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Is a '59 Les Paul really any better than a modern one?
Old 20th August 2019
  #241
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kennybro's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pindrive View Post
I don't know, I've had some pretty good results with solid body guitars. Yes, the results are muted but, that's something that can be accounted for. For sure, pickups always are a huge part of any electric guitar equation. But, you have to have a great guitar before you drop pickups in it, or you just have an inferior instrument. I guess that isn't so bed in some situations, though
Yeah, that is true. I've had a few SB guitars that were just ass all around, no matter the pickups. And others that seem to take any pickups you throw at them.

Seems that some combinations of woods allow the strings to ring out, evenly across all frequencies and without dampening. Others will absorb vibrations, killing sustain and creating dead spot.

So it's not that you are hearing the wood vibrate (unless the pickups are microphonic), but you are hearing the effect that the wood is having on the string vibrations.
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Old 20th August 2019
  #242
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kingofspain's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pindrive View Post
For sure, pickups always are a huge part of any electric guitar equation. But, you have to have a great guitar before you drop pickups in it, or you just have an inferior instrument. I guess that isn't so bed in some situations, though
Agreed. When I make a solid bodied electric guitar, I always treat it as a primarily acoustic instrument.
Likewise, when I'm in the market for a new sb electric, I always play it unplugged before reaching for the amp. If it don't sing before you plug it in...

Like kennybro, despite being very careful about where I source my timber - particularly so about how I store and season it - and despite having a tried and trusted system for making my instruments, a still occasionally turn out a dud. Sometimes a little detective work can reveal the source of the crappiness, but more often than not it remains a mystery.

At the end of the day - on a solid bodied guitar - a relatively small string mass is being asked to excite a relatively large mass of wood. That it sometimes fails to do so in the manner of our design is perhaps no surprise!

KoS.
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Old 20th August 2019
  #243
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kingofspain's Avatar
Going wildly of topic, I remember seeing a clip of Paul Reed Smith referring to guitars as 'subtractive' instruments. Naturally, I can't find the link when I need it

Broadly, he talks about every part of a guitar having the potential to subtract from the total energy input, and that his philosophy was to examine each part to make sure he was taking as little away as possible.

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.
For someone who loathes all PRS products as much as I do, that's no small compliment

KoS.

Last edited by kingofspain; 23rd August 2019 at 07:09 PM..
Old 20th August 2019
  #244
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Pindrive's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by kingofspain View Post
Like kennybro, despite being very careful about where I source my timber - particularly so about how I store and season it - and despite having a tried and trusted system for making my instruments, a still occasionally turn out a dud. Sometimes a little detective work can reveal the source of the crappiness, but more often than not it remains a mystery.


KoS.
I made a few concessions along the way. Bending to the desire of the customer, slapping prototypes together without much thought. All learning experiences. As Benedetto said, there is no bad wood. It's knowing how to get the best out of that piece. The Less Paul has a cap of Dense wood glued to a slab of lighter wood, with a neck glued into that, which has a fingerboard glued onto it. A multiplication of possible inconsistencies that really should be addressed by hand/ear. Not a production line setting.
Old 20th August 2019
  #245
Quote:
Originally Posted by mininoyz View Post
Gustavsson guitars are probably greater instruments than any original 59. Even PRS are better made. And there's plenty of great luthiers on the planet today that surpass an original Gibson in terms of musicality and craft. That said, the iconic 59 sound is really hard to find. And few guitars have this aura. The true explanation about their crazy value is essentially because a few were made in 59, and a fewer are still available today.
"Better made"?

Meh.

PRS are well made by today's standards, but as far as I'm concerned they're rather soul-less. They lack balls.

I have not played or even seen a Gustavsson, but from what I gather from a quick Google they appear to be a boutique,. hand built line and they're significantly more expensive that current production Gibsons, so that's not exactly a fair comparison. As to "better than a real '59" I'd need some convincing.
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Old 20th August 2019
  #246
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Originally Posted by audioforce View Post
Why get an old messed-up guitar that someone else has already played, when you could get a nice new guitar for maybe just a little more money?

It just don't make sense. Think about it.

Also, with a new guitar, you probably get a free strap and some picks. So that's a savings. You have to think practical nowadays.



You're welcome,

audioforce
Because new guitars tend to be kinda "meh"?

I tend to buy cheapie new guitars - Squiers and Epiphones - because I really don't see much practical difference in quality between those and current high ticket models, except for the electronics. It's a very different thing with real vintage instruments, which tend to have something that's lacking in today's "product". Even a "cheap model" vintage guitar - like a '57-'60 Special or Junior kicks ass on any of the current high ticket Gibsons.
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Old 20th August 2019
  #247
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Originally Posted by mininoyz View Post
I don’t get your point. Was it better in the good ol’ past ? We still have good stocks of music grade wood nowadays, just ask to a real luthier (though I’m not, I personally own a huge stock of wood drying for several decades).
No, we don't. It simply is not available. All the old growth wood is gone or illegal to harvest and what's available now is new growth wood, much of it farmed for quick maturation (which affects the grain), and quick dried by artificial means. Some boutique builders search out old wood from demolition sites, but the supply of that is really limited.

Quote:
And you can’t compare a factory making 10.000 guitars a month and a real ‘boutique’ maker who lovingly builds 10 guitars a year.
You can't compare a factory using CNC to crank out 10,000 guitars a month to the old Kalamazoo Gibson factory that made a few hundred guitars a month using mostly hand processes. The production figures for most Gibson guitars built before 1966 were in the hundreds or low thousands per year of each model.

Quote:
I’m sure any good modern guitar surpasses a 300k burst in terms of craftsmanship.
Not even remotely close. There is zero individual attention paid to instruments on a CNC assembly line. The quality control on most new Gibsons I've seen in the last 10 years is disgraceful - stuff that never would have made it out the door. Sloppy glue work, bad finish details, parts on some instruments that obviously received zero hand finishing after being churned out by the CNC router. I've seen bridges on Gibson acoustics - including the top of the line J-200 - that looked like raw blanks for the original parts. I'm also not a fan of the current Gibson electronics. They've traded "sweet" for merely "hot".

And that's not even taking into account the substandard wood.
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Old 20th August 2019
  #248
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audioforce's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
Because new guitars tend to be kinda "meh"?
Old guitars tend to be kind of meh - minus. There are obviously some good ones, too, just like today I guess.

Quote:
I tend to buy cheapie new guitars - Squiers and Epiphones - because I really don't see much practical difference in quality between those and current high ticket models, except for the electronics.
I do, but there are plenty of high ticket crappy guitars, that's for sure. I think many people buy "cheapie" new guitars because they don't see the difference in quality as justifying the huge increase in price for the better models, and they don't have a lot of money to spend. Understandable.

Quote:
It's a very different thing with real vintage instruments, which tend to have something that's lacking in today's "product". Even a "cheap model" vintage guitar - like a '57-'60 Special or Junior kicks ass on any of the current high ticket Gibsons.
I don't think so. But some of those old "entry level" guitars are real good [others are horrible]. I would not say that an entry level old guitar "kicks ass on any of the current high ticket Gibsons".


Best,


audioforce
Old 20th August 2019
  #249
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
No, we don't. It simply is not available. All the old growth wood is gone or illegal to harvest and what's available now is new growth wood, much of it farmed for quick maturation (which affects the grain), and quick dried by artificial means. Some boutique builders search out old wood from demolition sites, but the supply of that is really limited.



You can't compare a factory using CNC to crank out 10,000 guitars a month to the old Kalamazoo Gibson factory that made a few hundred guitars a month using mostly hand processes. The production figures for most Gibson guitars built before 1966 were in the hundreds or low thousands per year of each model.



Not even remotely close. There is zero individual attention paid to instruments on a CNC assembly line. The quality control on most new Gibsons I've seen in the last 10 years is disgraceful - stuff that never would have made it out the door. Sloppy glue work, bad finish details, parts on some instruments that obviously received zero hand finishing after being churned out by the CNC router. I've seen bridges on Gibson acoustics - including the top of the line J-200 - that looked like raw blanks for the original parts. I'm also not a fan of the current Gibson electronics. They've traded "sweet" for merely "hot".

And that's not even taking into account the substandard wood.
First I apologise but I can’t properly quote your post cause I’m on an iPad with a bad connection. I disagree with everything you wrote.
1. Any good luthier knows where to buy wood. Ask Nick Huber. We can see stunning wood on more guitars today than in the good ol’ days when great guitars were produced one at a time by lovin’ skilled hands. That said, it’s true that quantities are probably more limited to answer the huge production increase. And wood needs time to age, as wood but also as a guitar, when properly used. I strongly suspect electronic aging playing an important role in the mythical burst sound.
2. Machinery has evolved in a good way. Same for luthiers skills and knowledge. The tolerances between two instruments were greater in the past. You probably know what makes the ‘magic’ in Fender handmade pickups... No ? The operator’s distraction that under or overwound pickups ! CNC or plek machine are not evil.
3. Quality control is bullsh**. My CS 59 has been inspected by one the most renowned French luthier (specialised in broken vintage heads btw) and he didn’t see any finish flaws. For example the binding ‘issue’ on the neck isn’t an issue (or it has been since day one).
4. In any production, there are good ones and lemons. It’s a bit more difficult to judge a guitar than a fridge or car, because it has to be played and stored properly. Many modern guitars will take musical value in the future (if we still play the guitar...). But think about this statistical evidence : Gibson has produced way more instruments after 1959 than in 1959. So there are many more good ones than original bursts after 1959. The problem is to find them.
5. Do we talk only about Gibson guitars or any Les Paul builder ? Because I admit that if global production has probably increased its level at Gibson (with good and bad years, certainly), I’ve never heard any modern Gibson that has the magic of the maybe 3 bursts that blew my mind. One of those was a conversion btw (not a burst but a gold top with HB). Maybe (and probably) because non 59 are not pushed in front of cameras like movie stars with an erotic actress nickname (which is stupid). ‘Hey look at Paula, my legendary ‘82 burst !’ But if we talk about those highly talented luthiers that can make you everything you want for 10k, well, I’d said you can afford the magic of a burst for less than an original.
Old 20th August 2019
  #250
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audioforce's Avatar
 

These discussions are
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Is a '59 Les Paul really any better than a modern one?-tail-wag-dog.jpg  
Old 20th August 2019
  #251
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enorbet2's Avatar
Regarding wood choice and craftsmanship, I'd like to make what I think is often hidden or overlooked but rather important. If a person works in wood with hand tools that person gets a feel for the wood, how it responds to any action based in several areas - type, mass, dryness, grain, tone when tapped, etc. A person working solely with power tools gets very little of that experience, both intellectually and subliminally, because power tools are so powerful one can exert one's will on the wood and never see, feel or hear how it responds. This is by no means a trivial experience since decades of experience leads to an instinctive process that affects type, mass, grain, etc selection right from the jump as well as how one orients and works with the materials.

There are indeed some great luthiers these days but there are also many who haen't a clue as to even the difference between Quarter Sawn, Rift Sawn and Plain Sawn Lumber and others argue that wood makes no tonal difference at all! They argue this despite the fact that afaik Ovation (especially Adamas) and Blackbird El Capitain are the only remaining commercially available guitars that still even attempts to use synthetic materials and both of them are acoustic instruments trying to reduce the subtraction effects of wood so they can do a better job of mechanical amplification. They are loud but they do seem to lack a certain "warmth". What do you think?



It is worthy of note that there are a handful of other synthetic attempts these days but they are all acoustic instruments, and Valco, Armstrong, and Steinberg have all gone the way of the Dodo.

Still it can be easily seen this has gone full measure to immediately exerting one's will on instead of working with natural "magic" that takes decades. They both have value, but as much as I love Science and eschew "Magik", I am aware that .....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Bruford
Well there was Mystery...the Mock Turtle replied, counting off the subjects on his flappers, "Mystery, ancient and modern, with Seaography; then Drawling - the Drawling-master was an old conger-eel, that used to come once a week: he taught us Drawling, Stretching, and Fainting in Coils.
All joking aside, things that take decades and longer are most often outside the immediate understanding of humans who tend to rely too much on the five senses. However that is only true OUTSIDE of the realm of immediate experience as in Music, which is almost entirely visceral... and magical.

As it applies to '59 'Bursts, some were ummm less than spectacular playing and/or sounding sounding, some were mediocre at best, and some were absolute, capital "M", Magic. I've played maybe two or three dozen old (50s) Les Pauls and all 3 of those categories existed in that small sample. One actual '59 Burst stood head and shoulders above even those lofty companions.
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Old 21st August 2019
  #252
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audioforce's Avatar
 

Really, who gives s sh*t?

What is the percentage of important music that has been written, performed, and recorded with one particular guitar that some dude might have played once in his life, a long time ago, and that he thinks he remembers [for whatever personal reasons he has, or thinks he has] was the best 1959 Les Paul whatever that he has ever heard?

Is it like .00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001, or less?

Did the mythical guitar bring about world peace, invent a cure for some disease, or anything like that?

So, really, who gives a sh*t?

And I'm not saying that it wrong to discuss this type of thing, but it always goes nowhere, because there are always a few people who ascribe such monumental significance to something, and to their opinion about something, that is actually rather subjective.

To act like "no other guitar can compare" is ridiculous, imo.

Look at all the beautiful, wonderful, amazing guitars that are are there, that have been made, and that are being made. Be grateful for that.

And the "super special magic wood" crap is, well........ just that. Fu*king wake up and play guitar. Any good guitar.



cheerfully,

audioforce
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Old 21st August 2019
  #253
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kennybro's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by audioforce View Post
Really, who gives s sh*t?

What is the percentage of important music that has been written, performed, and recorded with one particular guitar that some dude thinks [for whatever personal reasons he has, or thinks he has] is the best 1959 Les Paul whatever that he has ever heard?

Is it like .00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001, or less?

So, really, who gives a sh*t?

Best,

audioforce
Yes, that's the core of the myth, right? So many people believe that those 58, 59 & 60 Les Pauls were responsible in some way for the classic rock that was recorded with them. In reality, those players were merely avoiding crappy late 60's and early 70's Les Pauls. I'm pretty certain that Page and Clapton would have written the same music and perform it the same with any decent Les Paul.

Although I had a '68 P90 Goldtop that was one of the nicest guitars ever, as good as, or better than any 50's GT I've ever played or owned. As a young kid, I didn't appreciate how rare it was to get a guitar so nice in every way. I thought they were all like that, haha! I did trade it for a beauty '64 foam green Strat.
Old 21st August 2019
  #254
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audioforce's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kennybro View Post
Yes, that's the core of the myth, right? So many people believe that those 58, 59 & 60 Les Pauls were responsible in some way for the classic rock that was recorded with them.
Maybe they think if they get such and such a guitar then they will be better, or better at it, or something like that.

I used to go to Guitar Center in Hollywood and hang out in the "Vintage Room" where they had piles and piles of old, sh*tty guitars and amps, and some really good ones, too. In fairness there were some good people / players looking for good instruments.

Buuuut......... there were a bunch of posers, too.

These people would come in, sometimes all dressed up in spandex or whatever, acting all cool and everything, barely able to play their way out of a wet paper bag, and they would blow through these amps and guitars sounding like total crap, but with that "knowing" look on their face, acting like they were rocking so hard, and talking about how they understood the old guitar / amp "mojo". Fu*king hilarious posers.


Best,

audioforce [likes good guitars without respect to age of guitar]
Old 21st August 2019
  #255
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kennybro's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by audioforce View Post
Maybe they think if they get such and such a guitar then they will be better, or better at it, or something like that.
...and right there, you've hit on the core of marketing. Not just guitars, but everything. The belief that if you get some product, you will be somehow "better."

I mean, just open any guitar magazine, and every dang page is telling players that some product is a shortcut to personal improvement; even the product reviews do this, because the manufacturers buy ads. It's a load of crap, but it works. It's amazing, the things people will buy into because they want to believe it.

It's no surprise that people think a mass-produced product (59 Burst) might be partially responsible for the explosion of aesthetic output in pop and rock music in the 60's and 70's.
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Old 21st August 2019
  #256
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
No, we don't. It simply is not available. All the old growth wood is gone or illegal to harvest and what's available now is new growth wood, much of it farmed for quick maturation (which affects the grain), and quick dried by artificial means. Some boutique builders search out old wood from demolition sites, but the supply of that is really limited.
What a crock of BS. The "farmed for quick maturation" is especially laughable.

What, you sound like the old tales of adventurers, like Orville Gibson himself, decked out in pith helmets scouring the forests of the dark continent, whence he stumbled upon a cache of old growth mahogany, which he assembled teams of pygmy elephants and tribes to haul to the ocean, then sailed across the pond, from which he then lovingly put away for countless decades, just so his descendants could put on kid gloves, open the creaking gates holding the priceless stash to create the holy grail of solid body guitars:

THE 1959 LES PAUL SUNBURST!
Old 21st August 2019
  #257
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Yuri Kogan's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by audioforce View Post
Really, who gives s sh*t?

What is the percentage of important music that has been written, performed, and recorded with one particular guitar that some dude might have played once in his life, a long time ago, and that he thinks he remembers [for whatever personal reasons he has, or thinks he has] was the best 1959 Les Paul whatever that he has ever heard?

Is it like .00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001, or less?

Did the mythical guitar bring about world peace, invent a cure for some disease, or anything like that?

So, really, who gives a sh*t?

And I'm not saying that it wrong to discuss this type of thing, but it always goes nowhere, because there are always a few people who ascribe such monumental significance to something, and to their opinion about something, that is actually rather subjective.

To act like "no other guitar can compare" is ridiculous, imo.

Look at all the beautiful, wonderful, amazing guitars that are are there, that have been made, and that are being made. Be grateful for that.

And the "super special magic wood" crap is, well........ just that. Fu*king wake up and play guitar. Any good guitar.



cheerfully,

audioforce
Plenty of good music has been and is being done with old or new guitars
I cannot say that vintage instruments is a panacea of great tone and excellent quality because in my experience it just isn't true. As YOU well know I made copies of of my vintage "retirement" collection (fenders at least) In most cases sound-wise they surpass their originals, made with great care and amazing quality and I don't have to be too precious with them as with the originals they are replicating. My luthier has stocks or excellently seasoned mahogany and maple. The quality of the guitar he made for me is unsurpassed and he always sells out of his guitars within days despite of pretty high prices.
Having said all that there is such a thing as inspiration. Like the one i get when i handle my originals. Despite familiarity i always end up sitting down with them and play for extended periods. Its the same with the very few clients who are allowed to use them in a session. What they tell me is they feel as I do. You can look and touch a statue made in ancient Greece and it "feels" very different to when you handle a cheap chinese copy.
Old 21st August 2019
  #258
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Yuri Kogan's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by audioforce View Post
Maybe they think if they get such and such a guitar then they will be better, or better at it, or something like that.

I used to go to Guitar Center in Hollywood and hang out in the "Vintage Room" where they had piles and piles of old, sh*tty guitars and amps, and some really good ones, too. In fairness there were some good people / players looking for good instruments.

Buuuut......... there were a bunch of posers, too.

These people would come in, sometimes all dressed up in spandex or whatever, acting all cool and everything, barely able to play their way out of a wet paper bag, and they would blow through these amps and guitars sounding like total crap, but with that "knowing" look on their face, acting like they were rocking so hard, and talking about how they understood the old guitar / amp "mojo". Fu*king hilarious posers.


Best,

audioforce [likes good guitars without respect to age of guitar]
This is all true, but you can blame the industry and its business practices for that.
I remember when being a partner in a record company, we spent a lot of time discussing the "package". This means, image clothing haircuts presentation, attitude, bets promotional avenues.. Musicianship was VERY low down on the list (except for vocalists). Songs could be sourced from professional writers. We were in the business to make money and artists were a product, which could be produced by low payed professional players in the studio. Cold? yes, but that's the business truth,
You may have been offended buy the uneducated, unskilled, stupidly dressed potential stars and posers, but they had their use. And it was THEIR choice of the instrument which determined its popularity, price and availability. They also determined the trend in the tonal department.
"Great musicianship" in commercial world is considered "self indulgent"
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Old 21st August 2019
  #259
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audioforce's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuri Kogan View Post
Plenty of good music has been and is being done with old or new guitars
I cannot say that vintage instruments is a panacea of great tone and excellent quality because in my experience it just isn't true. As YOU well know I made copies of of my vintage "retirement" collection (fenders at least) In most cases sound-wise they surpass their originals, made with great care and amazing quality and I don't have to be too precious with them as with the originals they are replicating. My luthier has stocks or excellently seasoned mahogany and maple. The quality of the guitar he made for me is unsurpassed and he always sells out of his guitars within days despite of pretty high prices.
Having said all that there is such a thing as inspiration. Like the one i get when i handle my originals. Despite familiarity i always end up sitting down with them and play for extended periods. Its the same with the very few clients who are allowed to use them in a session. What they tell me is they feel as I do. You can look and touch a statue made in ancient Greece and it "feels" very different to when you handle a cheap chinese copy.
Well, I think we agree on much of that, but I'm not so much looking to a particular guitar for inspiration.

And its not that I don't like good old guitars, btw. I do, and I think some guitars settle in nicely as they age and all that.

But the idea that certain specific guitars from one particular year are somehow made of unobtainium, and will forever be superior to anything else on the planet [sounds hyperbolic, but that seems to be what some are arguing], seems nonsensical to me.

I don't get the Greek statue analogy. We're not comparing well-made instruments to cheap Chinese copies of them, are we?


Best,

audioforce
Old 21st August 2019
  #260
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audioforce's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuri Kogan View Post
This is all true, but you can blame the industry and its business practices for that.
I remember when being a partner in a record company, we spent a lot of time discussing the "package". This means, image clothing haircuts presentation, attitude, bets promotional avenues.. Musicianship was VERY low down on the list (except for vocalists). Songs could be sourced from professional writers. We were in the business to make money and artists were a product, which could be produced by low payed professional players in the studio. Cold? yes, but that's the business truth,
You may have been offended buy the uneducated, unskilled, stupidly dressed potential stars and posers, but they had their use. And it was THEIR choice of the instrument which determined its popularity, price and availability. They also determined the trend in the tonal department.
"Great musicianship" in commercial world is considered "self indulgent"
Well FWIW, and without getting into all the points in your post, I should just make it clear that I wasn't really so much "offended", but amused. And these were not people really "determining" anything. They were just making noise at Guitar Center, driving the sale guys nuts.

There were some collectors, actors and what-have-you who came in at times and some of them were equally clueless, but they sometimes actually bought stuff. : )


Best,

audioforce
Old 21st August 2019
  #261
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audioforce View Post
Well, I think we agree on much of that, but I'm not so much looking to a particular guitar for inspiration.

And its not that I don't like good old guitars, btw. I do, and I think some guitars settle in nicely as they age and all that.

But the idea that certain specific guitars from one particular year are somehow made of unobtainium, and will forever be superior to anything else on the planet [sounds hyperbolic, but that seems to be what some are arguing], seems nonsensical to me.

I don't get the Greek statue analogy. We're not comparing well-made instruments to cheap Chinese copies of them, are we?


Best,

audioforce
Well the unobtainium is that some woods are...unobtainable
I own a number of vintage guitars (50's, 60's, 70's). I alo have access to some and played quite a few. Some of my observations are :
1. They are made with technology of the day. They are PRODUCTION LINE instruments.
2. No two of the same brand/model sounded the same. Noticeably. Bad quality control?
3. They exhibit a particular tone which determined the sound of the day. Many were not really popular throughout the "hallowed days" (50s/70s). For example LP was unpopular until the 70s, although some artists used them and then turned to fenders at the first opportunity.That tome would probably be popular for today's music.
4. There other woods which give you a similar tone to the protected "super"woods (like brazilian rosewood). So given the variation in tone and quality of the originals, you can get very close to the tone of some of them
5. The legends were created by collectors to pump up the price of the collectable

I guess the logical conclusion would be that better quality guitars can be made by GOOD quality luthiers today (who know the pitfalls of the originals and can improve on them). Using materials available today
However not many PRODUCTION guitars today can give the tone and quality.
Some Japanese production brands do make great guitars which I find VERY enjoyable.
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Old 21st August 2019
  #262
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audioforce's Avatar
 

Unobtainium, unobschmainium!


But lest we forget [all trees matter!]:




Old 21st August 2019
  #263
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audioforce's Avatar
 

Plus, I want a nice new guitar made from a nice new tree.

New, new, new. Yeah, that's the ticket.
Old 21st August 2019
  #264
I basically agree with John in that 95% of what anyone needs in a guitar is available in a low-end inexpensive import. If you replace a few bits and know how to set it up, it should play as good as anything out there, and that's what's important, right? This goes especially for Fenderesque stuff, it was always designed to be modular, cheap, and easy.

But, I love guitars. I love the craftsmanship behind them, the woods, the stories, the legends, the people, the songs. It's something that transcends the mechanics of the basics, it's a humanity, rather than a technical pursuit. So that's why I have a couple "Custom Shop" examples of the big brands and some boutique stuff, even though I know logically they are only a very small amount "better" out of the box than their mass-produced counterparts. I do often find myself looking at Squiers or Mexican Fenders or other weird stuff and thinking "wouldn't it be cool to sell everything that I have and just trick out one of these until it's absolutely hot-rodded beyond belief" - once you find one with "good wood" - which is eminently possible, if you spend a little time, it would be easy...
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Old 21st August 2019
  #265
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Then I found this?


"It's always puzzled me after learning more and buying some mahogany, the notion of the "Golden Era" using "old growth" mahogany.

Older growth trees tend to produce darker, heavier, and more durable lumber than plantation-grown stock.
http://www.wood-database.com/honduran-mahogany/

It's no secret Honduran Mahogany lives well over 200+ years. It's also no secret in the lumber world that the old growth mahogany trees, and as the trees age in general, produce the most dense cuts. The lighter cuts come from new wood at the top of an older tree or younger trees in general.

Thus, unless the tree was starved, light weight mahogany = young wood.

What happened in the 50's? Funiture/structure industry paid more for those 3+ft diameter, old growth tree cuts while Gibson likely got the cheaper and useful 2-3 ft or tops of the larger trees. As you know, a full Les Paul build about bottoms out around 8 lbs, tops out around 13. The average in the 50's being in the 8 to 9 lb range. It's about as light and as young as the trees can be to still produce one piece backs in that range. These days, again, it's no problem for Gibson Custom (and USA) to build solid Les Pauls in the 8 to 9lb range.

But, take a look at a body supplier like warmoth.com. Their heaviest in stock mahogany out of 350+ bodies? Explorer sized cuts a little under 6lbs! Yeah, not old growth, it's true, old growth is hard to find these days.

In the 70's there was an intentional effort to source Old Growth Honduran Mahogany and as per the average weight of the guitars it shows.

The next time you hear a cork pop and someone tell you of their "old growth" "golden era" guitar you may kindly inform them that the wood on your lowly 12 pound '75 Deluxe is likely 1 to 2+ centuries older."
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Old 21st August 2019
  #266
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Originally Posted by Whitecat View Post
I basically agree with John in that 95% of what anyone needs in a guitar is available in a low-end inexpensive import. If you replace a few bits and know how to set it up, it should play as good as anything out there, and that's what's important, right? This goes especially for Fenderesque stuff, it was always designed to be modular, cheap, and easy.

But, I love guitars. I love the craftsmanship behind them, the woods, the stories, the legends, the people, the songs. It's something that transcends the mechanics of the basics, it's a humanity, rather than a technical pursuit. So that's why I have a couple "Custom Shop" examples of the big brands and some boutique stuff, even though I know logically they are only a very small amount "better" out of the box than their mass-produced counterparts. I do often find myself looking at Squiers or Mexican Fenders or other weird stuff and thinking "wouldn't it be cool to sell everything that I have and just trick out one of these until it's absolutely hot-rodded beyond belief" - once you find one with "good wood" - which is eminently possible, if you spend a little time, it would be easy...
I know a lot of people find cheaper guitars and mod them and come up with a good guitar for maybe cheaper than paying the big price difference between "low end" and "high end" production.

But the low end models I see don't appear to be put together or finished as well as the higher end models.

Some people are naturally inclined to mod stuff. I don't know if I like to buy a guitar and then have to replace a bunch of stuff just to bring it up to snuff. But I guess one does end up having to pay more to have the manufacturer do that work.

So almost all the guitars I have now are either old high end guitars, or some sort of custom shop / special edition thing. So maybe its easier for me, because I have guitars, I've had most of them for a long time, and I'm not out there trying to build a "stable" of guitars to work with.

For a long time I used to say that you almost have to buy a custom shop guitar to get a decent guitar out of Gibson or Fender, and some of them are iffy, too. The custom shop stuff I have is excellent, but I had to weed through a few to find them.

But there are definitely good guitars out there, old and new, probably at all kinds of price points. You just have to look for them because there are also so many lousy ones.

I must say I find the "partscaster" idea interesting, because some people on the board here seem to have put together some really nice ones without having to spend the crazy money Fender is charging for some of their real high end stuff.


Best,

audioforce
Old 21st August 2019
  #267
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Yuri Kogan's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by audioforce View Post
Unobtainium, unobschmainium!


But lest we forget [all trees matter!]:




Hmm. This is getting abit too..strange for me.
Old 21st August 2019
  #268
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Yuri Kogan's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by audioforce View Post
Then I found this?


"It's always puzzled me after learning more and buying some mahogany, the notion of the "Golden Era" using "old growth" mahogany.

Older growth trees tend to produce darker, heavier, and more durable lumber than plantation-grown stock.
http://www.wood-database.com/honduran-mahogany/

It's no secret Honduran Mahogany lives well over 200+ years. It's also no secret in the lumber world that the old growth mahogany trees, and as the trees age in general, produce the most dense cuts. The lighter cuts come from new wood at the top of an older tree or younger trees in general.

Thus, unless the tree was starved, light weight mahogany = young wood.

What happened in the 50's? Funiture/structure industry paid more for those 3+ft diameter, old growth tree cuts while Gibson likely got the cheaper and useful 2-3 ft or tops of the larger trees. As you know, a full Les Paul build about bottoms out around 8 lbs, tops out around 13. The average in the 50's being in the 8 to 9 lb range. It's about as light and as young as the trees can be to still produce one piece backs in that range. These days, again, it's no problem for Gibson Custom (and USA) to build solid Les Pauls in the 8 to 9lb range.

But, take a look at a body supplier like warmoth.com. Their heaviest in stock mahogany out of 350+ bodies? Explorer sized cuts a little under 6lbs! Yeah, not old growth, it's true, old growth is hard to find these days.

In the 70's there was an intentional effort to source Old Growth Honduran Mahogany and as per the average weight of the guitars it shows.

The next time you hear a cork pop and someone tell you of their "old growth" "golden era" guitar you may kindly inform them that the wood on your lowly 12 pound '75 Deluxe is likely 1 to 2+ centuries older."
Apparently swamp ash from different climate areas have drastically different average weight. I presume the same would apply to mahogany? Or any other tone wood?
I dont think we can generalise by weight alone here. Plus gibson was using all sorts of wood lately (like 30 years) which were passed as "mahogany"
Old 21st August 2019
  #269
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audioforce's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuri Kogan View Post
Hmm. This is getting abit too..strange for me.
You’ve never seen that? It was all over tv for awhile I think. : )
Old 21st August 2019
  #270
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Yuri Kogan's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by audioforce View Post
You’ve never seen that? It was all over tv for awhile I think. : )
Dont watch much tv. I find it mostly depressing
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