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Throw another log on the tonewood fire


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I had a Tokai "MAT" (Most Advanced Technology) Strat which had a plastic or fiberglass body. It sounded ok but just not as good/nice as wood IMO, like some overtones were missing.

 

But yeah, most people couldn't care less. And now we have 3D printed guitars too....

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I had a Tokai "MAT" (Most Advanced Technology) Strat which had a plastic or fiberglass body.

 

I remember them. Fiberglass or resin or some such, but I don't remember the Tokai part. I never tried one. There's a guitar I never tried, I have to stop saying I've tried everything there was now.

 

rct

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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...

As you know, Roger, I have 4 LPs built to almost identical specs and they all sound unique.

 

If I may on a personal level, please, mods?

For Heavens' sakes, Roger, Don't Get The Ban Stick Again! We Need You Here ! ! !

P.S. (and this is private so look away if you don't want to know the final result) - I Do Not Do Social Media, Roger! Sorry.

Facebook/Linkedin/Smurfitweekly/Whatever. I Don't Do Them!

PM me here and I'll get it!

 

Best wishes, as always, to Jo, Rh and Ra! You lot are sadly missed hereabouts.

 

P.

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As you know, Roger, I have 4 LPs built to almost identical specs and they all sound unique.

 

If I may on a personal level, please, mods?

For Heavens' sakes, Roger, Don't Get The Ban Stick Again! We Need You Here ! ! !

P.S. (and this is private so look away if you don't want to know the final result) - I Do Not Do Social Media, Roger! Sorry.

Facebook/Linkedin/Smurfitweekly/Whatever. I Don't Do Them!

PM me here and I'll get it!

 

Best wishes, as always, to Jo, Rh and Ra! You lot are sadly missed hereabouts.

 

P.

 

 

WIll do Pippy, best wishes as always to Loren and Chloe too.

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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

 

Ding WE have a winner

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To what do you attribute most to the difference in their sound, since there is likely little difference in the type of wood?

I don't know, zz.

 

I went into this discussion over on another forum many years ago (and Roger contributed at the time!) and after weeks of debate was still no wiser as there was no way of saying with absolute certainty what was the cause.

 

My own view is that, within a group of near-identical guitars, the piece of timber used for the neck might have the greatest influence on final tone.

Why do I think this? Long story......and I've absolutely no proof that I'm correct.

 

All 4 LPs have the same construction and yet they sound slightly different unplugged. Two are solid and two have Swiss Cheese.

All have one-piece backs (in the unlikely case that it makes a difference); all have ABR-1s; all have 'Vintage' Klusons; all have the t'piece screwed all the way down.

But whilst two have identical '60s neck profiles - within 0.002" (digital Vernier Gauge) - another has a super-slim version of the '60s and the other a very beefy rounded '50s.

The two which sound most alike are the ones with the 'same' neck - even although one is solid and one is cheesed.

 

P.

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My own view is that, within a group of near-identical guitars, the piece of timber used for the neck might have the greatest influence on final tone.

Why do I think this? Long story......and I've absolutely no proof that I'm correct.

 

Hmm, actually that's an interesting point..

 

Earlier in this thread I talked about how my I thought my solid maple body guitar (with tele pups) would be really twangy and actually sounds fairly fat.. Well that guitar also has a solid Oak neck with an ebony board...

 

 

Interesting :)

 

I am now then wondering about three piece necks and different combinations.. One of my other guitars also has an unusual neck made from Beechwood and Meranti in the middle (also with an Ebony board).. And that guitar has a really nice balanced sound. Hmmmmmm :-k

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May I add that even with the same timbers, there are variances in each piece...nature 'ya know?...

I agree completely, SM. In fact that's why I wrote "..the piece of timber.." in my post. I really did mean each individual piece will have it's own qualities.

Every piece of mahogany (say) used for a Gibson neck is going to have it's own subtle idiosyncrasies and vibration modulations.

I believe that some necks will, if you like, have more of a propensity to encourage sympathetic frequency response where others might dampen same.

This might explain in part why some guitars have more of a tendency to feel 'alive' whereas others feel rather dull and 'dead' in comparison.

It's by far and away the single most important feature I use to judge whether a guitar is 'right' for me and is the means by which I chose my LPs.

 

But as I say; I have absolutely no proof whatsoever that this is the case.

 

Rabs' observations regarding his own guitars' necks makes interesting reading, too.

 

P.

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I agree completely, SM. In fact that's why I wrote "..the piece of timber.." in my post. I really did mean each individual piece will have it's own qualities.

Every piece of mahogany (say) used for a Gibson neck is going to have it's own subtle idiosyncrasies and vibration modulations.

I believe that some necks will, if you like, have more of a propensity to encourage sympathetic frequency response where others might dampen same.

This might explain in part why some guitars have more of a tendency to feel 'alive' whereas others feel rather dull and 'dead' in comparison.

It's by far and away the single most important feature I use to judge whether a guitar is 'right' for me and is the means by which I chose my LPs.

 

But as I say; I have absolutely no proof whatsoever that this is the case.

 

Rabs' observations regarding his own guitars' necks makes interesting reading, too.

 

P.

 

Trust your ears and feelings and voilà.

 

In the mechaniaal and magnoelelectric system that is a solid body electric guitar rig the neck is the most mobile component after the strings it moves around a lot think of it as a always in use whammy bar just at the Nut not the bridge with the lever being manipulated by the frequency response of the wood excited by the vibration through the load on the strings.

 

The body is an anchor to the neck and massive in relation to the neck curiously on Acoustic Guitars the Neck is more massive and acts more as an anchor. Its a question opf which componnents relative to the others have most effect as a Natural component ( as Soundmaster points out) wood is unique from one piece to the next and there will always be outliers as a consequence.

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In vt's OP, it would seem to me, based purely on what I hear, that the maple neck seems to project a twangier tone with slightly more high end, which is what I might expect. We can read all sorts of opinions about how much difference there is between tone woods and what the realities are between the differences in sounds between guitars. I suspect that there is some truth in all of these opinions, and the differences in sound are the sum of all of the parts. IMO, it seems to me that in acoustic guitars, the differences in sound comes more from the woods, and in electric guitars, the biggest difference comes form the pickups. This may seem pretty obvious to most people, but seems to be ignored by many when these types of discussions arise. I know that pickup height can make a huge difference, esp. in hollow and semi-hollow electric guitars, but so can picks/fingers/attack and whether strings are played closer to the bridge or neck. I am convinced that the more you start shaping the sound with pedals, different amp models, and tone controls, the less difference it makes in what guitar you're playing; they all can be made to sound pretty much the same, or they can be made to sound pretty much any way you want. That's why, when someone is demoing a guitar, I want to hear what it sounds like clean. How many on this board play without any distortion or gain? I like to play clean, but almost always use a little delay and/or reverb.

 

I remember listening to a Duke Robillard CD where he listed all of the guitars he played and which was played on what songs. On the CD, he used a Studio LP and a Gretsch G-6120, two very different sounding guitars (at the time, I owned both). On one song, I could have sworn he was playing the G6120, but when I looked in the liner notes, he was playing the LP.

 

And as milod has often pointed out, every room is different, so acoustics are different. IMO, we, as guitarists, have so many choices, and we like to think that every subtle difference in guitars is significant, when in reality, we are all guided by image in our guitar selection and preferences. As milod has also said, the most important parameter should be how a guitar fits, feels, and plays. Seek the mythical tone pot of gold, that is part of the journey. You won't find it outside of your own brain and fingers.

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Guest Farnsbarns

In vt's OP, it would seem to me, based purely on what I hear, that the maple neck seems to project a twangier tone what slightly more high end, which is what I might expect. We can read all sorts of opinions about how much difference there is between tone woods and what the realities are between the differences in sounds between guitars. I suspect that there is some truth in all of these opinions and the differences in sound are the sum of all of the parts. IMO, it seems to me that in acoustic guitars, the differences in sound comes more from the woods, and in electric guitars, the biggest difference comes form the pickups. This may seem pretty obvious to most people, but seems to be ignored by many when these types of discussions arise. I know that pickup height can make a huge difference, esp. in hollow and semi-hollow electric guitars, but so can picks/fingers/attack and whether strings are played closer to the bridge or neck. I am convinced that the more you start shaping the sound with pedals, different amp models, and tone controls, the less difference it makes in what guitar you're playing; they all can be made to sound pretty much the same, or they can be made to sound pretty much any way you want. That's why, when someone is demoing a guitar, I want to hear what it sounds like clean. How many on this board play without any distortion or gain? I like to play clean, but almost always use a little delay and/or reverb.

 

I remember listening to a Duke Robillard CD where he listed all of the guitars he played and which was played on what songs. On the CD, he used a Studio LP and a Gretsch G-6120, two very different sounding guitars (at the time, I owned both). On one song, I could have sworn he was playing the G6120, but when I looked in the liner notes, he was playing the LP.

 

And as milod has often pointed out, every room is different, so acoustics are different. IMO, we, as guitarists, have so many choices, and we like to think that every subtle difference in guitars is significant, when in reality, we are all guided by image in our guitar selection and preferences. As milod has also said, the most important parameter should be how a guitar fits, feels, and plays. Seek the mythical tone pot of gold, that is part of the journey. You won't find it outside of your own brain and fingers.

 

I agree with this. I think there is a tiny difference between, say, rosewood and ebony fretboard but I bet there's loads of difference between, say, rosewood and, I dunno, polyethylene. These tone wood debates seem to get drawn to what difference there might be between one tone wood and another. I think the point really is that those that don't believe in tone wood at all seem to think ebony and cream cheese would sound the same. To me, that's all that's up for real debate here, not the subtle difference between tone woods but whether they matter at all.

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...IMO, it seems to me that in acoustic guitars, the differences in sound comes more from the woods, and in electric guitars, the biggest difference comes form the pickups.......picks/fingers/attack and whether strings are played closer to the bridge or neck.

 

I am convinced that the more you start shaping the sound with pedals, different amp models, and tone controls, the less difference it makes in what guitar you're playing; they all can be made to sound pretty much the same, or they can be made to sound pretty much any way you want. That's why, when someone is demoing a guitar, I want to hear what it sounds like clean. How many on this board play without any distortion or gain?...

 

And as milod has often pointed out, every room is different, so acoustics are different...

 

Seek the mythical tone pot of gold, that is part of the journey. You won't find it outside of your own brain and fingers...

Yes, zz, the p'ups and electronics are a given.

But I have two R-Is - a '93 R9 and a '95 R0 - with identical specs (neck thickness apart) and yet they sound very(*) different from one another.

And I completely agree that pick attack and right-hand technique are also a given. More so than the p'ups in some ways.

Farns brought his R8 around just after he bought it. When he played it it sounded like him. When I played it it sounded like me.

 

I, too, want to hear a guitar demo'd clean. Otherwise the demo is demo'ing the pedals etc...

I remember years ago someone posted a vid-clip of some vintage guitar being played through one of the legendary Dumble OD's. The player was using three pedals in the chain.

Why? If Dumble amps are so utterly magnificent why mask their tone with three fx pedals???

I usually play either totally clean or with around 8.5% grit. Some reverb, too, but not too much.

 

Room acoustics?

I know exactly how to dial in 'my' sounds to get them 100% right. But when I took my R0 and MM Sixty-Five to an open-mic everything went out the window.

Different room in size, shape and furnishings. Throw People milling around into the mix and it's back to square one...

 

Lastly; although we might spend 30+ years chasing-down our own 'Holy-Grail' in terms of tone how many punters could tell the difference between an original 'burst and an R9?

If it comes to that; how many could tell, blindfold, whether they are listening to a Gibson or a Yamaha or an Ibanez or an Epiphone or a PRS or a..........

 

'Tone-Chasing' is a purely personal, selfish, pleasure.

And I wouldn't have it any other way!...

 

[smile]

 

P.

 

BTW; I'm using 'very' very loosely..................lol!

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This is a great video Wills conclusions drawn from it are strange to me see my commnet below does anyone else have any thoughts on it. Its a brilliant video and a great experiment I think it tells us rather a lot about how the structure effects the strings and therefore the induced current.

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ehgl-AeDPkQ

 

 

Will this is an fantastic video. I wonder if you could elaborate on your statement ´´tone wood can only exist if a body has a very narrow window of resonant frequencies´´

If the neck moves which it did first how does this not dampen the strings and therfore not effect the induced current? It is this jump in logic which I can not follow in your reasoning?

 

The body moved at many frequencies I was interested to see the whammy bar move as well, When a whammy bar is manipulated what effect does that have on the vibration of the string and does that effect the induced current?

 

If the Head stock moves is that not analogous to the whammy bar moving and if this tightens or loosens the string does this not effect the induced current in the pick up coil.

 

Wonderfull experiment,

 

Best wishes

 

Roger

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Yup... this is why my initial comments to this thread was that really even though everything on the guitar makes a small difference, trying to work out a formula for A+B=great tone is just a myth... But yet they do make a difference which is the weird paradox about this subject..

 

But as mentioned, just for the one fact that guitars are made from wood means they are all slightly different when you analyse each tiny piece for differences in tone.. and yet again means that the one and only way to find the right guitar for you is to go in to as many shops as you can and play as many as you can... Its the only way to get exactly what you are hearing in your head (or what you think you should hear :)) plus obviously and more importantly find the one that you feel most comfortable playing.

 

The fact that we amplify our guitars and they have pickups means that even after all of that, it doesn't really make any difference at all, that's what EQs, volume and tone knobs are for :)

 

But still kinda interesting to talk about ...

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Yup... this is why my initial comments to this thread was that really even though everything on the guitar makes a small difference, trying to work out a formula for A+B=great tone is just a myth... But yet they do make a difference which is the weird paradox about this subject..

 

But as mentioned, just for the one fact that guitars are made from wood means they are all slightly different when you analyse each tiny piece for differences in tone.. and yet again means that the one and only way to find the right guitar for you is to go in to as many shops as you can and play as many as you can... Its the only way to get exactly what you are hearing in your head (or what you think you should hear :)) plus obviously and more importantly find the one that you feel most comfortable playing.

 

The fact that we amplify our guitars and they have pickups means that even after all of that, it doesn't really make any difference at all, that's what EQs, volume and tone knobs are for :)

 

But still kinda interesting to talk about ...

 

Thats exactly it Rabs. Try before you buy to find the one with your name on it. Also take it to a guitar tech or get the shop you buy from have their tech set it up according to your preferences. Guitars are not tins of Baked Beans they are simply not homogenous products. Whether its cheap , discounted, fancy or plain whatever we have in our own guitar closet is unique and we along with it make a unique voice no one else sounds the same on someone elses guitar.

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