In controlled conditions, finish being the only variable, an electric guitar will sound different

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by ScareDe2, Sep 27, 2021.

In controlled conditions, finish being the only variable, an electric guitar will sound different

  1. Yes

    24 vote(s)
    17.4%
  2. No

    114 vote(s)
    82.6%
  1. somebodyelseuk

    somebodyelseuk Tele-Meister

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    Problem is, you have no way of having two different finishes without having other variables.
    Two different guitars are two different guitars. No matter how hard you try, even if you transfer everything over, including the neck, the body is a different piece of wood. It's a variable.
    If you strip and refinish the original guitar, there's no guarantee you haven't removed some of the surface of the wood, and/or impregnated it with chemicals used to remove the finish, both of which change the physics of the body... a variable.

    You don't know what "scientific" means until you've done it for a living.
     
  2. pinchegil

    pinchegil Tele-Holic

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    Ok buy a set neck body from guitar fetish there under 100 bucks, take the paint out of the cavity and then copper tape it, build the guitar record it, leave everything in place on it, sand off the paint without taking off anything masking tape will be your friend, record it again with no finish, mask it again spray it wit a light coat record it again done!
     
  3. Mad Kiwi

    Mad Kiwi Friend of Leo's

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    A guy cuts chunks out of a guitar with a jigsaw on video with no change in tone, people build great sounding guitars out of concrete, perspex, corrugated cardboard, Stacked Crayons, 3d printed plastic, plywood and god knows what else and you think the finish is more important...?

    That you can get "stats" from a made up scenario to use later in life?

    DUDE, as I might say to my 6 year old....."more practice, and less chatterbok" (talking) and you would likely resolve this dilemma for yourself.

    Good grief.
     
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  4. naveed211

    naveed211 Friend of Leo's

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    You really like this subject matter.
     
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  5. Festofish

    Festofish Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Are we not on a forum? Isn’t this where we can talk about guitars in any aspect real, perceived or just wacky? Yes. If you think it’s a waste of time…move on. Have a good one.
     
  6. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    What if the wood doesn't like the color?.... how would it effect it's tone.?...

    would it sound more sullen and indifferent?...:rolleyes::D
     
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  7. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Poster Extraordinaire

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    It will depend a lot on if the guitar in question has had all of its negative energy dispelled using a common tool for this purpose...

    chickenfoot.JPG
     
  8. Old Deaf Roadie

    Old Deaf Roadie Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Maybe on a hollow body or semi-hollow. Of course there's going to be the guy that says he can hear the difference in his open pore finish, but I believe that to be either scattered coincidence or psychological. A solid body guitar has more in common with a piece of furniture or a lamp than it has with an acoustic. I am curious why all the finish questions from the OP? BTW, the only controlled environment we, as musicians, ever play in is a studio and the microphone doesn't care about the finish.
     
  9. Si G X

    Si G X Tele-Afflicted

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    How much thicker? wouldn't a thicker finish alter the position of the bridge in relation to the neck (presuming the finish isn't in the bottom of the neck pocket)
     
  10. Tuneup

    Tuneup Tele-Holic

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    Everything affects the sound of the guitar, will you notice? Maybe not.
    But if you coated a strat in latex it will sound different than if it's coated in lacquer.
     
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  11. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have to agree…my Fiesta Red Strat sounds faster, and after getting the pinstripes (instead of flames) painted on my Telecaster, it sounded faster, too.

    The only problem is that I play slow.

    So it ends up that my fast guitar, plus my slow playing, means that I’m a half-fast player.

    Anybody who’s heard me play will agree.
    I’m half-fast.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2021
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  12. Skyhook

    Skyhook Tele-Holic

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    [​IMG]
     
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  13. beagle

    beagle Friend of Leo's

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    The equine is long deceased...
     
  14. ale.istotle

    ale.istotle Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    If you can't hear the sound difference in a blind listening test there is no difference.
    If you can only 'hear' the sound difference if you know which guitar it is, there is no difference.
    My own thought - if a thin finish sounds better to you it just may be that the feel of the instrument improves the experience for you. Call it the placebo effect, call it the overall experience, call it mojo. Doesn't matter.
    I prefer the feel of a thin finish because it feels good in my hands.
     
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  15. Boreas

    Boreas Poster Extraordinaire

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    Not in my experience - but my experience is limited.
     
  16. Engine Swap

    Engine Swap Tele-Afflicted

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    Peeled or un-peeled?
     
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  17. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Poster Extraordinaire

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    But to seriously answer the question:

    Everything will affect the sound, to varying degrees. If that weren’t true, I could take the loaded pickguard off my Strat, screw it onto a cheap acoustic guitar and it would sound exactly like my Strat…

    We all know that wouldn’t work.

    The pickups, hardware, wood (density especially), construction technique, electronic components, and setup will all affect the sound…how much it affects the sound is up for debate (such as this one).

    Now, in my personal opinion:
    Pickups, electronics (ohm ratings of the pots, types of capacitor, etc), building technique (including set or bolt-on neck, body type—solid, Thinline/semi hollow or hollow body—and scale length) and the setup (especially pickup height) of the guitar are the largest factors in how a guitar sounds.

    Again, IMO, Second-tier factors include:
    Mechanical components, such as the type of bridge (string-through body, top-loader, wraparound, vibrato/tremolo, etc.), saddle material/type, nut material, and type of tuner also affect the sound…

    …and don’t forget string type and string gauge…

    Wood (including body wood and fretboard material) and finish affect the sound the least, unless you speak of extremes…a basswood body with 3mm of poly is going to sound different than a raw mahogany body…(of course, 3mm of poly finish is going to affect *any* body, but I was using the extreme exaggeration to prove a point).

    But all the factors above are what makes Guitar A sound (and feel) different than Guitar B, even if A and B had the same components/specs, were from the same factory run, built at the same time.

    I have three guitars that have double humbucker setups—a 1980 G&L F-100, a ‘72-reissue Telecaster Deluxe and a Dean VX.
    None of them sound or feel the same.
    Why?
    Well, different pickups and bridges and pickup placements and body woods and fretboards and body shapes and scale lengths and…
    You get the point.

    The final thing to remember is the player themself; remember, a lot of good/great players commented on how hard it was to play Stevie Vaughan’s “First Wife/#1” Stratocaster—possibly because of the big strings and high action, but other factors threw them off, too, and they couldn’t make his rig sound the way he did.

    Some people who have played my main Telecaster are surprised how different it sounds when they play it versus when I play it…even through my rig…they’re also shocked when they find out it’s a “lesser” hecho-en-Mexico instrument.

    Because picking a guitar is like choosing the right kind of underwear…I can’t tell you what you need, because we don’t have the same butt. What works for you won’t necessarily work for me.
    Likewise, finish and wood type and neck profile and scale length and…and…and…all contribute to making an instrument what it is, but no single component does that.
     
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  18. kennl

    kennl Tele-Afflicted

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    yes - it would sound different - ACOUSTICALLY
    as it would if the relative humidity changed in the listening space
    different - like when you have a ceiling fan in the room and think you are playing through a chorus pedal

    the test was performed by plugging in the instrument - which measures the pickup response, NOT the acoustic resonance of the body/neck/strings
    in the video the saw guy stated the sustain was decreased by "only" 1 second when the body mass was decreased

    that is literally a DIFFERENCE
     
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  19. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    Well, well said. I choose body wood based on weight - not density (although that is related to the type of weight) or type of wood. I believe wood type and maybe even finish has to have a minimal impact on the tone of the guitar, but I would guess (and yes - I literally mean I'm guessing ;) ) that the impact that finish variation on a solid body electric guitar has on tone is imperceivable by most, if not all, human ears. Once you add any processing at all, the ability to perceive that change in tone becomes orders of magnitude smaller, still.

    I find myself debating this, even though I find the debate pointless - no sure what that says about me ;) But the question to me is: why does anyone care if there are much better ways to alter/improve tone by changing strings, electronics, hardware or even doing a good setup? Surely the difference afforded by the change in a finish could be compensated with a minute twist of tone controls on the guitar or amp, right?

    Edit: Oh - and I'm also in the camp that believes sustain in solid body guitars is mostly related to age of strings and proper string contact at the nut and saddle. Maybe for bolt on guitars, ensuring there is good solid contact at the neck/body joint.
     
  20. Telenator

    Telenator Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    When hypothetical circumstances become more important than actual life experience, there is a whole other question at hand.

    The question here is purely hypothetical and has no bearing on reality because it is completely subjective and only serves to incite personal opinion that is not founded in fact, science, or even a reasonable garage experiment.

    The results of such a test are useless because they are subject opinion and conjecture.

    If we spent half the time practicing our instruments as we do with this nonsense, we might all be much better players. We'll, except for those who think theory gets in the way of playing their guitar. And away we go!
     
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