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Old 04-11-2008, 01:15 AM
flouris flouris is offline
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Default The exact opposite of a "bright" sound?

I'm new here and really glad to have found this place. I've tried searching the forums for the last half hour but have found no threads relating to my question so I figured I'd ask here.

I've been playing guitar for around 14 years now and over time have started to really seek out a guitar that sounds great to me. The biggest problem I've had with all of my acoustic guitars (all have been Dreadnaughts) is that they sound absolutely way too "bright". This is further made an annoyance by the fact the 2 high (non wound) strings are so twangy and don't blend in with the sound of the lower 4.

I want something with a warm and mellow sound (I mostly finger pick, slow.. mellow, lazy, narcotic sounding acoustic stuff) and Dreadnaughts have proven to be a massive letdown for this. At least the Dreadnaughts I've used. Someone recommended nylon strings but is that really the solution? Or even a classical guitar? I admit I do love fat necks with lots of room to dance around on.

I've been looking at Seagull guitars and they look great except for one thing, all reviews suggest the bass response on them is virtually nonexistent. I love a bassy low end.. and it seems if you want a warm, bassy end sound you also have to deal with an ear piercing twang on the high end. Blick.

Is this a guitar issue or a string issue? Perhaps the twang of the two high end strings are muted down in production with most folk albums and that is why the perfect guitar sound seems to only exist in my music collection? hah..

So, in a nutshell: Could any of you recommend a guitar (of any size or style) that sounds warm, mellow, somewhat bassy, and sounds like nothing that could be described as "bright". Also, something that is a bit forgiving on my wallet.

Sorry for how long winded this is, I just wanted to be precise in case any of you knew of some recommendations. I'm all ears here.

Thanks
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Old 04-11-2008, 01:24 AM
A.Dingle A.Dingle is offline
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Something with a cedar top and rosewood back and sides should be dark, bassy and mellow.

Strings make a huge difference, silk and steel are very mellow. I'm sure there will be other people here who can advise you better on string type.
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Old 04-11-2008, 01:25 AM
vti814ce vti814ce is offline
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Hi flouris,
Welcome to the AGF! You can learn a lot here, stick around!

I dont know, but it sounds to me that you might be playing behind the soundhole near the bridge where the strings attach. This will produce a "Twangy" sound especially from the B and high E strings as you have noticed. Try strumming directly over the sound hole, that will alleviate the Tinny bright twangy sound you detest. Also try different strings, some brands are certainly going to be brighter than others. Im not sure what your using now but with most modern dreads even the laminates you should be able to get a nice "warm" tone out of your guitar. What are you working with??

I bet you will get a ton of suggestions, for me, Its bedtime!
Take care,

Sammy
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Old 04-11-2008, 01:43 AM
flouris flouris is offline
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I strum over the soundhole and actually tend to edge towards the start of the neck to get a sound with more depth.

Right now I am playing on an Alvarez RD8 but in the past have used a Joshua (obscure brand as far as I can tell), an Epiphone Dove (now that was a bright guitar), a Washburn whose name/model escapes me at the time, and countless others. Never a Taylor or Martin though.. sadly. I use mostly D'addario or Martin strings and haven't ventured outside of those much. Any suggestions for good strings? A. Dingle suggests "silk and steel" strings.. are those Martin or GHS? Or both?

Basically I've spent most of my life traveling nonstop between the States and Europe, both western and eastern. I've always been on the move and have gone through tons of guitars, mostly cheapos that I pick up in small obscure shops and keep with me until for whatever reason I have to get rid of it or leave it at an airport or train station. Well now I finally have some time to "invest" in a decent guitar (though hopefully under 1k) and wanted to try my best to find something that had a sound I love. I can't say I've ever played a guitar whose sound knocked the wind out of me.. and that is what I want.

Are Epiphone Masterbilt series guitars pretty good? I rarely see a bad word about them. And is the hope of drawing out a bassy tone from a Seagull just a pipedream of mine? Everything about that brand seems ideal on paper except the lack of bass.

Thanks for the quick responses.
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Old 04-11-2008, 01:57 AM
Buck62 Buck62 is offline
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On the contrary to the suggestion of a rosewood back and sides, try an old Yamaha dreadnaught (FG series) with a spruce top and a mahogany back and sides for a smooth, deep bassy tone that won't overwhelm you on the high end. Most old Yamaha's are relatively cheap and sustain for days with a pleasant rich and mellow tone. Cedar topped guitars will also get you a mellow sound. Just stay away from maple, it's one of the brighter tonewoods.
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Old 04-11-2008, 02:23 AM
park_bench park_bench is offline
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I like those Yamaha FG's a lot. But I would say try out a rosewood Martin. The OM-28v is a great choice. So are some of the D-28 variations. New, these would stretch you budget, but there are lots of used ones kicking around. In any case, it doesn't cost anything to stop by a shop and try one to see if you like the sound.
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Old 04-11-2008, 04:59 AM
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rmyAddison rmyAddison is offline
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You have described a Martin. Some used are a little more or near the top of you budget but you might find what you've been looking for.

Try to play an 0M-28, a D-18, D-28 (or variations) and see what you think. Seems like you prefer the Vintage sound to the Modern sound and Martin is the Granddaddy. Another though would be Larrivee at a lower price point. Taylor and Breedlove are pretty bright guitars.
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Old 04-11-2008, 05:11 AM
Fliss Fliss is offline
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Welcome Flouris! The problem with tone is that it's very subjective. Personally I'd suggest a Guild GAD30 as having a warm, mellow sound, but I don't think there's any substitute for trekking round guitar shops and playing as many different guitars as you can to find the one that sounds best to your ears.

Fliss
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Old 04-11-2008, 05:19 AM
Joel Joel is offline
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It's not the guitar, it's you and the strings. I've played maple-bodied jumbos and dreads that have a nice warm sound (I own one!).

Try D'Addario "Flat tops" and use your thumb/fingers instead of a pick, or use a fat pick (2 or 3mm).
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Old 04-11-2008, 06:31 AM
Acoustic Rick Acoustic Rick is offline
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I would look at a Lowden hand made guitar. To my ear they sound exactly like the tone you describe.
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Old 04-11-2008, 06:44 AM
lofapco lofapco is offline
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Welcome to the fourm.........fasten your seat belt and get ready for many suggestions. We love spending other peoples money!

If you can find a used Gibson Advanced Jumbo, I think that would be right up your alley. I love the nice bottom end and find the upper range notes blend in nicely without being bright at all. My Taylor on the other hand is nice and bright (what I call "Shimmery"). I like both and find that with certain songs, only one or the other will work perfectly.

What you describe is definatly a Martin tone, but the Gibson Advanced Jumbo was built originally in the late 1930's and dubbed "The Bone Crusher" as it competed directly with the Martin HD-28 with the "Herringbone" binding. I like the Gibson sound better than the Martins I have compared it with. As others have said, tone is very subjective and the best thing to do is play many and buy the one that "speaks" to you!
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Old 04-11-2008, 06:45 AM
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Hi flouris...
First of all welcome to the group. Glad you jumped right in...

I'm not sure, but it almost sounds like you want a guitar that doesn't sound like a guitar. Certainly your tastes differ from what most guitarists obsess over. I don't know if a well built Cedar topped nylon string classical guitar would be the answer or not...have you played one?

Certainly a Cedar topped, Rosewood backed steel string guitar with Phosphor bronze strings would tone things down a bit, especially if you use non-coated strings and let them deteriorate and then don't change them.
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Old 04-11-2008, 07:00 AM
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Bill Cory Bill Cory is offline
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To me, it's folly for anyone to recommend a specific guitar to you. Even if they were standing right next to you in a music store, you and they wouldn't hear the same sounds coming from the same guitar.

As far as Seagull guitars not having any bass response -- maybe the reviews you have read were all written by rockers with damaged hearing ... I'm an old guy with regular old guy hearing, and the Seagulls, to me, have pretty good bass. But, that's just to my ears.

All our ears are different. It might be worthwhile to have yours tested; not that it would make any difference in what you're hearing, but it might give you some insight into what you're not hearing ...

Have you ever heard a baritone guitar? You can probably find some sound samples from one on the web ... it's tuned lower and designed for the lower register ... Find a store and try one -- might be just the thing.
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Last edited by Bill Cory; 04-11-2008 at 07:01 AM. Reason: Clarification.
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Old 04-11-2008, 07:00 AM
woodruff woodruff is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flouris View Post
I want something with a warm and mellow sound (I mostly finger pick, slow.. mellow, lazy, narcotic sounding acoustic stuff) and Dreadnaughts have proven to be a massive letdown for this. At least the Dreadnaughts I've used.
Is this a guitar issue or a string issue? Perhaps the twang of the two high end strings are muted down in production with most folk albums and that is why the perfect guitar sound seems to only exist in my music collection? hah..

So, in a nutshell: Could any of you recommend a guitar (of any size or style) that sounds warm, mellow, somewhat bassy, and sounds like nothing that could be described as "bright". Also, something that is a bit forgiving on my wallet.

Sorry for how long winded this is, I just wanted to be precise in case any of you knew of some recommendations. I'm all ears here.

Thanks
though the dread has disappointed you, i still want to plug an old used Martin D-35 for what you are describing here. bassy, warm, meelo, narcotic, all words to describe the sound i get out of my 1973.

good luck.

oh yeah, Gibson J-45 too. very warm and woody sounding.

welcome to AGF!
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Old 04-11-2008, 07:15 AM
gray gray is offline
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I wouldn't rule out a classical guitar. I started in college playing folk songs on a classical guitar; then pretty much ignored playing at all for about 20 years. Just a few years ago a brushed the dust off of my old classical guitar (a giannini) and started playing again. Last fall I decided to switch to a steel string guitar. So I went to a local music store and asked to play some of their better taylors, larivees and martins. They all sounded really tinny to me. It wasn't a problem with the guitars, it was just that I was accustomed to the very mellow sound of the nylon strings. So try out a couple of classical guitars and see if they have the sound you're looking for. After all, classical guitars are made for finger picking.
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