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Old 06-16-2019, 09:19 PM
gmel555 gmel555 is online now
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Default New Innovations That You First Doubted But Now Love

In the past 30-40 years or so there have been several, fairly major technique "innovations" in building guitars. The AGF is full of discussions about whether these are good, bad, or maybe meaningless. Some are considered just marketing efforts to raise prices. Even when something is generally considered an improvement -but with extra cost- there are varyng opinions on whether the extra cost is worth it. I don't want to start yet another thread about whether a specific technique or technology is good or bad, but I do want to ask:

Is/are there certain "recent" changes in guitar making techniques that at first you were absolutely dead-set against, that you thought you'd never want or accept that you NOW have come to totally believe in as a real improvement, and consider a desirable spec?

I'll start. I'm a player for almost 50 years and I'll admit I was wrong on several things:

1) Bolt-on necks. Early on I was convinced a bolt-on could NEVER produce the type of acoustic tone I coveted and that I'd never own one. Now I believe some of the finest sounding instruments available have bolt-ons and the added benefit of easy resets makes this a huge innovation.

2) Catalyzed finishes. I used to be a "nitro-finish only" guy. I viewed catalyzed finishes as coating an instrument in plastic, surely they couldn't sound nearly as good. I admit I was wrong. Not only can catalyzed finishes sound great (as they make them thinner & thinner), but they're more durable than nitro, scratch less easily and seem more resistant to reacting with certain other chemicals/solvents.

Anyone else willing to admit they were wrong?

Last edited by gmel555; 06-16-2019 at 09:32 PM.
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Old 06-16-2019, 09:24 PM
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BT55 BT55 is offline
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A BIG Thumbs Up [emoji106] to bolt on necks!!!
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Old 06-16-2019, 09:41 PM
Tube Sound Tube Sound is offline
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Torrefied guitar top. It was not that I was necessarily a doubter but more skeptical of how good it would sound. It was a "you gotta be kidding me", moment. The guitar was a Yamaha FG-180 50th.
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Old 06-16-2019, 09:52 PM
Rudy4 Rudy4 is offline
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Zero frets.

I don't have any guitars with them, but most of the other instruments I build have them.

Bob Taylor even stated in the Taylor Wood & Steel publication that he thought the were a good idea but did not pursue their use because the majority of Taylor players would not go for a zero fret because it's too far outside of established tradition in the acoustic guitar world.
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Old 06-16-2019, 10:42 PM
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For me, it was Waterloo guitars. At first I thought, "Is Bill Collings crazy? Who would want to build new guitars based on the specs of crappy guitars from the 1930s?" First my playing style changed to include more blues and ragtime, and then I got to play some Waterloo guitars. I thought, "Hmmm... maybe Bill is on to something here."

Last summer, I drove from the Chicago area to a Fur Peace Ranch weekend in SE Ohio to take lessons from Toby Walker. I had seen Toby play some Waterloos in his YouTube videos. On the way there, I stopped by Down Home Guitars in Frankfort, IL to play some of their vast selection, including Waterloos. During the workshop, Toby played his Huss and Dalton MJ. After the weekend, as I was driving home, I went to Down Home again and played the Waterloos again. Inspired by the wonderful weekend of music I had just experienced, I bought a Waterloo WL-JK Jumbo King. It's not the right guitar for every tune I play, but for the blues and ragtime stuff, it's magical. Bill Collings was not crazy. (R.I.P.)
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Old 06-17-2019, 06:54 AM
gfspencer gfspencer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tube Sound View Post
Torrefied guitar top.
Same here.
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Old 06-17-2019, 07:19 AM
redir redir is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmel555 View Post
2) Catalyzed finishes. I used to be a "nitro-finish only" guy. I viewed catalyzed finishes as coating an instrument in plastic, surely they couldn't sound nearly as good. I admit I was wrong. Not only can catalyzed finishes sound great (as they make them thinner & thinner), but they're more durable than nitro, scratch less easily and seem more resistant to reacting with certain other chemicals/solvents.

Anyone else willing to admit they were wrong?
So the finish is a lot harder then? Hmmmmmm
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Old 06-17-2019, 07:20 AM
The Bard Rocks The Bard Rocks is offline
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While there are many innovations I admire or am good with (bolt-on necks, new finishes, unusual woods, zero frets,....) there is one I was totally against that I am now totally for - sound ports.
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Old 06-17-2019, 07:41 AM
EverettWilliams EverettWilliams is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Bard Rocks View Post
While there are many innovations I admire or am good with (bolt-on necks, new finishes, unusual woods, zero frets,....) there is one I was totally against that I am now totally for - sound ports.
Same boat for me - seemed silly and Ben Wilborn convinced me. I don’t think they are for every guitar, but where builders design around it, it can make for a really satisfying playing experience.
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Old 06-17-2019, 07:49 AM
Earl49 Earl49 is online now
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Taylor NT neck, with shims to easily adjust neck angle making resets a trivial matter. UV finishes. CNC machining for better build consistency. Carbon fiber construction to eliminate the constant need for humidity care. Not specifically a guitar design aspect, but electronic tuners too. It's a good time to play acoustic guitar....
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Old 06-17-2019, 08:22 AM
zmf zmf is offline
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I'd have to say Tonerite. It's provided hours and hours of entertaining internet conversation.
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Old 06-17-2019, 08:25 AM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Over 55+ years of playing:
  • '60s Gibson/Epiphone acoustic "shred necks" - and the older I get the more I like 'em
  • Ovation bowlbacks
  • Onboard acoustic pickup systems
  • High-quality Pac-Rim imports
  • First-edition Heritage Eagle (an all-hog/all-carved 17" jazzbox, totally different animal than its '30s Martin R-17 predecessor and only produced for a couple years)
  • All-hog 12-strings (Guild D-1212, Martin J12-15)
  • Carbon-fiber guitars
  • Nearly all things Taylor
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Old 06-17-2019, 08:41 AM
jaymarsch jaymarsch is offline
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For me it was a sound port. I have no idea how "new" the innovation is but I didn't really think that what one would add would be positive. Once I had a chance to check one out, I really appreciated what it adds for the player in terms of feedback. My latest guitar (soon to be completed) has one.

Best,
Jayne
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Old 06-17-2019, 09:43 AM
gmel555 gmel555 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Bard Rocks View Post
While there are many innovations I admire or am good with (bolt-on necks, new finishes, unusual woods, zero frets,....) there is one I was totally against that I am now totally for - sound ports.
Yep, I think sound ports may be my next "jump". I need to play more of them but I'm definitely not opposed as I once was. (Maybe I'm anticipating my hearing going south...?)
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Old 06-18-2019, 10:24 AM
s2y s2y is offline
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About the only thing that I doubted was bolt-on necks. My main shop wasn't a Taylor dealer, so they did their best to ensure that you grabbed something with a dovetail. Somehow Bob Taylor found out that they were the best local dealer with several brands and now bolt-ons are innovative and they sell a lot of Taylors. Funny how sales people work, eh?

Being the youngster of the forum, I have seen computers and phones evolve. Why not the guitar? I'm all about trying new options, methods, and technology. Surprisingly, this forum seems to be more open to new ideas than the big electric guitar forum. Those guys won't try anything invented after the 1960's.

My personal favs:
1. Coated strings. Play more restring less.
2. Torrified tops.
3. Fanned frets
4. High end picks like Charmed Life and Blue Chip.
5. Bevels.
6. Artsy rosettes. Ok, those are just pretty and don't enhance tone or function.
7. Tone Rite. I feel like it helped with my baritone, which was really stiff when I got it.
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