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  #1  
Old 09-23-2014, 03:28 PM
jhideout jhideout is offline
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Default Something Interesting I've noticed...

While listening to online clips of various guitars (The acoustic letter) I've realized that I prefer guitar 1 over guitar 2...but when I actually play them in the store, most of the time I prefer just the opposite.


Maybe it's just recording technique or speaker quality (I have a decent surround sound with a sub). but it just made me realize that online comparisons aren't the best source.

I prefer the Talor 814 over the 816 while listening to Tony P's clips on youtube..but I overwhelmingly prefered the 816 in person..

I prefer the Martin D18 vs D28 from the youtube clips, but In person I actually liked the D28 better.

The hummingbird vs D18 video..I liked the Hummingbird way better..but in person I preferred the D18..

I was just curious..am I the only one that has had these conflicting findings?
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Old 09-23-2014, 03:46 PM
clintj clintj is offline
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There's a difference in sound from being behind a guitar playing and being out in front listening. Some people will ask an employee or friend to play a guitar so we can listen to it for that reason. I figure if I'm buying for my enjoyment, I'll buy the one that sounds best when I'm playing it.
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Old 09-23-2014, 03:49 PM
Rod Neep Rod Neep is offline
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People often "tweak" the recordings, add reverb, etc. to make it sound "better" or to make it sound the way that they want to hear it.

It is not therefore possible to accurately compare sounds and tone.
Trust your own ear in a live playing!

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  #4  
Old 09-23-2014, 03:49 PM
MD1983 MD1983 is offline
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I've watched several of the Acoustic Letter demos, and have stopped. In my opinion, the guy makes a lot of these high-end guitars sound bad, especially when he plays fingerstyle. And I don't think it's solely due to the fact that it's on video; for example, I think chicago music exchange and others do great acoustic videos. That's just my two cents though, worth nothing, not bashing, just an opinion, so please don't attack me....
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Old 09-23-2014, 04:04 PM
Russ C Russ C is offline
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I agree with you.

Because what we like about even one aspect of an instrument as complex as a guitar is our own very fine blend of bass, mids and highs - much more really .. tone that a thousand band eq couldn't copy, the idea that a mic, recorder and speakers will do it is ludicrous. Each part in the chain guarantees that you're not getting the truth.

We can hear more or less of some tone or frequency in comparison but that doesn't tell us what the balance of the instrument will be in the flesh.
It's easier for me to record a decent sound out of my least favourite guitar than my best one.
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Old 09-23-2014, 04:14 PM
wcap wcap is offline
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I think that some guitars can sound fabulous in person, but can sometimes be more challenging to get a good recorded sound from. Other guitars might not thrill you as much when playing them live, but might have really nice qualities in a recording situation.

For example, I think my Martin 000-15 just sounds fabulous when recorded - it has a very clean sound in recordings compared to some guitars that maybe are lusher sounding and so are possibly more thrilling for some kinds of music in person. Mahogany guitars, I gather, have a reputation among some for being great for recording, as I understand it.

I've also rarely really been moved by Taylor guitars I've played, but I've heard some simply wonderful recordings done with similar Taylors.

I think one thing that might be relevant here is that even without added effects in a recording, the volume typically gets adjusted when recording. In some cases this could possibly improve your impressions of a guitar that otherwise might seem to have a little less responsiveness or dynamic range in person.
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Old 09-23-2014, 04:19 PM
wcap wcap is offline
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Incidentally, I used to think the recordings on the old Podium website were very good, and very representative of the live sound of the various guitars (which in some cases I had played extensively in the shop). Those were simple recordings done with a Zoom, totally unaltered other than editing out mistakes. The guy who did those recordings did a great job.
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Old 09-23-2014, 04:26 PM
NOTP NOTP is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MD1983 View Post
I've watched several of the Acoustic Letter demos, and have stopped. In my opinion, the guy makes a lot of these high-end guitars sound bad, especially when he plays fingerstyle. And I don't think it's solely due to the fact that it's on video; for example, I think chicago music exchange and others do great acoustic videos. That's just my two cents though, worth nothing, not bashing, just an opinion, so please don't attack me....
I'm not an expert on tone, and in a "blind listening test" I could probably not identify one model from another, but to me the important thing about The Acoustic Letter is that Tony plays practically exactly the same riffs the same way with the same dynamics and using the same recording techniques.

It doesn't get more scientifically controlled than that when you're trying to compare a factor like tone. While people may or may not like what he is playing or how he sounds when he is playing all the guitars, at least we can judge one video RELATIVE TO another clip because all other experimental variables have been reduced and/or eliminated.

The Seymour Duncan website about ten or eleven years ago also used to contain soundclips of every pickup installed in ONE guitar (at a time, of course) and played through ONE amp with ONE set of settings. They sounded terrible to me (I didn't like that amp's tone) but it made it easy to compare one pickup RELATIVE TO another; ie - Pickup A has nice midrange relative to Pickup B which is quite muddy-sounding by comparison.
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Old 09-23-2014, 04:31 PM
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rick-slo rick-slo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wcap View Post
I think that some guitars can sound fabulous in person, but can sometimes be more challenging to get a good recorded sound from. Other guitars might not thrill you as much when playing them live, but might have really nice qualities in a recording situation.

For example, I think my Martin 000-15 just sounds fabulous when recorded - it has a very clean sound in recordings compared to some guitars that maybe are lusher sounding and so are possibly more thrilling for some kinds of music in person. Mahogany guitars, I gather, have a reputation among some for being great for recording, as I understand it.

I've also rarely really been moved by Taylor guitars I've played, but I've heard some simply wonderful recordings done with similar Taylors.

I think one thing that might be relevant here is that even without added effects in a recording, the volume typically gets adjusted when recording. In some cases this could possibly improve your impressions of a guitar that otherwise might seem to have a little less responsiveness or dynamic range in person.
Exactly. Judging guitars from recordings is a tricky business even with raw, unprocessed, recordings. For any luck you have to focus in on specific things, which may be more reliable, than judging the whole overall impression.
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Old 09-23-2014, 04:47 PM
scottishrogue scottishrogue is offline
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Cool Something interesting I've noticed...

When you want to A/B guitars, it won't tell you much unless the same strings are on both guitars. And there are other things that can affect the tone, as well. Same thing goes when you go into a GC or similar store. How old are those strings? If you find a guitar that sounds good, who knows what strings are on it? My time is more valuable, and I experiment with string selection in my home. Every guitar is different, even the same model, with the same strings can sound slightly different. My guitar choices are guided by the maker's reputation, quality of construction, and looks. How it sounds has never been a primary consideration.

Glen
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Old 09-23-2014, 06:05 PM
Goodallboy Goodallboy is offline
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Are you saying you played the actual guitars in the videos and didn't like the same ones? Because if you're saying you played different guitars and liked the opposite one you picked in the video, well duh! They're not the same guitars for goodness sake. One (insert make & model) might sound like it had a sock in the soundhole and another (same make and model) might be the best you've ever played.

You can't make a blanket judgment about any mass-produced guitar. They're very hit and miss in terms of quality of sound.

No wonder you were surprised.
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  #12  
Old 09-23-2014, 07:30 PM
TaylorJoe TaylorJoe is offline
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For me the on-line reviews are a rough guide at best. To me Acoustic guitars are pretty individual instruments, even two of the same make and model and year will sound somewhat different. It's one of the great things about real wood :-)
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Old 09-23-2014, 07:57 PM
Tone Wood Tone Wood is offline
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I personally think there are a lot more things that go into a guitar than how it sounds and looks.

Of course sound is always going to be up the top but my big 3 behind that are;

Responsiveness: how much do you need to attack the strings for volume (a flatpicker and a fingerpicker are going to look for 2 very different guitars)

Neck profile: how good does the neck fit your palms and do you feel like it's easy to play or a struggle?

Comfortability: How does it suit your body and style of play. Does it feel like your trying to wrestle a bear? Or does it feel like your holding a childs toy?

All these things weigh heavily as to whether I'm going to like a guitar or not. Great example is a D28, I think they sound utterly amazing, but the low profile neck is really uncomfortable for me. So I don't really enjoy playing them as much as something with big-C or modified V
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Old 09-23-2014, 09:41 PM
email4eric email4eric is offline
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I suspect that if you heard Tony A/B two copies of the same model, you might be surprised to find you liked one better than the other. I've been very impressed over time with the variability between guitars within a model series. That's why I can't really imagine buying a guitar having not played it.

Definitely you will find differences in a guitar depending on whether you're playing it vs having it played "at" you. This difference can sway your purchase decision depending on which is important to you.

Add these two phenomenon (variables) together and couple them with a third (strings) and a fourth (recording and play-back speakers) and you've got an impossible comparative conundrum with regard to choosing guitars....makes it almost impossible to judge without playing the guitar yourself, in my opinion.

It's great that you're noticing these things and questioning them!
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Old 09-23-2014, 10:08 PM
billgennaro billgennaro is offline
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Here are some variables, besides the guitar itself, that make a difference in the recording of an acoustic guitar - Matching the right mic with the right guitar with the mic in the right recording position with the right player in the right sounding room. Any single one of these variables can match up better with one guitar over another. Plus microphones do not "hear" like the human ear.
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