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Old 06-03-2023, 04:34 PM
Ralph124C41 Ralph124C41 is offline
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Default Question about Engelman spruce-topped guitars

I don't think I have ever played an Engelman spruce-topped guitar. I may have played a Yamaha once briefly about 20 years ago but that's it. I've always played regular spruce tops and I have played an Adi-topped guitar ... which seems very, very loud and brash.

A guy in another state has posted on another forum that he has an Engelman-topped guitar (I forget which brand) and he says he can't get very much volume out of it.

I know I'm speaking in generalities but is that true for most, or at least some, Engleman-topped guitars? I've read that Engleman is perhaps best suited for fingerstyle players (not me) or players with a light to medium touch (that's me!). I ask because I'm thinking about buying an Engleman-topped Alvarez and I wonder if I would have that problem. It's a PD80SCE.

I live in somewhat of a rural area so it's hard for me to find such a guitar to try out.

I've bored you folks here before with my tale of my mid-70s Guild D-55 that for some reason was both the heaviest dreadnought I've ever played as well as being the quietest dreadnought I've ever played. So although I don't need a loud guitar as I'm not going to any outdoor jams ... but I would like something that I and others can hear.
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Old 06-03-2023, 04:39 PM
FingahPickah FingahPickah is offline
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Here's a thread on Engelmann:
https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/...d.php?t=664326
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Old 06-03-2023, 05:00 PM
Ralph124C41 Ralph124C41 is offline
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Originally Posted by FingahPickah View Post
Thanks. Not too many comments on volume, however, but a couple did say Engelman has sufficient (albeit not ample) volume. The Adi topped I played was loud but I think it had few nuances of sound.

Just wondering ...
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Old 06-03-2023, 05:01 PM
K20C K20C is offline
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I recently bought a Ryan Nightingale with Engelmann top. It can get quite loud. Certainly louder than my D42 and Taylor 316, both with Sitka tops.
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Old 06-03-2023, 05:12 PM
martingitdave martingitdave is offline
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I'll be honest, there's really no way to generalize about Spruce, especially when the example is on either end of the spectrum. I've played Engleman that was as good as anything else. I've played Adi tops that were quiet and dead. In my opinion, it's all the quality of the materials and the talent of the builder.
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Old 06-03-2023, 05:14 PM
FingahPickah FingahPickah is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph124C41 View Post
Thanks. Not too many comments on volume, however, but a couple did say Engelman has sufficient (albeit not ample) volume. The Adi topped I played was loud but I think it had few nuances of sound.

Just wondering ...
Yes but so much depends on the individual piece of wood and what the luthier does with it - more than just whether it's Adi, Sitka, Engelmann, etc.

I have a custom build 12 fret SS dread (Engelmann/Black Walnut) that is as loud and present as my Sitka topped - Martin D18, D40 and Guild D44M.
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Old 06-03-2023, 05:19 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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Ralph, I own an Engelmann-topped walnut Larrivee OM that’s an astonishingly loud guitar, one of the loudest guitars I own. While I do agree that many Engelmann spruce-topped guitars can be on the quiet side, that’s by no means universal. It just depends on the Engelmann top in question.

Hope that makes sense.


Wade Hampton Miller
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Old 06-03-2023, 05:42 PM
Wellington Wellington is offline
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I own 2 dreads, a Guild D40 Traditional with a Sitka and a Yamaha LL16 with an Engelman top. The Yamaha is definitely louder than my Guild but there's a lot of other differences between the two besides the tops
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Old 06-03-2023, 06:29 PM
J Patrick J Patrick is online now
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As others have suggested, ignore the generalizations you will run into…ive owned five Englemann topped guitars…..Two Taylor’s, a Larivee, a Huss&Dalton and the Kevin Kopp that I currently own….they have all had something different going on with regards to tone, responsiveness and headroom…..but they have all been excellent guitars…
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Old 06-03-2023, 08:27 PM
jaymarsch jaymarsch is offline
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I have owned 2 Engelmann topped guitars and neither lacked volume or projection. Depends on the builder, the bracing, and the luthier’s overall aim for the final result. It seems that for every generalization, there are a number of exceptions.
Best,
Jayne
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Old 06-03-2023, 09:29 PM
Dogma Dogma is offline
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If you post this inquiry over in the Custom Shop forum you are likely to get some response from luthiers, which might provide a nice view from the other side of the bench.
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Old 06-04-2023, 12:09 AM
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colins colins is offline
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I play with a light to medium touch too. I own or have owned guitars made with five different types of spruce (including Engelmann) plus cedar, redwood and kauri. All worked well with my playing.

The three Engelmann-topped guitars I have owned (with a fourth on the way) held their own against all the others for volume. The sound was predominately that associated with the various builders; the Martin sounded like a Martin, the Goodall like a Goodall etc. In the case of the most recent one, Engelmann was the choice to pull a bit more treble out of the guitar while also allowing sensitivity to a light touch.
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Old 06-04-2023, 01:42 AM
Malcolm Kindnes Malcolm Kindnes is offline
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It really depends on the skill of the builder, it's impossible to generalise.
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Old 06-04-2023, 08:22 AM
Ralph124C41 Ralph124C41 is offline
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Again, thank for all of your helpful and insightful comments. Regarding that one guitar I cited, I imagine it could be either that particular Engleman wood or there may be something else going on with the guitar, such as bracing.

And I agree with others that each acoustic guitar is individual. I've gone to a shop and played three identical Yamaha guitars. One was a dud (somewhat), one was OK or a standard sounding one ... but one was really excellent I thought. But of course maybe the strings were newer or older on the guitars but they were all new so I imagine they had the stock strings.

Again this leads me back to my case with that D-55. Others have said theirs are cannons for volume while mine was more like a derringer I thought. I never found out why it was so quiet except, as I said, it was such a HEAVY guitar that I think the top may have been thicker than standard or there was something else going on with the guitar to explain the extra weight.

I now have no pause about buying perhaps an Engleman-topped guitar.
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Old 06-04-2023, 09:21 AM
FingahPickah FingahPickah is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph124C41 View Post

..leads me back to my case with that D-55. Others have said theirs are cannons for volume while mine was more like a derringer I thought. I never found out why it was so quiet except, as I said, it was such a HEAVY guitar that I think the top may have been thicker than standard or there was something else going on with the guitar to explain the extra weight.
.
Guilds tend to be heavier. I own a '73 dread and an '87 jumbo 12. Noticeably heavier than all of my other guitars, but "quiet" they are not.

The Guild D55 (Flag Ship Dread) was/is known as a serious Martin D45 sonic competitor. There may be other reasons yours seems quiet - i.e., over-humidified, strings, etc .

If you haven't already - try a set of Medium or Bluegrass gauge strings. I prefer phos-bronze or 80/20 depending on the guitar.. Some players say Ernie Ball Aluminum Bronze tend to produce the most volume.

Last edited by FingahPickah; 06-04-2023 at 09:48 AM.
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