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I need some volume!!!


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Hi,

I play in a 4 pc string band, called Buckshot.  We are based on Bainbridge Island, in Washington State.  Prior to the pandemic we’d been playing quite a bit - and it turns out that busking is actually pretty dang profitable for us.  Problem is, my J45 just doesn’t cut through everyone.  Nor does my D28.  I have an L-00 that can get pretty loud, and has the fuller tones on the high notes that I like, but the low end is lacking.  It’s amazing for recording.  I gave my Advanced Jumbo to my brother, because he really needed a nice guitar - and that one was actually a canon - it was loud and had everything I wanted.  I thought a J45 might offer a similar tone, but sadly I’m left without the volume I need.  
 

Does anyone have a recommendation for a nice guitar that can give me thicker highs, decent lows, and some punch (besides an Advanced Jumbo which is hard to find, and I found quite big swings in sound from model to model when I was trying them)?

I’m wondering about a 000-17 Martin, or maybe an LG2?

Thanks in advance for your advice!

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When is the 45 from ? Mine from 10 is remarkable louder than my pal's from 03-05-something. . 
Let the 28 go for a HD-28 or even a HD-28V.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 And use medium or heavy gauge ! , , , 13/14s. 

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52 minutes ago, E-minor7 said:

When is the 45 from ? Mine from 10 is remarkable louder than my pal's from 03-05-something. . 
Let the 28 go for a HD-28 or even a HD-28V.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 And use medium or heavy gauge ! , , , 13/14s. 

My 45 is from 2019.  It sounds killer - super round and lovey.  Just doesn’t have projection on the higher (treble) strings.  They just get sucked back in. 
 

My D28 is from 2008 and is essentially an HD28, it’s a custom with an Adirondack top from Dusty Strings.  It’s closer, but I think most dreads just don’t have the volume on the high end.  
 

 

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10 minutes ago, johnnybregar said:

My 45 is from 2019.  It sounds killer - super round and lovey.  Just doesn’t have projection on the higher (treble) strings.  They just get sucked back in. 
My D28 is from 2008 and is essentially an HD28, it’s a custom with an Adirondack top from Dusty Strings.  It’s closer, but I think most dreads just don’t have the volume on the high end.  

I can see the 45 disappearing in the blend, but if the 28 is drowned you are in trouble. They were made to speak up.                                                                                                                                                                                                     Maybe try switching to banjo or, , , , , , ,   ,     ,        ,         ,           ,   on a more perhaps also too serious note think Acoustic Gibson Firebird Custom.             

                                                                                                                                 That is of course if you don't wanna join the artillery and get behind an AJ.                                                                                    

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Martin D-18

find an Authentic if you can. Loudest guitar I ever owned, had to let it go it was such a tiger.  Or, you can try and buy Hogeye’s banner J-45 it is seriously loud when played with a pick, easily rival to the D18 Authentic that I had, and is loaded with Mojo. 

Edited by duluthdan
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If you can find a J60, they’re immense things. Really dynamic and powerful. I have a maple AJ which is the loudest guitar I’ve ever played...it’s astonishing loud and aggressive if you hit it hard, but can be a *****cat if played gently. Glorious instrument. 
 

I had a D18 Golden Era prototype for a while with Adi top, which was a very loud instrument. Not sweet, almost cold and strident. Easy to admire but hard to handle. It was difficult to record because the dynamic peaks were so hard to tame in the studio. You can hear it on this track with some pretty effective compression from an old Drawmer unit...the guitar part was only put down as a guide and was never intended to be kept-the playing is scrappy at best-but my chum who produced the album insisted we keep it!

 

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Normally I would make some crack like add a soundhole pickup and snag a Pignose amp. 

The loudest guitar I have ever made the acquaintance of is a friend's 1980s Guild D55.  He was always trying to come up with ways to  calm that rambunctious creature down. 

Gibsons though have never been known to be "loud" guitars.   At least the old ones.   When I know I am going to need to cut through I tend  to bring along either my old Harmony H40 which has a Gibson P13 pickup mounted beneath the fingerboard extension or if I do not want to plug in my NYC-made Epi FT-79.  Reason is it has an arched back which pushes a bit more air and gives it a louder voice.   In terms of Gibsons while I do not know what reissues there have been the guitar that would be the most similar would be a Gospel. 

 

Edited by zombywoof
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59 minutes ago, Brucebubs said:

Martin D-35's have a reputation for being loud guitars.

Absolutely! As a friend of mine once remarked about a D35 “that couldn’t be any more loud’n’bassy if it was the illegitimate lovechild of Count Basie and Loudon Wainwright III!”

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Until a new guitar is procured.....    perhaps give a set of hybrid strings on. Kind of the opposite of Blue Grass gauges. Like 13-17-25-32-42-54.  The reaspn I mention it is because they will push the bottom part of the thin strings' tone. It makes the high end notes a little thicker. Kind of like when mixing when trying to make an instrument poke up in the 1kHz-3.2kHz in a song where it can get cluttered. Instead of boosting it up there or cutting another instrument, you can push it up from the bottom and the higher notes sort of sits on it a bit. Changes it's front to back position a bit and you can hear the whole thing better. That, and slightly glassy sounding picks like an Ultex 1.14mm or something.

Sorry I'm no real help with live stuff or widely versed in all the different makes for your specific question. Good luck with that.

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I had an AJ Walnut that I thought was a cannon. I did a decibel test from across the room with the guitar compared to others I had and could not notice any measurable difference. It seems higher action strings and stronger attack is the key that I notice with a lot of Bluegrass players. I'd like to hear Tom B's take on it.

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I run an acoustic jam (during non-pandemic times) and I have found it is not necessarily volume that allows a guitar to cut through other instruments, but rather the guitar’s EQ.   For example if there are a number of flattop acoustic guitars, an acoustic arch top guitar with its different EQ can usually readily cuts through the flattops because of its different EQ.    Likewise, some acoustic flattops because of their construction or the woods they use cut readily cut through other guitars, again because of their EQ.  Volume can certainly be a cut through factor, but it’s not always volume.  Plus, some guitars have a lot of volume when strummed, but, individual strings played for lead may not have an EQ that cuts through the volume of other guitars being strummed.    On leads a single string EQ that is more trebly or solely focused midrange will generally cut through better than than a bassy or boomy single string EQ.   I’ve also found that a thick pick used on a guitar will help a guitar cut through better than a flexible pick, because it improves the acoustic attack gain.  Sometimes even a smaller guitar with a different EQ than  a bunch of larger guitars can help a guitar cut through on a lead, though not necessarily when strumming it due to its lower volume.   When it comes to bluegrass playing, Martins do seem to be have cut through capability over others because of their focused EQ, but carefully choosing a complementary EQ non-Martin guitar and using a thick pick will usually work just fine.   Medium gauge strings rather than light gauge strings also help.

Just my experience.

QM aka “Jazzman” Jeff

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9 hours ago, E-minor7 said:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

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47 minutes ago, johnnybregar said:
10 hours ago, E-minor7 said:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

This comment needs volume. . 

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No on both the 000-17 and LG-2.  I have experienced both.

I would say D28… the new redesigned ones that are now forward shifted and still straight braced. Expensive to busk though?

If you get a chance look for video clips of Brothers Moving. Hog tops. Break up less…

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Well this is an area I have thought about a lot -- and as arguably a 50 year  acoustic string band musician (mostly bluegrass now, but historically folk revival, old time and traditional mountain styles) and vintage guitar collector, I currently own quite a few iconic power flat tops. 

As a matter of personal choice, my late wife and I avoid all forms of electrified instruments except when forced by circumstance.  I own several banner, late 40s and early 50s J-45s and SJs, and as much as I love them for folk, gospel, blues and ragtime, none of them IME have the kick to adequately perform in a strong traditional string band.

I actually love a few old Gibsons for this role, but they are rare -- mostly I historically used old herringbones (D-28) ad for lighter sessions old D-18s for this role.  The four Gibsons  I have are a 36 AJ, 35 RSRG, 43 SI RW (rare) and my latest 40 J-55 RW (super rare).  I talk about this on my blog -- https://vintageacousticinsruments.blogspot.com/2015/12/1934-1943-rosewood-gibson-j-guitars-for.html?fbclid=IwAR3SFYnvToVEolsw47OvLbLrsW1Ctnyio6PbSeOK7nkPWGlN86-MNvYuE70

Best,

-Tom

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3 minutes ago, johnnybregar said:

I tried, but I guess my iPhone is too quiet.  Maybe an iPad would be louder?  

I can't figure out how to delete it either....

Don't - it's funny - 'ave a nice weekend. I'll personally play 2 vintage Gibsons tonite : A 1963 Southern Jumbo and a 1965 Country Western will go on tape. 

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1 hour ago, tpbiii said:

Well this is an area I have thought about a lot -- and as arguably a 50 year  acoustic string band musician (mostly bluegrass now, but historically folk revival, old time and traditional mountain styles) and vintage guitar collector, I currently own quite a few iconic power flat tops. 

As a matter of personal choice, my late wife and I avoid all forms of electrified instruments except when forced by circumstance.  I own several banner, late 40s and early 50s J-45s and SJs, and as much as I love them for folk, gospel, blues and ragtime, none of them IME have the kick to adequately perform in a strong traditional string band.

I actually love a few old Gibsons for this role, but they are rare -- mostly I historically used old herringbones (D-28) ad for lighter sessions old D-18s for this role.  The four Gibsons  I have are a 36 AJ, 35 RSRG, 43 SI RW (rare) and my latest 40 J-55 RW (super rare).  I talk about this on my blog -- https://vintageacousticinsruments.blogspot.com/2015/12/1934-1943-rosewood-gibson-j-guitars-for.html?fbclid=IwAR3SFYnvToVEolsw47OvLbLrsW1Ctnyio6PbSeOK7nkPWGlN86-MNvYuE70

Best,

-Tom

These are beautiful guitars.  I wish I had just one sweet vintage dread...  I do own an early 60's B-25, which is so lovely and round sounding - one of the best of this model I've ever heard - but the neck is super narrow at the nut, so it's a little hard to play live.  And it's not a loud guitar.  But it records like a dream.

Yesterday, I strung up my J-45 with mediums on the bottom B and E strings.  I have to confess that I've been running lights lately, because I like the woody overtones I get with them.  But I do agree that perhaps if I really want the J-45 to get as loud as it can, it really needs a full set of mediums.  I don't mind the string tension, or playing them - I just like the tone with the lights.  But perhaps for our string band, I just need to forgo a little subtle tone, and just let it rip with mediums to get the volume I need.

I should say that the J-45 and my D-28 are both quite sufficient in the lows and mids - they totally do the trick.  It's just when I want the high end to be heard that I need extra help.  If I could switch to my L-00 instantaneously during a solo section, it would be perfect.....

Imma try some mediums.  But since I live in the middle of nowhere, I'll need to order them.

 

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3 minutes ago, E-minor7 said:

Don't - it's funny - 'ave a nice weekend. I'll personally play 2 vintage Gibsons tonite : A 1963 Southern Jumbo and a 1965 Country Western will go on tape. 

I'd love to hear those - I'm seriously considering selling a few higher end guitars to get into a vintage J50, SJ, AJ or something like them.  I've been craving that old thick, dusty tone for years....

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