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Which can be more easily "worked around": a guitar lacking bass or treble?


Guest WiseAxe

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Guest WiseAxe

The polite exchange between Emin7 & Alex on the Guitar Evaluation thread got me to thinking of my own experiences. The main thing that struck me about the first Martin I played (& subsequently took home) echoed the observations of Emin7 on how balance is not an end all/be all wrt guitar selection. The sheer balance of the Wooden Boxes of Nazareth (Pennsylvania): the eq seemed to be set evenly across the sonic spectrum. So very much in keeping with the quintessentially perfect Martin sound.

 

Personally, I'd rather have a guitar that was strong down below; highs can always be strengthened by string selection, playing closer to the bridge, grabbing a pick (lighter, w/less grip), etc. What sound would you prefer to start out strong?

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First I think that you should establish how the guitar is going to be played: strummed, flatpicked, fingerpicked or some combination of those mentioned. Different styles often dictate different needs/preferences.

 

I'm primarily a fingerpicker and I can live with varying degrees of bass as long as the bass that is there is articulate. However, I tend to stay away from guitars lacking in mids or trebles.

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First I think that you should establish how the guitar is going to be played: strummed, flatpicked, fingerpicked or some combination of those mentioned. Different styles often dictate different needs/preferences. ....

 

+1

 

 

Lacking bass or treble work around - For me that would depend on what I intended to use the guitar for - including music genre, strummer, flatpick, fingerpick.

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If I had to choose, I'd choose less treble. For my own style of playing I'd want to be sure I could establish some kind of bass line for my picking to revolve around. As already mentioned, there are some ways to at least enhance the treble. Playing farther up the neck might also help some. Naturally, a well-balance guitar is what will work best for our individual styles and techniques. Likewise, as already mentioned, the music itself plays a role in this....Interesting question..............Come to think of it, my $59 Rogue whatever-it-is-and-bad-weather-guitar is not a really well-balanced guitar. Poor bass acoustically, but pretty decent med and highs. Unplugged it's hard to get the bass heard. If it's not there it's not there. I'll play the strings harder, maybe do some hard harmmer-ons. Plugged-in I can at least turn the bass up to compensate.

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The polite exchange between Emin7 & Alex on the Guitar Evaluation thread got me to thinking of my own experiences. The main thing that struck me about the first Martin I played (& subsequently took home) echoed the observations of Emin7 on how balance is not an end all/be all wrt guitar selection. The sheer balance of the Wooden Boxes of Nazareth (Pennsylvania): the eq seemed to be set evenly across the sonic spectrum. So very much in keeping with the quintessentially perfect Martin sound.

 

Personally, I'd rather have a guitar that was strong down below; highs can always be strengthened by string selection, playing closer to the bridge, grabbing a pick (lighter, w/less grip), etc. What sound would you prefer to start out strong?

 

Personally I avoid a guitar that lacks bass, mids or treble, at least from sheer volume, of course every guitar has a different tone and a different response that might be adjusted by the right set of strings (PB if you want more bass response, 80/20 is you're looking for more highs), but if a guitar is seriously flawed there's nothing you can do about it.

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I play with my fingers and tend to pluck the strings rather than strum them. Bass, I like it to thump. Mids I want full on. Highs - I ain't a fan of bright upper ends but look for a fat sound.

 

No matter what the voice of a guitar though, you can often coax a sound out of it that suits ya. Not only string selection and choice of picks but playing closer to the bridge will give you a brighter, sharper sound. Playing around the soundhole and closer to the end of the fingerboard gives ya a rounder more mellow sound. Varying what part of your fingers you play with comes into play. Using your fingernails or the edge of your thumb where the flesh meets the nail gives you a very different sound than say using the side of your thumb down by the joint.

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First I think that you should establish how the guitar is going to be played: strummed, flatpicked, fingerpicked or some combination of those mentioned. Different styles often dictate different needs/preferences.

 

Good one, Guth. For ex, a big Bass end is essential for bluegrass but a potential annoyance for blues.

 

Interestingly, I dont often hear Martins as "balanced" so much as "clearly separated" (distinct bass, distinct treble, scooped mids), This work great for 'music first' pickers but as a singer, I don't like it much at all, which is why my 000 stays in its case most days.

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I like a little thump in my guitars too......I can always palm mute the bass to quiet it down....BUT if we are just talking generally, you can always mix and match strings, there are even some light sets that have heavier bass strings. You could also mix brass with PB until you find the right balance. There are a lot of guitars out there where you can see different mixes of bridge pins, of different mass and material, which is another way to control or balance the sounds of individual strings and chording....your guitar is your labratory!!! After reading an article by Jackson Browne, I de-tuned my Harmony Sovereign to standard "D" tuning (down 2 steps) and the thing sounds amazing. I've tried this on other guitars and they sound like crap, but it worked for the HARMONY....SO, MIX AND MATCH...SEE WHAT YOU GET!!! Technique is VERY important for the "sound", also whether you use nails, picks, finger picks (many materials here) yet another factor

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Back to the topic, its probably easier to get a country blues out of a big guitar (I'm thinking of Skip James playing a D28, Brownie McGee's D18 or Rev. Gary's J200) than a bluegrasser drive a stringband with an LG1. So, the bass.

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Definitely give me the lows. My decision was made by picking up a tenor. Immediately couldn't find the bass I needed/wanted.

 

someone said they have a 000 sleeping in it's case. never owned one, but....are you keepin' it ?

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Back to the topic, its probably easier to get a country blues out of a big guitar (I'm thinking of Skip James playing a D28, Brownie McGee's D18 or Rev. Gary's J200) than a bluegrasser drive a stringband with an LG1. So, the bass.

 

Not sure if it is easier or not but no acoustic guitar, other than a National, is more associated with the blues than the smaller body Oscar Schmidt-made concerts.

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