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Old 12-03-2017, 12:12 PM
Enchilada Jones Enchilada Jones is offline
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Default Is there an 'inherent' carbon fiber sound?

Where (many people say) most Martins have that 'Martin sound'...'Taylors have their top end thing' etc etc. Is there a carbon fiber sound characteristic?

I ask because from video demos I think I'm noticing something but not sure if it simply my own imagination (I've never played one) or is there a sort of crisp attack/projection that is noticeable in the upper mid range? I like what I think I'm hearing but am I really hearing anything unique to the species?
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Old 12-03-2017, 02:02 PM
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Ted can probably answer this better than most of us since he is a dealer for several brands and gets to try out various models. I can say that my new Rainsong sounds very close to a wooden guitar. I was surprised at how close it comes. It has a very pleasing tone.
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Old 12-03-2017, 02:27 PM
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I think they are perhapse slightly clearer and brighter.

Here is a sample I did with 3 guitars, 2 Larrivee OMs (one RW, one Mahogany), and my Rainsong Shorty.

https://soundcloud.com/rocket_song/3...-sound-samples

All are strung with Phosphor Bronze strings, though different brands and ages.
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Last edited by AZLiberty; 12-03-2017 at 07:51 PM.
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Old 12-03-2017, 06:35 PM
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"Is there an 'inherent' carbon fiber sound?"
No.
Exotic material manufacturers use various and different grades, thicknesses, resins, and processes.
http://www.fibreglast.com/category/Carbon_Fiber
Every component has different acoustic properties due to velocity, impedance, and volumetric modulus.
imo
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Last edited by Song; 12-03-2017 at 08:57 PM. Reason: clarification
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Old 12-03-2017, 06:52 PM
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Apparently inherently not... though RainSongs may have been know for a pianoy sound or maybe shimmering bright sound...or something like that back in the day. And CAs were know as more woody I guess.
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Old 12-03-2017, 09:29 PM
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There is a pretty good variety of tones available from each manufacturer, and body shape, style of play, and strings are always variables. Rainsongs are pretty unique, since they don't use any bracing in their guitars, so they tend to be especially bright and clean sounding. There are certainly a ton of decent Youtube videos to compare out there, including CF guitars from different mfgs back-to-back. I feel like there might be a general brightness overall in CF, sort of an extended airy high-frequency tone that isn't found in most wooden guitars.
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Old 12-03-2017, 11:26 PM
steelvibe steelvibe is offline
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Hopefully this can add to the discussion. Some words from RainSong founder John Decker

https://www.aps.org/publications/aps...612/decker.cfm
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Old 12-04-2017, 12:06 AM
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Wood as a material has certain inherent strength, stiffness, and damping characteristics. CF has less natural damping, so vibrations want to "ring" on longer. Various CF builders do different things to achieve a similar - but not quite exact - mix of properties.

To my ear, the eKoa linen composite that Blackbird uses sounds the most like wood, and they use top bracing to tweak the vibration / tone as desired.
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Old 12-04-2017, 01:48 AM
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I don't think so for CF, but within each make I do. Rainsongs has an inherent sound across all models, same with Emeralds and CAs, even though the models withing each make can vary quite a bit. Though I'm a fan of Blackbirds, I haven't played across enough of their models to have a solid opinion on the "Blackbird sound".
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Old 12-05-2017, 12:48 PM
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As a builder of CF guitars I can say of course they do. Spruce sounds different than cedar, which is different than a mahogany top. CF imparts its own sound.

A good sound. A sound I like. I don’t build CF because you can paddle a canoe with it. In fact, I DONT make the neck out of CF because I don’t like the feel and sound. So no playing them an the Mekong during the monsoon season. I build with a CF sound board BECAUSE of what that does to the tone.
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Old 12-05-2017, 03:18 PM
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Not in my experience, because the materials and construction processes vary so much. Emerald guitars are build so differently from Rainsongs, and they sound completely different because of it.

I would say, in general, they tend to have a faster/clearer attack than wood guitars. But, other than that, I haven't noticed many characteristics that apply across the board.
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Old 12-05-2017, 08:18 PM
AcouStickistNS AcouStickistNS is offline
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My Emerald is not my only carbon instrument, I have a four string Zon Bass and one of the last Graphite Grand Chapman Sticks that Emmett made from 2007. I had asked basically the same question about what I was hearing with the Stick and asked a Pro about this, he told me the Graphite Stick I have a holds on to higher frequencies longer than wooden ones do. Somewhat gives the illusion that the material is boosting the highs and upper mids, but instead the wooden Stick’s frequencies decay much quicker. With a 36” scale length I get a better feel for what carbon does vs comparing various acoustic guitars. Plus we tend to use amplification common to acoustic guitars for a bit of common ground linking me to acoustics. I’ve also noticed this with my bass, so overall to me the “sound of carbon” is a longer decay of the highs and upper mids, regardless of what the instrument is.
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Old 12-06-2017, 04:51 AM
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Good stuff to read here... liking it.
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Old 12-07-2017, 08:29 AM
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I have a Blackbird Rider steel string guitar and when I purchased it I made an effort to play all the CF offerings available from Blackbird. My totally subjective opinion is that that they do have a unique sound. Hard to describe other than the sustain seems longer, but I'll try. Bass is very present and lively. Trebles are shimmery and clear. There's almost a disembodied quality, as if the sound is not coming so much from the sound hole, but projecting from the entire instrument. This may be unique to Blackbird guitars since the neck is hollow and has it's own little sound hole at the headstock... I find it very beautiful and a little spooky perhaps, but anyway different from my wood instruments.
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Old 12-07-2017, 10:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoneDigger View Post
Ted can probably answer this better than most of us since he is a dealer for several brands and gets to try out various models. I can say that my new Rainsong sounds very close to a wooden guitar. I was surprised at how close it comes. It has a very pleasing tone.
Thanks, Todd, and yes, I have played them all as well as hundreds of different wood guitars over the years, and the answer is of course it does. Just like Spruce, Mahogany, Cedar and other tone woods, CF has inherent tonal characteristics, as does unidirectional CF, and Rainsongs Hybrid material. And while these characteristics can be tweaked, and colored by a builder, the base material will always retain it's inherent tonal qualities, regardless if it's Spruce, Cedar, or CF.

In the carbon guitar world no one is more serious about tone than Joe Luttwak of Blackbird guitars, in his quest for "tonal perfection", he has been tweaking carbon fiber for over a decade, recently moving to new material, Ekoa in his search, which of course also has an inherent tone.

I'll be discussing this further with the builders and post in our blog in the coming weeks
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