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  #31  
Old 09-03-2018, 11:26 AM
GHG GHG is offline
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I have played many Olson’s and one Heinonen (rosewood\ cedar).
Generally speaking they have similar sounds...warm midrange, mature highs and lows, and quick response. Drew makes wonderful guitars.

However, I find Olsons to be more playable (haven’t found a guitar as playable as an Olson), longer sustain, more sparkle, more overtones. It just feels “better”...not sure how to explain that feel.
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  #32  
Old 09-04-2018, 03:17 AM
Ernesto Ernesto is offline
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Originally Posted by AlanHw View Post
Hi, Muse-ic

Hope this video can help you to find out what you are looking for~

Cheers

Alan


That's fantastic, Alan, a great comparison! Please do more of these I really like your channel.

I listened with my eyes closed, without knowing which guitar was which, and actually prefered the Heinonen. It seemed a bit clearer, with more crystaline highs...
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  #33  
Old 09-04-2018, 07:52 AM
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AlanHw AlanHw is offline
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Originally Posted by Muse-ic View Post
Thanks for posting that Alan, that's a really well-done comparison of the two guitars. I think they both sound excellent. Slight different, pretty similar in many ways, and both worth owning....
Glad that you liked the video~ Definitely it would be awesome to own both guitars!

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Originally Posted by prickards View Post
Great comparison. Some variables: guitar age, strings, back and sides. Very well done. Both sound awesome and anyone would be lucky to have either.
Thank you for the comment! An additional variable is the Olson was with FWI Saddle and nut.
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  #34  
Old 09-04-2018, 08:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GHG View Post
I have played many Olson’s and one Heinonen (rosewood\ cedar).
Generally speaking they have similar sounds...warm midrange, mature highs and lows, and quick response. Drew makes wonderful guitars.

However, I find Olsons to be more playable (haven’t found a guitar as playable as an Olson), longer sustain, more sparkle, more overtones. It just feels “better”...not sure how to explain that feel.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts~

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ernesto View Post
That's fantastic, Alan, a great comparison! Please do more of these I really like your channel.

I listened with my eyes closed, without knowing which guitar was which, and actually prefered the Heinonen. It seemed a bit clearer, with more crystaline highs...
Thank you so much Ernesto! It means a lot to us~ We hope to come up with more videos~
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  #35  
Old 09-04-2018, 10:49 AM
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Marcus Wong Marcus Wong is offline
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On a superficial listen, the Olson sounds "better" as it has a bigger bass response which our ears are very quick to pick up on. However, on a closer listen, the Heinonen has a clearer bass, more present trebles and is more balanced overall which would put me in favour for the latter.
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  #36  
Old 09-04-2018, 10:56 AM
SuperB23 SuperB23 is offline
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I've played 3 or 4 Olson guitars and a couple Applegates and bunch of other guitars by great builders. I think the older presomogyi Doerr guitars sound the closest to an Olson of anything I've played.

I fell hard for a full Jumbo Olson at a shop a while back but couldn't quite swing the $18k price tag so I bought an Applegate Jumbo from Guitar Gallery. The Applegate was a great guitar but in no way did it sound anything like that Olson.

I think the pre 2010 Doerr Legacy in Cedar and Rosewood is very much so like a an Olson SJ and Ryan GC had a baby so to speak.
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  #37  
Old 09-04-2018, 05:42 PM
strumming strumming is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ernesto View Post
I listened with my eyes closed, without knowing which guitar was which, and actually prefered the Heinonen. It seemed a bit clearer, with more crystaline highs...
I'd have to agree, but then again, I may be biased since I just received my beautiful Heinonen SJ from Drew last month. ;-) Fantastic guitar! To my ears, the Heinonen is slightly brighter (in a good way) and more clarity and chime. Both great guitars but the Heinonen a fraction of the price.

Thanks Alan for posting the video! Very nice job! Some eye candy of my beautiful Heinonen SJ :-)

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  #38  
Old 09-05-2018, 01:25 AM
gitarro gitarro is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus Wong View Post
On a superficial listen, the Olson sounds "better" as it has a bigger bass response which our ears are very quick to pick up on. However, on a closer listen, the Heinonen has a clearer bass, more present trebles and is more balanced overall which would put me in favour for the latter.
I agree that the olson has a bigger bass response but to my ears, it also has a bigger treble - fatter and fuller treble notes. To my ears, it is rather the greater thinness of the treble and its far less bloom that causes the heinonen sj to seem clearer. Others mileage may differ of course!

Whatever the case, it is however very commendable that the heinonen is able to come near the ballpark of the olson sound at a mere fraction of the latter's cost despite heinonen's relative youth as a builder. This is clearly a builder which promises a bright future ahead of him in lutherie.
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  #39  
Old 09-05-2018, 10:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus Wong View Post
On a superficial listen, the Olson sounds "better" as it has a bigger bass response which our ears are very quick to pick up on. However, on a closer listen, the Heinonen has a clearer bass, more present trebles and is more balanced overall which would put me in favour for the latter.
Thank you for sharing your thought, my friend~
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  #40  
Old 09-05-2018, 10:49 PM
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Originally Posted by strumming View Post
I'd have to agree, but then again, I may be biased since I just received my beautiful Heinonen SJ from Drew last month. ;-) Fantastic guitar! To my ears, the Heinonen is slightly brighter (in a good way) and more clarity and chime. Both great guitars but the Heinonen a fraction of the price.

Thanks Alan for posting the video! Very nice job! Some eye candy of my beautiful Heinonen SJ :-)

So glad you enjoyed the video~ The sibling Cocobolo SJ looks great!
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  #41  
Old 09-09-2018, 05:08 PM
JoeCharter JoeCharter is offline
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There are lots of great sounding guitars at just about any price point -- but you don't buy an Olson guitar (or any high end object) just for the practical aspect. You buy an Olson guitar because Jim is the most reputable builder of his generation, his guitars sound great, look great and play great.

And unlike many of the knock-offs that are offered on the market, Jim's headstock actually looks nice.
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  #42  
Old 05-16-2019, 09:29 PM
Bone0305 Bone0305 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GHG View Post
I have played many Olson’s and one Heinonen (rosewood\ cedar).

Generally speaking they have similar sounds...warm midrange, mature highs and lows, and quick response. Drew makes wonderful guitars.



However, I find Olsons to be more playable (haven’t found a guitar as playable as an Olson), longer sustain, more sparkle, more overtones. It just feels “better”...not sure how to explain that feel.


So how different is the playability? For reference I own a 1995 Taylor 712 FC and a Langejans RC6. I played Wes King’s Olson once and I’ve never had anything in my hands like that. That being said Olson’s we’re always juuuust out of reach..... then it got to be lotto cash...🤦🏼*♂️
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  #43  
Old 05-16-2019, 11:45 PM
Lonzo Lonzo is offline
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Yes, there is a difference in sound and lushness, but it is miniscule for me... taking into consideration the tonewoods are different and the Olson is 6 years older and probably opened up quite a bit more I would hope and suspect that the Heinonen will be fantastic down the road... but htat is biased as well as I have my own SJ scheduled for 2020.
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  #44  
Old 05-17-2019, 12:28 AM
ExpoTom ExpoTom is offline
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Originally Posted by Bone0305 View Post
So how different is the playability? For reference I own a 1995 Taylor 712 FC and a Langejans RC6. I played Wes King’s Olson once and I’ve never had anything in my hands like that. That being said Olson’s we’re always juuuust out of reach..... then it got to be lotto cash...🤦🏼*♂️
I view playability as a personal decision in terms of setup, neck preference, width, scale, etc.

My Heinonen is pretty good playability wise--I asked Drew to make the neck like an Olson, but I confess that my Maingard's mod-V neck which I didn't like at first actually has become my favorite.

I thought my Langejans neck was more of D and had it carved down a bit to be closer to C, but the difference wasn't huge--the R6 is just a big guitar overall.
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  #45  
Old 05-17-2019, 06:17 PM
Johnny_Boy Johnny_Boy is offline
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I guess I might be the only one with an Olson SJ, Heinonen SJ, and Applegate SJ…

I can’t directly compare Applegate SJ with the other two, as it has totally different wood and different age, but my Olson SJ and Heinonen SJ use the same wood combo (Sitka/EIR) and similar decorations, and are similar in age.

Fit and finish wise, you will hardly be able to tell the difference between the two, though Olson is very slightly better.
[Olson guitar is the only luthier guitar that looks like it was made at a highend Martin or Taylor factory with no flaws whatsoever. (In this case, this is a compliment). Any other luthier guitars I’ve seen and owned have some small flaws somewhere. (I am picky. There is a 1/128 gap in the purfling or abalone inside the rosette? FLAW… there is a small finish spot that has very slight shade difference? FLAW… Does the neck thickness and shape absolutely flawless and mirror imaged? No? FLAW… Does the light reflect slightly weird on a super small spot? FLAW….Does the bracing has slight sharp edge on one tiny spot? FLAW…Is there a extremely small amount of finish build up next to the bridge or neck where it meets the body? FLAW... you get the idea…). BTW, Heinon fit and finish is definitely above average compared to my other luthier guitars. It is just not at the Olson level, but nobody is.]

Sound wise, I would say the two are more like close brothers, but they are not identical twins. However, Heinonen is probably the closest to the Olson SJ currently by any builder.

My guess is that over time he will deviate further, as luthiers tend to gain more experience they start to want to do their own voicing.

If I have to describe the difference, Heinonen SJ sounds slightly quieter, a bit less mid, and maybe a tad less sparkle on the top. The bracing pattern is the same, but the shape of the braces are slightly different.

I also agree that Olson SJ has the thinnest neck and lowest action I’ve ever played on an acoustic. In fact one feedback that I gave to Drew was that I wish the setup was better on his guitar out of the box. He said he didn’t want to set it too low out of the box, and I can understand it, but Jim does it just fine :-). In fact none of my high end acoustics guitars have near the same action as Olson SJ.

This is the spec Jim shared with me, and he did say if I tried to set other guitars to this level, most likely it will buzz. I’ve asked other technicians to set up my other guitars this low and they won’t do it as they say it will be too low and it will buzz. If I pay for a PLEK setup, I can probably get it to do it, but I don’t want to pay that much for a setup.

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“From the 14th fret it is 2/32" top of fret to bottom of string on the high E and 2.5 /32" or 5/64th" form top of fret to bottom of string on the low E. Again..from the 14th fret.
The neck is set as straight as possible ....I can't give you a number on that... I just make sure that is fretted on the 1st fret and the 10th fret ( at the same time ) there is a hint of relief... You don't want it going the other way convex.”

Last edited by Johnny_Boy; 05-18-2019 at 12:14 PM. Reason: My hearing memory fails me. I've replayed side by side today, and updated my written description of the difference in sound.
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