So how much of a guitar's sound is down to its shape and construction?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Blazer, Nov 13, 2019.

  1. Blazer

    Blazer Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    The debate on tone wood is still going on, does the kind of woods really matter all that much?

    But there's something else that isn't really all as much discussed here: how does the shape and the way the guitar is constructed add to its sound?

    This clip shows a 1969 Fender Strat which had been modded by it's owner who ditched its stock single coil pickups in favor for a single Humbucker stuck between the neck and middle position. Common sense says that there's no way that that guitar could remotely sound anywhere NEAR like a strat.

    However...


    Well it was built a strat, constructed as a strat, it looks like a strat so even with a single humbucker it still SOUNDS like a strat.
     
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  2. stormsedge

    stormsedge Tele-Meister

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    A great question! I'm looking forward to the responses from the knowledgeable and experienced folks here.
     
  3. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's

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    I'm not even close to an expert, but I'd guess that electronics and the various ways the strings contact the rest of the guitar have a much greater effect than anything else.

    In the case of Strats, I think that the combination of the scale length and the trem system are big-time contributing factors to that particular guitar's sound. Look at Clapton's Strats. He blocks the trem, but still wants a trem in there.
     
  4. Blazer

    Blazer Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Well, having built guitars professionally for 18 years I can say from experience that the construction and indeed the shape makes all the difference.

    DSC02107.JPG
    This is my "Son of fido" mutt guitar, I made it to use up parts I had lying around, it has a strat style neck glued into an SG shaped body made from walnut which also has the thickness of a typical Gibson SG. Underneath the pickguard it's a swimming pool rout, which is more Fender than Gibson.

    And yet, for some reason it doesn't sound stratty, its construction, the different shape and thickness of the body, the fact that it doesn't have the springs behind the bridge, the fact that the neck is glued in instead of bolted on, all contributes to that.
     
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  5. mikestearns

    mikestearns Tele-Meister

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    It has to play some kind of role. I have a Dimarzio 36th anniversary PAF in the bridge of my strat, and I don't think anyone would hear it and mistake it for a Les Paul. It still has a Fender-esque sound.
     
  6. Crawldaddy

    Crawldaddy Tele-Holic

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    My own anecdotal experience (so feel free to discount this) is that smaller, lighter bodies do not react well to certain pickup types if you want a beefier tone.

    Case in point, I used to own a Gibson SG classic, and even after swapping out the srtock P90s for Lollars, somehow the guitar lacked the balls to punch through the mix, unless I dimed the mids or something. Sold it in a bundle with a strat to get a Les Paul, which was the sound I was after anyway.
     
  7. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

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    So we all know this guitar, right? From the iconic photo used for the album art of "Women and Children First":
    [​IMG]

    Eddie claims it lost it's magic sound when he cut out the notch in it.
    Eventually he just gave up on it and let one of his fans carve it into this:
    [​IMG]
     
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  8. joeford

    joeford Friend of Leo's

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    i was reading on a zombie thread recently where somebody talked about how having a forearm contour on a tele made their guitar sound more like a strat... and how the ergonomics of a guitar kinda informs how you'll play. i think there's definitely some truth in there too
     
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  9. Donny Osmond fan

    Donny Osmond fan Tele-Holic

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    Shape has nothing to do with tone. Wood yes to some exstent, hardware but not shape. Or this gitar would sound like poo doo doo.


    [​IMG]
     
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  10. Toto'sDad

    Toto'sDad Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I have a gauge for that, after a scientific test, here are the findings:

    [​IMG]
     
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  11. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I assume it did. Have you ever seen a pic of Eddie playing it onstage, after it was carved up like that?

    Me neither.
     
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  12. maxvintage

    maxvintage Friend of Leo's

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    with solid bodies IMHO it's 90+ some percent the electronics. On a recording, you most of the time can't tell what guitar is being played.

    After electronics I think the scale length matters some. I think some of the sound of fenders is the sound of the longer scale length. Beyond that everything else is mostly BS guitar players tell themselves to justify a new guitar. I know, I've done it myself.

    I think the wood matters but the way in which it matters is mostly random and and has everything to do with the specific resonant frequencies of the wood from which its made. These don't correlate to species or shape: mahogany does not have a sound, neither does maple, this is a gain crap guitar layers tell themselves to justify buying another guitar.
     
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  13. Donny Osmond fan

    Donny Osmond fan Tele-Holic

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    You most of the time can't tell what guitar is being played. Dont tell that to TGP they can. And tell you what fret wire and type of gold plate. SHHHHH
     
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  14. El Marin

    El Marin Tele-Afflicted

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    [​IMG]

    Theese are my main guitars. The TEle sounds like a Tele, The SG... sounds like a Tele too

    Are there differences? YES, IMHO the same differences if you pick two Teles or two whatever same guitar in a shop
     
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  15. Blazer

    Blazer Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    NOPE, that's not the same guitar and you can tell by the fact that there's THIS picture which shows them both.
    [​IMG]
     
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  16. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Ad Free Member

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    If we are diving into guitar design as a portion of the sound it develops, no one seems to discuss where the bridge is attached to the body. To me this makes a huge difference for all sorts of reasons like body length and neck attachment point. Perhaps not quite as different as scale length, but electrical components not withstanding, I think the bridge location is paramount.
     
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  17. SamIV

    SamIV Tele-Holic

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    I do believe. You can try to approximate the sound of a Tele, Strat, and Les Paul in a different body shape, and they will sound similar. But stick to their traditional shapes if you want the real thing.

    I have a couple Ibanez SZ’s that are as thick as a LP, hav a glued in necks but are shaped similar to a Strat. It is also 25” scale. It comes close, but it does not have the balls of a LP. But it is much more comfortable to me than a LP. So it is my LP tone. F5E8EC1D-EEA9-4F52-92A6-86B090211458.jpeg
     
  18. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Ha ha, that figures. Another misrepresentation by EVH, in some guitar magazine interview
    :lol:
     
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  19. Ragin Cajun

    Ragin Cajun Tele-Meister

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    I would guess that scale length has a lot to do with it. I've got a Telecaster Special Edition FMT with 2 Seymour Duncan humbuckers, set neck, carved maple top, mahogany body. It has the 25.5" neck. It sounds like a Les Paul with twang!
     
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  20. Artslap

    Artslap Tele-Afflicted

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    SO if you had a Strat body with Tele hardware, what would it sound like?

    And visa versa. If you had a Tele with Strat hardware?

    IMHO it's more (in this rough order) the hardware (Bridge/PUs/Trem/String Through) and the neck attachment (Bolt On/Through/Set) that dictate the sound.

    Body Thickness then the hardware material (Brass/Steel/Etc) then the scale length, then the woods, all contribute from there.

    Shape? not much me thinks.

    ONLY my opinion. I'm willing to listen and be proved wrong.

    CP.
     
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