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Old 01-08-2018, 05:05 PM
Txmiller Txmiller is offline
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Default Best Back and Side Wood for Vocals

Needing some advice in a general way as I understand that every instrument is different. My question is - what guitar back & side wood is typically best for vocal accompaniment and why? I seem to see more Mahogany than EIR, or is it just my imagination. Thanks
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Old 01-08-2018, 05:37 PM
1Charlie 1Charlie is offline
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Generally speaking, mahogany will be have a little shorter note decay than rosewood, which will tend to ring a little longer. Most vocalists do not want to use a guitar that hangs on to a note so long that it steps on their vocal stylings.

Having said that, there are some mahogany guitars I have owned that held onto a note as long as any rosewood guitar. It all depends on wood, design and builder.

And, for that matter, depending on the song, I love to use my rosewood dread for vocal accompanyment.
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Old 01-08-2018, 05:58 PM
Sonics Sonics is offline
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Unplugged, rosewood has a 'hole' i.e a dip in the mids. That's where the vocals sit.

Plugged, you can eq a scoop in the mids, so the wood doesn't really matter.
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Old 01-08-2018, 06:01 PM
Mr Fingers Mr Fingers is offline
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Sort of, not always, it depends... James Taylor has had a pretty good career using rosewood guitars. Paul Simon... Joan Baez. But the Beatles did fairly well with mahogany ad maple. As did Tom Petty, etc. It all depends. Many performers like the subdued, sort of compressed, strong-fundamental/limited overtone sound of something like a Hummingbird or other maple or mahogany, non-lively guitar (often, for rhythm) while others capitalize on the dynamic, overtone-loaded tones of a vibrant RW acoustic. I don't think that there's any single generalization that makes much sense.
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Old 01-08-2018, 06:09 PM
Orfeas Orfeas is offline
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I dont think there is a particular wood that is "best" for a singer. So many guitar sizes and wood combos can be seen in acoustic performances. I believe is your vocal range, your vocal tone, and what you feel helps you to sing with.
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Old 01-08-2018, 06:16 PM
Tony Burns Tony Burns is offline
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I feel it also has something to do with the builder as much as the wood .
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Old 01-08-2018, 06:34 PM
Dustinfurlow Dustinfurlow is offline
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If you think about it like wine/food pairings (your guitar is the wine, so white would potentially be mahogany and red would be rosewood) there might be SOME dishes (singers) that go with certain wines (Guitars) but there is no absolute that will please everyone... You have to experiment and never underestimate your own good taste (ears).

Gonna just sign off now
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Old 01-08-2018, 06:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Fingers View Post
James Taylor has had a pretty good career using rosewood guitars.
That said, several of his early albums — and more than just several of his classic songs — were recorded with a Gibson J-50. That’s the iconic JT guitar for me rather than the Olson.
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Old 01-08-2018, 06:39 PM
revellfa revellfa is offline
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I prefer mahogany. Of course there is how the guitar sounds to the audience and then how the guitar sounds to you as you play behind it. I've learned as a solo performer to favor what sounds best to me behind the guitar.
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Old 01-08-2018, 07:04 PM
bjb5228 bjb5228 is offline
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There's a lot of performers that use both, so it really probably depends on preference. When live, the EQ can really change the sound, and if not mic'd up it depends on what sounds more comfortable to you.
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Old 01-08-2018, 07:08 PM
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I'm not a vocalist, but if I were I'd probably just start playing a lot of Gibsons. Many of them just have this vibe that's woody and warm and hangs in the background where the vocals can sit right on top. There are so many times I'd pick up a Gibson and say to myself "not for me- but if I were a vocalist...". Hummingbird, Dove, Songwriter all come to mind.
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Old 01-08-2018, 08:21 PM
Rmz76 Rmz76 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Txmiller View Post
Needing some advice in a general way as I understand that every instrument is different. My question is - what guitar back & side wood is typically best for vocal accompaniment and why? I seem to see more Mahogany than EIR, or is it just my imagination. Thanks
It's best not to generalize. Take a high quality pocket digital recorder with your local guitar store and record yourself playing and singing the same song parts over a few different models... I've suggested this to many people and although they don't always agree with what I think works best, everyone seems to find themselves intrigued by just how different their voice sounds with paired with different guitars. I think it boils down to your voice (timbre, range, technique), your play style and what you think sounds correct... It's more than just the back and side wood. Rosewood on a smaller bodied guitar may pair well, but Rosewood on a Dreadnought might not pair as well as Mahagony, etc... Identity your voice range and character and look at what professional singers with similar voice types are using.

To give you a stating point-

Most male singers have a baritone range many with that range (especially those who mostly just strum and sing) tend to favor Mahagony back and sides, because it helps focus the mid-range and doesn't sustain for too long. The Gibson J-45 Standard fits this niche nicely and is one of the most popular models for the Singer-Songwriter. It's rich but somewhat muted tone can lift up even timid vocals even when it's played hard. Taylor's 510 is their neatest counterpart to the J-45. The Martin D18 is another good choice but has a more overtones. The D18 is perhaps a better pairing the the J-45 for singers who sing with power.
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Old 01-08-2018, 08:29 PM
The Bard Rocks The Bard Rocks is offline
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Default best wood for vocals

First, any kind of wood can work well, especially if you are a good singer. That said, a "good singer" is not anything that I am commonly called. I use a variety of woods to back me up, for a variety of reasons. I do find I need to be stronger on a piece to do as well when I play my 12 string - the octave notes can tend to confuse at times. A guitar with greater sustain and natural harmonics and overtones can do the same thing - sometimes... for some people. When I first got my birdseye maple guitar, I felt I sang better with it than others. It was clear-voiced and clean sounding. Later on, I was not nearly so sure if it helped me any or not.
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Old 01-08-2018, 08:30 PM
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Since we're making gross generalizations I'm going to say mahogany back and sides for vocals. Specifically a J-45. I call a J-45 a Singer's Guitar.
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Old 01-08-2018, 10:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Txmiller View Post
Needing some advice in a general way as I understand that every instrument is different. My question is - what guitar back & side wood is typically best for vocal accompaniment and why? I seem to see more Mahogany than EIR, or is it just my imagination. Thanks
Any of them, all of them.
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