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-   -   Olson SJ "The Tree" (https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=239218)

JoeCharter 12-21-2012 10:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by steveh (Post 3285826)
Congratulations Joe (Mau); a new guitar for Christmas is a great idea. I must try it myself!

Really looking forward to hearing some tunes from this one in due course.

I am also really looking forward to hearing about how it compares to the Kraut once you get familiar with it. I'm not naive enough to be expecting a "which one is better" reply, since at this level, that's a pretty dumb question. However, I'd be really interested in the contrasts between them and what each one excels at in your opinion. They should be coming from two pretty different places, both in terms of build and in terms of woods used (although they're much the same body size?), and I'd expect that to be reflected in terms of how they sound and perhaps handle different styles of music and playing. Very curious since most of us don't get to have two guitars like that in our house at the same time.

Have fun!

Cheers,
Steve

Thanks, Steve!

The Kraut feels like a big bold V12 while the Olson feels like a direct injection V8... ;)

The first thing Jim said is that he hopes I won't be putting those heavy strings on his guitar! LOL

In fact, even Ray somewhat freaked out when I told him I had strung up his OM with 14-59s. That being said, I only use heavier strings in combination with alternate tunings -- and I always do my math before proceeding to make sure the new tension does not exceed the original tension when using standard tuning and the luthier's recommended gauge.

Although the lower bout is only different by half an inch, the two guitars couldn't look more different.

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/73365238/OLSON/olson_kraut.JPG

In terms of sound, the Kraut has a stronger note fundamental and a very husky voice.

The Olson rather has what I would call a "crying voice". Play a chord, wave the neck a bit -- and hear the magic.

I obviously enjoy both very much.

Playability and setup are top notch on both guitars. When I played the Kraut for the first time, it was exactly what I was used to playing -- it came with mediums and felt like a "real" acoustic to me. Despite a medium action (Ray offered to lower it and I declined), intonation remained spot on all the way up. Impressive. Most people who would pick up my Kraut now would think I'm a bit of a masochist -- but I really love the way it sounds with the heavies, and above it all I really love how it feels.

On the other hand, the Olson feels nimble and plays like total butter. I have never had a guitar that was setup like that and it will take a bit of time getting used to. I just played a few barre chords way up the neck with the kind of speed I haven't been able to achieve since my Ibanez days. The setup is as close to perfection as I have seen on any guitar. I hope it stays that way! ;)

My Olson SJ is also very lightweight -- but that is mostly because of the mahogany as Jim's rosewood guitars felt noticeably heavier.

So that's it for now. I will post some audio/video as soon as I can capture something decent.

Bern 12-21-2012 11:09 PM

Congrats on the guitar...may it inspire you at no end.

J.R. Rogers 12-22-2012 12:39 AM

Incredible. Stunning photography work, too. This is just pure musical art. :up: Hats off to Olson for this beauty and congrats to the happy owner!

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/73365238/olson35.JPG

JR

keyshore 12-22-2012 12:50 AM

Congrats Joe

That's a great Christmas gift, and I tell what you are right up there at the top of my favourite AGFers because you are a non cutaway man!!

Happy guitar playing

Best,

Keyshore

JoeCharter 12-22-2012 12:51 AM

Bern and J.R., thank you for your kind words.

I sat down to record a track but my middle finger has a messed up nail so I'll try again tomorrow.

In the mean time:

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/73365238/OLSON/olson_05.JPG

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/73365238/OLSON/olson_06.JPG

JoeCharter 12-22-2012 12:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by keyshore (Post 3286576)
Congrats Joe

That's a great Christmas gift, and I tell what you are right up there at the top of my favourite AGFers because you are a non cutaway man!!

Happy guitar playing

Best,

Keyshore

Thanks Keyshore!

I'm indeed a non cutaway man. That being said, I wouldn't mind a cutaway SJ with a spruce top for next year... ;)

Guest 213 12-22-2012 08:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JoeCharter (Post 3286480)

I nominate this for guitar picture of the year! Isn't it amazing how lighting makes such a big difference? Doesn't even look like the same guitar as in Jim's studio shots (though both look nice...it's just this closeup really highlights the fine detail and quality).

Guest 213 12-22-2012 08:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JoeCharter (Post 3286520)
Playability and setup are top notch on both guitars. When I played the Kraut for the first time, it was exactly what I was used to playing -- it came with mediums and felt like a "real" acoustic to me. Despite a medium action (Ray offered to lower it and I declined), intonation remained spot on all the way up. Impressive. Most people who would pick up my Kraut now would think I'm a bit of a masochist -- but I really love the way it sounds with the heavies, and above it all I really love how it feels.

On the other hand, the Olson feels nimble and plays like total butter. I have never had a guitar that was setup like that and it will take a bit of time getting used to. I just played a few barre chords way up the neck with the kind of speed I haven't been able to achieve since my Ibanez days. The setup is as close to perfection as I have seen on any guitar. I hope it stays that way! ;)

My Olson SJ is also very lightweight -- but that is mostly because of the mahogany as Jim's rosewood guitars felt noticeably heavier.

So that's it for now. I will post some audio/video as soon as I can capture something decent.

I was also amazed with how mine was set up. At first, it almost seemed TOO low, and your attack could make the difference between a fret buzzing mess and clean playing. Of course, adjusting to the environment affects that as well.

Wow, if yours feels lighter than the RW ones, it must be like a feather. As you know, mine is cedar/EIR and it feels remarkably lighter than my Charis GC cedar/EIR which is a smaller guitar. Of course, the rosewood neck on the Charis explains some of the extra weight vs the mahogany neck on the Olson.

The only thing I will likely do on mine is remove the LB6 pickup and install a plain bone saddle. I sort of regret not going that route in the first place, but then again the wider (front to back) saddle slot that was cut to accomodate the LB6 may actually enhance the tone when fitted with a bone saddle. I know Larry Jacobson (ljguitar) went through the same process on his Olson dreadnaught and liked the difference. We'll see.

Glennwillow 12-22-2012 11:32 AM

What a treat the photos have been, Mau. And what a gorgeous guitar! And what an experience you have just been through... You are going to need a little time to catch your breath.

- Glenn

cedarkoa599 12-22-2012 05:43 PM

What a beauty! I bet it was worth the wait!
You are blessed! Merry Christmas !
Enjoy!

JoeCharter 12-23-2012 12:12 AM

Thanks so much for the supportive words, guys.

It will take me some time and practice to adapt my playing to the guitar as it is very sensitive. A slight variation in the attack changes the tone dramatically so it requires quite a bit of control to deliver a consistent performance.

I had sworn to myself that this guitar would remain in standard tuning -- but after a day I gave in and tuned it in DADGAD.

Here's my arrangement of Si Bheag Si Mhor played with the SJ, capo 2:

https://soundcloud.com/syndicatedart...-mhor-turlough

As always, your comments are welcome.

mesa 12-23-2012 12:32 AM

Beautiful guitar and playing, Mau. Wonderful sounding instrument....thanks for sharing. Did you by chance ask Jim how many guitars he has built?

Merry Christmas to you and your family!

JoeCharter 12-23-2012 12:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mesa (Post 3287667)
Beautiful guitar and playing, Mau. Wonderful sounding instrument....thanks for sharing. Did you by chance ask Jim how many guitars he has built?

Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Merry Christmas to you and yours as well!

Thanks for your feedback on my sound clip.

I believe Jim built 39 guitars this year. He has built more guitars in the past but the 2012 batch was overall his most "upscale" edition so far.

Some of the guitars he delivered would make my own SJ look very plain... ;)

rlxnply 12-23-2012 12:56 PM

Excellent playing and the guitar sounds fantastic. Thanks for taking the time to upload a clip once again. Merry Christmas!

Glennwillow 12-23-2012 01:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JoeCharter (Post 3287659)
...Here's my arrangement of Si Bheag Si Mhor played with the SJ, capo 2:

https://soundcloud.com/syndicatedart...-mhor-turlough

As always, your comments are welcome.

Mau,

Well, I realize I am prejudiced because I really like the Olson SJ sound, but I think that recording of your new Olson is just gorgeous. I listened to your other versions of the same song in comparison and I like the Olson best. All versions are really beautifully done, all sound wonderful, but my preference is the sound of your new Olson.

WOW!!!

- Glenn


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