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Throw another log on the tonewood fire


vikingtone

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EgfCRL8RSKI

 

 

 

Does the type of wood make a difference?

This A B is a demonstration of the exact same guitar all electronics and hardware is identical the only difference is one set of samples it has a maple neck fitted the other a maple neck with Rose wood fretboard.

 

The Frequency metres are there as a visual guide to any differences you may hear.

 

See my other tone video on the teuffel Bridfish tone bars here,

 

 

Blog on the Birdfish Video Here

http://letthemconfectsweeterlies.blogspot.se/2012/11/tone-woods-and-solid-guitars-debate.html

 

 

´´If it could afford non-without a strand of provocation, this thesis could send the following message to the

guitarists: "Yes, the elements of guitar making have an influence on the sound, but prefer to try your instruments

before you buy! "

 

Dr Arthur Pate.

PHD thesis OF THE UNIVERSITY PIERRE AND

MARIE CURIE

Specialty: Acoustic

Submitted by:

Arthur Pate

To obtain the rank of

DOCTOR OF THE UNIVERSITY PIERRE AND MARIE CURIE

Thesis topic:'

GUITAR MAKING, THE ELECTRIC GUITAR SOLID BODY :

MECHANICAL ASPECTS AND PERCEPTIONS

 

I hope to interview Dr Pate on this channel this year when time allows. His thesis is fascinating and is very comprehensive. Having read the thesis I would only say that it has given me pause for much thought and made me very guuarded against generalisations. Effectively every piece of wood is unique and the variablse so manifold in all of the components of a single guitar that no two guitars are the same. Hence Arthurs advice, try before you buy if you really want to know what you´re going to get.

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A computer may be able to register the difference.. but to a human ear there is no difference, especially when you play with as much distortion as he did..

 

I do certainly think types of wood makes a difference to the sound of a guitar.. but not so much that its worth worrying about...

 

Certainly not worth worrying about what type of fretboard is on a guitar as long as it plays well and feels good..

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And I'm still utterly convinced that on two guitars of similar construction, regardless of woods used anyway, the technique of the player can and will make huge differences in the perceived "tone," all else being equal.

 

There are so many variables; so many ears hearing different things when it is the same note.

 

m

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It's hard to call some dude holding a guitar and picking the strings a true, scientific A/B test. Don't you think?

 

Given that electrics work by function of electro-magnetic fields, I'd say that wood, being non-magnetic and non-metallic and otherwise largely non-reactive, would be a minor player. I'm sure it affects sustain. I'm sure that translates to difference. But really. Tone wood is bull shut.

 

 

------

 

 

The only thing you really need to know about electric guitars is this:

If your guitar says Fender on it, the fretboard should be maple. If it says Gibson, it should be rosewood (or ebony but not maple).

 

any questions?

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It's hard to call some dude holding a guitar and picking the strings a true, scientific A/B test. Don't you think?

 

Given that electrics work by function of electro-magnetic fields, I'd say that wood, being non-magnetic and non-metallic and otherwise largely non-reactive, would be a minor player. I'm sure it affects sustain. I'm sure that translates to difference. But really. Tone wood is bull shut.

 

 

------

 

 

The only thing you really need to know about electric guitars is this:

If your guitar says Fender on it, the fretboard should be maple. If it says Gibson, it should be rosewood (or ebony but not maple).

 

any questions?

 

The spectrogram 3d real time graph by Blue Cat Audio is actually very instructive I have taken some screen shots and these show the differences very well as it represents in real time over about 10 seconds worth of inputs it gives a very good cross section and therefor comparison of both signals being analysed.

The other two graphs are really just a sighting guide. I did quite a lot of tests with different meters but had to limit the numbers used simultaneously as with the screen capture and video capture as well as FFT analysis even with 19 GB of Ram on my mac the overhead was pretty demanding, this is why I only used one mic which I focused more on the amp than what I was saying, non of which is analytical or indeed worth bothering about.

 

Thanks for watching I will certainly make sure the mics are picking up Arthur Pate loud and clear when I interview him on his Doctoral Thesis which is fascinating.

 

Long story short. Bodies make the least difference as they are massive in relation to the mechanical system as a whole and influence is unmeasurable or easily cancelled out by small anomalies elsewhere in the system. Necks and particularly finger board material are much more influential again though as each component of the system plays its own part,the differences can be cancelled out over large samples by all of the other variables in varying degrees or not at all. The thesis takes a Sample of 23 instruments from a manufacturer and analyses them and also has 13 custom made for the study les paul junior copies the only differences relating to Ebony or rosewood fret boards everything else being mahogany. All analysis including perceptual found a real difference between the ebony and rosewood fretboards.

 

I will interview Arthur to bring out his main points and hopefully demonstrate his conclusions with his extensive data sets and possibly go into some of his mathematical models of the string neck couplings and modal responses and so forth. In this video I felt as you do that the difference is audible and kept it as short as possible the main event from me will be hopefully and extensive interview and article on Arthurs Pates Doctoral thesis the most comprehensive scientific examination on this subject to date.

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A computer may be able to register the difference.. but to a human ear there is no difference, especially when you play with as much distortion as he did..

 

I do certainly think types of wood makes a difference to the sound of a guitar.. but not so much that its worth worrying about...

 

Certainly not worth worrying about what type of fretboard is on a guitar as long as it plays well and feels good..

 

Hi Rabs,

 

I actually played into my Bassman clone , Tweedtone amp on 2 and there was no distortion at all. The signal from the guitar went into my Digital interface, a MOTU traveler and was sent unaffected from there to the amp. The graphs are taking the signal straight from the jack before being sent to the amp there was no clipping ( no distortion) on this signal at all. There were some clicks due to processing overload at points in the video but the sound is a good representation of what that guitar and those Ludgren pickups sound like.

heres the video of my putting the Anachaster X together

part 1

part 2

 

Here she is in action

 

I do not pretend that this test is anything other than perceptual, Arthur's Doctoral thesis on the other hand is Peer reviewed published scientific work and employs the scientific method with laboratory conditions indeed Arthur was awarded his Phd on the strength of it. His conclusions as such can not be trifled with. With respect to my own test it is scientific in the sense that its results are falsifiable, there are various limitations on how far one can go with these things as I had the neck in my workshop I thought I would give it a whirl but to do it to this extent actually took many hours over 3 or 4 days, its results are more than conjecture I think.

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Hello!

 

Being a hobby guitar player, by no means my experience or opinion does count...

 

...so that`s why I look at the choice of other, - highly respected - players.

 

If the wood doesn't pays role in the tone:

 

1.) Why did Allan Holdsworth designed His signature Carvin guitars the way He did? Chambered body, with a free resonating top that doesn't contacts the neck support. Why did He used 4 different timbers on one model? (From Carvin's site: "It's semi-hollow body with revolutionary twin-beam internal suspension produces a fine resonating tone, which is accentuated by the alder body and top wood and maple set-neck")

 

2.) Why did Gary Moore insisted on playing the guitar unplugged for evaluation before purchase?

 

3.) Why classical guitars with solid tops are prefered by professionals, opposed to laminated top instruments?

 

4.) Why major US makers insist on using imported (shall we say exotic) timbers for their guitars when they could use local wood. Think of Gibson. They import mahogany, rosewood, ebony. But they could use oak, or maple instead which is plenty on the American continent? Not to mention Granadillo, which is the Middle-American branch of rosewood species...

 

5.) Steve Grove also insists that the wood doesn't play any role in the tonal character of an amplified electric guitar. He says (and in fact, smartly demonstrates) that outside the human factors, it's all about pickups and the hardware. Then, why the Gibson Les Paul and the SG has a totally different tonality?

 

:-k

 

Cheers... Bence

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Hello!

 

Being a hobby guitar player, by no means my experience or opinion does count...

 

...so that`s why I look at the choice of other, - highly respected - players.

 

If the wood doesn't pays role in the tone:

 

1.) Why did Allan Holdsworth designed His signature Carvin guitars the way He did? Chambered body, with a free resonating top that doesn't contacts the neck support. Why did He used 4 different timbers on one model? (From Carvin's site: "It's semi-hollow body with revolutionary twin-beam internal suspension produces a fine resonating tone, which is accentuated by the alder body and top wood and maple set-neck")

 

2.) Why did Gary Moore insisted on playing the guitar unplugged for evaluation before purchase?

 

3.) Why classical guitars with solid tops are prefered by professionals, opposed to laminated top instruments?

 

4.) Why major US makers insist on using imported (shall we say exotic) timbers for their guitars when they could use local wood. Think of Gibson. They import mahogany, rosewood, ebony. But they could use oak, or maple instead which is plenty on the American continent? Not to mention Granadillo, which is the Middle-American branch of rosewood species...

 

5.) Steve Grove also insists that the wood doesn't play any role in the tonal character of an amplified electric guitar. He says (and in fact, smartly demonstrates) that outside the human factors, it's all about pickups and the hardware. Then, why the Gibson Les Paul and the SG has a totally different tonality?

 

:-k

 

Cheers... Bence

 

 

5.) Steve Grove also insists that the wood doesn't play any role in the tonal character of an amplified electric guitar. He says (and in fact, smartly demonstrates) that outside the human factors, it's all about pickups and the hardware. Then, why the Gibson Les Paul and the SG has a totally different tonality?

 

 

Why indeed? I think Scott is a great player and not such a hot physicist. I sent Scott a link to my vid he commented on my Teuffel Birdfish one, I'll see what he says and how he explains what I think I heard and saw in the video.

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Guest Farnsbarns

Well now VikingTone..... First off, how the hell are you mate, nice to see you here!

 

Secondly, good video, I love how you study the hell out of this stuff. I'm almost glad to be at home, unwell today. People who think strings and pickups are all that counts are kidding themselves. I can feel 9lbs of mahogany wake up the moment I strum my LP, that energy re-enters the strings, bringing what effect the wood had on it back to the strings. It also seems to escape the likes of Scott Grove that the pickups are usually attached to the wood, they are, therefore, vibrating in relation to the strings, not just the other way around.

 

It seems obvious to me, I would have formed my opinion quite easily, by fact curation, without even playing guitar, it just seems obvious and inevitable. Wood makes a difference.

 

I have an epi sheriton, it sounds very clearly semi hollow when played, how's that if it's all just strings and pickups?

 

Excellent video mate! Keep turning stones, you're good at it.

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...

I have an epi sheriton, it sounds very clearly semi hollow when played, how's that if it's all just strings and pickups.

 

...

 

Excellent point.

 

Why on Earth there are the jazz-boxes, semi-hollow guitars, and solids then?

 

...and chambered vs. solids.

 

Best wishes... Bence

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...

 

Why indeed? I think Scott is a great player and not such a hot physicist. I sent Scott a link to my vid he commented on my Teuffel Birdfish one, I'll see what he says and how he explains what I think I heard and saw in the video.

 

Hello!

 

Personally, I like Mr. Grove's videos.

 

I don't agree with Him on many things, but that's OK. His down-to-Earth approach is very helpful to reevaluate beliefs. By approaching a subject from a different point of view, often helps to bust myths, or to reinforce beliefs.

 

Thesis, anti-thesis, synthesis...

 

Cheers... Bence

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Well now VikingTone..... First off, how the hell are you mate, nice to see you here!

 

Secondly, good video, I love how you study the hell out of this stuff. I'm almost glad to be at home, unwell today. People who think strings and pickups are all that counts are kidding themselves. I can feel 9lbs of mahogany wake up the moment I strum my LP, that energy re-enters the strings, bringing what effect the wood had on it back to the strings. It also seems to escape the likes of Scott Grove that the pickups are usually attached to the wood, they are, therefore, vibrating in relation to the strings, not just the other way around.

 

It seems obvious to me, I would have formed my opinion quite easily, by fact curation, without even playing guitar, it just seems obvious and inevitable. Wood makes a difference.

 

I have an epi sheriton, it sounds very clearly semi hollow when played, how's that if it's all just strings and pickups?

 

Excellent video mate! Keep turning stones, you're good at it.

 

Well Farnsbarns PM sent. Is this topic locked or just on my other machine?Got a ,message saying I am not allowed to post not sure why I have never been informed of a life ban there was a mminor infraction 2 years ago but seems it was considered a hanging offence?

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Guest Farnsbarns

Well Farnsbarns PM sent. Is this topic locked or just on my other machine?Got a ,message saying I am not allowed to post not sure why I have never been informed of a life ban there was a mminor infraction 2 years ago but seems it was considered a hanging offence?

 

I can't imagine how such a mild mannered man as yourself gets banned. You still on FSGC?

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Hello!

 

Personally, I like Mr. Grove's videos.

 

I don't agree with Him on many things, but that's OK. His down-to-Earth approach is very helpful to reevaluate beliefs. By approaching a subject from a different point of view, often helps to bust myths, or to reinforce beliefs.

 

Thesis, anti-thesis, synthesis...

 

Cheers... Bence

 

Could not agree more, I like Scott to he is a very good teacher and very interesting to listen to. Its fine to agree to disagree in my book.

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Well, Rabs, I have three LPJs and each one sounds notably different. I also feel that different fretboard wood type can be easily heard.

 

Admittedly, I did not dive in to the OP so I apologize if I took your comments out of context. [smile]

 

Well as I say I do think there is a difference... but I just don't think it matters that much.... as long as your guitar sounds like a guitar and you like it.

 

For instance.. one of the guitars I have made is solid maple with tele type pups inside.. Everything I have read and know about wood said that the guitar should be like the most twangiest thing you ever heard.. Its not, it actually sounds quite fat..??

 

So the point really being is yes it does make a difference but so does every part of the guitar, how its set up, what type of hardware is being used etc etc etc... They all make a small difference.. I just don't think its as important as some people make it out to be.

 

This is why you could take ten guitars, all made in the same way with the same materials and yet they will still all be slightly different. Its one of the things that I love about guitars, in a way each one is unique.

 

Whats more important is how a guitar is made... The scale length, the type of wiring setup, good quality parts etc... That to me is more important than what its made from.

 

And when you then take in to account the signal path you are using, like what amp what settings and if you have any effects in your chain, what the original tone of the guitar is like is almost irrelevant.. So say you have a maple board and you get a slight extra snap from that than if you had rosewood.. Well turn the bass up and boom, it sounds more like a rosewood board :) Let alone that each player attacks the guitar differently...

 

Its all apples and oranges :)

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That all makes sense to me too Rabs. On a solid body I reckon it would be so far down the order of impacts on tone as to be irrelevant.

But others will see it differently and fair enough - no big deal to me at all, but I know my 2 Gibson made solidbodies built in the same fatory from the same wood of the same weight using same strings, pick, and crummy technique sound completely different when strummed acoustically let alone once plugged in.

Perhaps someone (Ryan?) could build a pedal with a knob allowing you to dial in various tonewoods (ash, mahogany, alder etc) and a 3 way toggle switch for fingerboard selection (maple, rosewood, ebony)..... could be a winner among tonewood subscribers [biggrin]

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That all makes sense to me too Rabs. On a solid body I reckon it would be so far down the order of impacts on tone as to be irrelevant.

But others will see it differently and fair enough - no big deal to me at all, but I know my 2 Gibson made solidbodies built in the same fatory from the same wood of the same weight using same strings, pick, and crummy technique sound completely different when strummed acoustically let alone once plugged in.

Perhaps someone (Ryan?) could build a pedal with a knob allowing you to dial in various tonewoods (ash, mahogany, alder etc) and a 3 way toggle switch for fingerboard selection (maple, rosewood, ebony)..... could be a winner among tonewood subscribers [biggrin]

Here you go you will find my 74 les paul modelled here plug into your DAW and your off I have designed a pedal that runs on an Olminex development board under linux, Rackarack works off it. This is old hat stuff these days the Line 6 Variax does it so does the firebird X, there are a few pedals, D Tar Mama Bear and Fishman Aura its easy to do its jjust impulse respomnses. Think Kempmner porfile for guitar

http://tonefreqhz.bandcamp.com/

 

 

Some free samples on this web page The 74 oles paul is there and Tribe an old Acme Bar Gig plug in

http://www.vikingsoundcooperative.com/tone-freqhz.html

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I've only owned one guitar that I thought really sounded odd and credited the materials involved.

 

Somewhere around 1974 or 4 I got a beat-up Japanese-made plexiglass "SG" to mess with. It sounded metalic/glassy to me. On the other hand, I also wonder how much was that heavy "glass" and how much the odd single pole pups that were made to look like a P90 "type."

 

m

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There are very few even wierd and wonderful guitars that have a metal neck. Necks vibrate a lot if you look at finite impulse analysi or slow motion ultra high speed zoom photography you see just how much, The strings couple to dampen and exchange frequencies with the neck and this makes a big difference to the energy and frequencies in the strings passing through the Magnetic field of the pickups. The body has various questions set or bolted necks, Bolted actually sustain more apart from in the high E and B strings it is this frequency area which make the les paul voice so distinctive and which leads people to percieve the Les Pauls to sustain longer, empirically this is incorrect.

 

Fret Board material is significant in the string and neck coupling phenomena and Ebony then Maple then rosewood are all described in perception tests to have differing degrees of accuracy and predictability Ebony being The highest precision material. The list of variables is endless and the differences in some areas will cancel out in others and Arthurs thesis is very interesting in its data on the 23 guitars takinen off the line at a large Canadian guitar plant and analysed scientifically he found they were all different and some of the supposedly same model guitars sounded more different to thier siblings than they did to the others of different materials although there are bound to be outliers there is a law of averages that the generalised conception of different woods will more often than not apply than not. That is only the start though as of course tolerance either way in other components make a difference.

 

In short all guitars being made of natural materials and to broad tolerances say plus or minus 5 % either way will give a large change in outcome tone overall.

 

I am very much looking forward to interviewing Arthur and getting the OK to publish some of the data from the interview. Arthurs university had still not got the thesis available on line and so he sent me a private copy , it is mosty in french so I had to translate it ( used Babylon Translater) no mean feat as its 500 pages long or so with appendices.

 

Another very strong conclusion form arthurs mathematical modelling is that for his sample the bodies being massive in relation to the system and not string through but stop tail did not have a measureable effect again though this is an area which could see further work. Tone is just one part of the equation tuning stability is important as well and whilst Arthurs conclusions are pretty strong he would be the first to say that everything effects everything else.

 

Its fascinating stuff but practice and the player is what counts at the end of the day.

 

Heres Brian Mays guitar teck Pete Malandrone on Meat loafs guitarist on Brians rig with one of Brians six pences.

 

Should start at 32min 12 secs watch the whole thing if you have time its well worth a watch.

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