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Solid top guitars

GUEST,johnmc 21 Oct 10 - 09:17 AM
kendall 21 Oct 10 - 09:56 AM
theleveller 21 Oct 10 - 10:15 AM
GUEST,Ray 21 Oct 10 - 11:35 AM
Brian May 21 Oct 10 - 04:11 PM
Richard Bridge 21 Oct 10 - 04:22 PM
John P 21 Oct 10 - 08:04 PM
mattkeen 22 Oct 10 - 08:38 AM
GUEST,Johnmc 22 Oct 10 - 09:02 AM
kendall 23 Dec 10 - 03:04 AM
Will Fly 23 Dec 10 - 04:56 AM
Zen 23 Dec 10 - 06:59 AM
Little Hawk 23 Dec 10 - 07:23 AM
Dave Hanson 23 Dec 10 - 07:42 AM
GUEST,Ian Gill 23 Dec 10 - 07:16 PM
kendall 23 Dec 10 - 07:30 PM
Will Fly 24 Dec 10 - 04:55 AM
s&r 24 Dec 10 - 09:03 AM
erosconpollo 24 Dec 10 - 09:20 AM
GUEST,Ray 24 Dec 10 - 10:04 AM
C-flat 24 Dec 10 - 10:33 AM
alex s 24 Dec 10 - 11:25 AM
Little Hawk 24 Dec 10 - 08:44 PM
Will Fly 25 Dec 10 - 04:12 AM
Richard Bridge 25 Dec 10 - 05:22 AM
Little Hawk 25 Dec 10 - 11:08 AM
Brian May 25 Dec 10 - 11:28 AM
Midchuck 25 Dec 10 - 11:56 AM
Little Hawk 25 Dec 10 - 05:08 PM
bubblyrat 25 Dec 10 - 08:15 PM
Brian May 26 Dec 10 - 07:35 AM
GUEST,Bluesman James 26 Dec 10 - 09:39 AM
s&r 26 Dec 10 - 09:52 AM
GUEST 26 Dec 10 - 10:07 AM
Little Hawk 26 Dec 10 - 10:51 AM
Richard Bridge 26 Dec 10 - 11:06 AM
josepp 26 Dec 10 - 12:07 PM
Brian May 26 Dec 10 - 03:58 PM
GUEST,Ray 27 Dec 10 - 12:38 PM
josepp 27 Dec 10 - 12:52 PM
Midchuck 27 Dec 10 - 01:03 PM
Brian May 27 Dec 10 - 02:00 PM
josepp 27 Dec 10 - 03:30 PM
GUEST,Ray 27 Dec 10 - 03:52 PM
Brian May 27 Dec 10 - 04:04 PM
josepp 27 Dec 10 - 04:59 PM
Richard Bridge 27 Dec 10 - 06:47 PM
treeman 27 Dec 10 - 06:57 PM
GUEST,erbert 27 Dec 10 - 07:35 PM
Smokey. 27 Dec 10 - 07:45 PM
Brian May 28 Dec 10 - 10:51 AM
Little Hawk 28 Dec 10 - 12:15 PM
Brian May 28 Dec 10 - 12:28 PM
josepp 28 Dec 10 - 12:30 PM
Little Hawk 28 Dec 10 - 12:48 PM
Crowhugger 28 Dec 10 - 12:51 PM
Crowhugger 28 Dec 10 - 12:52 PM
Brian May 28 Dec 10 - 01:11 PM
josepp 28 Dec 10 - 04:58 PM
GUEST 28 Dec 10 - 05:20 PM
Brian May 28 Dec 10 - 05:29 PM
Little Hawk 28 Dec 10 - 05:35 PM
GUEST,Bluesman James 28 Dec 10 - 05:39 PM
josepp 28 Dec 10 - 05:49 PM
Will Fly 28 Dec 10 - 05:50 PM
GUEST,jeff 28 Dec 10 - 06:10 PM
GUEST,Ian Gill 28 Dec 10 - 07:12 PM
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Subject: Sold top guitars
From: GUEST,johnmc
Date: 21 Oct 10 - 09:17 AM

We are told that it is desirable to get a guitar with a solid top as opposed to laminate. I wonder if, for the same money, a more knowledgeable luthier could create a better sounding instrument without solid wood. I pose the question because I have not always been convinced by such guitars.


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: kendall
Date: 21 Oct 10 - 09:56 AM

I wouldn't be caught dead playing a plywood guitar. They sound like crap when they are new and they never improve.


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: theleveller
Date: 21 Oct 10 - 10:15 AM

I doubt it, john. Luthiers select individual pieces of wood for their unique sound qualities then thickness it to give the best quality while 'tap testing' it to acieve the desired tone. The treble side and bass side will not usually be the same thickness. The best guitars don't even use sawn wood - it's split along the grain so that the natural stresses are maintained.


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: GUEST,Ray
Date: 21 Oct 10 - 11:35 AM

The time spent on building a guitar top, correctly, is likely to cost several times that of the raw materials themselves. It would seem pointless, therefore, to use laminate (or "plywood" as the rest of the world calls it) although there are several who aren't even using wood.

Anyone looking for a decent sounding guitar on a budget shouldn't, however, be carried away by the fact that a cheap instrument may have a solid top. In order to get the benefit from a solid top, the luthier has to know what they are doing and a cheap laminate top guitar, properly put together, can sound as good or even better than one with a badly built solid top - and, ultimately, be more durable.
Ray


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: Brian May
Date: 21 Oct 10 - 04:11 PM

I have a laminated Yamaha FG700S from 1974, a couple of years ago, I fulfilled a promise to myself and bought a Martin D-28 (solid top).

As sweet as the Yam had played all those years, I've loaned it indefinitely to my niece, it's 'game over' set against the Martin.

I would never knock laminates (or plywood if you prefer) as it was relatively cheap and a wonderful guitar to learn on - it also laughs in the face of humidity that would make the Martin wince.

But solid woods are so much better for tone.


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 21 Oct 10 - 04:22 PM

The science of this is potentially interesting. What, then, of Rainsongs and newer carbon-fibre instruments? IMHO the issue is the absence of damping. If adhesives have a greater reluctance (look it up if you don't understand it in context) then both the initial resonance and sustain of a top containing adhesives will be reduced. What you don't want is a high initial amplitude that speedily dies - that way lies the execrable sound of the banjo. So in theory an adhesive that did not store energy might make a complex top no less resonant than a simple timber one. The other issue is the pitch of the resonant frequencies. I once played a guitar the body of which was all- aluminium and the boom and carry and sustain were all good - but it was muddy, without individual string voices, and largely without treble bite. Sweet, but lacking presence. But tap a sheet of ally and a sheet of brass and a sheet of steel side by side and they sound different.


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: John P
Date: 21 Oct 10 - 08:04 PM

So in theory an adhesive that did not store energy . . .

If you find one, be sure to let me know. I work for a company that builds instruments (not guitars). I'm not sure it would help, though. Plywood is almost always made of thin pieces of wood with the grain direction different on the different plies. It just won't vibrate as freely as a single piece of solid wood. Also, as noted previously, plywood instruments will always sound like they do when they are new, whereas solid wood instruments will develop more richness and clarity over the years. Plywood is very stable, and a plywood guitar won't be as susceptible to environmental changes, but it will never sound as good.

It's also true that the more solid wood a guitar has, the greater resonance it will produce. A guitar with plywood back and sides but a solid top will sound better than an all plywood instrument. Solid wood back and sides and a solid top is better still.


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: mattkeen
Date: 22 Oct 10 - 08:38 AM

Why is the OP not convinced about solid tops?

I find that assertion slightly absurd


Are all the quality luthiers and players deluded?


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: GUEST,Johnmc
Date: 22 Oct 10 - 09:02 AM

I am with Ray on this. I am really referring to the cheaper end of the market. You can get solid tops very cheaply now and, since the sort of attention Ray talks about is unlikely at the price, I feel they may be a red herring. It may be better to spend it on a well made laminated
instrument. Aside from the fact that one's preferences as regards sound are ( and no one will convince me otherwise ) entirely subjective. For example, when I put new strings on my all solid guitar it initially sounds "clangy" IOP.


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: kendall
Date: 23 Dec 10 - 03:04 AM

If you live in or spend a lot of time in a boat, a plywood guitar will "stand the gaff" much better than a solid top.


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: Will Fly
Date: 23 Dec 10 - 04:56 AM

My luthier friend Ian Chisholm was asked to convert an old Hofner President (plywood top) into a bouzouki recently - by Andy Perry who runs the Chichester Pickers fortnightly meeting. Ian duly did all the requisite conversion work on what was a very brittle-sounding old archtop guitar and - lo and behold! - a bouzouki with excellent tone and volume appeared as if by magic. It looks very similar to the archtop bouzouki that Tim O'Brien plays on the Transatlantic Sessions 3 programmes. And thus the Hofzouki was born...

I have a Martin XC1T cutaway acoustic which has a very nice spruce face - and back and sides of HPL (high pressure laminate). "Tut tut", I hear people cry, "I wouldn't have one given me!" Well, you'd be a fool to refuse such a gift because - wherever I've played it - people have commented on the clarity and tone of the guitar. It also records very easily. Because the tone and sound is so even, mic placing is not as critical.

I also have several custom guitars made by Ian - all with superb tonal qualities and massive volume - better than the Martin in live acoustic sessions, but more difficult to mic up for recording purposes. Horses for courses.


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: Zen
Date: 23 Dec 10 - 06:59 AM

A good solid top is of course preferred but a well-made laminated top guitar will often sound a lot better than a cheap and nasty solid-top.


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: Little Hawk
Date: 23 Dec 10 - 07:23 AM

That sums it up, Zen.

It's when you start moving into the more expensive end (say $1,500 and up from there) that you would pretty well give up on the laminated body instruments and go for those made with solid top, sides, and back, because they do sound better.

But if you're buying a guitar for just a few hundred dollars...then there's no reason to shy away from a nice Yamaha or other good make just because it has a laminated top or laminated sides and back or all three of those. It may sound just as good or better than other guitars in its price range. There are some cheap guitars with solid tops out there that sound like crap...perhaps because the wood wasn't chosen well or it was crafted poorly in one way or another.

Guest, John - Yeah, when you put on a brand new set of strings they sometimes sound a bit "clangy" at first, as you say, until they settle down. It may take a few hours of playing before they settle into the more mellow sound you like. One thing that can speed up the settling down process is: physically pull or stretch the strings with your fingers after first tightening them up to concert pitch. Take hold of each string with thumb and fingers, pull it up or over to the side, pull it as far as it wants to go...about half an inch? Then ease it back down. That stretches it. You will now discover that the string has gone flat by maybe a half tone or more. Tune it back up to concert pitch again. This helps set the strings to a tension where they will pretty well hold their pitch from that point on instead of going flat repeatedly as you play them, and it should help to reach that more mellow "used" tone that you're looking for.

You can do that just once. Or you can do it twice. I usually do it twice. After that they hold their pitch and stay in tune just fine.


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 23 Dec 10 - 07:42 AM

Martin have turned out some real abortions, solid tops with plastic neck, back and sides, there were much better laminated guitars out there, and I once had a Gibson A40 mandolin with solid top and laminated back etc. that sounded worse than a cheap far eastern plywood box.

It's all down to the builder.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: GUEST,Ian Gill
Date: 23 Dec 10 - 07:16 PM

All of the 1960's Eko guitars - including the 6 and 12 string 'Rangers' were built from ply and they are becoming collectors items. They had bolt on necks, too.


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: kendall
Date: 23 Dec 10 - 07:30 PM

We bought Jacqui a small Martin a few years ago and I wouldn't even play it. I don't like small body guitars. This one just didn't sound like a Martin.
Recently she bought one of Nick Apollonio's custom small guitars and it is no contest. Great guitar, in fact, I often play it instead of my Taylor. And, his guitars are reasonably priced too!


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: Will Fly
Date: 24 Dec 10 - 04:55 AM

It's always interesting to hear people's very individual opinions of what does or doesn't constitute a great guitar.

I have two unvarying criteria when trying/choosing/buying guitars:

1. What does it sound like?
2. What does it feel like?

If pressed, a third criterion would be: What does it look like?

And, of course, because I have my own idea of what sound I want - and because I have my own preferences for body shape, neck profile (I like a V-profile neck, for example), etc., then my opinion is merely another individual one. Names of makers, to be honest, are a much lesser consideration.


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: s&r
Date: 24 Dec 10 - 09:03 AM

Pretty guitars attract though. I was in a music shop in Ireland, and fell in love with a guitar on display. Asked the shopkeeper for a play on it, looking forward to a treat (and perhaps a mortgage)

It played like a plank and was totally unfriendly.

The one next to it was a nice looking guitar but not as pretty.

And it was just the guitar I needed... Thank you Lord for plastic.

Stu


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: erosconpollo
Date: 24 Dec 10 - 09:20 AM

I've read -- though I don't know how much truth there is to it -- that the pressures from the strings and bridge on a flat-top guitar can cause a plywood top to delaminate. Grains running different directions, stresses running various directions, and the two not interacting well.

It is notable though that some quite pricey archtops have plywood tops.

Plywood back and sides...if you're holding that guitar against your body while you play, it's not going to resonate anyway, is it? Not much point in going solid wood there, maybe.


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: GUEST,Ray
Date: 24 Dec 10 - 10:04 AM

As with most things, the law of diminishing returns applies. Comparing the difference between ply, solid and "Lyrachord" backs is one thing. Some people claim they can tell the difference between Indian and Brazilian rosewod (....... waits for howls of abuse!) Personally, I think people would be better off changing their strings a little more often.
Ray


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: C-flat
Date: 24 Dec 10 - 10:33 AM

"All of the 1960's Eko guitars - including the 6 and 12 string 'Rangers' were built from ply and they are becoming collectors items. They had bolt on necks, too."

That may be so Ian, but it cannot be denied that they lack in sound projection.
You could beat the crap out of them for years and they just soak it up, but you'll never get a decent tone from one. Just too much plywood and bracings.
I speak as a former owner with a very soft sentimental affection for Eko Rangers, first love and all that, but, apart from durability that's it!
Nor are they collectable other than in the sense of sentmental value. £200 would be a heck of a lot to pay for one.


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: alex s
Date: 24 Dec 10 - 11:25 AM

Eko guitars - you can't hear them but it's impossible to break them. The Tonka toy guitar.


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: Little Hawk
Date: 24 Dec 10 - 08:44 PM

I'm not one of those who waxes all mystical about Brazilian rosewood. I have a Martin HD-28 made with Indian Rosewood in 2003, and I like it just as well or better than any of the old Brazilian rosewood Martins I've had a chance to play. Is Brazilian rosewood great? Yeah, but so are other rosewoods too. And what it really depends on is the unique characteristics of each individual guitar, regardless of which specific wood it's got on the back and sides. Some have the magic...some do not.


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: Will Fly
Date: 25 Dec 10 - 04:12 AM

And what it really depends on is the unique characteristics of each individual guitar, regardless of which specific wood it's got on the back and sides. Some have the magic...some do not.

Absolutely. I've played identical guitars from makers like Martin and Gibson and it's rare that two are identical. I also agree that there's sometimes a lot of hooey about rosewoods.

I'm having a parlour guitar made for me at the moment and, in the summer, went with my luthier friend to a couple of specialist timber yards to buy the woods for the back, sides, face, neck and fretboard. What was interesting was picking up pieces of wood, holding them by the top and pinging them. Even pieces that appeared to come from the same batch range differently - dull or bright or in between. Now, as far as I know, we got some cracking materials for the guitar, and I'm really looking forward to getting it - but we won't know how it's going to play until I pick it up and strike that first chord!


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 25 Dec 10 - 05:22 AM

Surely a luthier should be able largely to tell in advance how the guitar he is making is going to sound? And surely with graphite or carbon fiber tops, the maker should know exactly in advance, no?

If the objective is volume (and some above so imply) then it's simply a matter of how much the top moves - which is why banjos are so loud.

If it's a matter of tonal balance then its much more complicated and depends on the response of the forced vibrations in the top to the harmonics in the waves from each string which I'm guessing is likely to depend on localised stiffnesses and hence, largely, strutting. I think Breedlove are experimenting with some totally unstrutted tops, depending on a Bridge Doctor to control bellying, and it would be interesting to hear: I'd expect a big boom and maybe a lack of brightness - but I've never yet played a Breedlove that "spoke to me".

I have however played a guitar with an unbraced (I think) aluminium body - flat top, teardrop shaped and that was fairly loud but very mellow - something I suspect to do with the softness of the aluminium.

THenthere is damping, which will control the rate of decay - which is where I suspects (see above) laminated tops fall short. But if that is so what about Rainsongs - if it's the glue in the laminated top that makes the problem, the Rainsong top is almost all glue (or glue-alike) and I'm told they are both bright and powerful.


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: Little Hawk
Date: 25 Dec 10 - 11:08 AM

I'm very curious about the Rainsongs and would love to get a chance to play one and try it out. None of the stores around here carry them, though. It seems to me that removing all the internal bracing could only help produce a better overall sound, and the carbon fibre would also make an instrument that is practically indestructible under normal handling conditions...and not vulnerable to humidity and temperature changes.

But would it have the character and subtle overtones of a really good conventional guitar?


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: Brian May
Date: 25 Dec 10 - 11:28 AM

Well you play your Rainsongs . . . I'll stick to my Martins ;o)

I think a lot of the value for me, is visual - they LOOK beautiful as well as sounding so.

New materials probably CAN sound great (I mean, why not?). But you can keep them.

Each WOOD guitar is an individual, even for a Martin. No pair sound EXACTLY the same, nor even LOOK the same due to the differences in the wood - they may BE different, but therein lies the beauty of them. Each of us like nuances, we have to - we are human. So each will appeal to a different person.

The thought of a resin or grp or any other man-made guitar leaves me cold - but hey, someone will like them, and the best of luck.


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: Midchuck
Date: 25 Dec 10 - 11:56 AM

I'm very curious about the Rainsongs and would love to get a chance to play one and try it out. None of the stores around here carry them, though.

Well, if you're ever in central Vermont....

It seems to me that removing all the internal bracing could only help produce a better overall sound..

Yup.

...and the carbon fibre would also make an instrument that is practically indestructible under normal handling conditions...and not vulnerable to humidity and temperature changes.

Double yup.

But would it have the character and subtle overtones of a really good conventional guitar?

Not quite. Just barely not quite. But I think the difference would only be noticeable in a quiet living room, recording studio, or concert hall with excellent acoustics and a perfectly quiet audience. Somehow I don't get to play much in any of those situations.

Peter


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: Little Hawk
Date: 25 Dec 10 - 05:08 PM

Brian, I also prefer Martins, and wood guitars in general...because of their beauty and because each one is unique. However, I think it might be handy to have a Rainsong in addition to my favorite Martin guitar. It could be a very useful travel guitar, gigging guitar, etc...


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: bubblyrat
Date: 25 Dec 10 - 08:15 PM

I took my Guild to Bedworth festival recently. Going into a hot,steamy pub after walking along outside in about -10 degrees certainly gave me some tuning problems, but "MandoTim" was sitting in the pub with his "Rainsong" and soon had me sold on the idea of getting one for myself !!


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: Brian May
Date: 26 Dec 10 - 07:35 AM

Can't agree Little Hawk - but there again our needs are different.

I don't gig anymore and have given my other guitars to family members and have only kept the Martins and my 5 string banjo.

After all these years I now only play them - decadent perhaps but that's the way it is. As the advert goes - because I'm worth it!!!

Looks an interesting concept though. But I haven't waited all these years to go down the man-made materials route.

This is MY perception only, but I find it soul less. Practical perhaps, but I don't think it'll catch on in my lifespace.


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: GUEST,Bluesman James
Date: 26 Dec 10 - 09:39 AM

I cannot recommend "Seagull guitars" They are the product of Michel` Godin and they are made in North America - Quebec and New Hampshire.
He uses local woods Maple Canadian spruce and his guitars are a gem to play. I have the 25th Anniversary solid maple top with a cutaway and electronics and I would not trade it for the world. He also makes some 12 string guitars that are pretty good. too
http://www.seagullguitars.com/


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: s&r
Date: 26 Dec 10 - 09:52 AM

I cannot recommend "Seagull guitars" highly enough ??????

Stu


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Dec 10 - 10:07 AM

Sorry for the typo . They are great guitars for the price and one of the few products still made in North American Can someone get a message to the web master to remove cannot


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: Little Hawk
Date: 26 Dec 10 - 10:51 AM

Seagull guitars are indeed a very good deal for the price. There's something about their general "look" that doesn't appeal to me, so I've never owned one, but I've played some that really impressed me well, and I recommend them to people who want an inexpensive, but darn good guitar.

Brian - I shall advise the Rainsong Guitar salesman not to waste any time at your door! ;-)

I also much prefer the concept of a wood guitar. However, I think we'll see more and more synthetic materials being used for instruments as time goes by (and if this civilization endures for a few more decades...), because the natural woods are getting scarcer, and the synthetic materials are getting more sophisiticated all the time. What interests me in the Rainsong is curiosity. I'd like to find out what they're like, that's all. The aspect of durability is worth considering too. I have a friend with a carbon fibre cello, and she plays it at all her gigs, and it sounds great.


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 26 Dec 10 - 11:06 AM

If what is said about the volume of sound is true, sooner or later we will see man-made-material guitars become the session instrument of choice: guitarists are generally (IMHO) fed up with being inaudible behind squeezy and scrapy things and banjos, and mandolins chopped on the offbeat. That my turn out to be their entree (not in the culinary sense).


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: josepp
Date: 26 Dec 10 - 12:07 PM

My latest guitar is a Regal metal body resonator--single cone. Son House-style. I wanted a National Resophonic but the price difference is about $2000 so, sorry National. It's not that I can't spend the money. If I was REALLY good, I'd get only the best but I'm not that good so it's silly and pretentious for me to buy these really expensive top-of-the-line guitars that deserve better homes than I can give them.

You want loud, get a resonator.

I have a Seagull which is very good--nice bass response. I have a Gretsch Synchromatic acoustic archtop which really bellows out the sound if you're in front of it.

Don't own a Martin. Too expensive. Maybe I can a get a cheaper one used somewhere.

The rule of thumb (and I'm no luthier) is that solid tops are better than laminate tops. Sides and back don't matter as much except for classicals which should also have a sold back. I have a LaPatrie classical which is sort of the same company as Seagull.

Most solid tops, however, are still book matched. So they are not truly solid all the way across but are glued in the middle with a powerful glue. So are solid backs. I would never buy a non-book matched guitar because to find the right sized wood for a truly solid top requires excessive cutting of trees. The one thing guitar-players don't like to talk about--especially tree-hugging, liberal folkies--is that the search for guitar woods has contributed not insignificantly to depletion of our woodlands, forests and jungles. I guess it got so bad with Brazilian rosewood that they stopped using it as a tonewood. I wouldn't take a Brazilian rosewood guitar if you gave it to me because I'd feel too guilty playing it.

Book matching allows more tree to stay up and I think this "green" aspect of buying a guitar should be mandatory for all guitarists. If you say you don't care about that, you're just part of the problem. Don't sing to me about the world's problems while playing a Brazilian rosewood guitar because you're just a goddamn hypocrite. Yes, we want the best sounding guitars we can get but we're going to have to compromise on that to save trees. Don't like it, by a resonator.


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: Brian May
Date: 26 Dec 10 - 03:58 PM

Little Hawk - thanks, I wouldn't want him to waste his time. It's probably THE future, but not MY future.

As for the 'Martin' future, the YouTube 'Tour of the Martin Factory' series have interesting interviews with Mr Current CEO, and he talks about them getting into other materials as need dictates, price and scarcity of the current raw materials.

I shall be long gone by then - I am happy to play wooden guitars until my dying day. Then have them passed on to someone who'll appreciate them.

Bye for now everyone, happy new year.


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: GUEST,Ray
Date: 27 Dec 10 - 12:38 PM

If people are worried about the ecological considerations of chopping down trees raised by josepp, they should perhaps also consider the amount of electricity required to smelt the aluminium required in order to manufacture resonator cones!

I don't recall ever having seen a non "book matched" top or back on a guitar - they are pretty much standard and everyone knows them as "solid tops".

Ray

PS as the owner of half a dozen or so solid topped guitars slightly fewer mandolins and a couple of resonators, I have no axe to grind in the matter!


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: josepp
Date: 27 Dec 10 - 12:52 PM

/////they should perhaps also consider the amount of electricity required to smelt the aluminium required in order to manufacture resonator cones!/////

And what would that be?


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: Midchuck
Date: 27 Dec 10 - 01:03 PM

/////they should perhaps also consider the amount of electricity required to smelt the aluminium required in order to manufacture resonator cones!/////

And what would that be?


Well, try computing it as a fraction of the electricity required to smelt the aluminium (Hah! spellchecker says British spelling is WRONG!) required to smelt the aluminum (spellchecker has no problem) required to manufacture the beer cans used worldwide and thrown away every year. Probably a decimal point followed by several zeros before you get to any numbers.

But then beer cans are a necessity, and reso cones are a luxury, I guess.

P.


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: Brian May
Date: 27 Dec 10 - 02:00 PM

Aluminium is correct this side of the Pond Midchuck - thanks.

I always think similar things about hybrid cars - heavy metals in the battery packs, how long they last, how much energy and materiel are required to make this 'saviour of the planet'.

Needless to say, I'm not convinced. Now the Hydrogen car is a different kettle of fish and that's why the Petroleum lobby will scupper it for many years yet.


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: josepp
Date: 27 Dec 10 - 03:30 PM

Exactly, the number of reso cones made every year is utterly miniscule in the total amount of aluminum smelted every year. It's really a non-issue. Even the waste products produced in the process can be controlled. My point is, once your woodlands are gone, they're going to be gone for a long, long time. I don't know about you but I don't have 800 years to wait around for a new crop of trees to cut down to make guitars. We have to conserve our trees--it's a no-brainer.

The same with hybrid cars, although I don't want this to turn into a hybrid debate, has nothing to do with the batteries (which are recycled anyway), it's about the amount of raw petroleum we save. That's what the hybrid was invented for. There's no excuse for anyone not owing a car that gets AT LEAST in the 30-something mpg range these days (I don't know what the equivalent is in Europe). The technolgy is good enough now that there is simply no excuse. We have to conserve the oil. Batteries are a whole other argument unrelated.


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: GUEST,Ray
Date: 27 Dec 10 - 03:52 PM

Actually, wood, being a renewable resource, is a different issue. The point I was trying to make is that you can't simply ignore the ecological cost of other solutions by saying that wood is a precious thing. Take recycled paper as another example - in the UK at least, paper is made from trees which are specifically planted ot be used in paper manufacture. If you don't make paper out of them, they don't plant the trees.

I don't think I've ever owned a car that dropped lower than 35 to the gallon and I've been driving since the 70s. Cars in Europe these days tend to do around 50-60 MPG.


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: Brian May
Date: 27 Dec 10 - 04:04 PM

I wish my BMW118d did 50 (statute miles to the imperial gallon).

Point is we don't NEED to save petroleum - there are alternatives that are a fraction of the cost, but our industry-base is petroleum, ergo it will be a cold day in hell before they (the oil companies and vested-interest companies) back the alternative - hydrogen.

It's powerful, plentiful and produces water as a by-product - why would we ever want to go there?

Hybrids are crap in comparison and a great deal of effort goes into recycling batteries, you can't just dismiss them as unimportant.


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: josepp
Date: 27 Dec 10 - 04:59 PM

Okay, I don't give a damn about hybrids, alright?? This is different discussion and you're not going to derail it, May. Drive whatever the hell you want.

///Actually, wood, being a renewable resource, is a different issue. The point I was trying to make is that you can't simply ignore the ecological cost of other solutions by saying that wood is a precious thing. Take recycled paper as another example - in the UK at least, paper is made from trees which are specifically planted ot be used in paper manufacture. If you don't make paper out of them, they don't plant the trees.///

I won't say I don't believe you because it's beside the point. A good tonewood for a guitar comes from trees about 800 years old. You just can't grow them that fast. Get used to it because that's how it is.


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 27 Dec 10 - 06:47 PM

Until we know why some tone materials sound "better" than others we don't know whether there is an alternative or not.

We do know that a low mileage driver in a classic car saves more in terms of resources by NOT buying a new car than he would save by buying a vibrator on wheels with no boot space.


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: treeman
Date: 27 Dec 10 - 06:57 PM

josepp; no offence mate, but you obviously don,t know much about guitar building and know even less about tree husbandry. If you,re interested I have a Ralph Bown(absolutely beautiful to look at and play), a 1970 Martin D-18 which I play every day, and an Archer, which you probably won,t have heard of, but you can check it out here; http://www.archerguitars.co.uk/


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: GUEST,erbert
Date: 27 Dec 10 - 07:35 PM

"Switch" solid body electric 'vibracell' guitars surprised and impressed many experienced guitarists
for their good mahogany-like tone and sustain.

But Switch were bound to go out of business as quickly they did
due to the extremely conservative nature and opinionated insecure egos
of mass hobbyist and 'semi-pro [yeah right]' guitar consumers.

To my knowledge, Switch never publicly prototyped an acoustic instrument..??

maybe the vibracell material was just not suitable for moulding into thin sheets ????

Still those of us who purchased discontinued stock electric instruments for less than £100 are still smiling...


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: Smokey.
Date: 27 Dec 10 - 07:45 PM

I've got a Brazilian Rosewood classical but it was made in 1829 so I've got a clear conscience. It still sings like an angel.


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: Brian May
Date: 28 Dec 10 - 10:51 AM

josepp

You'll find you can breath a lot easier when you extract your head from your arse, smell is better too.

800 years??

I reckon you ought to give up the day job and start selling whatever it is that you're taking - you'll be a millionaire in no time flat.

If you're not actually taking anything, then it's time for medication!

Then you can buy whatever you like, guitar, a few old logs, car whatever. . .

Have fun.

Oh, I forgot - you may have gathered, I don't actually agree with you ;o)


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: Little Hawk
Date: 28 Dec 10 - 12:15 PM

I thought we were talking about guitars here. What the hell happened to the conversation? ;-)


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: Brian May
Date: 28 Dec 10 - 12:28 PM

We digressed a little, now we're back and learning why we can't make guitars out of wood any more.

We're on guitars made out of 800 year old wood (apparently) . . .

Please keep up LH ;o)


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: josepp
Date: 28 Dec 10 - 12:30 PM

The query cat site says 200-500+ years. There was some guitar site that said their trees were about 800 years old. But let's just go with 200 years. That's still too long!

You can't deplete a woodland of good tonewoods and raise up a new crop of trees in a year or two years or ten years or 100 years. A minimum of 200. That means we have to conserve the wood. We're still a ways off finding a suitable synthetic alternative that sounds just like wood. Until we do, we have to be careful with our wood supply.

I mean, really, this is just common sense and only mudcatters argue with common sense because their so desperate to win the argument.


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: Little Hawk
Date: 28 Dec 10 - 12:48 PM

That's the main reason why almost everyone continues an argument. ;-) They're desperate to win it! Egos striving for meaningless victories is all it amounts to.

It's okay if you can see the humour in it, and I do. (most of the time)

But, hey, let's hear it for solid-top guitars! ;-D I like 'em. And I'd also love to try out a carbon fibre one too. Why? Because I'm naturally curious, that's why. I am here to enjoy the wonders of life around me, not to fight over how many angels can fit on the head of a pin.


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: Crowhugger
Date: 28 Dec 10 - 12:51 PM

Hey LH, it's just another interesting conversation becoming a minor skirmish...


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: Crowhugger
Date: 28 Dec 10 - 12:52 PM

Cross-posted with you, LH, that was in reply to your previous post.


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: Brian May
Date: 28 Dec 10 - 01:11 PM

josepp:

I find myself in agreement with your previous post!!

That's why responsible luthiers/companies are looking towards more sustainable raw materials including woods. Irresponsible folks will remain that way, that's why they're labelled irresponsible.

At my age, at this stage financially in my life, I can afford solid wood guitars so I did, and I've paid for them. But, this gives Mr Martin the funds, not only to build great guitars, but to also invest in research and development for the 'next generation' of fine instruments.

BUT there is no substitute for a little bit of humour in dealing with recalcitrant, argumentative old bastards who have an eye for a little fun and provocation ;o)

If you get a chance to play a Martin, or even borrow one for while, you'll probably see. Before I owned one, I thought they were over-priced. As an owner and a regular player now, I don't.

Happy New Year all!

LH, I reckon this post is in line for the title of 'Meaningless Draw' ;o)


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: josepp
Date: 28 Dec 10 - 04:58 PM

I don't think Martins are overpriced and I have played them, I just don't think I'm good enough to justify spending that kind of money when I sound just as good on a $500 model. The guitar sounds wonderful but I don't sound any better.


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Dec 10 - 05:20 PM

Solid wood and synthetic-material tops, si! Plywood tops, no!

Laminate (plywood) seems to be acceptable for low-budget back-and-sides, but topwood ~ never!

I acquired a new D-18 in 1969 and since then it has been the only guitar I've ever owned. I don't have the experience of various different instruments that some of my wealthier and/or more obessive friends can boast of, but I do know what I like!


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: Brian May
Date: 28 Dec 10 - 05:29 PM

Ah but it's not about the guitar . . . it's about YOU.

I agree in terms of technique, however the sound is better BUT you can't imagine how good you feel about yourself when you think you're worthy of a guitar like that in order to satisfy your deep desire.

I'd promised myself one about 40 odd years ago and thought 'one day' - and another and another. Then my wife said, unless I did it, I would never find enough justification.

So I did go ahead. Here's the unexpected bonus. I was so inspired that my interest and technique improved beyond all expectations. I since bought two more and am constantly inspired. You DO play better and you regard yourself differently.

I mean, I am married to a psychotherapist so there's no hiding place - apparently this is a self-esteem issue (on the credit side). I shall never regret the purchase. Are the guitars too much for me? Probably, but I shall grow into them.

Do I need to justify the purchases to anyone, no. I play privately, I don't do gigs anymore. I just love playing them for myself, friends and my family.

Treat yourself (while you can still buy wood!).

Enjoy


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: Little Hawk
Date: 28 Dec 10 - 05:35 PM

A really fine instrument helps anyone to play better, and it's inspiring to own one.


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: GUEST,Bluesman James
Date: 28 Dec 10 - 05:39 PM

Hey, if your interested in volume and a little metal, National is making the El Travador again. It sounds great but its expensive!(worth it)   http://www.nationalguitars.com/instruments/NRP_CATALOG.pdf


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: josepp
Date: 28 Dec 10 - 05:49 PM

Yeah, I ordered the Regal RC-2 Duolian because it was only $500. The same type of Reso was $2500. I almost spit up blood.


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: Will Fly
Date: 28 Dec 10 - 05:50 PM

Has anyone here played or owned a "Cargo" guitar or any other carbon fibre guitar from Composite Acoustics?

They're not available (I think) in the UK, but a few of my US friends seem very pleased with them - mainly for travel purposes. Any comments?

Just curious...


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: GUEST,jeff
Date: 28 Dec 10 - 06:10 PM

A couple of years ago I posted re Rainsong composite guitars. The JM-1000 is, quite possibly the best sounding acoustic guitar I've ever heard. Now that they've upgraded the electronics to an LR Baggs system it makes them that much more attractive.

Never heard or heard of a Cargo...well, I'm off to Google.


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Subject: RE: Solid top guitars
From: GUEST,Ian Gill
Date: 28 Dec 10 - 07:12 PM

Fair play to you C-flat, you're right about the Eko's at the end of the day. I'd still rather play an Eko than many more modern guitars with grp backs - you know the ones I mean - out of curiosity what guitars do you play now your Ekos are retired/passed on? I have a Guild F30 built in 1972 and an early 60's Levin Goliath, the Levin has a bolt on neck as well but doesn't play or sound too badly. The Guild is pretty beat up and still has the original crappy open backed machine heads but keeps going somehow - like a lot of us !


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