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  #61  
Old 03-07-2018, 03:58 PM
Monsoon1 Monsoon1 is offline
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I'm with WHM on this. The bling can't make it sound better.
But it's quite likely that the highest standard production model gets the best woods and luthiers.
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  #62  
Old 03-07-2018, 04:16 PM
Pitar Pitar is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jim1960 View Post
How did you convince yourself that the 45 appointments increased volume and clarity?
I'm thinking there's some good humored tongue-in-cheek in the OP's purpose for the thread. To state that you're convinced of anything you tend to give a citation or two to qualify the stance.
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  #63  
Old 03-07-2018, 04:29 PM
Rick Shepherd Rick Shepherd is offline
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Play a few 28 series, then try a 40s series, then you decide.
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  #64  
Old 03-07-2018, 06:03 PM
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Dirk Hofman Dirk Hofman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Shepherd View Post
Play a few 28 series, then try a 40s series, then you decide.
Exactly. Have done, and they sound different without exception. Routing for the bling makes as much sense as anything to me, but could be any number of things.
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  #65  
Old 03-07-2018, 07:56 PM
RustNeverSleeps RustNeverSleeps is offline
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I don't buy it. IMO there are far too many variables from one guitar to the next - given the organic and unique properties of each piece of wood, how it's carved, glued, braced, etc - for anyone to be able to say that the bling has a discernible effect on sound quality.

To me, at least, the idea that a blindfolded guy could tell the difference in sound between 1) a guitar with D-45 appointments and 2) a guitar made to the same spec but without the bling, is pretty laughable. There will be a difference, just as there is between any two guitars in the world, but I'd be pretty amazed to see someone tell a guitar from the sound of the bling/lack thereof!
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  #66  
Old 03-07-2018, 08:33 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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I realize that this is going to irk the pea-waddin' out of some of y'all, but having played pre-war, post-war and every other kind of Martin guitar that there is, with and without abalone purfling inlaid along the edges, I honestly believe this relatively recent online meme asserting that Style 40 and upwards abalone trim along the edge "improves" the sound of the guitar is nothing more than an elaborate rationalization that employs circular reasoning deployed by affluent guitar owners trying to convince themselves (and, perhaps, their spouses or significant others) that these guitars sound "better" and are thus "worth" the substantial upcharge that getting all that shell encrustation costs.

Nothing more.

The routed channels along the edges of the tops and backs that the shell trim is glued into are as physically isolated from the vibrating plates of the instrument as it's possible for them to be. There are also channels routed for other types of decorative purfling, and - truthfully - the mass of the abalone isn't noticeably heavier than many other trims used by guitar makers.

Perhaps if instead of using abalone purfling, Martin started using depleted uranium purfling around the edges of its fanciest guitars then, yes, you might make a reasonable argument that those depleted uranium-trimmed Martins sound different than the Martins that AREN'T decorated with munitions-grade metal.

But abalone simply does not have that sort of physical heft. There's no mechanism described by modern physics that can account for a few ounces of abalone trim somehow changing the tone of the guitars decorated with it. Not when there are no significant weight differences between it and the wood that would otherwise be there.

The only plausible explanation, frankly, is "wishful thinking."

I also note that not a single "abalone trim makes guitars sound better" advocate has chosen to respond to my earlier pointing out that there has been a radical transformation in the actual abalone being used for this purpose: from the old hand-cut multiple pieces on older instruments like my 1988 000-42, or the eleven strips of laminated Abalam used on a modern Martin D-45.

Why the silence, guys? Could it be that you didn't know that, and so it would be inconvenient to try to come up with a plausible explanation of how the tonal effect remains the same even though the abalone itself that gets used has changed in a fundamental way in the past few years?

C'mon, guys, you can try a little harder than that.


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  #67  
Old 03-07-2018, 10:39 PM
Russ C Russ C is offline
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While acknowledging that I can't see any way that thin abalone strips are gonna make an audible difference I still question the usual claim that visually graded timbers can make no difference.
I know luthiers have fabulous ugly wood and lousy beautiful wood, but I do struggle with the thought that Martin have no idea how a soundboard will rate acoustically before they decide which model it will become.
Are bracing, thickness, timber species, neck profile .. bridge pins, blah blah the only ways they have risen to their position of respect? The rest was guesswork?
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  #68  
Old 03-08-2018, 07:21 AM
HFox HFox is offline
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OK...Let's end this thread.....I would guess about 35% of us thinks Bling makes a tonal difference and 65% believe that it does not.
I respect WHMs opinion but I also have to give the advantage to Mr. Hoover and Mr. Collings.
The fact that this thread became VERY Martin centric says a lot about the knowledge base of the contributors.
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  #69  
Old 03-08-2018, 07:38 AM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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Zorro, the reason that my own replies in this thread have been ďMartin-centric,Ē as you put it, is that weíve been talking about Martin style 40 through 45 guitars. In one of my earliest posts in this thread I made the point that itís not inconceivable that guitars could be constructed so that shell purfling could have a tonal impact, but not using Martinís designs.


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  #70  
Old 03-08-2018, 07:54 AM
Zigeuner Zigeuner is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wade Hampton View Post
I realize that this is going to irk the pea-waddin' out of some of y'all, but having played pre-war, post-war and every other kind of Martin guitar that there is, with and without abalone purfling inlaid along the edges, I honestly believe this relatively recent online meme asserting that Style 40 and upwards abalone trim along the edge "improves" the sound of the guitar is nothing more than an elaborate rationalization that employs circular reasoning deployed by affluent guitar owners trying to convince themselves (and, perhaps, their spouses or significant others) that these guitars sound "better" and are thus "worth" the substantial upcharge that getting all that shell encrustation costs.

Nothing more.

The routed channels along the edges of the tops and backs that the shell trim is glued into are as physically isolated from the vibrating plates of the instrument as it's possible for them to be. There are also channels routed for other types of decorative purfling, and - truthfully - the mass of the abalone isn't noticeably heavier than many other trims used by guitar makers.

Perhaps if instead of using abalone purfling, Martin started using depleted uranium purfling around the edges of its fanciest guitars then, yes, you might make a reasonable argument that those depleted uranium-trimmed Martins sound different than the Martins that AREN'T decorated with munitions-grade metal.

But abalone simply does not have that sort of physical heft. There's no mechanism described by modern physics that can account for a few ounces of abalone trim somehow changing the tone of the guitars decorated with it. Not when there are no significant weight differences between it and the wood that would otherwise be there.

The only plausible explanation, frankly, is "wishful thinking."

I also note that not a single "abalone trim makes guitars sound better" advocate has chosen to respond to my earlier pointing out that there has been a radical transformation in the actual abalone being used for this purpose: from the old hand-cut multiple pieces on older instruments like my 1988 000-42, or the eleven strips of laminated Abalam used on a modern Martin D-45.

Why the silence, guys? Could it be that you didn't know that, and so it would be inconvenient to try to come up with a plausible explanation of how the tonal effect remains the same even though the abalone itself that gets used has changed in a fundamental way in the past few years?

C'mon, guys, you can try a little harder than that.


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  #71  
Old 03-08-2018, 07:58 AM
walknbass walknbass is offline
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One point from the beginning that tends to confuse the OP's question? I dont know if its been addressed in the threads or not, but does bling improve the guitars or does it change the guitars sound, I for one with only about 25 years of trying to take the guitar seriously, would tend to agree that bling could change the guitars sound but to improve it would be a matter of ones individual taste.
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  #72  
Old 03-08-2018, 08:06 AM
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Dirk Hofman Dirk Hofman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wade Hampton View Post
I realize that this is going to irk the pea-waddin' out of some of y'all...
Not sure why one person's opinion on this would irk anyone. It doesn't seem to irk you that Bill Collings apparently disagreed with you,, as do many here nor should it. I haven't read anything overly convincing here either way.

I don't agree with your speculation on why people think it matters (rationalization), since I have never owned or considered owning a 40 series Martin and I find them to sound different, with more chime and complexity than comparably braced Martins. I don't lust after one, as I don't like the way they look. But I've played a bunch and they sound different to me, without exception. Could be the routing, could be any number of things. I could see the argument for "better" for sure, as I prefer more complexity in tone in most cases. The difference isn't major, but to me it's there.
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  #73  
Old 03-08-2018, 08:16 AM
mcduffnw mcduffnw is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wade Hampton View Post
I realize that this is going to irk the pea-waddin' out of some of y'all, but having played pre-war, post-war and every other kind of Martin guitar that there is, with and without abalone purfling inlaid along the edges, I honestly believe this relatively recent online meme asserting that Style 40 and upwards abalone trim along the edge "improves" the sound of the guitar is nothing more than an elaborate rationalization that employs circular reasoning deployed by affluent guitar owners trying to convince themselves (and, perhaps, their spouses or significant others) that these guitars sound "better" and are thus "worth" the substantial upcharge that getting all that shell encrustation costs.

Nothing more.

The routed channels along the edges of the tops and backs that the shell trim is glued into are as physically isolated from the vibrating plates of the instrument as it's possible for them to be. There are also channels routed for other types of decorative purfling, and - truthfully - the mass of the abalone isn't noticeably heavier than many other trims used by guitar makers.

Perhaps if instead of using abalone purfling, Martin started using depleted uranium purfling around the edges of its fanciest guitars then, yes, you might make a reasonable argument that those depleted uranium-trimmed Martins sound different than the Martins that AREN'T decorated with munitions-grade metal.

But abalone simply does not have that sort of physical heft. There's no mechanism described by modern physics that can account for a few ounces of abalone trim somehow changing the tone of the guitars decorated with it. Not when there are no significant weight differences between it and the wood that would otherwise be there.

The only plausible explanation, frankly, is "wishful thinking."

I also note that not a single "abalone trim makes guitars sound better" advocate has chosen to respond to my earlier pointing out that there has been a radical transformation in the actual abalone being used for this purpose: from the old hand-cut multiple pieces on older instruments like my 1988 000-42, or the eleven strips of laminated Abalam used on a modern Martin D-45.

Why the silence, guys? Could it be that you didn't know that, and so it would be inconvenient to try to come up with a plausible explanation of how the tonal effect remains the same even though the abalone itself that gets used has changed in a fundamental way in the past few years?

C'mon, guys, you can try a little harder than that.


Wade Hampton Miller
I nominate this for "Post Of The Year"

About as straight up honest and well reasoned as you can get...well done WHM!

And I say this as one who owned a 1997 Martin D-45, which was a truly wonderful sounding, and looking guitar...but...it was not better sounding than the 1997 Breedlove Ed Gerhard Jumbo that I used to own, which had no pearl bling or wood purfling/marquetry bling, and it is not better sounding that the 2012 John Greven custom J that I now own that has fancy wood purfling around the body edges. The D-45 was not better, it was just as good in it's own terrific voice, as were/are the other two guitars and their own unique voices. It has nothing to do with the purfling, and everything to do with woods used, and the construction of the "sound box"...the top, back, and sides together...and the caliber of work done by the maker.

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  #74  
Old 03-08-2018, 08:39 AM
Todd Yates Todd Yates is offline
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Wade,

I've discussed this with a number of builders and they all tell me that they get a different tonal response when tapping on the "box" after it's first assembled, routed for purfling/binding, and after the purfling/binding is installed. The affect is greatest on Style 45 instruments where every corner has a rabbet cut. Most of us don't have that experience since most of us are end users. I have to believe that if the routing and installation of binding and purfling affect the tone of the box, it affects the tone of the final instrument. I can't put my finger on exactly what I hear different in Style 45 Martins, and honestly I don't play a lot of them because they don't appeal to me personally all that much. However, I don't doubt that they are different in some way. Personally I wouldn't suggest "better" but I have little doubt about "different".

If we take all that at face value, I'd also suggest that solid pearl vs Abalam doesn't make much difference since the rabbet cut is the same and the weight of the inlay would be about the same.

Oh, and thanks for using the right term...Style 45. :-)


Series vs. Style

While we're on the topic, there is a difference between Series and Style. Before the mid 1990's there were no "Series" in Martins. For the most part, they were all build the same, which began to change in the 70's and was codified with the introduction of the Vintage Series, followed by Golden Era, and Authentic Series, 15 Series, and so on. Prior to that, all Martins were built the same, so a 0-15 had scalloped braces prior to 1944, just like every other Martin. It only used simpler woods and trim. Now the Series denotes construction (structural) features as well as trim and wood in some cases. So you can have a D-18 (all Style 18) in several Series - Standard, Vintage, GE, and Authentic. They all incorporate the basics of Style 18, but use different woods and structure.
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  #75  
Old 03-08-2018, 09:21 AM
jgreven jgreven is offline
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Default Wading the dark swamp waters, again.....

Iím rarely seen in these parts as I am totally swamped with work and have a low tolerance for guitar related nonsense, but in this case, I have not alternative. Iíll have to strap on my hip waders again.

Now, I am no expert on guitar making, I do not believe there is such a person in this field, but I do have SOME direct experience with the subject matter. I built my first guitar in 1966 and am currently closing up the box on # 2349, not to mention the hundreds upon hundreds of vintage instruments I have repaired and restored over the last 50 years. But I am no expert.

I can tell you that abalone trim does not in any way effect the tone of a guitar, any more than does herringbone or plastic (with the possible exception of the early Bozo purflings).

Think about it; these trims are firmly glued to the inset channel in the edge of the top that is itself firmly glued to the liners under the top and all of these things are firmly glued to the very rigid sides of the guitar. As vibration goes, this area on the perimeter of the top is as rigid as it gets, a null point relative to the overall top motion. The tiny mass difference between a .060" abalone strip and a .060" herringbone purfling makes no difference to the sound waves moving through either, especially given the null point factor.

It is, however harder to do abalone trim than other trims. It is also more expensive and labor intensive, so the cost difference at retail is significant for a good reason. Tonally, however, every guitar is only as good as the sum of its parts and not so much in the tiny details thereof. The quality of the top is crucial to the voice of the guitar. The type of trim around it is eye candy, tonally non-participatory and a great marketing point for the maker. To think otherwise is simply misinformed foolishness.

I will say that, as a rule traditionally, the higher grade instruments like the 42's and 45's were purposely made with the best grades of tops and hand selected brace stock as opposed to the lower grades of the same models, and it is to be expected there might be a tonal difference down the road. But it ainít the abalone trim doing that! Seriously, guys?
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