Stradavarius, Gibson, Fender: those old wonderful instruments......

Discussion in 'The Small Company Luthiers' started by Jim S, Jan 22, 2012.

  1. Jim S

    Jim S Silver Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    14,190
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2002
    Location:
    Incline Village, NV (Lake Tahoe )
  2. whomad1215

    whomad1215 Member

    Messages:
    754
    Joined:
    May 6, 2009
    There's been a lot of these lately it seems like. I sent one to one of my professors where they had samples of each violin that was used. He picked out the strad with the first note.

    comparing a strad to a vintage fender/gibson is kind of unfair. sure both were revolutionary in the design of the instrument, but the guitars have been around for 60 years VS 300
     
  3. NeuroLogic

    NeuroLogic Supporting Member

    Messages:
    999
    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2005
    Location:
    N. Canton, Ohio
    Tow recent blind sound test were done by experts re a Strad vs. new viloins. The new ones won every time per the article as well.
     
  4. 2HBStrat

    2HBStrat Member

    Messages:
    35,966
    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2009
    Location:
    East of the Rockies...
    It would be interesting to have a similiar survey utilizing old vs. new Gibsons and Fenders...
     
  5. Jahn

    Jahn Listens to Johnny Marr, plays like John Denver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    27,305
    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2007
    Location:
    NYC
    But old Teles cut through in a big woody western dancehall better than modern Teles - no fair to have it done in a carpeted hotel room!
     
  6. Pfeister

    Pfeister Member

    Messages:
    1,586
    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2008
    Location:
    Colorado
    Tone is subjective. That's often forgotten with those tests.

    I heard those sound tests a while ago. I picked out the Strad right away and I bet other luthiers could too. There is a distinct difference, but that doesn't mean one is better than the other. I thought the modern and the Strad both sounded equally great in their own way. They were very similar, but the Strad felt like it breathed more. To me, it sounded more "human".

    I do agree that the hype over many old instruments really is just hype. I won't go into specifics, as that's not my place.
     
  7. eddie101

    eddie101 Member

    Messages:
    6,067
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2004
    A less respectful view of Dr. Fritz’s study is offered by the violinist Earl Carlyss, a longtime member of the Juilliard String Quartet. “It’s a totally inappropriate way of finding out the quality of these instruments,” he said. The auditions, he noted, took place in a hotel room, but violinists always need to assess how an instrument will project in a concert hall. He likened the test to trying to compare a Ford and a Ferrari in a Walmart parking lot.

    Right off, I'd say this study is flawed. How many times have you bought an amp/guitar at a local music store because it sounded so good *THERE*? In a live or band setting, however, it sounds like $*** so you end up putting it up for sale at TGP with some lame excuse. Most of so called "light as feather" guitars sound like GOD in your *bedroom*. In a live setting, it's a different story all together. YMMV
     
  8. CharAznable

    CharAznable Member

    Messages:
    14,610
    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2008
    Location:
    Leesburg, VA
    Seems to me like a much hyped, superexpensive instrument should be superior in a dramatic, self-evident way.
     
  9. kingsleyd

    kingsleyd Frikkin genyus Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    7,932
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2005
    Location:
    Exit row seat
    To whom?

    Funny, whenever I've posted clips of my vintage PAF Les Paul and some other guitars, without telling which is which, the people who have significant experience with vintage Les Pauls get it right every time. Whether anyone else gets it right (or finds the sound of the vintage ones superior) is pretty much irrelevant from the perspective of those who are intimately familiar with such instruments.
     
  10. CharAznable

    CharAznable Member

    Messages:
    14,610
    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2008
    Location:
    Leesburg, VA
    For the collector, maybe.

    For the artist who is playing popular music for normal people?

    EDIT:
    let me rephrase...

    Surely a vintage instrument and a top quality modern instrument sound different... but is it obviously superior?
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2012
  11. kingsleyd

    kingsleyd Frikkin genyus Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    7,932
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2005
    Location:
    Exit row seat
    That's the thing, "superior" in what way? For that matter, what are your definitions of "popular" and "normal"? Splatt's comments about the classicization of electric guitar notwithstanding, I think there is still a pretty wide range of what's considered "good" in the electric guitar kingdom.

    From a purely functional perspective, and thinking about playing what I would consider "popular music for normal people," I'd say a current-day PRS would in a lot of ways be a superior instrument. Certainly I would say that my latest PRS is "better" than my vintage LP in nearly every aspect. However, if I wanted to play straight-up '60s vintage blues-rock, through a vintage Marshall or Fender amp, well then the vintage Les Paul would be very hard to beat. (although damn, even there, this new Ruokangas I have is right there...)

    In any event, the "much-hyped" part is pretty much a lot of hot air and not something I take into consideration -- either you know (through direct experience playing them) or you don't, and that's that. And the $$$ part is a simple matter of supply and demand which is its own thing and may or may not have anything to do with the actual functionality of the instrument.
     
  12. eddie101

    eddie101 Member

    Messages:
    6,067
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2004
    Hmm. Which model would that be? Say, a McCarty trem?
     
  13. kingsleyd

    kingsleyd Frikkin genyus Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    7,932
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2005
    Location:
    Exit row seat
    Something like that, yeah... :D

     
  14. eddie101

    eddie101 Member

    Messages:
    6,067
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2004
    Very nice. Are they stock PRS pups? If so, they are the best sounding PRS pups that I've heard to date. The ones I played were muddy, especially the neck pup.
     
  15. scott

    scott Member

    Messages:
    4,179
    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2002
    Location:
    Canada Eh?
    I picked out the strad right away in those clips but only because it sounded warmer and more .....I don't know old, I guess. It was a pretty obvious difference i thought. I actually preffered the sound of the modern violin.
    I've been around enough old guitars to know that just because it's old doesn't mean it's better.
    I remember a friend had this old beat up tele that he just loved, "if only it could talk and tell its stories" he would say....that tele sounded and played like **** but he felt it had mojo cause it was " vintage" . It was some sort of romantic attraction to it that had nothin to do with tone.
    People make up things in their heads that often don't have anything to do with reality.
     
  16. willyboy

    willyboy Member

    Messages:
    2,364
    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2006
    Not to derail this conversation but some of you may find this interesting. Certainly an interesting moment in my life:

    While I was doing my BA in music at UBC in Vancouver, one of the profs there, Andrew Dawes was asked to sub for the 1st violinist in the Tokyo String Quartet. Turned out the string quartet had been loaned a quartet of Stads (valued at $15 million at that time in the late 90's) of which the 1st violin was actually Nicolo Paganini's main axe when he was alive. At that time the four instruments were owned by a Japanese foundation. If I remember correctly Paganini's violin was named "the Cannon". Anyway, as part of the gigs, Andrew was loaned Paganini's Strad, built in 1724 I think. To make a long story short, he brought the instrument to the campus one day to show us the instrument, talk about it's history, and play it. I happened to be in a small classroom with a small group of violin students. It was amazing to say the least. Andrew played the same passages on the Strad and then on his very expensive circa 1770 Guadagnini. It was quite fascinating. Both instruments sounded incredible, but the Strad did have a certain quality, a penetrating depth of tone that was not present in the Guadagnini. Not necessarily better but different and exquisitely beautiful. It's a bit vague, but I think it had the original neck, scroll, body and varnish, but the fingerboard, soundpost and bridge had been replaced along the centuries as it had been a well cared for player. I did take a pile of pics that day which I do have and treasure. Andrew was nice enough to let me take a series of pics of the front and back of the instrument from a few feet away. He probably thought I was crazy at the time, but I had just been reading a few books on Paganini and felt like I was in the presence of the musical Holy Grail. Anyway, a real special memory for me. Perhaps I will try to post one if I have the time.
     
  17. sondich

    sondich Member

    Messages:
    623
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2010
    Location:
    Upland, California
    I agree and would take my hat off to anyone of note in the high-end guitar world who would put their reputation on the line to participate.
     
  18. kingsleyd

    kingsleyd Frikkin genyus Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    7,932
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2005
    Location:
    Exit row seat
    That's been discussed over at the Les Paul Forum. Doesn't seem likely.

    In the meantime, Paul Reed Smith hisownself bought a '58 Les Paul and has brought it to guitar/trade shows and had guitarists play it next to some of Paul's self-selected "best stuff." None of the pseudo-scientific architecture but some quality playing and listening. There's also this rather well-done demonstration that my friend (and TGP member) Juha Ruokangas did. As it happens, it's part of his masters thesis. Seriously!

     
  19. Jason417

    Jason417 Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    410
    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2007
    Location:
    Carmel, IN
    I've been fortunate enough to play around a dozen 50s Gibsons and Fenders, it was very disappointing, like finding out your favorite actor or musician is a dickhead.
     
  20. ib2010

    ib2010 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    807
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2007
    Paganini's main axe, off the charts in cool quotient !!!!!
     

Share This Page