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Heavy guitars sound better...

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by aadvark, Sep 2, 2020.

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  1. Steerforth

    Steerforth Friend of Leo's

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    The way to figure this out is simple.

    In boatbuilding, there’s something called a, “skin-on-frame” boat.

    One of us needs to build a, “skin-on-frame” Partscaster.

    And then we need another Partscaster made of Argentine Lignum Vitae, or Brazilian Cherry or something.

    Equip them otherwise with the exact same hardware, pickups, tuners, bridges, saddles, even strap buttons.

    Then play each of them through the same amp, and record them with identical settings.

    That should give us a ballpark guesstimate as to whether heavy or light is better.
     
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  2. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity

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    Well . . actually . . there was a You-Tube vid floating around where some guy did an experiment mounting a string and pup to various objects.. the purest sound with the longest sustain came from a steel girder . it was still part of a building.. thus the mass must have been in the range of a few thousand tons... but it still sounded best... which prompts the old adage, a guitar is a study in compromises....

    Sometimes you just cannot have the "best" simply because reality and the ability to use the guitar as intended gets in the way.

    r
     
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  3. Mgeek

    Mgeek TDPRI Member

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    I watched a youtube vid of a guy playing a 59 Les Paul, 60s 335, 330 etc yesterday, and honestly I think above a certain quality level, easily matched by modern Chinese 300 dollar guitars, it's all good.

    There was certainly nothing about the sound of those guitars, in that video that made them sound better than say, a Danelectro. Different, not better.
     
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  4. Spooky88

    Spooky88 TDPRI Member

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    Warmoth posted a video of something like this.
     
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  5. DigTheTele

    DigTheTele TDPRI Member

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    Two of my guitars, a CS Strat and a Thinline tele, are on the light side and they sound fantastic plus really gigable concerning weight!
    If it’s ok for you choose a heavy one.
     
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  6. Upos

    Upos TDPRI Member

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    I like a heavy guitar. My Les Pauls are heavy enough but my Peavey T-40 bass is absolutely pushing the limits.
     
  7. aadvark

    aadvark Tele-Meister

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    Thank you for the very insightful comments, hepular and tark et al.

    I particularly like:
    "The argument that the pickups are electromagnetic and only sense the string vibration so the body and neck can have no effect on the sound, is false logic."

    To me a guitar definitely seems like a device where all of its components are contributing to its sound and feel. My '52, especially on the back pup, definitely picks up a bunch of sound that is not just string! (omg, next we'll open a can of worms: "microphonic is necessarily a bad thing".lol

    With regard to:

    Exactly how the body and neck behave is related to the density, stiffness and weight of the body and neck. The mechanical properties of the wood and the construction of the guitar are what matters, not what wood species is used.

    this also seems true, and I don't know much about wood, but presumably certain species do have tendencies towards certain densities, stiffness and weights?

    (this is veering dangerously close to the endless discussion on Sitka v Adirondack etc over on the acoustic guitar forums!)

    PS in my initial post, I was set talking about all of this after playing my semi-hollow body. and secondly, nowhere did Intend to suggest that the weight of the guitar makes you a better musician - although now having said that, a good instrument does actually improve your playing, doesn't it?
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2020
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  8. NoTeleBob

    NoTeleBob Tele-Meister

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    Thanks. Yours is the most definitive difference I've seen in two identical guitars... and then swapping hardware to show it's not the electronics. Adds a lot of weight (no pun) to the tonewood side of the argument.

    My thought on LP's... you also have the cap with the resulting glued attachment. Could be a lot of room for differences there. The solid SG is more definitive I think.
     
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  9. NoTeleBob

    NoTeleBob Tele-Meister

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    I don't disagree. I played unplugged for a couple months (long story :- ). When I plugged back in, there were things I had to re-learn and modify about my style. Mostly, things were "easier", but there were some things that were just different. If I don't share back and forth, that's an issue. Still, I like the unplugged practice... i.e. what I have to do/learn to get sustain unplugged is a major plus plugged in.
     
  10. NoTeleBob

    NoTeleBob Tele-Meister

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    Wouldn't that be almost the same test as comparing, for example, a chambered 7lb Les Paul with a solid mahogany 12 lb Les Paul with identical hardware... or maybe switching the actual hardware? I think I'll go hunting to see if that test is out there in pure form.
     
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  11. rz350

    rz350 Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    I've not read any of this thread except the title, my reply is "No they don't!" I have a 5.7 pound Paulownia Strat that sounds amazing, my 9 pound '79 Strat sounds great, but with my neck and shoulder damage I can't play it for long so the lighter guitar wins...

    YMMV......
     
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  12. Maguchi

    Maguchi Tele-Meister

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    There are so many "best" players, songs, styles of music and guitars that I can't choose any one as best. I like too many musicians songs and styles of music to spend time trying to rank them in order. The word best is a little dicey when applied to music.
     
  13. Maguchi

    Maguchi Tele-Meister

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    Yes, that is a good point. A Gibson L4-CES, an SG, a Flying V, an Explorer. a Les Paul Special with humbuckers and an ES-335 all have the same pickups, electronics and hardware as a Les Paul. If wood did not effect an electric guitar's sound, and only pickups and electronics contribute to the majority of an electric guitar's sound, shouldn't all the above mentioned guitars all sound the same. Well I have 4 of the above mentioned guitars and each one sounds significantly different than my Les Paul. My ears tell me that body wood, neck wood and fingerboard wood affect the sound of an electric guitar.

    Gibsons.jpg Wht LPS.jpg ES335.jpg Flying V.jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2020
  14. TPWastewater

    TPWastewater TDPRI Member

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    Legendary YouTube guitar geek, Phil McKnight, has come up with a scale of factors in a guitar that affect tone. I don’t remember it exactly but it goes something like; wood 5%, strings 3%, weight 4%, pickups 75%, the remainder = bridge, nut, tuners
     
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  15. TeleMonkey

    TeleMonkey TDPRI Member

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    Right, right. I'd love to see him haul that thing to a gig! Great tone, but tough to throw in a case. :lol:
     
  16. otto jackson

    otto jackson TDPRI Member

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    The heavy"resinwood" That Gibson developed in the early '80s to make the Sonex was supposed to be an ongoing thing for when woods grew more rare and expensive. It never gained favor for some reason, but my Sonex has fabulous sustain. It also has those crazy overwound pickups that put out 15mA, which could be part of the story as well.
     
  17. jamieorc

    jamieorc Tele-Holic

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  18. FrontPU

    FrontPU Tele-Holic

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    On this topic, I'd like to advocate Roger Sadowsky's opinion.
    (And recommend to read the whole article.)

    Finally, I wanted to discuss weight and acoustic resonance. When I started building electric instruments in the late 70’s, the conventional wisdom was that the wood was irrelevant and the tone of the instrument was all about the pickups and the hardware (bridges, brass nuts, pickups, etc). In addition, the priority was on sustain rather than tone. Over several years of modding guitars and basses, I noticed that my typical mod (fret job, new nut, shielding electronics, etc) produced different results depending on the instrument. Over time, I became convinced that the better the guitar or bass sound acoustically, the better it sounded amplified, regardless of what I did to the instrument. In addition, I found that the instruments that sounded the best acoustically, tended to be the lightest in weight. Of course, if you are a thrash metal guitarist, sustain would be one of the most important variables for you and would probably override many other tonal considerations. However, for less high volume music, the more subtleties of tone might take precedence. When I coach people on buying an instrument at a music store, I tell them to try to listen to several of the same model, made with the same woods, and play them acoustically. I will always put my money on the instrument that sounds the best acoustically will sound the best through an amplifier.

    From the article:
    Wood and Sound in Amplified Guitars and Basses
    By Roger Sadowsky

    https://www.sadowsky.com/wood-and-sound-in-amplified-guitars-and-basses/
     
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  19. go49ners

    go49ners Tele-Meister

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    The difference is less about weight and more about the type of wood. That being said, I much prefer something lighter!
     
  20. Peter77

    Peter77 Tele-Holic

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    Maybe this has already been up in the thread but there is an interview with George Harrison and Eric Vlapton Where George says that light guitars does not sound good as heavy guitars they tend to sound light
     
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