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Think you have Golden Ears? Take the listening challenge.

Discussion in 'Acoustic Heaven' started by thedavydark, Jun 15, 2017.

  1. thedavydark

    thedavydark TDPRI Member

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  2. Anode100

    Anode100 Friend of Leo's

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    An interesting challenge, but I'm averse to any 'online listening challenge' - be it amps, pickups, or even trees!

    There are too many other variables at play.
     
  3. soulman969

    soulman969 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I do believe the materials used in the construction of acoustic guitars will impact their tonality in an at least somewhat predictable way. But then so does the overall size and shape of the body and the type of bracing used. Whether or not tropical tonewoods are superior to non-tropical tonewoods is up to the decision of those who design and build them. I'll be happy to defer to their expertise and save myself the time and effort of listening to yet one more research project on the subject.
     
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  4. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

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    That's a fun exercise, but it's kind of absurd to think you can tell what a guitar is made of via a recording.

    There was a TDPRI thread a few years ago arguing about whether Garrett Martin's guitar on "El Paso" had steel or nylon strings. The argument went on for pages. Even when someone said his father had been in the studio when it was recorded, folks still questioned it.

    How many CDs, LPs, and mp3s that feature acoustic guitars? On how many of them can you say that your hearing rosewood, maple, mahogany, or anything else?

    On a recording (and, in general, even live), you can't tell (or at least I can't tell) whether it's rosewood or mahogany, a Taylor or a Martin, an OM or a dread, a cutaway or non-cutaway (that was debated to death hear a few months ago), or even (sometimes) steel-string or nylon-string.

    Same thing with electrics. Lots of guit-pickers think they hear Mike Bloomfield playing a Les Paul on Super Session. And he was - on the album cover photo. On the recordings, he was playing a Tele - like Jimmy Page on the first Led Zep album. Folks hear a Les. But it was a Tele.
     
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  5. ebb soul

    ebb soul Poster Extraordinaire

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    My life lesson might be " just because your old deaf ears can't hear it doesn't mean others can't".
    It would be wize to consider others .
    They're called either 'audeance' or 'patrons'.
    Consider Bethoveen.
     
  6. beninma

    beninma Friend of Leo's

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    It's really educational for me to listen to/play several acoustic guitars made with the same wood types and here them sound totally different.

    Right now I have an Alvarez and a Taylor, both have Laminate Mahogany back and sides and a Sitka spruce top. They sound pretty different.

    Then I could pick up a Martin (I demoed one before recently buying the Taylor) and it was also Mahogany/Spruce and it sounded really, really different.

    I'm not particularly hung up on type of wood. Whatever sounds good. If you listen to some of the stuff about sustainability getting hung up on the species of wood is not good long term as they really need to try and switch the market over to woods that don't take hundreds of years to grow to maturity and/or come from far away places. I listened to a really cool interview with Bob Taylor recently about how important it is to increase the # of guitars with maple back and sides.. cause they can then sell a higher percentage of guitars with US sourced back/side woods and replenish the supply in a more sustainable way. But the design of the guitars has to change a bit to sound best with Maple instead of rosewood/mahogany.
     
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  7. ebb soul

    ebb soul Poster Extraordinaire

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    Sapele' is the quick growth alternative to mahogany.
     
  8. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    The first guitar sounded immature and plinky.
    Then the blur of pedestrian classical guitar overtook my golden ears and it all sounded the same.
     
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  9. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Re: Super Sessions......Imlistened to part of that recording a listen the other day. There was no way I could hear anything but a Tele there. It was a thin and harsh sounding Telecaster sound, at that, imho. I don't really care for that sound. OMMV...
     
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  10. Jules78

    Jules78 Tele-Holic

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    Keep this in mind anytime you listen to a youtube video to discern the quality of sound of anything. This means pedals, amps, guitars, etc.

    Youtube's highest audio quality is 193kbps aac. Non hd videos are 128kbps. These formats have compression and are NOT of the quality that will enable you to hear subtle differences. Many audiophiles would never listen to a 192kbps audio file due to the inferior sound quality. CD for instance is 1,144kbps. This is 6 times more information approximating the sound waves of the recorded music than a 192kbps file. HD audio has twice as many bits and even higher frequency.

    What does all this mean? Imagine a sound wave. To copy that sound wave in a digital domain, only 1s and 0s are used. The sound wave is chopped up into small pieces. The number of pieces that it is chopped up into is the bitrate. More pieces means a higher bitrate and a more accurate copy of the smooth waveform. A 16bit audio file has 16 1s or 0s to represent each piece. So everything you hear in a digital recording is an approximation, a best guess, of the original smooth analog sound. Certain parts of the original sound are approximated and simply thrown out. Higher and lower frequencies are filtered out. If you are going to try to hear small differences in wood and the like, the best quality sound file is required and youtube isnt going to do it.
     
  11. raito

    raito Poster Extraordinaire

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    This reminds me of a couple things.

    First, I was listening to the radio on the drive in, to an interview with a guy who wrote a book about first impressions with respect to facial characteristics, a spinoff of some other psych research he was doing.

    One of the things he discussed what that there were relatively few female symphonic musicians through the 70's. Then the number made a significant jump in the 80's. Why was that? Did the conductor's suddenly stop being sexist? No... It appears that in the 80's the symphonies started doing their auditions blind, with a curtain between the performer and listener. No bias for appearance.

    It also reminds me of a thread on how to play Mr. Moto over on SG101. One person said that it was played a certain way. Another rather impolite poster insisted that the first was completely wrong. The impolite poster was then told that the first poster was the guy who wrote the song and played on the original recording.
     
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  12. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    But, but, I choose my amps and effects based on youtube vids where analog gear doesn't sound any better than digital!!!
    Are you saying that youtube makes everything into low quality digital, and that's where I choose my high quality sound equipment????
     
  13. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Silver Supporter

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    Even identical guitars have a discernible difference in tonal output, but I don't think a recording can pick up those nuances very well. I like the pursuit of determining these differences, but there is a lot of cork sniffing involved. Fun and interesting stuff, but I have to be playing in a nice room to appreciate the variety of tones provided from different woods. In the end, I think only the player can appreciate it and not the audience.
     
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  14. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Fine by me. If I'm happy, my audience is happy.
     
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  15. Jules78

    Jules78 Tele-Holic

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    Shhh dont tell everyone, there's a lot of people that need to make money off those pedal and modelling amp videos and people listening on their crappy phone speakers need to know what to buy.
     
  16. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yup! Some guit pickers, not all guit pickers. Photos can influence what people think they're hearing. No one expects the Spanish Inquisition, but if you expect a Les, you might hear a Les.

    I meet guitarists who are surprised that Clapton's Wheels of Fire version of "Crossroads" was played on an ES-335. They're used to seeing Eric with a Strat, so they hear a Strat.

    Personally, I don't pretend to know what kind of wood or type of guitar I'm listening to. I just pretend to know whether I like it.
     
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  17. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

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    Well - to your first question, Youtube isn't the place to look for accurate sound. Think of all the A/B gear comparisons that make different products sound exactly the same.

    To your second question, we don't know where you choose your gear.
     
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  18. thedavydark

    thedavydark TDPRI Member

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    The video isn't posted on Youtube - it's on a separate website with a much higher resolution. Of the people who have taken the test so far, some have been very acurate in finding transitions between the guitars. That takes luck out of the equation, and means that the audio quality is more than adequate for those who "have the ears."
     
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  19. thedavydark

    thedavydark TDPRI Member

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    All the research to date shows that there is nothing predictable about the influence of back/side woods on the tone of an acoustic (classical or steelstring) guitar. Among the variables that contribute to different guitars having different tone, back and side wood type seems to be insignificant.
     
  20. thedavydark

    thedavydark TDPRI Member

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    I agree. But the real point is that it's kind of absurd to think that you can tell what a guitar is made of simply by listening to it - be it on a recording or in a live situation. You can only tell what it is made of by looking at it ..........".
     
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