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  #46  
Old 08-14-2018, 11:45 AM
nowgibson nowgibson is offline
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Originally Posted by Wistah View Post
I figure every guitar comes with 10 or so songs in it. You wring them out, then you go find a new guitar to play with until your old one replenishes its stash.

Nice side benefit!!!
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  #47  
Old 08-14-2018, 02:28 PM
jaymarsch jaymarsch is offline
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Originally Posted by jim1960 View Post
Can you explain what you mean by this? I've never heard a voice that sounds like a guitar so I'm not quite sure what this means.
Maybe that wasn't the best choice of words. When I sing and play my rosewood guitar and I am holding a note at the end of a line with my voice and the guitar is sustaining on the same note, it sounds linear - one dimensional. The two sources of the same tone mesh and sometimes the sound gets too fuzzy and unfocused. If I am playing a guitar with more fundamental and clear tone and I sing a note and hold it, to my ear and others that have had this discussion with me, I can more clearly hear my voice as well as the tone of the guitar as two separate sounds supporting each other. Maybe they are still the same tone but it sounds more dimensional and interesting. I have noticed this most specifically where my vibrato is used.

That is probably the best way that I can describe it and I am not trying to convince you of anything as I know we all hear things differently. Thanks for asking for the clarification as I am always happy to try and describe it more accurately if I am able. I do find that trying to find a way to verbalize or write about nuances in sound is challenging.

One other factor is that I think if I were a better guitar player, I might be able to control the sustain of the instrument better and maybe it would not be much of an issue. I'll let you know what I discover after I hopefully improve my chops.

Best,
Jayne

Last edited by jaymarsch; 08-14-2018 at 02:32 PM. Reason: Added content
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  #48  
Old 08-14-2018, 03:03 PM
jim1960 jim1960 is offline
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Originally Posted by jaymarsch View Post
Maybe that wasn't the best choice of words. When I sing and play my rosewood guitar and I am holding a note at the end of a line with my voice and the guitar is sustaining on the same note, it sounds linear - one dimensional. The two sources of the same tone mesh and sometimes the sound gets too fuzzy and unfocused. If I am playing a guitar with more fundamental and clear tone and I sing a note and hold it, to my ear and others that have had this discussion with me, I can more clearly hear my voice as well as the tone of the guitar as two separate sounds supporting each other. Maybe they are still the same tone but it sounds more dimensional and interesting. I have noticed this most specifically where my vibrato is used.
Hi Jayne, thanks for the descriptive answer but I think this simply comes down to a tonal preference. You prefer a stronger fundamental but even with that, there's still plenty of frequency overlap between your voice on the guitar (as the chart below shows). If there's more to this than simply a preference, I'm stumped as to why in all my years of playing, all my years of being around players, and all the discussion I've had with other players, the notion of matching a voice to a guitar has never come up. In those years, pretty much every topic that I've seen discussed here has come up in conversation but this one, so I'm still pretty doubtful about the legitimacy of the premise but thanks again for taking to explain your opinion. Cheers!

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  #49  
Old 08-14-2018, 10:45 PM
Thom PC Thom PC is offline
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Well. If I am not mistaken and remember anything from my music theory classes then the total combination of an instruments overtones is essentially what makes different instruments sound differently. So, the A 440 Hz played on a piano will be the same note as the A 440 Hz played on a guitar, however, due to the different volume profile of the overtones we can clearly hear a difference between a piano and a guitar. (There may be other factors at play as well, such as attack and sustain characteristics, but let us save that for another thread). So to me it makes perfect sense that some guitars might suit some voices better than others - just like you might prefer the sound of a clarinet+flute duet over a, say, clarinet+trumpet duet. A totally subjective preference, for sure, but I suppose that could be said about most things discussed on AGF!
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  #50  
Old 08-14-2018, 11:35 PM
Glennwillow Glennwillow is offline
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Originally Posted by highvibrational View Post
Hello,
As a singer/songwriter, I would like to know if any of you can recommend guitars that go well with singing voices in particular. I've heard that Martins with mahogany backs and sides sound best, but I would like to know your thoughts.
I'm a strummer and finger-picker, alto voice, of the folk/pop tradition. I cover John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan and am following their footsteps.

Many thanks!
This has already been said, but I'd like to say (or write) it again.

There is no best guitar for singing with. There are better guitars for different body types. Smaller people are often not very comfortable with larger dreadnought guitars. Paul Simon is a relatively small guy and he played a Guild F30. For women, an OM/000 guitar size often works well.

There are some people who think mahogany guitars are better to sing with, but I am a singer and I prefer spruce over rosewood most of the time. I think people sing with the sound of a guitar that inspires them. At least that's what I do.

As others have recommended, I think you should travel around and visit good guitar stores and find out what you like and what works well for you by playing lots of guitars. Other people on a forum like this are going to tell you what they like, but they are not you.

Best of luck to you!

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  #51  
Old 08-15-2018, 12:43 AM
AcousticDreams AcousticDreams is offline
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Default Singer-songwriter

I am a singer-songwriter of sorts.
I will say this, that in general the Mahogany & Walnut & Maple acoustic guitars allow the voice to penetrate through better than many Rosewoods
That is why they have been used in so many recordings of yesteryear. Those woods have a more fundamental note approach.
However, That does not mean that a Rosewood guitar will not work. And Rosewood guitars have worked marvelously for many singer songwriters. What I found, is I have to play a rosewood guitar differently and then it works marvelously. As you know there are generally more overtones with rosewood. So I might be a bit gentler with my strumming and picking on a rosewood.
For years I have loved my Mahogany & Walnut guitars with vocals. But now, I have developed a new appreciation for Rosewood as well with voice
Currently I am playing my rosewood more than the others.
So yes, I will agree that in general..there are some advantages to a more fundamental wood as Mahog, Walnut & Maple...but Rosewood also has a lot to offer...possibly just a different playing style and volume. Or at least, that is what I am now discovering.
But I do stress, it is the style of music, that will make the most difference on which guitar will work with your voice. Simon & Garfunkle music..which is generally softer voice and fingering guitar songs, might work best with rosewood. Townsend-Daltry heavy strumming might work best with Maple-mahog & Walnut
So there you have it. We are back to the old story, you need more than one guitar. ha ha.
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  #52  
Old 08-15-2018, 01:56 AM
rockabilly69 rockabilly69 is offline
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Originally Posted by jim1960 View Post
Buy the guitar that inspires YOU, not the guitar that inspires someone else.
This makes sense to me!
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  #53  
Old 08-15-2018, 03:12 AM
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Originally Posted by jim1960 View Post
Hi Jayne, thanks for the descriptive answer but I think this simply comes down to a tonal preference. You prefer a stronger fundamental but even with that, there's still plenty of frequency overlap between your voice on the guitar (as the chart below shows). If there's more to this than simply a preference, I'm stumped as to why in all my years of playing, all my years of being around players, and all the discussion I've had with other players, the notion of matching a voice to a guitar has never come up. In those years, pretty much every topic that I've seen discussed here has come up in conversation but this one, so I'm still pretty doubtful about the legitimacy of the premise but thanks again for taking to explain your opinion. Cheers!
My experience too. Like Jim, I believe it's down to a matter of one's own preference for the tonality of different guitars. 'Voice-to-guitar-matching' is something I've never heard of in 50+ years of playing/singing.

But, whatever floats yer boat....

The usual disclaimers apply......IMHO, YMMV etc.
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  #54  
Old 08-15-2018, 06:55 AM
Rmz76 Rmz76 is offline
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Originally Posted by RILEY31 View Post
Try a Gibson J-45 or J-50 or a Martin D-18 or D-35
These would be the models I'd recommend trying first, but don't limit yourself. You'll see a lot of people recommending these models because of their history with the best singer-songwriters.

The only trend I've seen (and mentioned many times here on AGF) is that vocalist that use a limited range and sing with a spoken voice technique as many folk singers often do, tend to prefer instruments with short sustain and a strong clear mid-range (e.g. J-45, J-200). This is pretty much the opposite of the "piano like" tone that most high-end acoustic aficionado's are chasing. Why is this?

The voice and the guitar are both instruments in the unplugged mix and the rule is that if the singer is singing, the instrument(s) should never overpower the vocal. With any guitar a singer can compensate for a loud instrument by changing their attack, but often that's not optimal and if the guitar has natural long sustain, booming lows and sparkling highs then even played softly it's still likely to put the vocalist in a situation where they are going to adjust their vocal to accommodate the guitar by singing a bit louder or altering where they sustain notes even if they aren't aware they are doing this. Singers with more powerful voices and wider ranges don't have as much of a problem with this. I think it's mostly folk singers, but it comes back to underline the point that there is no one size fits all with guitars. There is no "pay more get more" universal rule when it comes to finding the right instrument for making your music. It can take years to find the right one, but if you want a good head start I would suggest paying attention to what your favorite singer-songwriters are using. If their vocal range and technique is about the same as yours and you like the pairing of their voice to whatever guitar they are playing then that's an option you should check out. This is how the J-45, J-50, J-200, D-18 etc... became so popular with Singer-Songwriters to begin with. We have legends like Bob Dylan and James Taylor to thank for that.

The mindset "the sound man will fix it in the mix" doesn't hold up in an unplugged settings and you're buying an ACOUSTIC instrument so you should be thinking about how everything is going to sound for unplugged performances.
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  #55  
Old 08-15-2018, 07:12 AM
jaymarsch jaymarsch is offline
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Originally Posted by Thom PC View Post
Well. If I am not mistaken and remember anything from my music theory classes then the total combination of an instruments overtones is essentially what makes different instruments sound differently. So, the A 440 Hz played on a piano will be the same note as the A 440 Hz played on a guitar, however, due to the different volume profile of the overtones we can clearly hear a difference between a piano and a guitar. (There may be other factors at play as well, such as attack and sustain characteristics, but let us save that for another thread). So to me it makes perfect sense that some guitars might suit some voices better than others - just like you might prefer the sound of a clarinet+flute duet over a, say, clarinet+trumpet duet. A totally subjective preference, for sure, but I suppose that could be said about most things discussed on AGF!


Thanks for adding to the discussion. I did not intend with my earlier posts to suggests that guitars needed to be matched to voices but to say, as you just did so simply, that some guitars might suit some voices better. And, yes, it is all so subjective. :-)

Best,
Jayne
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  #56  
Old 08-15-2018, 07:15 AM
songman2 songman2 is offline
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Originally Posted by jim1960 View Post
This doesn't make sense to me. Overtones aren't random. How do the overtones between a voice and guitar clash? If you're playing a middle C note on a guitar and you're singing a middle C note, the overtones produced by both are the same. The 2nd harmonic is 2x the fundamental frequency, the 3rd is 3x, and so on. The harmonics are always an integer multiple of the fundamental pitch. One instrument may produce more audible overtones than the other, but the frequencies aren't different.
The same note on a guitar will not sound the same as on a piano and of course the overtones appear at the same (and many different) frequencies. That has nothing to do with it. It is the relative pitch and volume of these overtones that to a large extent make the typical sound or timbre of an instrument.

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What makes sense is if someone prefers hearing more of less overtones. In other words, some folks prefer a strong fundamental guitar note and others like to hear more overtones. But I don't see how there's any "clashing" going on unless you're singing off key. This really just comes down to personal tastes and preferences and has nothing to do with matching a guitar to a voice or clashing overtones.
I believe that is what I was saying. Whether or not things clash (to me) is about what you like or do not like in a particular combination. If you don't like the word clash then replace it with anything else that more or less means "does not sound nice together to me". And of course matching a guitar to a voice has to do with personal taste. I may like a combination which you may not. There is no mathematical formula. And this has to do with the type of sound the guitar and the voice make, i.e. to a large extent with the overtones (or harmonics).


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Originally Posted by jim1960 View Post
When you talk about EQing and creating space, that has less to do with overtones than with the frequency range each instrument occupies. When too many instruments occupy the same frequency range, mixes can sound muddy. The purpose of creating EQ space isn't so much about clashing as it is in allowing each instrument to be heard without stepping on others that occupy or overlap the same frequency range.

Again, I use the word clash to mean exactly that. The frequency spectrum of an instrument is determined also by overtones, certainly when playing individual notes it can be clearly seen. Play a note on piano and look at the FFT spectrum in a DAW in e.g. Fabfilter's ProEQ or Waves PAZ or anything similar. If I EQ then I influence the loudness of the fundamental and the overtones as you can clearly see from the peaks on the fundamental and all the harmonics. If two instruments have strong harmonics of the same frequency then they may clash (sorry) more than if not (or it may just sound good, personal taste ...). Whatever, it again has a lot to do with the harmonics, which determine the specific timbre of the instrument.
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  #57  
Old 08-15-2018, 08:38 AM
jim1960 jim1960 is offline
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Originally Posted by songman2 View Post
The same note on a guitar will not sound the same as on a piano and of course the overtones appear at the same (and many different) frequencies. That has nothing to do with it. It is the relative pitch and volume of these overtones that to a large extent make the typical sound or timbre of an instrument.

I believe that is what I was saying. Whether or not things clash (to me) is about what you like or do not like in a particular combination. If you don't like the word clash then replace it with anything else that more or less means "does not sound nice together to me". And of course matching a guitar to a voice has to do with personal taste. I may like a combination which you may not. There is no mathematical formula. And this has to do with the type of sound the guitar and the voice make, i.e. to a large extent with the overtones (or harmonics).
If instruments "clashed," for want of a better word, with vocals or other instruments as you claim, then live performance orchestras would sound terrible. This premise that what we prefer or don't prefer is based on harmonics just doesn't ring true to me. We're people with many choices in front of us. We're going to gravitate to some rather than others. Guitars, and music in general, are no different in that regard.

I never liked hair bands. I never liked beets. I never liked Rembrandt.
I do like acoustic based music. I do like broccoli. I do like Van Gogh.
These are simply preferences.

We prefer a certain sound over another, some things taste more appealing than others, one aesthetic is pleasing to our senses while another leaves us feeling flat. This notion that a whole bunch of folks here possess some hypersensitivity to overtones strikes me very much as an Emperor's New Clothes tale. I say that because I've never heard of it outside this forum despite many decades of music/guitar/performance/songwriting conversations with more people than I can count, many being performers with very recognizable names. If what you're saying is true, it would have come up outside of this forum. It hasn't.


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Originally Posted by songman2 View Post
Again, I use the word clash to mean exactly that. The frequency spectrum of an instrument is determined also by overtones, certainly when playing individual notes it can be clearly seen. Play a note on piano and look at the FFT spectrum in a DAW in e.g. Fabfilter's ProEQ or Waves PAZ or anything similar. If I EQ then I influence the loudness of the fundamental and the overtones as you can clearly see from the peaks on the fundamental and all the harmonics. If two instruments have strong harmonics of the same frequency then they may clash (sorry) more than if not (or it may just sound good, personal taste ...). Whatever, it again has a lot to do with the harmonics, which determine the specific timbre of the instrument.
I've had a project studio in my home for almost 20 years and I understand the reparative use of parametric equalization. We do that on mixes for two reasons: we may want to reduce the level of some offending frequency that might be overly present as a result of room reflections or the gear being used to record, or we want to reduce the muddiness of a mix where too many instruments and/or vocals are occupying the same space. I've never come across a well made and properly setup acoustic guitar that produced a consistent offending frequency absent the influence of the room or the gear. What we hear changes when we record in a different room or use different gear.
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  #58  
Old 08-15-2018, 10:13 AM
songman2 songman2 is offline
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Originally Posted by jim1960 View Post

If instruments "clashed," for want of a better word, with vocals or other instruments as you claim, then live performance orchestras would sound terrible.
That is obviously not a correct argument. If you were to put an electric distorted guitar to play along with a classical symphony that would most probably sound terrible. And that is exactly because the timbres clash. So it is important to put instruments together which do not clash, which are somehow in harmony with one another. In the same way it can be advantageous to use one guitar over another to accompany a particular song sung by a particular singer.



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This premise that what we prefer or don't prefer is based on harmonics just doesn't ring true to me. We're people with many choices in front of us. We're going to gravitate to some rather than others.
Exactly, but once again, the sound you gravitate to is determined largely by the harmonics. If you don't think so then might I suggest next time you sing a song you try and accompany it by bagpipes just as long as they play the same notes as you would play on your guitar (if that would be at all possible!).


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Originally Posted by jim1960 View Post
We prefer a certain sound over another, some things taste more appealing than others, one aesthetic is pleasing to our senses while another leaves us feeling flat. This notion that a whole bunch of folks here possess some hypersensitivity to overtones strikes me very much as an Emperor's New Clothes tale.
Once again, the timbre of a sound is mainly determined by its frequency spectrum. And I never claimed to believe in hypersensitivity to overtones, I do claim that you may prefer one instrument over another to accompany your voice and that difference in preference is determined mainly by the harmonics, since for two guitars all other parameters are virtually the same (envelope: attack, sustain, release, decay).
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  #59  
Old 08-15-2018, 11:38 AM
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I don't think it matters. As a stage prop you'd want a guitar that fits your on stage image that you want to project.
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  #60  
Old 08-15-2018, 11:47 AM
jim1960 jim1960 is offline
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That is obviously not a correct argument. If you were to put an electric distorted guitar to play along with a classical symphony that would most probably sound terrible.


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Originally Posted by songman2 View Post
Exactly, but once again, the sound you gravitate to is determined largely by the harmonics. If you don't think so then might I suggest next time you sing a song you try and accompany it by bagpipes just as long as they play the same notes as you would play on your guitar (if that would be at all possible!).
If you're only going to hear the "clashing" by matching note for note, there's very little about which to be concerned since it's not likely you'll find an arrangement like that. But the combination of acoustic guitar and bagpipes is fine.


As for the rest, I think we're in "agree to disagree" territory and I'll leave it at that.
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