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  #1  
Old 03-30-2014, 09:59 PM
Rmz76 Rmz76 is offline
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Default Plywood is not tone wood?

I've heard the statement "Playwood is not tone wood" Yet by definition of plywood, layers laminate back and sides (even the nice type used by Taylor, Sigma, etc..) is plywood. As are the tops on high end classical guitars.

Since classical guitar luthiers are using plywood tops (again, see the definition of plywood) is it really true when you glue thin layers of wood together it is no longer "tone wood". It makes no sense if layering the wood together in this fashion really disqualified it from being tone wood then luthiers wouldn't use it... My Alvarez has laminated Rosewood b&s and it sounds great and I do wonder how much better it would sound if it weren't laminate and wonder if I would notice at all.
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Old 03-30-2014, 10:03 PM
muscmp muscmp is offline
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playwood, plywood, tonewood. . .let's call the whole thing off!

find a solid wood one to play as that MAY give you the difference.

play music!
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Old 03-30-2014, 10:13 PM
Teleman52 Teleman52 is offline
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All wood is "tone wood" isn't it? I don't know of any type of wood you can use to make a guitar that doesn't have a tone
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Old 03-30-2014, 10:24 PM
Todd Yates Todd Yates is offline
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The conventional definition for plywood is an odd number of veneer layers with opposing grain directions. The cheaper laminates used for instrument making some sort of "junk" wood for the interior layer and it is often at 90 degrees to the grain on the faces.

However, there are also better grades of laminated wood which use higher quality tone wood for the inner layer and the grain for all three layers run in the same direction. All laminates are not created equal.

Some laminated guitar do sound good, but all else being equal, a solid wood guitar is going to sound more lively.
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Old 03-30-2014, 10:31 PM
Hillster Hillster is offline
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What high end classicals are made with plywood tops?
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Old 03-30-2014, 10:42 PM
pgilmor pgilmor is offline
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I believe the OP may be referring to high end classical guitars that have double tops which, although laminated, should in no way be confused with plywood. There was a thread regarding double tops earlier this week:

http://www.acousticguitarforum.com/f...ght=double+top
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Old 03-30-2014, 10:55 PM
Jerry D Jerry D is offline
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A lot of laminated guitars sound good, but they don't age. A solid wood guitar, over the years, will sound better at ten years old than it did when it was new. A laminated guitar is gonna sound like it did when you took it out of the box when you are seventy years old .
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Old 03-30-2014, 11:00 PM
Zorker Zorker is offline
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PT boat hulls were made with plywood. Some hand craft instrument builders use multi-ply/laminates. Sometimes harder than the hubs of hell can be a good thing.
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Old 03-30-2014, 11:05 PM
Jerry D Jerry D is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorker View Post
Sometimes harder than the hubs of hell can be a good thing.
Not for a guitar.
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Old 03-30-2014, 11:15 PM
Rmz76 Rmz76 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pgilmor View Post
I believe the OP may be referring to high end classical guitars that have double tops which, although laminated, should in no way be confused with plywood. There was a thread regarding double tops earlier this week:

http://www.acousticguitarforum.com/f...ght=double+top
Yes, this... Two or more layers glued together = laminate. But as others have stated they aren't all equal. Sadly we have no system for grading quality of laminates since so many budget end guitars use them for back and sides. Most recently played a Sigma OOO-15m against a Martin OOO-15m, the Martin of course having sold mog b&s. Having the played the Sigma I would only shell out for the Martin version because of my desire to own "the real thing" but being objective tone wise, the Sigma version was on the money. I consider my ears pretty good.

With my Blueridge however, I could her a difference between the solid B&S model and the one with laminate b&s. So obviously my experience on the Sigma is not universal.
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  #11  
Old 03-30-2014, 11:34 PM
charlieD charlieD is offline
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Default Double sides

A number of high-end builders, following Erwin Somogyi, are using laminated sides, but with carefully chosen woods for the interior. The theory is that the two layers make the sides more rigid, and the entire body becomes more drum-like. The sides then transmit more vibration between top and bottom, rather than absorbing energy by deflecting. Or so it's been explained to me.

It also makes the sides less prone to damage.

Of course, we're talking about master-grade woods and top-tier artisan techniques here, not mass-production factory work.
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Old 03-31-2014, 12:02 AM
scottishrogue scottishrogue is offline
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Cool Plywood is not tone wood???

I have several classical guitars, and there is huge difference in the richness of tone, between a double-layered and laminated rosewood. One of mine has a solid Engelmann spruce soundboard (reinforced around the hole) and with double-layered rosewood back & sides. No inside cross-bracing on the back, which is arched. The top is also arched, with an elevated fretboard, but lattice braced. Better sound than my solid cedar/solid rosewood classical.

I also have a number of steel-string all solid wood guitars, as well as a few with a solid top, but laminate back & sides, and a couple all laminate guitars. Solid wood guitars sound the best, with the solid top/laminate back & sides a very close 2nd, and the all laminate guitars placing 3rd, even though with the right strings, I can get them sounding pretty good, too. String selection can make a huge difference in the tone of any guitar.

When I first get the guitar, it's not unusual for me to experiment with several sets of strings until I get the tone I'm seeking for that specific guitar. I might end up with a different brand, or different string construction, because every guitar is different. I use the "Taylor" method for string installation, so I can remove them for use on another guitar down the road. They all sound a little different, but that's the nature of the beast. Don't lock yourself into one type of string or a single brand. When you find the right strings for your guitar, you'll know it. They will sing to you!

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Old 03-31-2014, 07:50 AM
jeepnstein jeepnstein is offline
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Plywood produces a tone. Not always a pleasing tone but a tone none the less. My laminated Seagull sounds pretty good. My plywood bass sounds pretty good. My plywood "mahogany" travel guitar? Sounds like a six string ukelele.

It's not what goes into the guitar, but what comes out of the sound hole, that makes it good.
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Old 03-31-2014, 10:27 AM
Dru Edwards Dru Edwards is offline
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Taylor has just changed their marketing term for their "laminate" guitars to "layered woods" just so that it doesn't get mixed in with laminates, and potentially plywood, that are perhaps made of lesser quality. Taylor uses popular for the inner layer.

Seagull does a great job with their laminates.
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Old 03-31-2014, 10:36 AM
TexinOhio TexinOhio is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Todd Yates View Post
The conventional definition for plywood is an odd number of veneer layers with opposing grain directions. The cheaper laminates used for instrument making some sort of "junk" wood for the interior layer and it is often at 90 degrees to the grain on the faces.

However, there are also better grades of laminated wood which use higher quality tone wood for the inner layer and the grain for all three layers run in the same direction. All laminates are not created equal.

Some laminated guitar do sound good, but all else being equal, a solid wood guitar is going to sound more lively.
I'm curious about the above underlined sentence. Because the opposing grain directions in various plys is what DW Drums uses as their claim to fame in the current line of drums they produce. Their HVX shells are built around varying plys of horizontal,vertical and diagonal grains within one drum shell for strength and varying tone and pitch.

I admit I understand drums better than I do guitars when it comes to their construction.
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