any 'Grassers in here?...let's talk dreads

Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by evhtone, Dec 1, 2005.


  1. evhtone

    evhtone Member

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    I might be looking for a new dread for flatpicking bluegrass. If you love the 'grass and have a box that speaks to you when you flatpick it, tell me what it is and why you love it!

    I'm looking at these....

    Collings D2HA
    Bourgeios D
    Santa Cruz D
    Martin HD-28 LSV
    Martin HD-28V
    Martin D-28 Marquis
    Huss and Dalton TDR

    I should mention that I love the sound of rosewood. :dude
     
  2. kev

    kev Member

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    I will not even pretend to call myself a bluegrass player, much less an acoustic guitar expert, but based upon your list, Collings all the way for me please. Every Collings I've had my hands on has sounded amazing, and most of them have been brand new. I can't even imagine how good those guitars will sound decades from now with plenty of gigs to open them up.

    I would add Breedlove to your list of guitars to demo.

    Kev
     
  3. Gazza

    Gazza Member

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    Good thread. I'm in a simliar place as I'm looking to add another dread to the stable. I would consider the following models if I were you.

    Huss and Dalton DRH
    Goodall TRD
    Martin D-35(my fav)

    If I were you I would consider the DRH over the TDR as it has the radiused top, meaning more strength and projection. Although you can't wont go wrong with any H&D.
     
  4. evhtone

    evhtone Member

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    I thought the TDR had a radiused top, too? No? I wonder how the affects the tone? Isn't that a "different" approach compared to how these dreads have been made for many years?

    Hmmm....gonna check the H & D website to find more info.
     
  5. evhtone

    evhtone Member

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    I should mention that I have a 2001 Gibson AJ that just rips! Awesome guitar but I just want to try a D-28 style dread for some fun.

    I'm sure you guys know how it is!!!

    :D
     
  6. evhtone

    evhtone Member

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    Here's a pic of my AJ...a really different finish than most AJ's I have seen.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    Don't forget to check out the Santa Cruz D/PW guitars. They are fabulous instruments.

    Bryan
     
  8. jayn

    jayn Member

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    I've been getting into bluegrass in the last half year or so (in fact, the last three concerts I've seen have been bluegrass...yikes!). I start some lessons next week with the local guru.

    I've got a Martin HD-28V. It's a wonderful guitar. It sounds very woody and it's got plenty of overtones and complexity. To me, it's warmer than, say, a Collings D2H, which are also spectacular guitars if you find a really good one. However, in bluegrass jams (say 10-15 people in a circle with a good mix of instruments), it doesn't project that well during leads. It's fine for rhythm, but once you get off the wound strings, the notes seem to disappear. OTOH, it sounds wonderful when I'm playing by myself or with a small group doing popular tunes or folky/country stuff. I think of that guiatar as the singer-songwriter's friend.

    So, I've been thinking about getting another guitar for the jams. It seems like the best option is to get a mahogany dread with a red spruce (adirondack) top. My favorites in that category are the Martin D-18GE and the Huss and Dalton TD-M. However, I worry that the Martin would still get buried since it's so bassy. The Huss and Dalton is a very dry sounding guitar with tons of fundmental, less overtones. They seems to be built as meticulously as the Collings with a similar neck profile and they are noticeably lighter. So, to answer your question, I'd recommend the TD-M...that's the one I'll be looking for next spring when I get some cash together. I've only played one Collings D1A that I liked the sound of out of five or six. But, the guy with the D1A definitely sounded the best at last weekend's jam (that was also because he played the most tasteful breaks).

    As far as other guitars, well, probably my overall favorite dread is the Collings D1. However, it's so rich sounding that I would worry about cutting through. It's amazing when you play by yourself. The Huss and Dalton TD-R that I played was also extremely dry sounding (red spruce top too)...I liked the TD-M much better. Bourgeois makes great guitars, but I find the neck profile to be too thin front to back. The Santa Cruz D/PW is great, but I think it would have the same issues as my HD-28V (in fact, those two guitars sound very similar). I haven't liked any other SCGC dreads that I've tried, but I haven't tried the Tony Rice yet. I've also never heard the H&D's with the radiused top. I'm shallow and the cosmetics just don't work for me compared to the traditional looks. Their website talks about the tone differences between those guitars.

    As with everything, tone is in your ears. Ones that don't sound quite right to me, may be perfect to you. The other thing is, like amps, effects etc., the tone is so different when you are at the store compared to in the middle of a jam. Obviously, the jam is the ideal place to try out a potential purchase.
     
  9. evhtone

    evhtone Member

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    Yeah, they sound very nice. I've played a couple before but they are a bit bright for my tastes. Not by much though. They sure do FEEL great. Very lively response and you can feel the body resonating...I love that!

    One guitar that I was hoping would measure up to it's glowing reviews was the Larrivee D-60. The one I played was dead and lifeless. I was surprised actually. The strings seemed fairly new, too. It was at a really good shop...the Podium in Minneapolis.
     
  10. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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    Those are all top-notch guitars......you can't go wrong for your stated target style with any of them!

    I chose a Collings D1A over a number of other dreads....what an awesome direct response with the most classic of dreadnaught sounds from that guitar!! :eek:

    As with ANY acoustic instrument, there will be some variation between guitars of the same make & model, so I stongly urge you to "try before you buy".
     
  11. evhtone

    evhtone Member

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    Great info and much appreciated!

    See, this is the thing I am concerned about. I'm afraid if I find a guitar I love that sounds good all by itself, it may not sound great in a jam session. To be honest, I haven't even been in a jam before but I will be joining some people soon. My AJ should do just fine, but, as I said, I really want to try a Martin-style dread for good measure.

    I've always wondered about the tonal difference between Adirondack and Sitka spruce. Some say there is no difference while others claim that Adi sounds better. I've played both and I do seem to prefer the Adi but not by much. Very similar, that's for sure.

    I'm just going to have to make another trip to the Podium and spend some time with some good wood.
     
  12. evhtone

    evhtone Member

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    I did play a D-1A that I really liked. However, I am drawn to the rosewood tone for some reason. Maybe I should try that D-1A again.
     
  13. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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    The Rosewood tone is usually a bit richer.....more overtones.

    The mahogany sound is usually more direct.....more of the fundamental.

    Choose what you like, cuz in the end, your ears are the only ones that matter! :)
     
  14. e-z

    e-z Member

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    Nice to see a bluegrass thread here. Keep 'em comin'!

    btw, I'm looking at the Santa Cruz Vintage Artist. I have had a model F for 12 years and it just keeps getting better and better.
     
  15. Gazza

    Gazza Member

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    I was always told H&D did not radius these tops. There website also confirms this. After I initially said that however I noticed The Podium in Minnesota has some TDR's and their website states these have radiused tops. Maybe an error, maybe not. I'm assuming you've played these ones at The Podium?
     
  16. Gazza

    Gazza Member

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    I really like the D1A, I would love to own one. Although when playing the Martin D-18GE that is almost $1000 cheaper I think that is the way to go.
     
  17. jimmybcool

    jimmybcool Supporting Member

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    I'm not exactly an expert nor certain what makes a guitar better suited to bluegrass. I do know McPherson makes a nice acoustic guitar and if Rosewood is your thang they use that in some of them.

    Course, your list has no bad guitars from what I can tell. :cool: I've never actually heard a H&D in person but I like all the rest especially the Santa Cruz but thats just me.

    McPherson Guitar
     
  18. jayn

    jayn Member

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    Well, it's worth being concerned about, IMO, since it was my experience that there is a fairly substantial difference. :)

    With the exception of the D-18GE, I find Adi topped guitars to be tight and dry compared to Sitka which is more open and harmonically rich. As I understand it, the Adi will loosen up over time and sound much richer. I usually prefer Sitka when playing alone. I *assume* I'd prefer Adi in a jam, but who knows?

    Re: the H&D's at The Podium referenced above, H&D will do a lot of custom stuff as customer's requests so it doesn't seem unreasonable that they would do a radius top on the traditional series. Actually, that sounds like a great idea! :dude

    You might also consider a Martin D-18V. I've seen some listed for around $1300 used. OTOH, the D-18GE's have been selling around $1850 used lately. Both are screaming deals at those prices. A D-18GE has the Adi top and sounds nearly as rich as any rosewood guitar.
     
  19. evhtone

    evhtone Member

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    Hmm....good points. Maybe I should give mahogany another try? Those D-18GE's have caught my eye and the reviews are great but I have never played one. At those prices on the used market it would probably be worth it to take one for a spin.

    You speak of dryness or harmonic complexity. Well, I'm probably asking for way too much but I would love a box with both of those traits. I just got done watching the tony Rice Collection performance video for the bazillionth time and that's how his guitar sounds to me...dry, yet harmonically complex. My Gibby sounds similar actually. But it's not quite there. Of course, I could bring it to my first jam and it might end up blowing the roof off of the place!

    Regarding harmonic complexity...some guys I know equate that term with what I would refer to as "wet tone." I really disagree and feel that a "dry" guitar can have just as much harmonic complexity as a "wet" one. I'm sure I sound completely ridiculous right now!! LOL But this is why I have always liked rosewood...it seems like the best of both worlds to me.



    You got me thinking that maybe I should try a D-18GE now. :cool:
     
  20. evhtone

    evhtone Member

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    Great point and taken into consideration.

    :)
     

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