's been juicing up on steroids on its day off.

Quote by Tony Done
...[ ]....Wild, but I know I would find it too distracting, same as I did digital multiFX. Some of those effects are certainly interesting though - the "high choir" sounds like a pipe organ to me. It would be interesting to hear it doing one of Bach's fugues....[ ]....
. There's no need, EHX has a pedal for that too!

The pipe organ ia @ 4:52
Last edited by Captaincranky at Jul 15, 2016,
#27
Quote by Tony Done
Captaincranky

Cindy's sound I can comprehend, Sonny's I can't . "Steroids" doesn't cut it.
Well, part of it is a super good, super specific type of reverb. Another major factor has to be the mic they're using on the amp. It has a stunning amount of presence and transient response. As to what else is in the mix, I'm stumped as well. It could be partly his pickups.

Have you investigated what's in the pod? They are programmable. It likely took him more than a lazy afternoon to hit just the right "knob twiddle".
#28
Captaincranky

I've tried researching his gear, but that seems to be a one-off. You aren't the first person to suggest that reverb pays a significant part of it, so I'll look into that. Some of those occasional scraping rattly sounds on the slide still sound like quasi-square wave to me though
#29
Tony Done Well, after a couple of listens, I also hear the same thing you do. So, add over driving the mic in front of the guitar amp, an uncharacteristically low amount of distortion boost, (maybe a Tube Screamer not full on), (or a hot preamp in the Pod), or even the "Aphex Aural Exciter" system effect.

David Gilmour, (Pink Floyd), is another player whose tone many would emulate, if they could. This little gem: http://www.kitrae.net/music/David_Gilmour_Tone_Building_A1.html illustrates how difficult that might actually be...
Last edited by Captaincranky at Jul 16, 2016,
#30
Quote by Captaincranky
Tony Done Well, after a couple of listens, I also hear the same thing you do. So, add over driving the mic in front of the guitar amp, an uncharacteristically low amount of distortion boost, (maybe a Tube Screamer not full on), (or a hot preamp in the Pod), or even the "Aphex Aural Exciter" system effect.

David Gilmour, (Pink Floyd), is another player whose tone many would emulate, if they could. This little gem: http://www.kitrae.net/music/David_Gilmour_Tone_Building_A1.html illustrates how difficult that might actually be...


Hah, I hadn't thought about the possible effect of the mic being overdriven.