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  #16  
Old 05-06-2019, 11:41 AM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
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Originally Posted by justonwo View Post
For the guys Iíve worked with, Iíve never heard any of them say, ďthe species of spruce doesnít matter at all.
Serge de Jonge says exactly that. One still selects for correct cut/split, density, stiffness, runout...

When asked what is his favourite wood from which to make guitars, he says, "The kind that grows on trees", meaning just about any species of wood can successfully be used.

A few years ago, I played a classical guitar of his in which all of the major components were made of spruce: top, back, sides and neck. Despite standard thinking that backs and sides "need" to be made of hardwoods to make a good sounding instrument, it sounded very good. In a blind test, I doubt I would have been able to accurately distinguish it from guitars made with hardwood back and sides.
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  #17  
Old 05-06-2019, 11:44 AM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
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Well said, Alan. Thank you.
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  #18  
Old 05-06-2019, 11:56 AM
stringjunky stringjunky is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan Carruth View Post
stringjunky2 asked:
"Are they selecting timber pieces that fits the expected tonal signature of their species though and rejecting the outliers in a form of confirmation bias?"

Again, I've tried my best a few times to make 'matched' guitars using wood that was 'sister cut' for all the parts. Everything was controlled as closely as I could. For the most recent pair, which were the most closely matched, we did 'blind' listening tests. Virtually everybody who heard them could tell that they were different.

It is certainly true that on average there are differences between the different species of spruce. These diminish a lot when you control for density. If you build tops to a certain target stiffness it works out that a denser top will tend to be a bit heavier, and that will generally translate into less 'responsive' guitar with more 'headroom'.

As far as I've been able to tell, if you start with two tops of different species, say Euro and Red spruce, that have the same density, and Young's modulus along and across the grain, the two instruments will probably be no more different than two made from 'the same' wood. This would be a very difficult experiment to do properly. You'd need to do it several times to be really sure, and even once is a lot more work than just making a couple of guitars. Keep in mind that 'same' or 'different' is an easy thing to judge, but assessing degrees of difference gets to be a can of worms.

Keep in mind too that luthiers are just as much subject to belief in the myths as anybody. Everybody hears what they expect to hear. I always try to keep in mind what I call 'Feynman's Dictum', as stated in his essay 'Cargo Cult Science', that "You are the easiest person for you to fool". This goes for luthiers too.

I'm not saying that there absolutely is no difference between the different species of spruce, once you control for such things as I mentioned above. What I am saying is that I have yet to be able to come up with any decent evidence as to either the existence or nature of that difference. Every suggestion I've gotten for some measurable difference of a sort that ought to affect the tone has not panned out when I've looked for it. Maybe I'm not measuring enough samples, or doing it carefully enough. Maybe there is a difference but we haven't yet figured out what it is or how to measure it. I'm not a big fan of leprechauns or fairy dust: if there is a systematic difference it has to be measurable somehow. Under the circumstances the only reasonable stance IMO is that there is no systematic difference between different species of spruce. I'll be happy to admit I'm wrong when somebody comes up with proof I can accept.
Thanks Alan. My luthier was as blunt about it when I asked him.
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  #19  
Old 05-06-2019, 12:06 PM
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justonwo justonwo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charles Tauber View Post
Serge de Jonge says exactly that. One still selects for correct cut/split, density, stiffness, runout...

When asked what is his favourite wood from which to make guitars, he says, "The kind that grows on trees", meaning just about any species of wood can successfully be used.

A few years ago, I played a classical guitar of his in which all of the major components were made of spruce: top, back, sides and neck. Despite standard thinking that backs and sides "need" to be made of hardwoods to make a good sounding instrument, it sounded very good. In a blind test, I doubt I would have been able to accurately distinguish it from guitars made with hardwood back and sides.
Charles, point taken but not every builder feels that way. Iím just relating what Iíve been told by the builders Iíve worked with.
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  #20  
Old 05-06-2019, 12:32 PM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
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Originally Posted by justonwo View Post
Charles, point taken but not every builder feels that way. Iím just relating what Iíve been told by the builders Iíve worked with.
That's true: not every builder does feel that way. I have no idea what proportion do believe one way versus the other. Regardless of what they believe, what matters most is that the instruments they produce are liked by those who buy them.

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Keep in mind too that luthiers are just as much subject to belief in the myths as anybody.
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  #21  
Old 05-06-2019, 12:34 PM
Kalamazoo J50 Kalamazoo J50 is offline
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When I bought my Collings OM2H, there were a couple new ones available at Elderly, both of which played and sounded great, though distinctly different from one another. One had the Adirondack top, one had the Engelmann.

In the case of these two specific guitars with my particular hybrid picking style, the Adirondack top sounded more 'woody' and Martin-like, and the Engelmann top sounded louder, more bright and lively and broken-in. Since I was 60 at the time and figured I didn't have unlimited time to break this guitar in, I went with the Engelmann.

As with everything I've learned about acoustic guitars, they are largely individualistic and respond differently to different hands. Go with whatever you like and discount the advice of those who generalize by brand or model.
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  #22  
Old 05-06-2019, 03:01 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is online now
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In his or her first post ever on the Acoustic Guitar Forum, Kalamazoo J50 wrote:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalamazoo J50 View Post
When I bought my Collings OM2H, there were a couple new ones available at Elderly, both of which played and sounded great, though distinctly different from one another. One had the Adirondack top, one had the Engelmann.

In the case of these two specific guitars with my particular hybrid picking style, the Adirondack top sounded more 'woody' and Martin-like, and the Engelmann top sounded louder, more bright and lively and broken-in. Since I was 60 at the time and figured I didn't have unlimited time to break this guitar in, I went with the Engelmann.
Good call.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalamazoo J50 View Post
As with everything I've learned about acoustic guitars, they are largely individualistic and respond differently to different hands. Go with whatever you like and discount the advice of those who generalize by brand or model.
Excellent advice.

Welcome to the forum.


Wade Hampton Miller
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  #23  
Old 05-06-2019, 03:20 PM
Kalamazoo J50 Kalamazoo J50 is offline
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Thank you, sir.


Dave
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