Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by RockinB23, Oct 26, 2010.
I'm a bit of a simpleton when it comes to guitars. It's all about knowing how a given config sounds, how to play it, and having reasonable expectations.
The two acoustics I play the most are polar opposites. One is a Taylor 12 fret and the other is a nice adi topped dread. The Taylor 12 fret does the modern fingerstyle tone to a tee and is very responsive to a delicate touch. The downside is that it has a lower volume ceiling and does not respond well to heavy playing. The low action and shorter scale length means my hands don't have to work hard to make it sing.
My DN is built by Bob Thompson and has a torrified adi top, and torrified rosewood back/sides. Grab a pick and let 'er rip! Lots of volume and great for flat picking. The higher action makes my left hand work much harder and some of my tunes are dang near impossible to play further up the neck. Another weakness is that it's not very responsive to light fingerstyle.
Like others have said, sometimes we have the worst seat in the house and the best sound is about 10 feet in front of us. If you ever wonder about your guitar, hand it to someone else.
I mention reasonable expectations because I feel that a lot of guitarists don't know what they want and/or how to get it. Sure, I'd love to find a DN that plays as easy as my Taylor 12 fret or a 12 fret that has the volume of my DN. Not gonna happen. If a guitar doesn't produce desired tones, are you playing it "correctly"? Small bodied Taylors are generally going to respond to heavy technique like a larger Martin. Side note: Taylor DOES offer several body styles AND you can ditch the cutaway, as well as adirondack as an upgrade. Different strings, different technique, and different picks can turn a modest guitar into something stunning.
If you ever made it to Winfield, Bob's guitars were well represented. The flatpickers do love them.
He mentioned Winfield once. I had never heard of it and don't get out much. I'd like to check it out sometime, although my flatpicking is very basic compared to a lot of the pros.
Nonetheless, Bob builds an outstanding guitars! I'm about to order an OM from him.
The sentimental favorite at the Walnut Valley Festival, of course, are Mossman guitars, Stuart Mossman (RIP) being one of the founders of the festival. If you get a chance though you should go.
… this is ONE interesting thread to say the least, and speaking from more experience than I really care to remember,... especially after my BD last Friday, and I realized I've been pickin' & grinnin' for 57 years...as someone in the Family brought up in question form, "...tell everybody just how long you been playing Pa?,...go ahead, tell 'em (our beautiful, and 'Cute' 20 year old Granddaughter beamed with the knowledge she thought only she knew,...*sigh*),...
… anywho, in that time period I can assure you that 81 is a very conservative 'amount' when your talking about/too an Old Vintage Collector, that by the grace of God has been given the chance to start over Collecting again (7 acoustics in the stable as of today, with another 15 electrics thrown in for good measure (LOL),...
… and I'm starting to wonder 'Why' I'm slowly and steadily gaining right back to where I was before I had to sell off the Collection, and I can tell you even though I acted like I wasn't bothered about having to let them go,...the very same Grandbaby also asked "...where's Great, Great Grandma's '48 Gibson ES-125 at?",...and imagine my response that turns out I was a bad steward for the guitar,...
… and after 34 years of protecting that guitar from even zero finish checking, holding myself totally responsible IF by chance anything were to ever happen to it,...it also had to be 'Sold' off to pay my Medical bills,...
...there was 3 guitars that I simply should NOT have had to sell,...but due the past administration's backing of a Corp. Bankruptcy,... a couple of thousand folks Worldwide suffered some great losses, and tragedy's...long story short, No Health Insurance, and Cancer don't mix if you have ANY means...
… as that 'means' you be screwed. I had quite the 'Value' in that Collection, but to be perfectly honest...if Mr. C. hadn't come for a visit in me,...I most likely would NOT do what I had promised my Wife we were going to do with the $$$ out of 'some' of the Collection, I would probably sold nary a one of them (LOL,...and got hit by a Bus, etc., LOL).
I just bought/traded for, took in trade, my very last git' fiddle though, as I just don't have the energy for any more...I have a very, very close Friend that I have passed the 'Fever' onto because he JUST updated his list for his Insurance Co. (he now has 78 acoustics and 10 electrics, LOL)...and besides a few lower $$$ electrics, a Blueridge BR-160 he considers priceless, he has some pretty fine, fine fiddles,...
… BUT, at the end of the day...one sure fire fact remains, "It doesn't matter the name on the fiddle, the sound/tone comes to rest in the hands of the Fiddler". Tom
After owning 81 guitars I figure the lesson learned is it is better to be rich than poor.
Not sure I agree with this one, though I won't argue it. Santa Cruz guitars sound amazing to be sure. But I find Bourgeois and Collings both play better. Santa Cruz Guitars always feel too tight. I find Bourgeois to be the best of the bunch, all things considered.
Good to know.
I recently learned of Bluegrass, which is enjoyable music and really fun to play. Never heard it growing up, which makes it feel nice and "new".
I've never played a Mossman or seen one. I live in the Midwest, so guitars the standard shop variants with little variation and we're kinda stuck in the 90's.
Santa Cruz guitars out-Martin Martin. I do, however tend to like Collings better. But given the choice I would buy a Kevin Kopp or John Walker before any of them.
I have very little experience with boutique guitars (H&D, SCGC, Collings, Bourgeois etc but, FWIW, the best guitar I have ever played for acoustic slide is my Bourgeois MS Sig. I chose it because that model was specifically designed for dropped tunings (not because I'm a Martin Simpson fan!), and because it has a fully bolt-on neck. Collings/Waterloo and H&D (Ithink) also qualify for my A list on neck joints, don't know about the others.
Goodall is a bolt-on, too.
Thanks for confirming it. I had it on my list with a question mark. Not particularly important, but do you know if it is fully bolt-on, or glued fretboard extension?
Lusting after the Santa Cruz Firefly.
I own some Taylors. Bob Thompson, KR guitars, and Greg German (archtop) are all bolt-on. Currently, my only set-neck acoustic is my Kronbauer baritone.
Cool post OP. On the five or six bullet points where our experience overlaps, my experience/preference is 100% the same as yours.
There have been bolt-on neck guitars since the mid-1800s. Even C.F. Martin Sr. built guitars which had a bolt-on neck you adjusted with a key. I only own one at the moment - a mid-1930s Kay Kraft with the Zorzi adjustable neck.
It's funny how bolt-on necks on acoustics and things like the zero fret were considered junk and now are available on high end instruments.
Given modern manufacturing processes, glued dovetail joints now seem downright neanderthal to me; I've come to see adherence to Martin-style design and construction standards as a very mixed blessing in this and other ways. There are many ways of skinning the sonic and constructional cats.