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Is a '59 Les Paul really any better than a modern one?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #301
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kennybro View Post
Right... density. It's about the width of the rings. Fast growth trees have wide rings. Old growth, tight, narrow rings.

Any acoustic builder knows that old growth, tight grain spruce makes a better sounding acoustic top than does fast-grown, wide-grain spruce. It looks better too

I've found that it cases fewer weird resonances in the finished acoustic guitar. More balanced volume across frequencies. Less sloppy bass end, and a sweeter sounding top end.

Electric SB guitars... who knows? Maybe a minor affect on tone. Maybe not. SB guitars are made from maple, ash, mahogany, oak, rosewood, pine, plexiglass, aluminum, masonite, plywood, steel, resin, etc... I've owned both aluminum and plexiglass Fender Strats that sounded and played amazing. As good as any wooden Strat.
And denser is typically heavier? correct?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #302
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Originally Posted by kingofspain View Post
Not sure I buy it completely (the sound box on any acoustic instrument, for example, definitely adds rather than subtracts), but it made me look again at the way I make instruments.
Actually, no, it doesn't really "add" anything, but the resonant chamber and soundboard maximize the efficiency with which the energy of the strings gets transferred to the air. However the materials do absorb some energy and are therefore subtractive.

What's actually going on is a bit complicated You're taking the energy of something that is vibrating quite vigorously itself (the string) but is small and capable of pushing little air around by itself and turning the movement into something that's moving a lot less but is capable of coupling to the air much more efficiently (the soundboard and resonant cavity). What you have is a mechanical analog of a transformer*, the same principle as a horn loaded speaker enclosure (or a horn musical instrument.)

* - the string has a higher "voltage"/movement, but little "current"/area, and the energy is transformed to lower "voltage"/movement but much greater "current"/area to move the air and make sound.

Last edited by John Eppstein; 4 weeks ago at 04:56 AM..
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Old 4 weeks ago
  #303
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Originally Posted by audioforce View Post
I don't know, man. I think the point of the guy's post was that its likely that Gibson did not necessarily use the "old growth" portion of the "old growth" trees, and that makes sense.

They probably did more so in the 70's, which is the time where a lot of people complain about how heavy the Les Pauls are.


Best,

audioforce
In the 70s they used the cheapest approximation of "mahogany", multi-piece, they could get away with
Old 4 weeks ago
  #304
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Originally Posted by audioforce View Post
Tone- killing glue. That’s why strats rule.
Even the ones which had a maple fingerboard glued on?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #305
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Originally Posted by Yuri Kogan View Post
Even the ones which had a maple fingerboard glued on?
Is there such a thing?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #306
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Originally Posted by Yuri Kogan View Post
In the 70s they used the cheapest approximation of "mahogany", multi-piece, they could get away with
That's not what I heard. ?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #307
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So I found this stuff, too. Some of its interesting. TLDR.


https://music.stackexchange.com/ques...playability-et
Old 4 weeks ago
  #308
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Originally Posted by audioforce View Post
Is there such a thing?
Yes. Fender in late 60s, early 70s.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #309
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Originally Posted by audioforce View Post
That's not what I heard. ?
When a friend of mine got the idea to refinish his 2 LP Custom's from solid white to nitro, the strip revealed multi-piece bodies and the luthier declared it was not true mahogany but some Asian relative. The guy was one of the best in this country. I have one of those, but decided against a refin so I don't get disappointed (its creamy yellow now)
Old 4 weeks ago
  #310
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuri Kogan View Post
Yes. Fender in late 60s, early 70s.
Seems unnecessary.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #311
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audioforce View Post
So I found this stuff, too. Some of its interesting. TLDR.


https://music.stackexchange.com/ques...playability-et
Rubbish. Bodies resonate, together with the necks, the resonance activated by the string being hit. You can feel it. It dies down in an uneven fashion dictated by the density of the wood and consistency. If you have a decent guitar hold it against your body and pluck. You will feel the process. Then take another guitar and do the same. Does it resonate the same? You don,t need to plug the guitars in. It is that process which accounts for the overtones you get in your sound as it creates beats in the vibration waveform of the string moving in the magnetic field.
Too many experts, who have no clue on the net expressing their opinions
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Old 4 weeks ago
  #312
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audioforce View Post
Seems unnecessary.
Fender did alot of that. Hard to explain this weirdness. It didn't make the guitars cheaper, which was the CBS Fenders primary objective. Maybe they could claim a "fingerboard" rather then solid neck? Who knows
Old 4 weeks ago
  #313
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuri Kogan View Post
Rubbish. Bodies resonate, together with the necks, the resonance activated by the string being hit. You can feel it. It dies down in an uneven fashion dictated by the density of the wood and consistency. If you have a decent guitar hold it against your body and pluck. You will feel the process. Then take another guitar and do the same. Does it resonate the same? You don,t need to plug the guitars in. It is that process which accounts for the overtones you get in your sound as it creates beats in the vibration waveform of the string moving in the magnetic field.
Too many experts, who have no clue on the net expressing their opinions
Always a lot of controversy on the additive / subtractive discussion and whether one can hear the wood through the amp, right?

[tapping on pickups, popping strings against fingerboard, singing into pickups] : )
Old 4 weeks ago
  #314
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More stuff here. Not my words and not necessarily my analysis, but posting this for discussion and comments.

https://electronics.stackexchange.co...gnetic-pickups


Excerpt [other points of view in article also]:

"It's likely that if the body of a guitar has any effect on the string timbre it's likely so small as to be inaudible given the coloration a signal chain of pickup- electronics-cable-pedals-amp-speaker-room imparts on guitar tone.

The purpose of a solid body electric is to reduce and deaden resonance as much as possible so that maximum volume before feedback can be achieved. Most pickups are wax potted to prevent the internal coils from vibrating and picking up noise microphonically. The pickup does not pickup sound- it merely senses vibrating metal that disturbs it's magnetic field. This is why electric guitars never sound like acoustic guitars- it's sensing an isolating string vibration.

The major factors influencing timbre are the type of pickups (and placement) the nut, the bridge and how or where the string is struck. Whatever the string is directly touching influences how it vibrates. The body is the furthest from the string. Vibrational energy has to pass through the nut and the bridge, then into the neck and the body. The string vibration is already very weak- these vibrations get weaker as they pass through these mediums- where some energy gets reflected and some passes through. Feel the body vibrate with your hands after you strike the string and listen to the string acoustically- hear any difference in timbre? I don't.

I can hear the difference between single coils and humbuckers, can tell if it's a neck, middle or bridge pickup etc, but I've never heard if anyone being able to identify wood species based on amplified tone given the numerous factors in between.

Listen to amplified acoustic guitars. They pretty much all sound electric, negating much of the coloration of the wood box. A pickups job in life is to isolate the string sound from the body of the guitar- if it isn't then you're feeding back uncontrollablly.

The last example is that of Shovelman- he plays a -you guessed it- a shovel, with pickups and a nut and bridge to hold the strings. No body wood to speak of- it sounds pretty much exactly like an electric guitar.

The only thing your body wood is for is to be a frame for everything to stay held together and maybe to look pretty. It could have an influence on sustain if you have a good contact between the string bridge and wood, but not timbre. You'll control timbre through your amp, pickups and how you strike the string."
Old 4 weeks ago
  #315
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
Actually, no, it doesn't really "add" anything, but the resonant chamber and soundboard maximize the efficiency with which the energy of the strings gets transferred to the air. However the materials do absorb some energy and are therefore subtractive.
I'm pretty sure it adds loudness

But yes, it can only amplify what's there in the first place.

KoS.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #316
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kingofspain View Post
I'm pretty sure it adds loudness

But yes, it can only amplify what's there in the first place.

KoS.
Seems to me that it adds timbre also, rather than merely linearly increasing the amplitude of the exact wave[lets] produced by the isolated string. I don't see a guitar as a transformer.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #317
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audioforce View Post
More stuff here. Not my words and not necessarily my analysis, but posting this for discussion and comments.

https://electronics.stackexchange.co...gnetic-pickups
Further proof - were it needed - that one should never call on science in an attempt to explain art .
Old 4 weeks ago
  #318
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audioforce View Post
It does not merely linearly increase the amplitude of the exact wave[lets] produced by the isolated string.
I don't recall saying it did...
Old 4 weeks ago
  #319
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Originally Posted by kingofspain View Post
I don't recall saying it did...
I understand that. Was there something to the effect that it was strictly subtractive and / or all it did was amplify linearly?

Hmm, take the strings off [or mute them] and knock on the back of the guitar.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #320
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Originally Posted by kingofspain View Post
Further proof - were it needed - that one should never call on science in an attempt to explain art .
Ha ha. Well there are some valid points made, but these discussions tend to contain extreme viewpoints and overstatements.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #321
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audioforce View Post
I understand that. Was there something to the effect that it was strictly subtractive and / or all it did was amplify linearly?

Hmm, take the strings off [or mute them] and knock on the back of the guitar.
???

I think you've misunderstood, or misinterpreted what I've said at some point. We're talking at crossed purposes here - I don't really know what you''re trying to say.

I alluded to discussion in which Paul Reed Smith describes the guitar as a subtractive instrument - a theory to which I broadly subscribe.

I don't recall saying anything about linear amplification, though, and what will removing the strings and knocking on the back of a guitar prove?

KoS.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #322
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kingofspain View Post
???

I think you've misunderstood, or misinterpreted what I've said at some point. We're talking at crossed purposes here - I don't really know what you''re trying to say.

I alluded to discussion in which Paul Reed Smith describes the guitar as a subtractive instrument - a theory to which I broadly subscribe.
Yeah, I don't think its only subtractive.

And I see you said "the sound box on any acoustic instrument, for example, definitely adds rather than subtracts".

Quote:
I don't recall saying anything about linear amplification, though,


To make something merely louder, without altering the frequency spectrum, is what I mean by amplify linearly. I think you said something to the effect that the resonator merely makes "it" louder. Do you think the resonator adds nothing?

Quote:
and what will removing the strings and knocking on the back of a guitar prove?
Prove? Just try it, maybe you get a rough idea of what the guitar itself sounds like?

No argument intended here, btw.


Best,

audioforce
Old 4 weeks ago
  #323
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No argument here either. But I do think you need to make your statements clearer - or go back and re-read the relevent posts - before attempting to quote from memory

Quote:
Originally Posted by audioforce View Post
Yeah, I don't think its only subtractive.
Ok, so in what way do you think the guitar is an additive instrument?


Quote:
Originally Posted by audioforce View Post
To make something merely louder, without altering the frequency spectrum, is what I mean by amplify linearly. I think you said something to the effect that the resonator merely makes "it" louder. Do you think the resonator adds nothing?
I did not say that. I said the sound box of a guitar 'adds loudness', in response to Johns post earlier. As a joke, I might add.

The linear part you added yourself.

What goes on in the sound box of a guitar is a decidedly non-linear process, which is a big part of what makes it such a joy to listen to.
Strum a chord on a guitar, and you propagate soundwaves at a variety of frequencies - not just the fundamental note, but myriad harmonic overtones too.
Some of these might have a wavelength of only a few hundred Hz, some will be many thousands. All of these waves are crashing around in that small wooden enclosure, reinforcing and cancelling each other, in real time, untill the energy is expended. As I said, a decidedly non-linear process.
Fortunately for us, a good many of these soundwaves escape the confines of the box and reach our ears. Fortunate that is, if the guitarist is any good

That's an over-simplification, of course, but hopefully illustrative.

KoS.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #324
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audioforce View Post
And denser is typically heavier? correct?
Sure. But that's not so noticeable in a spruce acoustic top. Less than one ounce, one way or the other. I think what's important there is that vibrations flow through the wood more evenly. Sympathetic resonance is even and somewhat controlled.

But of course, that was the whole deal in the 70's when SB electrics went heavy. Everyone was building shoulder busters because they thought that made better sounding guitars. It's even in the advertisements. Bridges were dense, solid brass. Bodies were the heaviest woods. That solid rosewood Tele... ever pick one of those things up? Yikes!

I guess by those standards, a concrete or solid iron SB guitar would sound best. I did like the sound of my very heavy plexiglass Strat. And those Ampex plexiglass guitars had a sound. Lots of sustain. Overall, it isn't seem to work out, and light guitars because desirable again.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #325
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I believe there is a bit to the solidbody tonewood debate, but not in the similar guitars mentioned earlier. He varied the body wood. It seems to me through my experimentation that the NECK wood is the greater influencer of tone in the solidbody guitar. I noticed a pretty obvious difference in the tone of Les Pauls made with maple necks, compared to the mahogany versions, for instance.

But individual differences in each plank make it hard to predict, other than wide generalities, the sound of a guitar before construction.
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Old 4 weeks ago
  #326
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One area of effect on vintage instruments vs/ new instruments barely if at all discussed here is "work hardening". While somewhat temperature dependent, as it applies to musical instruments, an instrument that is played for countless hours will become more adept over time at responding to those vibrations. Work hardening is a proven process both subjectively and scientifically and may have something to do with why some '59 Bursts, and really any vintage instrument, might sound better than new ones now. Given enough effective time and "experience" new ones will likely improve, too, depending on how much their design may respond to work hardening. The "plasticity" of the effect can work either for or against, but it does exist.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #327
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Old 4 weeks ago
  #328
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Originally Posted by enorbet2 View Post
One area of effect on vintage instruments vs/ new instruments barely if at all discussed here is "work hardening". While somewhat temperature dependent, as it applies to musical instruments, an instrument that is played for countless hours will become more adept over time at responding to those vibrations. Work hardening is a proven process both subjectively and scientifically and may have something to do with why some '59 Bursts, and really any vintage instrument, might sound better than new ones now. Given enough effective time and "experience" new ones will likely improve, too, depending on how much their design may respond to work hardening. The "plasticity" of the effect can work either for or against, but it does exist.
^^^^ Complete rubbish! Ain't no "work hardening" happening with solid body guitars! And it isn't a "proven process".
Old 4 weeks ago
  #329
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audioforce View Post
Did they throw a guitar quality timber at him at the end? I recon a good piece of Honduras Mahogany :-)
Old 4 weeks ago
  #330
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audioforce View Post
More stuff here. Not my words and not necessarily my analysis, but posting this for discussion and comments.

https://electronics.stackexchange.co...gnetic-pickups

Excerpt [other points of view in article also]:

"It's likely that if the body of a guitar has any effect on the string timbre it's likely so small as to be inaudible given the coloration a signal chain of pickup- electronics-cable-pedals-amp-speaker-room imparts on guitar tone.

The purpose of a solid body electric is to reduce and deaden resonance as much as possible so that maximum volume before feedback can be achieved. Most pickups are wax potted to prevent the internal coils from vibrating and picking up noise microphonically. The pickup does not pickup sound- it merely senses vibrating metal that disturbs it's magnetic field. This is why electric guitars never sound like acoustic guitars- it's sensing an isolating string vibration.
The original PAFs weren’t wax potted, it’s a big part of their sound. I tend to see the wood as a complex equaliser, so one can hear the sound of the wood with some experience. A burst has to be played as a burst : its not a heavy metal guitar. There weren’t high gain amps in the fifties, the gain was from the pickups, the pedals and the master volume. Any guitar will sound the same in a high gain modern amp, because you don’t hear the guitar, you hear the amp. But if you lower your volume pot, a strat, a tele, a junior won’t sound as a burst. So, the magic in a burst is its ability to play really low output sounds where acoustical qualities of the wood can shine. Gary Moore was a master in this way of playing.
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