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  #16  
Old 10-02-2022, 07:42 AM
J Patrick J Patrick is offline
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If you have a guitar that is capable hanging with the guitars listed in the original post…Martin, Bourgeois and Iris D’s….I don’t think you need something different….such a guitar should be adequate….there’s nothing more annoying than the person who insists on having the most prominent guitar in a song circle….I’m not saying you’re that person but I’ve noticed those players in the past….they usually don’t even know they’re playing too loud…..and I in fact was that person a few decades back….

….if it’s about having your breaks stand out more it often comes down to personal technique and group dynamics…..that’s assuming you have a guitar that can hang of course…..there is nothing wrong with discussing dynamics in song circles and it usually results in a more satisfying experience for everyone….

….that said I find that a good Mahogany D is guitar that generally cuts really well in a group setting….
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  #17  
Old 10-02-2022, 07:48 AM
cdkrugjr cdkrugjr is offline
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In a sea of Dreads, an 00 or even a Parlor can stand out as a distinct voice above the fray
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  #18  
Old 10-02-2022, 08:06 AM
martingitdave martingitdave is offline
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As a song circle leader in our area I wouldn’t worry too much about changing guitars in order to cut through. Pick what you play most confidently and what supports your singing. Unless you’re role is playing leads over the other players, it won’t matter too much. Since my role is to lead, keep the group in time and occasionally play leads, I play an Adi topped dreadnought. It cuts through but also has the bass the keep the group in time.
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  #19  
Old 10-02-2022, 08:26 AM
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nbs2005 nbs2005 is offline
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Appreciate all the thoughtful responses as this is looking at playing in a song circle in a different way for me. I had been pondering this because we've been outside over the summer and I really felt like I didn't have any volume when I needed it or maybe just couldn't hear myself well.

We usually have 5-8 (had as many as 12) guitars and now have a 8 guitar limit as we've moved inside and my house can only hold 8 folks I played the LSV Forum VI for most of the last circle and that seemed to work well for both rhythm and leads. A friend was playing the SD-40 and with it's slightly deeper voice, it seemed to be a little quieter on leads, but not lost at all.

We do a mix of covers and originals. Usually at most 3-4 guitars strumming chords with others doing fills and the jazz guy blowing our minds with chord melody lines in real time. We do a decent job of controlling volume and backing off when needed.

So for inside, I think I'm good and probably so for outside as well. It's just harder to hear outside sometimes I think. Thanks again for the thoughts.
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  #20  
Old 10-02-2022, 09:08 AM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Italuke View Post
So, are "song circles" where someone suggests a well known song and you have 15 acoustic guitars strumming wildly along simultaneously? Or is a song circle where people share their original songs with the group, where only one maybe a handful of other folks are playing, depending on complexity?

Personally I would think that any good dreadnaught is what you need, as that's what they were designed for, to "cut" through back in the 1930s. But if there are 15 guitars strumming, then, well, it's already chaos, especially in the low frequencies.

Bring a good vintage koa or mahogany ukulele.
A good question.
The OP seems to express a need for "loudness" so it sounds as if in his gathering it is what I'd call a "jam".

I hold two sessions a month at my club: One is called "the Club Sessions" where I give folks 15 minute spots, with a large condenser mic, and the other is what I call "Song Circle" where we simply go around the circle taking turns, one song/piece each. Eslewheee in the UK this is called a "Sing Around" which depending on how "folksy" the club, is often confused with a "sing-along" which is usually, effectively" a lot of unaccompanied folk songs with people adding harmonies and descants and stuff.

Until lockdowns, I used to go to an old time / type jams and took my Dobro and Mandolin, and my Waterloo WL12 which is effectively a 00 but does have the mid/high cut of a maple back.
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  #21  
Old 10-02-2022, 10:09 AM
buddyhu buddyhu is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J Patrick View Post
If you have a guitar that is capable hanging with the guitars listed in the original post…Martin, Bourgeois and Iris D’s….I don’t think you need something different….such a guitar should be adequate….there’s nothing more annoying than the person who insists on having the most prominent guitar in a song circle….I’m not saying you’re that person but I’ve noticed those players in the past….they usually don’t even know they’re playing too loud…..and I in fact was that person a few decades back….

….if it’s about having your breaks stand out more it often comes down to personal technique and group dynamics…..that’s assuming you have a guitar that can hang of course…..there is nothing wrong with discussing dynamics in song circles and it usually results in a more satisfying experience for everyone….

….that said I find that a good Mahogany D is guitar that generally cuts really well in a group setting….
This ^.

If you have the right pick and “play like you mean it”, and you group is backing off and “playing where you ain’t” (doing regional strums or inversions that stay away from the lead notes), then most any dread or jumbo will suffice, and other guitars can do pretty well. But I’ve heard guys playing resonators and dobros in ways that don’t even make those voices cut through a mix.

With a circle as large as OP has described, it can be hard to get folks to blend. Folks get excited or inspired and joyfully pound away, and then others will tend to increase their volume just to hear themselves. Groups of 5 have fewer problems with volume and cutting through.
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  #22  
Old 10-02-2022, 12:51 PM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogerblair View Post
You need cutting power, not necessarily the same as volume.

In my song circle, the most cutting guitar, among many, is my friend’s parlor. To me, it’s a very strident sound, but it certainly cuts through the group of other guitars being played.

So, the cutting power may be there, but do you want a nice rich sound or a cutting sound? Thats why banjos and mandolins cut through so well…a brittle, sharp tone.

Rb
Thanks, Roger, I agree. I hear cutting power as being a pronounced emphasis on especially the midrange and lower treble frequency ranges of a guitar's tone, along with projection. From my experience, a great song-circle guitar would be a Martin CEO-7. Folks are gonna kick me for bringing this up but another brand/model of guitar that had a well-balanced, loud, and cutting tonal range was the American-made Ovation Balladeer. This model with its centrally-located soundhole and parabolic bowl design focused the guitar's tone forward toward the audience.

My mention of over 60-aged folks, was a bit facetious and made because I think many of us--at least me at 72--way back when aspired to own Martin dreadnoughts, and things like "cutting power" wasn't really on our minds or even in our awareness. In my neck of the woods, Martin dreadnoughts were everywhere with some Guilds also being present.
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  #23  
Old 10-07-2022, 07:46 AM
RustyAxe RustyAxe is offline
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Imagine everyone in that circle playing loud guitars to “cut” through everyone else’s guitars.
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  #24  
Old 10-07-2022, 07:58 AM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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A 16" 1920's L5 style archtop.

The real key is to occupy frequencies everyone else isn't. Bunch of dreads? Play something super midrangey.

Volume wars are the territory of hacks and unsupportive players. Don't be those guys.
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  #25  
Old 10-07-2022, 08:17 AM
Robin, Wales Robin, Wales is offline
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Even if you just had two dreads in a band it's good practice to change the voicing on one of them. Players have known this for years.

A circle of 8 playing together is, well, never going to sound great. Which is why you don't see dreadnaught guitar orchestras on tour.
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  #26  
Old 10-07-2022, 08:21 AM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin, Wales View Post


Even if you just had two dreads in a band it's good practice to change the voicing on one of them. Players have known this for years.

A circle of 8 playing together is, well, never going to sound great. Which is why you don't see dreadnaught guitar orchestras on tour.

This is huge-- know how to use that capo...it can be all the difference.

Tune in G? Capo III and play out of E position...or Capo V and play out of D.

Differences in range and timbre are always better than just being louder.
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  #27  
Old 10-07-2022, 09:16 AM
jbhiller jbhiller is offline
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When I need to cut through, I now pull out my Guild F-40. If you've never tried a jumbo (especially because you think something about size) you owe it to yourself to give one a run.

The dynamics of a good jumbo are startling and addictive.
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  #28  
Old 10-07-2022, 04:29 PM
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nbs2005 nbs2005 is offline
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Jeff, Robin; thanks for the voicing/capo tip. We do a lot of stuff out of G (the dobro player's favourite) and C. Really easy to play out of different shapes.

Cheers,

Jeff
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  #29  
Old 10-07-2022, 06:54 PM
Tnfiddler Tnfiddler is offline
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Default Talk to me about a guitar that has cut for song circles

I’ve had a short-scale Adi-topped Bourgeois Slope D Banjo Killer and while it was a fantastic guitar, my Aged Tone Vintage D with AT Banjo Killer bracing is the easiest guitar, to hear, that I’ve ever played. Our bass player, who is a world-class flatpicker said, “you don’t even have to try to make this guitar be heard”, the first time he played it. I don’t know what magic dust Dana sprinkled on it, but this guitar cuts without trying and the beauty of it, is that it sounds amazing when you’re playing it softly too!
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  #30  
Old 10-07-2022, 10:46 PM
seannx seannx is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wade Hampton View Post
One friend of mine who I pick with has a couple of 50’s vintage small-bodied Martins, a 0-18 and a 00-18. Man, do they cut through, especially the 0-18, which is the one he uses the most.

So my suggestion is that you look for a used small Martin.

whm
That’s certainly true for my 1950 Martin 00-18. It has amazing headroom, tone, and clarity.
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