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Old 09-30-2023, 05:50 PM
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nostatic nostatic is offline
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Default wife listening test - "that sounds more open..."

My wife is an artist (mostly sculpture) and has served as the impartial tone judge ever since we've been together. Today I did a fairly simple blind recorded test of four different guitars (through an amp) accompanying me singing a jazz standard. I asked her for her ranking and any comments, and she clearly heard differences. Her final order:

1. Collings OM1 JL
2. Anderson Raven
3. Collings I-30LC
4. Furch GNc-2 SW

Acknowledging they are very different instruments, but the test here was what worked best with my voice on the material. She first dismissed the Furch between that and the JL, then thought the Raven and I-30LC sounded very similar (both have P-90s in the neck).

Her comments were interesting to me. She described the electrics as sounding more "open", but when I dug a little deeper she said they sounded more like they were sending sound out into the room. The JL by contrast was richer but more intimate, and she felt like the sound was coming to her instead of out into the room. As for the Furch, she just doesn't care for the nylon sound.

On numerous occasions I've brought out an electric guitar to solo gigs, thinking they would be a better fit on jazz tunes, or they'd be able to do something my acoustic wouldn't. And every time I've been kind of frustrated with the outcome. Certainly not a sweeping generalization for others, but for me doing my solo stuff, the JL and dobro combination with singing does the trick. The electrics, at least for my stuff, need other instruments in the picture.

Or maybe if I buy a different electric...
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Old 09-30-2023, 06:19 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Originally Posted by nostatic View Post
My wife...has served as the impartial tone judge ever since we've been together...
Same here - in addition to serving as out-in-the-house sound evaluator on every gig, she's been in on every guitar purchase since we've been together - and if Mama don't like it, it don't get bought...
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Old 09-30-2023, 06:30 PM
Bob from Brooklyn Bob from Brooklyn is offline
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If my wife has learned anything from me these 30 years it's good beer & good guitars.
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Old 10-01-2023, 03:34 AM
Robin, Wales Robin, Wales is offline
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When I was last out looking for a guitar my wife came with me. I played quite few and my wife pointed to a 2009 D-18 and said "buy that one". I asked her why and she said, "because it sounds like an acoustic guitar is supposed to sound". So it came home with us, and it is my No1 instrument.
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I've played and studied traditional noter/drone mountain dulcimer for many years. And I used to play dobro in a bluegrass band.



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Old 10-01-2023, 05:44 AM
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Mbroady Mbroady is offline
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It’s good that your gal is there to help you, OP


My sounding board for all things guitar (and songwriting), that’s my Gal. She can not play, sing or write, and at times I ask her not to sing . But as an object observer she has a discerning ear, especially when I can’t help but be biased.
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Old 10-01-2023, 10:36 AM
Glennwillow Glennwillow is offline
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My wife, too, has always been a very good judge of guitar tone. I always have her with me when trying out a new guitar.

Regarding the accompaniment of jazz standards, I, too, want to use my very nice Eastman archtop guitar through a clean amp. But just like your wife, my wife tends to like jazz standards better when played on an acoustic guitar. These great old songs really do have a different sound and feel when accompanied on an acoustic.

Maybe our wives are hearing something we have been missing... I don't know.

- Glenn
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Old 10-01-2023, 10:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glennwillow View Post
My wife, too, has always been a very good judge of guitar tone. I always have her with me when trying out a new guitar.

Regarding the accompaniment of jazz standards, I, too, want to use my very nice Eastman archtop guitar through a clean amp. But just like your wife, my wife tends to like jazz standards better when played on an acoustic guitar. These great old songs really do have a different sound and feel when accompanied on an acoustic.

Maybe our wives are hearing something we have been missing... I don't know.

- Glenn
Glenn, my wife talks about "critical distance" in art. In her case it is getting physically and emotionally far enough away from the work to critique it and figure out where to go next. I think for us, that distance is very difficult to achieve as we're playing the instrument at the time, and it also is ephemeral (unlike sculpture or paintings). Recordings are the closest we can get, but that results in broken time/continuity and lacks the perspective of "the room".

This was the first time she had talked about a guitar pushing sound into the room as opposed to pushing it to her. And I agree with you that there is something about jazz standards that are different, though I've found a similar phenomenon with much of my yachtcoustic material. With jazz maybe it is the chord extension that want to be more intimate, or require a more subtle sound. Though clearly people have been doing solo stuff on jazz boxes for decades. Could just be my lack of technique

At any rate, interesting to see others who have spousal input on tone decisions. And yes, I think they are hearing/feeling things we can't because they are out in the room and we're stuck at the instrument.
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Old 10-01-2023, 10:54 AM
leew3 leew3 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve DeRosa View Post
Same here - in addition to serving as out-in-the-house sound evaluator on every gig, she's been in on every guitar purchase since we've been together - and if Mama don't like it, it don't get bought...
Yep. I'm blessed with the same team approach to live sound and purchases!
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Old 10-01-2023, 11:02 AM
Glennwillow Glennwillow is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nostatic View Post
Glenn, my wife talks about "critical distance" in art. In her case it is getting physically and emotionally far enough away from the work to critique it and figure out where to go next. I think for us, that distance is very difficult to achieve as we're playing the instrument at the time, and it also is ephemeral (unlike sculpture or paintings). Recordings are the closest we can get, but that results in broken time/continuity and lacks the perspective of "the room".

This was the first time she had talked about a guitar pushing sound into the room as opposed to pushing it to her. And I agree with you that there is something about jazz standards that are different, though I've found a similar phenomenon with much of my yachtcoustic material. With jazz maybe it is the chord extension that want to be more intimate, or require a more subtle sound. Though clearly people have been doing solo stuff on jazz boxes for decades. Could just be my lack of technique

At any rate, interesting to see others who have spousal input on tone decisions. And yes, I think they are hearing/feeling things we can't because they are out in the room and we're stuck at the instrument.
Yes, when we are right on top of the guitar, we really have a very different perspective about how things come across out on a room and of how the listener out in the room perceives the blending of these sounds for what sounds the best.

Maybe it's 20 years ago now that my wife and I and our youngest daughter were at a local resort lodge not too far from us listening to a really talented player playing jazz standards on two different instruments: a classical guitar (nylon strings of course) and an archtop with a neck pickup. My daughter commented that she really preferred the sound of the classical guitar for these pieces. I really liked the archtop, though the classical stuff sounded great, too. My wife thought they both sounded great, but also preferred the classical slightly more.

Maybe it's just preferences.

- Glenn
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Old 10-01-2023, 12:00 PM
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Most nylons that I have heard sound quacky when plugged in except for when it has a blended pickup. Your wife has a good ear.

Mine is all ears when I'm "too loud."
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