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BC Mike 118

Martin acoustic volume vs Gibson

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Some gibson acoustics just have there own tone and its hard to compare.

So do Martin and so do Taylor.

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A taylor is a taylor ive owned many of this walnut brazilans.maples not overly impressed with those.

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volume and sustain are very important in my books, I can play lighter or dampen strings to reduce either but theres nothing I can physically do to a git that is quiet by nature or lacks sustain that would enable me to get either, I do ,however ,find the Martin dreds volume capacity thrilling , that said I now play a gibson j 29. good volume, good sustain and I enjoy it, next axe coming tho is a Martin dred (again). I enjoy them all !

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Hi,

 

Since I have put so much energy in something related to this subject, I thought I might post a bit more.

 

As many of you know I have spent a lot of time and treasure because I have a passion to understand the tonal pallet offered by American flat top guitars from the first half of the 20th century. We have a lot -- 100+ -- and the my personal primary era of interest is basically the 30s and the 40s. My study is biased by me -- I am only interested in genres my wife and I pursue. I have no great passion for personal solo performance -- what lights my fire mostly is playing with others in jams and string bands.

 

Now I am a true believer -- and I totally LOVE both old Gibsons and Martins. And I try them perpetually in different acoustic environments -- every week we play in from one to maybe five sessions of some sort, and in addition to their musical and social goals, these sessions are all chances to compare guitars. I have developed a great familiarity with all of our instruments over the years and I am always excited about adding to my knowledge. One of the reasons we own so many guitars and we don't own multiple copies of the same instrument is so they can be studied over time intensely -- you have to have free access over a long period to do this.

 

Now a social fact is people get very excited about their own opinions about music and their instruments -- a human property which is basically good but one has to be careful not to upset people. So these are just my personal experiences -- your mileage may vary.

 

So not let me hold forth on the question of volume and power comparisons for Gibsons and Martins in the period 1930-1945 -- often called the golden era. As I said earlier is I am crazy in love with a bunch of guitars from this period. My particular loves initially were prewar Martins for bluegrass and wartime (banner) for finger style folk and gospel. This fact is about tonality -- and not necessarily power.

 

What I discovered as I hung out in the Georgia highlands is that bluegrass players basically dismissed all Gibson as viable guitars for bluegrass. As an arrogant academic who did acoustics research, I thought maybe they were just biased and not knowledgeable -- be very careful dismissing crowd knowledge. Actually the "common knowledge" in this area turns out to be very true and very nuanced -- if a bit incomplete.

 

Late me describe an experiment I have done probably 100s of times over the years -- always with the same outcome. They say the definition of a fool is a person is does the same thing over and over and hopes for a different outcome. Well I would love to pick wartime Gibsons in bluegrass sessions. Last week I did it again. My excuse was I was selecting a couple of guitars to leave in Texas with my daughter to play in sessions when we visit. So the two guitars were a Martin 1937 00-18H (small body converted Hawaiian) and a 1943 Gibson SJ -- both in my experience wonderful guitars IMO. In the first half of the session, I used the little Martin and you could basically hear every note -- I played with both a flat pick and fingerpicks. The other musicians commented on how good it sounded and how LOUD it was. Then I brought out the SJ and I played it the same way -- and it was like I disappeared. Even with cooperative experienced musicians in the sessions who modulate to the situation, I was still buried.

 

Well that is the effect. What is going on.

 

Well what is going on is not that Gibsons won't work well in bluegrass sessions. Many of the Js from the 30s are standout guitars for bluegrass and string bands -- AJs, Jumbos, J-35s, RSRG, RSSD ... These guitars will peel paint -- they are not well known in bluegrass for two reasons. First there are not very many of them, and in addition their tonality is different enough from the old D-28s that that is also an issue. Mostly it is just that there are so many J-45s -- they are everywhere and everywhere rejected for bluegrass, largely for power/loudness issues. There have always been a minority that knows about the AJs and such -- the bone crushers -- and they deserve their reputation.

 

So what happens in 1942 that caused the power break? The short answer is I don't know. If you look inside banners -- with their scalloped braces and tone bars -- the naive observer would think they would be very loud. John Arnold -- the NC luthier -- says it is because the way the braces are tapered. I don't know, but I do know the effect is there.

 

Bye now,

 

Let's pick,

 

-Tom

Edited by tpbiii

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Hi,

 

Since I have put so much energy in something related to this subject, I thought I might post a bit more.

 

As many of you know I have spent a lot of time and treasure because I have a passion to understand the tonal pallet offered by American flat top guitars from the first half of the 20th century. We have a lot -- 100+ -- and the my personal primary era of interest is basically the 30s and the 40s. My study is biased by me -- I am only interested in genres my wife and I pursue. I have no great passion for personal solo performance -- what lights my fire mostly is playing with others in jams and string bands.

 

Now I am a true believer -- and I totally LOVE both old Gibsons and Martins. And I try them perpetually in different acoustic environments -- every week we play in from one to maybe five sessions of some sort, and in addition to their musical and social goals, these sessions are all chances to compare guitars. I have developed a great familiarity with all of our instruments over the years and I am always excited about adding to my knowledge. One of the reasons we own so many guitars and we don't own multiple copies of the same instrument is so they can be studied over time intensely -- you have to have free access over a long period to do this.

 

Now a social fact is people get very excited about their own opinions about music and their instruments -- a human property which is basically good but one has to be careful not to upset people. So these are just my personal experiences -- your mileage may vary.

 

So not let me hold forth on the question of volume and power comparisons for Gibsons and Martins in the period 1930-1945 -- often called the golden era. As I said earlier is I am crazy in love with a bunch of guitars from this period. My particular loves initially were prewar Martins for bluegrass and wartime (banner) for finger style folk and gospel. This fact is about tonality -- and not necessarily power.

 

What I discovered as I hung out in the Georgia highlands is that bluegrass players basically dismissed all Gibson as viable guitars for bluegrass. As an arrogant academic who did acoustics research, I thought maybe they were just biased and not knowledgeable -- be very careful dismissing crowd knowledge. Actually the "common knowledge" in this area turns out to be very true and very nuanced -- if a bit incomplete.

 

Late me describe an experiment I have done probably 100s of times over the years -- always with the same outcome. They say the definition of a fool is a person is does the same thing over and over and hopes for a different outcome. Well I would love to pick wartime Gibsons in bluegrass sessions. Last week I did it again. My excuse was I was selecting a couple of guitars to leave in Texas with my daughter to play in sessions when we visit. So the two guitars were a Martin 1937 00-18H (small body converted Hawaiian) and a 1943 Gibson SJ -- both in my experience wonderful guitars IMO. In the first half of the session, I used the little Martin and you could basically hear every note -- I played with both a flat pick and fingerpicks. The other musicians commented on how good it sounded and how LOUD it was. Then I brought out the SJ and I played it the same way -- and it was like I disappeared. Even with cooperative experienced musicians in the sessions who modulate to the situation, I was still buried.

 

Well that is the effect. What is going on.

 

Well what is going on is not that Gibsons won't work well in bluegrass sessions. Many of the Js from the 30s are standout guitars for bluegrass and string bands -- AJs, Jumbos, J-35s, RSRG, RSSD ... These guitars will peel paint -- they are not well known in bluegrass for two reasons. First there are not very many of them, and in addition their tonality is different enough from the old D-28s that that is also an issue. Mostly it is just that there are so many J-45s -- they are everywhere and everywhere rejected for bluegrass, largely for power/loudness issues. There have always been a minority that knows about the AJs and such -- the bone crushers -- and they deserve their reputation.

 

So what happens in 1942 that caused the power break? The short answer is I don't know. If you look inside banners -- with their scalloped braces and tone bars -- the naive observer would think they would be very loud. John Arnold -- the NC luthier -- says it is because the way the braces are tapered. I don't know, but I do know the effect is there.

 

Bye now,

 

Let's pick,

 

-Tom

 

Wonderful insight, Tom-thankyou! A very interesting read. It’s very curious about the post-‘42 change in volume and projection. If these were modern guitars, it would be fascinating to deconstruct them and explore every nuance of construction, wood composition and density, variables in bracing and neck shape etc to get to the bottom of the changes. Obviously prewar Gibsons and post-‘42 Banners etc are too precious a commodity to rip apart, but it’s a very interesting question that needs to be answered!

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Hey Tom@tpbiii, are Your Advanced Jumbos East Indian Rosewood or Brazilian?

Also, I assume that You're up on the AJ Reissues. Is the bridge and fretboard on my 2002 Brazilian? Mine is the standard EIR AJ. Also, forgive me if this has been posted before, but this 1936 picture of the Kalamazoo factory is pretty cool. I wonder how many of these acoustics are still being enjoyed? Maybe Your AJ is being built in this photo Tom.[ooattachment=23863:image.jpeg]

Edited by ajay

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Hey Tom@tpbiii, are Your Advanced Jumbos East Indian Rosewood or Brazilian?

Also, I assume that You're up on the AJ Reissues. Is the bridge and fretboard on my 2002 Brazilian? Mine is the standard EIR AJ. Also, forgive me if this has been posted before, but this 1936 picture of the Kalamazoo factory is pretty cool. I wonder how many of these acoustics are still being enjoyed? Maybe Your AJ is being built in this photo Tom.[ooattachment=23863:image.jpeg]

 

I am quite sure it is East Indian RW. Gibson RW from about 1934-1943 has a characteristic look to it. All (3) of out RW Gibsons from that period look that way. Willi Henkes -- the renowned German luthier -- had the wood tested -- it came back east Indian.

 

I am not really up on the modern AJs, although I have heard a lot of good things about them.

 

I can't see the picture -- I would like to.

 

Best,

 

-Tom

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D69A594A-D4B0-4464-8532-A44C4976CADA_zpsc1lvvy1w.jpg

 

 

I love this photo. Based on the guitars I can identify (plus things like the clothes the workmen are wearing), this would appear to be the higher-end archtop production station, maybe sometime in the late 1930's. The two hanging guitars in the middle look like 17" advanced body models. Looking at the guitars on the top left rack, you can see a couple with the picture frame inlays on the headstock that you associate with late-30's L-7 and up models.

 

Unfortunately, you can't see a logo clearly enough to date the photo that way.

 

There are a couple of necks with the narrow headstock on the lower left rack.

 

Any way you look at it, that's a great photo for some detective work. Anyone know where others from this era might be posted in high resolution?

Edited by j45nick

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Gibson, Inc., General Assembly Room, 1936. “One section of the general assembling room.” Photographed by Mamie L. Austin.

 

 

25960561065_35b34f60df_b.jpg

Edited by Dave F

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Precious pictures from the so called 'great depression'. Guess those arch-tops did raise the spirit where ever they went.

 

Who can find the then only 3 years old L-C - Century of Progress, , , and do we see female movie stars on the wall. .

Edited by E-minor7

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Who can find the then only 3 years old L-C - Century of Progress, , ,

 

Lower left guitar rack in the first picture shows the distinctive CoP headstock on what appears to be an unfinished body.

 

There's also a mandolin in one picture, but that one is a bit easier to find than the CoP.

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Lower left guitar rack in the first picture shows the distinctive CoP headstock on what appears to be an unfinished body.

 

There's also a mandolin in one picture, but that one is a bit easier to find than the CoP.

Rightos, , , and that mandolin says helo to its roots by resting just above a load of spaghetti.

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Rightos, , , and that mandolin says helo to its roots by resting just above a load of spaghetti.

 

haha..Em7 you are a great lateral thinker!What is that spaghetti??

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haha..Em7 you are a great lateral thinker!What is that spaghetti??

 

 

It's either rubber bands, or string, used to hold the body binding in place while the glue sets. Gibson still uses a variation on that process, either with tape or rubber bands, I believe.

 

You can see the bound bodies all around that work station.

 

These photos are the best thing I've seen in a long time.

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It's either rubber bands, or string, used to hold the body binding in place while the glue sets. Gibson still uses a variation on that process, either with tape or rubber bands, I believe.

 

You can see the bound bodies all around that work station.

 

These photos are the best thing I've seen in a long time.

Yes, they're on the one he works on too. Did rubber-bands exist as early as 1936 ?

 

 

haha..Em7 you are a great lateral thinker!What is that spaghetti??

Ouh thank U sir - time to look up lateral, , , is it something gastronomic. .

;-)

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Yes, they're on the one he works on too. Did rubber-bands exist as early as 1936 ?

 

 

 

Ouh thank U sir - time to look up lateral, , , is it something gastronomic. .

;-)

 

 

Think of it as something off the straight and narrow. Thinking outside the box.

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Yes, they're on the one he works on too. Did rubber-bands exist as early as 1936 ?

 

 

 

"The rubber band was patented in 1845."

 

-Wikipedia

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25865607721_74f955f7da_b.jpg

 

Thanks Dave! This is really great!

 

I wonder what those round hole guitars hanging on the top left are? Mostly this stuff looks like archtops, and Gibson did make a run of round hole L-4s in 1936.

 

Who knows -- here is ours.

 

I9x4kzB.jpg

 

Best,

 

-Tom

Edited by tpbiii

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