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Anatomy of a cheap guitar

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  • #31
    On tone woods for electric guitars: There are some interesting discussions with the guy who makes Robert Fripp's guitars on this issue (Crimson Guitars). He basically says the same thing; it is about the electronics not the wood. He believes that wood doesn't add very much if anything. The nut has a far greater impact on the sound than the body wood of an electric.

    This video from Crimson is all about this thread: Taking a cheap kit guitar and making it great.
     
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    • #32
      i believe that sustain and playability would be more important than tone wood as for my playing i saturate my signal with process to ware tone from the wood is insignificant. as for sustain i learn a neat trick, tune to pitch back off the 2 screws close to the neck 1/4 turn then the back two 1/4 turn the string tension will mate the neck and fully engage in the pocket tighten in reverse order and if you have sustain problems this will improve sustain

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      • #33
        I've always heard that maple was good for sustain, which is why Gibson uses it on the Les Paul models- and the body on a Les Paul is relatively heavy compared to the SGs and other models. I get great sustain on my Fender which has a maple neck, so not sure if the theory that the wood doesn't really matter holds true- decades of companies like Gibson and Fender can't be wrong about the types of wood they select for their electric guitars, can they?
        "All we have to do is decide what to do with the time that is given to us" - Gandalf, Lord Of The Rings

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        • #34
          Originally posted by Sonic Bodhi View Post
          I've always heard that maple was good for sustain, which is why Gibson uses it on the Les Paul models- and the body on a Les Paul is relatively heavy compared to the SGs and other models. I get great sustain on my Fender which has a maple neck, so not sure if the theory that the wood doesn't really matter holds true- decades of companies like Gibson and Fender can't be wrong about the types of wood they select for their electric guitars, can they?
          It always strikes me that those who say wood has no affect on the tone of a guitar are small time luthiers no-one has ever heard of. The big name luthiers like Sadowsky, MTD, Overwater, Status, etc. all challenge that notion. I know who I believe.
          Graham
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          • #35
            I guess this tonewood business is (like anything) down to personal preference, experience, needs etc.

            Maybe it's a bit like HiFis... I remember getting my first separates system and couldn't believe just how much better it sounded than my old all-in-one system. After a while I started reading about other components that were 'airier' or had 'better soundstaging' so tried swapping out some components. Nope, couldn't hear any improvement at all. Maybe things sounded different but markedly better? Yet plenty of people do buy these higher end components (and pricey cabling, special mains plugs etc) and enjoy them greatly so who am I to say they're wrong? I guess I think of guitars like that, if you hear better tone then great, but I can't. Yes, better sustain maybe, certainly the hardware makes a big difference but after making that jump from really cheap and nasty planks to a half decent slab of wood, I don't hear any major difference from then on (ok, 99% of my stuff is buried in effects so maybe not qualified to speak anyway... )


            Latest release: The Bonesetters Fear of the Future

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            • #36
              Can't argue with that Gary. I'm the same with MP3 and WAV music files. Some people hear a difference and cannot listen to MP3s but I don't notice any difference even though I am aware of the difference in file sizes. Subjectivity...
              Graham
              https://www.youtube.com/c/THEBassBus
              https://soundcloud.com/bassbus
              https://hearthis.at/graham-blanche-ov/

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              • #37
                I can hear a difference in some low bitrate MP3s (that splashy treble sound) but I've rarely been able to tell the difference between a 320kbps file and a WAV (but I have often admitted to having far from golden ears, don't ask me about 'character' compressors or EQs etc. all the sound the same to me... ;))
                Latest release: The Bonesetters Fear of the Future

                Hearthis | Soundcloud

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                • #38
                  wood makes a huge difference with acoustic instruments, which makes me wonder why wood type would not affect an electric guitar. Hollow body electrics and semi-hollow seem to be affected by the wood and the shape but I guess one cant tell without a lot of effort getting different electronics and hardware and testing across multiple guitar body configurations. I would think though that if the wood had no effect then the body shape and type (hollow, semi-hollow) should also have little effect
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                  • #39
                    Anyway...

                    Got some time to attack the resin/whatever today. Removed a lot of it with an electric sander, down to the bare wood.

                    Now, the reason for the 'bubbles' is revealed, It's actually a dodgy wood veneer. One area felt really strange as I sanded the resin. Once removed there was a torn/jagged bit of veneer raised from the body. I sanded it down but now have a patch of bare alder peeking through an irregular shaped hole. So I guess I'll have to keep sanding till the veneers gone too. Or else if it's solid elsewhere then think of something creative that will camouflage the hole (just above the bridge pickup so, yeah, rather noticeable )

                    So the big question remains, why is there a layer of crappy veneer under the resin, under the paintwork? Maybe a job lot of veneered bodies and the crappy ones were sealed and painted instead?

                    Latest release: The Bonesetters Fear of the Future

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by Sonic Bodhi View Post
                      I've always heard that maple was good for sustain, which is why Gibson uses it on the Les Paul models- and the body on a Les Paul is relatively heavy compared to the SGs and other models. I get great sustain on my Fender which has a maple neck, so not sure if the theory that the wood doesn't really matter holds true- decades of companies like Gibson and Fender can't be wrong about the types of wood they select for their electric guitars, can they?
                      I don't think anyone is putting forth a theory saying wood has no effect; just that the degree of difference in tone coming from the body wood for some of us is less than integral due to the processing or playing we are doing. I have no doubt someone at the level of an Eric Clapton would justifiably consider wood type a very important aspect of the guitar.

                      In my work and craft level, you are not going to hear a difference in a piece because of the body's wood type. A stack of 3 delays, 2 reverbs, and a phase shifter coming off a cassette tape recording ought to squash any quality wood type might have imparted.

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                      • #41
                        aoVI You know, I've actually seen guitars that people have made themselves, and one guy made an electric guitar out of a shovel handle- and it sounded great! I've also seen custom made guitars made completely from metal that also sounded great. I'm a bit of old-school, started out on acoustic guitars where wood tone means practically everything when playing, and I grew up listening to the 'masters' playing anything from a Les Paul Custom, to a Paul Reed Smith, to a Fender Strat or an SG. I'm not discounting the fact that you can get sustain with processing the sound, goodness knows, I use this principle with the Roland GR-20 guitar synth I bought years ago and installed the GK-3 pickup on my Fender Strat. I get pretty incredible sustain on some of the voices in that thing, and have only recently 're-discovered' it as an aid to my recording process. If you think about it, you can get a musical sound out of almost any item that one normally wouldn't consider part of the process of making music, and that's what ambient is all about, right? So, I didn't mean to imply that wood tone in a guitar was all-important or that it was the only thing to consider- sorry if it sounded that way! You know, I did have an Ovation Matrix once upon a time, when guitar companies first started making guitar bodies out of carbonite, and that thing had a neck you could stand on- because the fingerboard is all metal. And the guitar sounded great, and tuned great! I'm almost kicking myself now that I donated that guitar to a church- but I've had a lot of different guitars, both electric and acoustic, at one time or another, and it's really all about the sound you get out of it- do you love the sound it makes, or do you hate it and want to bash the guitar to pieces because it's so crappy? (I've actually done that once or twice! Bwahahahahahaha!!)
                        "All we have to do is decide what to do with the time that is given to us" - Gandalf, Lord Of The Rings

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                        • #42
                          Something I learnt today: Removing veneer with a water spray and a heat gun doesn't work for me, I think the internet lied to me. The wood gets wet then dries, rather quickly funnily enough, but stays resolutely attached to the guitar body. Back to sanding...
                          Latest release: The Bonesetters Fear of the Future

                          Hearthis | Soundcloud

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                          • #43
                            Secure the guitar to the floor then get one of these.

                            Done in 5 minutes.

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                            • #44
                              Haha! aoVI

                              My son hired one of those beasts a couple of years ago for sanding down his floor boards. Bit of a handful to say the least
                              https://soundcloud.com/synkrotron

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                              • #45
                                @aovi: does that remove all the non-ambient notes stuck in the guitar finish? You know those can come loose at the most inappropriate times...
                                Home Page: http://www.syntheticaurality.com/
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