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  #1  
Old 06-04-2013, 07:38 AM
UKPhil UKPhil is offline
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Default 'Modified' guitars

Hi

Could someone clarify what a 'modified' model of guitar means please? The term seems in fashion at the moment and I would like to understand the implications.

Thanks
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Old 06-04-2013, 07:54 AM
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Michael Watts Michael Watts is offline
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You've doubtless heard it in the context of the Modified Dreadnought which is a design by Ervin Somogyi which took the Martin D as a start point and modified it as the name suggests into an instrument more suitable for the seated solo fingerstyle player. The main changes are:

Tone
Response
Ergonomics

not necessarily in that order. Until recently I hadn't seen it in any other context. Now it looks like it might be creeping into use for other guitars...

But yeah, that's how it started.

The first Mod-D (built for Daniel Hecht) at the launch of Somogyi's books in Montreal





The Andamento II a non-cutaway Mod-D in Maple



A Mod-D by Jason Kostal



Hope that helps
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Old 06-04-2013, 07:57 AM
ericcsong ericcsong is offline
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michael beat me to it!
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Old 06-04-2013, 08:58 AM
UKPhil UKPhil is offline
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Thanks Michael and Eric for clarifying that - I had an idea of where it originated with the Somogyi Dreadnought size guitar. I saw a modified SJ thread on this forum (a beautiful guitar as well) and it would appear the term is spreading.

So, if it runs it's course, any guitar based on a Martin model but modified somehow could be named a 'modified OM' or a 'modified 000' etc.

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Old 06-04-2013, 09:13 AM
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Default 'Modified' guitars

I suppose so... The term Modified Dreadnought was coined by Ervin in the late 70's. As with a lot of the terminology he uses (think responsive) it has become something of a buzz-word in the lutherie scene. Essentially the Mod-D was a new design (albeit based on an older one) to serve a new purpose. What a "modified"SJ, OM or anything else brings to the table that the original design couldn't do is anybody's guess... I suspect use of the term outside of this very niche context to be little more than marketing...
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Old 06-04-2013, 09:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Watts View Post
What a "modified"SJ, OM or anything else brings to the table that the original design couldn't do is anybody's guess... I suspect use of the term outside of this very niche context to be little more than marketing...
It's a sexy word, I suppose.
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Old 06-04-2013, 09:45 AM
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Default 'Modified' guitars

Mmmmmm modified....
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Old 06-04-2013, 10:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UKPhil View Post
I saw a modified SJ thread So, if it runs it's course, any guitar based on a Martin model but modified somehow could be named a 'modified OM'
Actually, I believe the term "SJ", or small jumbo, was coined by Jim Olsen, not Martin.

Steve
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Old 06-04-2013, 10:22 AM
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I just think of it as "custom". Taylor will let you "modify a model" in which case they will make some changes to an existing model, and there is some line that keeps it from being a BTO (build to order). Apparently it is when it is close to an existing model, maybe with a borrowed subset of specs, hence "modified" dread.
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Old 06-04-2013, 10:39 AM
JoeCharter JoeCharter is offline
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It's just branding/marketing -- and apparently good branding since it has become a household name.

Just about every guitar on the market nowadays could be considered "modified" from last century's designs.
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Old 06-04-2013, 01:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeCharter View Post
It's just branding/marketing -- and apparently good branding since it has become a household name.

Just about every guitar on the market nowadays could be considered "modified" from last century's designs.
I would tend to agree... Ervin used it as a simple way to let people know it wasn't a typical Martin copy and because of his success and many of his students using it it has become a buzz word. My very first guitar back in 1980 was a modified dread... I never called it that until recently because it seems that like Jim's popularization of the term "SJ" (originally a Gibson designation I believe) it adds value in many customers minds. If you say dreadnought it's a working man's tool if you say Modified D it's a high quality fingerstyle guitar. You can buy what the market considers the best dreadnought for under $2000.00 (Martin) but the best Modified D will cost you $30K. Selling guitars often comes down to using the right words
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Old 06-04-2013, 03:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harvl View Post
Selling guitars often comes down to using the right words
And some really, really, really nice inlays!!
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Old 06-04-2013, 04:00 PM
LouieAtienza LouieAtienza is offline
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My understanding is that other than the sonic differences, Somogyi wanted to create a dreadnaught with a slightly more defined waist, while retaining the same interior volume, so that it would more comfortable to play in the seated position. He also wanted a larger nut spacing than the typical dreadnaught to accomodate fingerstyle playing...
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Old 06-07-2013, 03:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LouieAtienza View Post
My understanding is that other than the sonic differences, Somogyi wanted to create a dreadnaught with a slightly more defined waist, while retaining the same interior volume, so that it would more comfortable to play in the seated position. He also wanted a larger nut spacing than the typical dreadnaught to accomodate fingerstyle playing...
The Mod-D was designed to give the players of the Windham Hill label the power of a dreadnought with the playability, tone and ergonomics of a new guitar. This was the first time that solo acoustic guitar had been recorded to such exacting standards and the weaknesses of the traditional designs were revealed.

The Modified dreadnought design changed my life as a player and I am confident in saying that I doubt I'll ever have another style of guitar as my main concert instrument.
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Old 06-07-2013, 03:35 AM
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BTW Phil, if you'd like to try a Kostal Mod-D at any point I'd be delighted to make that happen.
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