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Should I buy a paper HPL guitar ?

Donuel 24 Sep 18 - 01:56 PM
gillymor 24 Sep 18 - 02:34 PM
Backwoodsman 24 Sep 18 - 03:13 PM
Donuel 24 Sep 18 - 03:56 PM
gillymor 24 Sep 18 - 06:11 PM
Jack Campin 24 Sep 18 - 06:47 PM
punkfolkrocker 24 Sep 18 - 07:03 PM
Donuel 24 Sep 18 - 08:21 PM
Will Fly 25 Sep 18 - 06:39 AM
Will Fly 25 Sep 18 - 06:44 AM
GUEST,Some bloke 25 Sep 18 - 09:05 AM
leeneia 25 Sep 18 - 10:39 AM
Stilly River Sage 25 Sep 18 - 10:50 AM
Will Fly 25 Sep 18 - 11:46 AM
GUEST,gillymor 25 Sep 18 - 12:34 PM
punkfolkrocker 25 Sep 18 - 01:04 PM
Donuel 25 Sep 18 - 03:06 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 25 Sep 18 - 03:34 PM
Donuel 26 Sep 18 - 02:43 PM
punkfolkrocker 26 Sep 18 - 03:17 PM
leeneia 27 Sep 18 - 10:54 AM
Will Fly 27 Sep 18 - 11:49 AM
punkfolkrocker 27 Sep 18 - 12:20 PM
Donuel 11 Oct 18 - 05:21 PM
Will Fly 11 Oct 18 - 06:05 PM
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Subject: Should I buy a paper HPL guitar ?
From: Donuel
Date: 24 Sep 18 - 01:56 PM

I've returned guitars that don't have 'that special respondsive sound'.
I found what I think is the one. A Martin Marcassa with sitka spruce top and HPL everthing else. HPL (high pressure laminate) is resin soaked paper under 2000 lbs of pressure and after research I learned that they can shatter if bumped.

Do you know of this problem? The sound seems ideal to me. I'm a beginner of sorts.
Do ya think its worth it?


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Subject: RE: Should I buy a paper HPL guitar ?
From: gillymor
Date: 24 Sep 18 - 02:34 PM

Here's an article listing the pros and cons of HPL guitars. Apparently they are brittle and can shatter.


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Subject: RE: Should I buy a paper HPL guitar ?
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 24 Sep 18 - 03:13 PM

A friend of mine has an HPL Martin (not sure of the model designation). The strap came of the end-pin, he dropped it to the floor, and the top popped clean off!

He took it to our local luthier the next day, he glued it back on - good as new, no ill-effects whatsoever.


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Subject: RE: Should I buy a paper HPL guitar ?
From: Donuel
Date: 24 Sep 18 - 03:56 PM

Gilly I read that link earlier and it got me worried in the first place.
Old horse hoof & hide glue and new materials sounds like a match made in purgatory. If I ask myself what is the chance I might be clumsy and the words '100%' come to mind.


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Subject: RE: Should I buy a paper HPL guitar ?
From: gillymor
Date: 24 Sep 18 - 06:11 PM

Don, have you considered a carbon graphite Raingsong, played here by one of my favorite guitarists, Al Petteway. He plays it purely acoustic at about 4:30 in. I'm half-tempted to check one out because I don't like playing my better instruments out in this S. Florida humidity.


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Subject: RE: Should I buy a paper HPL guitar ?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 24 Sep 18 - 06:47 PM

The description of the material sounds like one of the hard semi-synthetics used for things like radio casings and car dashboards in the 1930s. Heavy, fragile and chemically unstable. Bakelite (not filled with papier mache like the others) was more durable but even heavier.


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Subject: RE: Should I buy a paper HPL guitar ?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 24 Sep 18 - 07:03 PM

[Just pasting my post from Don's earlier thread..
It should have been in this one...]

A decade ago I bought a few Switch Vibracell solid body guitars...

Vibracell - a moulded plastic foam resin of some kind that was suposed to sound and play like premium 'tone woods'..

Vibracell didn't catch on with a conservative guitar market,
so I got them very cheap discontinued..

They were actually quite good, loads of sustain - but easily chipped...

Compressed paper Martins reminds of the vintage Danelectro guitars
made cheaply of minimal wood frame covered in hardboard...

They sounded great...


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Subject: RE: Should I buy a paper HPL guitar ?
From: Donuel
Date: 24 Sep 18 - 08:21 PM

One of my first posts on mudcat was about an invention I dreamed up for violins and such that I called a soul post. A nearly weightless piece of high acoustic foam connected the top and bottom plates of violins.
A boost of up to 10% improved presence was the result. The post was greeted with multiple spam accusations which was popular back then.

I am a believer in new materials sounding great despite ideal 1930's Martin tone and Stradavri timbre. Durability is the challenge except with carbon fibre which tough as diamonds.

The HPL paper is soaked with a urathane (a synthetic crystalline compound used in making pesticides and fungicides, and formerly as an anesthetic. short for polyurethane.


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Subject: RE: Should I buy a paper HPL guitar ?
From: Will Fly
Date: 25 Sep 18 - 06:39 AM

I've had a Martin XC1T for 12 years now. The Sitka spruce top is a little worn from my plectrum threashings but, apart from that, it's in excellent shape. And, yes, it's been bumped, banged, played in the open air, slung into the backs of my cars, propped up against pub tables and played well in. Not a sign or a scratch on the HPL back and sides.

The sound is fantastic - clean, clear and ringing. I had a 40-year old Epiphone Texan with a cedar top. Lovely to look at, but the tone had died with the top. I swapped it for the Texan without a qualm. I don't really care what guitars are made of or what the headstock says - it's how they feel and sound that matters. Here's some info about my Martin:

Will's Martin XC1T

and here's what it sounds like:

Will Fly: Piedmont Perpetual Motion

Just my 10c-worth...


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Subject: RE: Should I buy a paper HPL guitar ?
From: Will Fly
Date: 25 Sep 18 - 06:44 AM

And a slower, more considered tune to demo the sound:

Will Fly: What'll I do?


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Subject: RE: Should I buy a paper HPL guitar ?
From: GUEST,Some bloke
Date: 25 Sep 18 - 09:05 AM

More and more performers are using Martin X series.

If you have sound checked in a cold theatre then gone on stage with an audience and stage lighting combining to change temperature and humidity, you’ll understand why.

Still a Martin in terms of neck profile and playability. Sounds identical to a multi thousand pound Martin on stage if both have the same electrics.

The neck is laminated so doesn’t move much and the HPL back and sides don’t compress or loosen the top either.

I have many fine guitars but my stage guitar isn’t even that, it’s the Sigma equivalent at half the price albeit with a decent pickup installed.


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Subject: RE: Should I buy a paper HPL guitar ?
From: leeneia
Date: 25 Sep 18 - 10:39 AM

How much does the guitar cost, Donuel? Can you afford it? Do you have a good place to keep it, such as a home with mild temperatures and not too much humidity?

If the answers are good, then go for it. Making music will be good and good for you.

The person who said it could shatter if bumped probably meant "It could shatter if it fell out of a moving pick-up truck."


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Subject: RE: Should I buy a paper HPL guitar ?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 25 Sep 18 - 10:50 AM

Learn something new every day hanging out above the line. That was a great link you posted early on, gillymore.

My question is, are these actually called "paper guitars?" Or just HPL?


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Subject: RE: Should I buy a paper HPL guitar ?
From: Will Fly
Date: 25 Sep 18 - 11:46 AM

I've always known them as High Pressure Laminate (HPL) guitars - HPL is basically similar to Formica.


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Subject: RE: Should I buy a paper HPL guitar ?
From: GUEST,gillymor
Date: 25 Sep 18 - 12:34 PM

Judging from some bloke's comments and Will's excellent video it seems like a Martin HPL would make a good guitar for the outdoors and a small auxilliary kitchen counter top in a pinch.


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Subject: RE: Should I buy a paper HPL guitar ?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 25 Sep 18 - 01:04 PM

Donuel - Here's a video you might like.. a bit rambling, but possibly interesting..
investigating Switch Vibracell alternative to real wood...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDRrlY2c3Bg


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Subject: RE: Should I buy a paper HPL guitar ?
From: Donuel
Date: 25 Sep 18 - 03:06 PM

From Sweetwater.com I can get the paper Martin for ~500 dollars leenia. A decent ringing cello costs $1000 and takes more energy to play, so downsizing is cheaper. But really - How about that Will Fly? applause followed by a learned nod of respect for the dedication and contribution.

I learned my bio dad played guitar. I've got my callouses built up on my finger tips from cello Uke practice so here goes. If I can learn to play In My Life it will be worth it.
My son's promised graduation gift car will just have to be 500 bucks cheaper. ;^/


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Subject: RE: Should I buy a paper HPL guitar ?
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 25 Sep 18 - 03:34 PM

I wouldn't worry about HPL's brittleness unless you're either a total klutz or you play in a thrash metal band that abuses its instruments on a regular basis.

Anyway, at only five or six hundred bucks each, you can break four or five HPL Martins for what it would cost you to break one D-28.


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Subject: RE: Should I buy a paper HPL guitar ?
From: Donuel
Date: 26 Sep 18 - 02:43 PM

Playability is a real comfort. I have a cello that sounds meh but it's playability keeps it around. I don't deserve a D-28. I only tried fretted instruments 10 years ago with a mandolin.

Exactly how many Martins can a real klutz break per hour?
55 mph (Martins per Hour)?


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Subject: RE: Should I buy a paper HPL guitar ?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 26 Sep 18 - 03:17 PM

from antique Martin to splinters in less than 2 seconds...


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Subject: RE: Should I buy a paper HPL guitar ?
From: leeneia
Date: 27 Sep 18 - 10:54 AM

Klutz? How can you be an artist and a klutz?

If you value the instrument, you will take care of it. You either store it strapped in its case, or you buy a guitar holder and you tie it in (I use a pipe cleaner) so it won't tip over.

You remember at all times that a guitar is top heavy, with the metal of the tuning machines outweighing the guitar box. You don't leave your new guitar lying near the edge of a table where it can get knocked off. You don't let children or pets roughhouse with it or near it. You don't let it get hot or cold. You don't leave it near a heating vent so it dries out.

You don't take it to a bar, have drinks and then forget it or let it get stolen. Basically you treat it as a good parent treats his child.
=============
I want to mention that I have a Global guitar with a plywood top that I got in a flea market for $37.50. Many people have complimented that guitar for its rich sound. I believe the secret is that I use nylon strings (less twang) and a thumbpick (gives deep tone to the bass strings.)

Many people believe that the way to be a good guitarist is to spend lots of money. I believe that lots of love and time will get you just as far.


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Subject: RE: Should I buy a paper HPL guitar ?
From: Will Fly
Date: 27 Sep 18 - 11:49 AM

You remember at all times that a guitar is top heavy, with the metal of the tuning machines outweighing the guitar box.

Well, not necessarily. None of my acoustic guitars is imbalanced in that way. Of the electric guitars I've owned, the only top heavy instrument was a G&L ASAT - basically similar to a Fender Telecaster. A Les Paul, by contrast, is very bottom heavy.


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Subject: RE: Should I buy a paper HPL guitar ?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 27 Sep 18 - 12:20 PM

I've seen a mate carefully put his high quality Japanese Les Paul copy flat on the stage
for a few seconds after a University gig while he opened the case...

only for a drunk student to walk by and tread on the neck, breaking it in two...

If I recall, the student swiftly disapeared into the audience completely oblivious...

I've also had a brand new Epiphone Les Paul Copy delivered in it's case and packaging with a broken neck...

Gibson necks are notoriously prone to breaking at the headstock joint due to historically poor design,
and persistent stuborn refusal to reinforce the neck strength with a volute..


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Subject: RE: Should I buy a paper HPL guitar ?
From: Donuel
Date: 11 Oct 18 - 05:21 PM

I got the paper guitar. I choose this plain Jane over a Taylor that was an art piece with fingerboard inlaid seagulls (all different) and tropical woods that started at 2,200 and was recently reduced to 650.
All because of the delicious spectrum of the sound of the Martin.
I may have made a financial mistake regarding monetary value but sweetwater saves at least 100 dollars on all in production guitars.

I used a multi surface non residue pledge on the laminate and sparingly on the spruce as a protectant from oil and dirt. Do not use oil or wax on satin or raw wood surfaces. The wood feels much better now.
Yeah there is oil and dirt here and as for klutz, my cats find a new way to knock things down every day.

I may have the strings raised a tenth of a milimeter as I become proficient.

Sweetwater.com sent 6 emails and pictures of every step of set up and delivery. Notifications went without a hitch and the guitar arrived in tune. It was if I had ordered a pet.

I did have to make my own rosewood botton strap lock but I adapted a custom violin end pin I made years ago with an inlaid tiny diamond.


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Subject: RE: Should I buy a paper HPL guitar ?
From: Will Fly
Date: 11 Oct 18 - 06:05 PM

Well done Donuel - I hope you have many, many hours of good playing.

PFR - my old (alas, long gone) buddy Mick Wayne*, had a beautiful Gibson stereo, 335S. He laid it on the ground at a party... you guessed... some knob trod on it and broke the headstock clean off.

*Mick played most of the guitar work on Space Oddity, and toured the US with Joe Cocker on the "Mad Dogs" tour. Lovely man.


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