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Adirondack/Sitka


TWilson

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First of all, is red spruce another name for Adirondack? (sp?) The real question I want the anwer to is, if you had two identical guitars but one was Adi/rosewood and the other was Sitka/rosewood, what would the difference in sound be like? I'm sure someone on this forum has an Adi/RW AJ. (Yes, TWilson is coming out of his inert state and his little pea brain has now been thinking about how he can aquire BOTH of the guitars of his GAS!!! Ah-ha-ha-ha-ha!!!!) < (mad laughter!) Thank you and I'll take your answers off the air.

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my roy smeck is an adi/rw combo. my OJ is an adi/hog combo. while it's apples and oranges, as the smeck is a 12 fret, they are very different in sustain and volume. the smeck blows everything else i own away. i really believe it's because of it being a 12 fret jumbo more than anything. still, there's something about red spruce that appeals to me. can't explain, so i'll go to my dock now. see "altered states" thread for reason.

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I've owned both (now just adi/rw) and feel the sitka tops do not have the cut and bite of adi. Not better or worse, just to my ears adi is punchier while sitka sounds a tad more "mellow", and maybe kinda bassier. I gave up on sitka/rw dreads because I always wanted to hear more treble and balance but since picking up a Bourgeois adi/rw dread my faith in rw dreads has been restored. My bandmate plays a Martin D-28 Marquis (same woods) and I think his guitar is fantastic too.

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TW--Adi=Red spruce, yes. It is stiffer than sitka (way stiffer than Engleman), and gives up a strong fundamental, with fewer overtones as sitka. Think fat and punchy but kind of dry (it has a longer break in period). Ive played some adi D18ges, which were punchier and fatter than sitka D18vs Ive tried. Bluegrass guys love em for that, but also fingerpickers like Frank Fotusky. Its not for everyone tho; rockers, folkies and new agers all may well prefer sitka for its its ringing jingle jangle. I think it also takes a stronger attack to get more out of it (if you have really a lite touch, consider Engleman).

 

Dana Bourgeois has an article on all of this on his web page. www.pantheonguitars.com/

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Dana likes adi (& so do I), but holy grail? That depends. The very qualities which make adi revered to bluegrassers and bluesmen may not serve a new age picker looking for gentle breathy response or a rocker looking for SUSTAIN. That said, Ive played 2 adi J35s that were great and the best D18 I ever played was an adi D18ge. JK

 

ps another analogy (lol): adi vs sitka is like a dry bassman or hiwatt amp vs a super reverb.

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I like the look of the Sitka, very tight grain.....the adi has a wider spacing in the grain, probably adding to the richness of the sound. This may be a moot point, as Adi AND Sitka are rapidly dissappearing and take several hundred years to replace....look for different tone wood tops in the near future. I have had two guitars with European spruce tops, and boy did they SMELL good. Adding yet another sense to be stimulated by the humble guitar....lol

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TW. Which one depends on your music, but here's what you can expect The long scale AJ is a proper vintage copy which gets you big bass, clear note separation, and top end cut (downside: raw chord sound). The short scale versions are essentially custom J45TVs. which get you smooth blend, sweet top, and thumpy bass. The maple is interesting. The slope J box should smooth out the trebles and enhance the bass, just what maple needs. Have you hear Russ Barrenbergs new cd? His main axe on it is a 40's maple J45 (you can see him play it on ytube or the woodsongs radio hour archive.

 

As for the rose and koa, you'll hear a lot of advocates for them on this board but Im dont happen to be a fan either. RW sacrifices treble cut and the koas Ive tried didnt jump out at me (neither rw spank or hog sparkle). Me, Id get a hog. Just funny that way.

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First of all' date=' is red spruce another name for Adirondack? (sp?) The real question I want the anwer to is, if you had two identical guitars but one was Adi/rosewood and the other was Sitka/rosewood, what would the difference in sound be like? I'm sure someone on this forum has an Adi/RW AJ. (Yes, TWilson is coming out of his inert state and his little pea brain has now been thinking about how he can aquire BOTH of the guitars of his GAS!!! Ah-ha-ha-ha-ha!!!!) < (mad laughter!) Thank you and I'll take your answers off the air.[/quote']

 

I think this is splittin' split hairs. The way I understand it "Adirondack" spruce is not a

variety of spruce but spruce harvested from the Adirondacks. While Sitka spruce is

a recognized variety like Englemann, it would take a DNA test to tell the difference.

Any other discernable tone differences has to come from design and assembly variations.

 

Just my 2¢ worth.

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jkinnema- Isn't the long scale sitka and rosewood the first AJ that Gibson made in 1936? I REALLY liked the one I played at GC that started my head spinning! The maple one really sounds interesting to me but I've never even strummed a chord on one. The koa is beautiful but I've not even heard one of those played. So far, I think the Adi/rosewood is hanging onto the lead on this one. What to do, what to do. Thanks y'all!!

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That's right! Like I said' date=' the others ones are custom jobs and a different sound. What kind of sound are you after? [/quote']

 

I'm really poor at describing sounds. I really liked the RW AJ as the sound really jumped out of the thing when fingerpicked. It seemed pretty balanced when strummed, lots of bass but didn't really overpower the mids and trebles. They were ALL loud! I felt that I could control that with the way I held the pick and strummed. The canon term I've read about is not an exaggeration. I wasn't sure if that would be lost with other tone woods such as maple and koa. Since I fingerpick about 90% of the time, I guess I really liked the fact that the volume was there without having to really dig the ol' flesh into the strings very hard. But, I did love the sound when strummed also. I'm not a flat picker or lead-type player so I didn't really experiment in that regard.

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Hey, TW. Balance, clarity, note separation --that's the ticket for fingerstyle, and sounds like the std Aj has it for you. I dont think rw would work for you in the short scale version-- your going to loose some of that clarity and separation, get darker overtones. Thick milk chocolate malt vs AJs choco soda. Koa/maple will give back clarity and top end, sacrifice a little in the bass. Kind of like your J45, but less sparkle, more of a clear quick ching. The only other thing I can think to add, are you comfortable with your right hand attack on the AJ (long scale= string tension)? And slightly wider reaches on your left. J

 

*ps you can do some sampling on ytube. Check Roy Book Binder playing an AJ on C Rag, Ernie Hawkins (J45 on slow blues in A, mpl J200 on Spoonful), Woody Mann (s/s mple j185 on Black Dog Blues and Frank Fotusky (Big Kahuna clip) on adi top hog j35 (which I got to play at a workshop with Frank last summer). No Gibby koas, lotta Taylors.

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Thanks a lot jkinnama, great information. And, yes, I'm comfortable with the standard neck. My J-45 is the first short scale I've played. Spent over 30 years with the standard. I'll give those tunes a listen. Sounds like RW is the wood for me. How about with an Adi/red spruce top to go with it?!!

PS-I like your avatar.

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