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  1. #1

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    I have guitars in my collection featuring a wide variety of tone woods and have difficulty ascribing tonal differences between them based on the wood selected for their construction. For example, of my three Heritage Eagles, one is all mahogany, another has a spruce top and mahogany back and sides, while the third consists of a spruce soundboard with maple back and sides.

    Applying what I have read over the years to those instruments, I would think that the maple and spruce guitar would be the brightest, whereas that is not at all the case. In fact, the brightest of the three is the all mahogany instrument, while the other two are about even.

    I would say that my consideration of tonewood selection has lessened over the years because of my relative inability to consistently hear tonal differences between instruments made of varying woods.

    Below is a sample of the material I've looked at in regards to wood selection. I was hoping to find out how much of this board's experience correlates to what has been written.

    Ervin Somogyi: Articles: Tonewoods in Guitars

    Alternative Tonewoods

    ToneWoods

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    I am skeptical about any and all opinions regarding the quality of the wood, carved vs pressed vs laminated, etc., in an amplified instrument.

    First of all, there are so many variables involved in sound production, which can be affected by external variables like humidity and temperature. A lot of opinions regarding tonewoods are based on received wisdom:

    The Heretic's Guide to Alternative Lutherie Woods

    Second, you are talking about a box under tension with strings run across it. Most of the acoustic sound comes from the air moving around inside the box. In the case of an amplified guitar, you are literally magnifying the electrical impulses from the vibrating steel strings.

    It was shown a long time ago by the master luthier Torres (the "inventor" of the modern guitar) that the most important part of the acoustic guitar was the soundboard, not the other parts of the box.

    "While Torres was not the first to use this method he was the one who perfected the symmetrical design. To prove that it was the top, and not the back and sides of the guitar that gave the instrument its sound, in 1862 he built a guitar with back and sides of papier-mâché. (This guitar resides in the Museu de la Musica in Barcelona, and before the year 2000 it was restored to playable condition by the brothers Yagüe, Barcelona)."

    Antonio Torres Jurado - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Not to say that tonewoods have zero effect on the sound of an amplified archtop, but the most important considerations would be the top material, the bracing and the nature of the pickups.
    Last edited by Doctor Jeff; 02-12-2015 at 12:41 PM.

  4. #3

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    I agree with the Doc.

    A lot of fuss is made about tone woods but in reality so many variables are involved that the quality of it would be lost in the mix.

    In theory a master luther would be able to get the best out of poor to high quality tone wood but then on the other hand, he could also make a cheap piece of non toned wood sound almost identical.

    I mean close enough that under a sound test, you would not be able to tell.

    Also no two guitars even if made out of the same lump of wood will sound the same

    When you put it like this, then yes the 'Tone Wood' debate appears to be more of a 'PAF' market ;-)

    More importnat to me is the bracing, thats what either makes a guitar sound good/balanced or not. Then it would be the Fholes as they do have great importance on the over all tone.

  5. #4

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    I need to pick up a guitar and test this, but if the back has no effect on sound, the acoustic character would be unaffected by whether the back was flush against your stomach, as opposed to at a slight angle, leaving it undamped, right?

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by nopedals View Post
    I need to pick up a guitar and test this, but if the back has no effect on sound, the acoustic character would be unaffected by whether the back was flush against your stomach, as opposed to at a slight angle, leaving it undamped, right?
    A solid back imo does sound better when kept way from the belly.

  7. #6

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    I really enjoyed The Heretic's Guide to Alternative Lutherie Woods . Thanks for posting it.

  8. #7

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    This is the most agreement I've ever seen in a thread on tone woods!

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by drbhrb View Post
    This is the most agreement I've ever seen in a thread on tone woods!

    Don't worry I'm sure thats about to change :-)

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by nopedals View Post
    I need to pick up a guitar and test this, but if the back has no effect on sound, the acoustic character would be unaffected by whether the back was flush against your stomach, as opposed to at a slight angle, leaving it undamped, right?
    Nopedals, Yes, I think your logic is correct. I sit in a room with 4 other archtop players each week. Last week, we performed this exact exercise, and that is what we experienced. I have no doubt that a slight angle which leaves the back free to resonate increases the volume of the instrument.

  11. #10

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    Hmmmm ... I think I'll just politely say that I disagree with most of what I'm reading in tho thread about wood and tone and leave it at that.
    My CD "Bare Handed" is available as a download at Bandcamp.com
    http://jimsoloway.bandcamp.com/album/bare-handed

  12. #11

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    I do believe that different tonewoods have an influence on a sound of a guitar, based upon their damping properties. However their sonic influence pales compared to the influence of the builder and top. A great guitar can be made from many types of tonewoods in the hands of a master artisan. This has been demonstrated time and time again.
    __________________________________________________ ____________________________________
    Bob


  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by ArchtopHeaven View Post
    Don't worry I'm sure thats about to change :-)
    I thank you for the segue . . I'll try not to disappoint.
    Patrick2 . . Heritage representative (now former)

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Soloway View Post
    Hmmmm ... I think I'll just politely say that I disagree with most of what I'm reading in tho thread about wood and tone and leave it at that.
    I'm with you. As a wood-a-holic, and player, It's hard to imagine that centuries of luthiers, players, and scientists have been wrong all along about this. It's best to just walk away.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by skykomishone View Post
    I'm with you. As a wood-a-holic, and player, It's hard to imagine that centuries of luthiers, players, and scientists have been wrong all along about this. It's best to just walk away.
    Its interesting how two people can get two different ideas from history. If anything history has told us that indeed the wood doesn't matter, well certainly not as much as marketing departments and builders want you to think.

    Science will tell you the fundamental differences in wood properties but no one is denying that. What I'm saying is that when you start cutting it and mixing it with other woods and variables, it all starts to become less relevant.

    Bob showed us this himself with the knotty Pine guitar.

    There is no debate but there are degrees within the debate that can be misleading (imo).

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by ArchtopHeaven View Post
    Its interesting how two people can get two different ideas from history. ...
    Bob showed us this himself with the knotty Pine guitar.
    Wow. He made 1. That's quite a poplar idea!

  17. #16

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    Like Jim, I disagree with those who say the difference is bearly discernible.

    Try sampling one of Bob Benedetto's top tier arch tops made with master grade European spruce . . then sample another, even from Bob . . or from a different builder, made with sitka. Try sampling two different Hertiage H575s . . one made with a sitka spuce top . . the other with a flamed maple. Try comparing an Engleman spruce top with a European spruce top.

    There is a reason that cello makers almost exclusively choose European spruce . . and almost always from the same country and sometimes specific region.

    Try tellin CF Martin that tone wood doesn't matter . . . or McPherson.

    Ask a well seasoned master luthier about how and why a spruce top with hazelficht (bear claw) will *generally* be brighter and with a more rapid response. Ask the luthiers at Ramirez why they settle for nothing less than what they specify when buying tone wood . . . where tone is a critical criteria for the best classical guitars and guitarists in the world. Slap a laminate flamed maple top on a Ramirez classical guitar and see how Julian Breem sounds (would have sounded) on that guitar . . then come back and tell me that tone woods don't matter.

    Of course, if you choose to route two enormous holes in an arch top for inset humbuckers, drill it out for four control knobs, fit it with a 6 oz TOM bridge, then slobber it up with a stickey gooy plasitcizer laden 25 mil thick version of something that's supposed to be NCL . . . . . then, yeah . . . all bets are off.
    Patrick2 . . Heritage representative (now former)

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick2 View Post
    Like Jim, I disagree with those who say the difference is bearly discernible.

    Try sampling one of Bob Benedetto's top tier arch tops made with master grade European spruce . . then sample another, even from Bob . . or from a different builder, made with sitka.

    Try playing two of Bobs guitars made the same way from the same wood. They're gonna sound exactly the same right?

    Then if not what is it your expecting this tone wood to do.

    Unlike Ronseel it doesn't do what it ses on the tin.

    Don't get me wrong, Im not saying there isn't a difference and that I myself am driven by those differences but once in a while, I come across a guitar that breaks all those rules. Am I supposed to ignore that?

    The problem I have, is that its all so massively subjective. Now I take each guitar on a case by case basis.

    Yes generally Maple is more glassy, spruce can be brighter and or darker with a quicker or slower attack lol

    You see where I'm going?
    Last edited by ArchtopHeaven; 02-12-2015 at 04:37 PM.

  19. #18

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    I have introduced myself here on a number of occasions as a hobbiest guitar builder. I actually took some classes from Ervin in choosing top woods for guitars. I have also met Bob and had him review one of my first guitars. He is a very nice guy. He brought the first guitar he ever made and showed it to me. Anyway, my thought with regards to what is being discussed here is that indeed guitars are pretty complicated. I don't know anybody who builds (including Mr. Taylor) who would willingly admit to any complete understanding of how guitars end up sounding the way they do. As a builder, I would say the best I can do is work towards a goal. If I am building a guitar for someone who wants a bright shimmery acoustic, I will work through the entire project making adjustments towards that end. Certainly tone woods are important, and maybe more important is the individual piece of wood (more than the species of wood). A piece of spruce can sound absolutely dead, or it can sing to you when you pick it up. How the guitar is constructed can compensate for tone woods to some extent, and there are many adjustments in things like bracing that can effect tone. Still, I am always a bit surprised the first time I string up an instrument. I think that for a given design, a luthier could make some good guesses as to how a guitar will sound with different woods, but it is still going to pay dues to thousand and one variables that govern every guitar's sound.
    My experience is largely building acoustic guitars where this stuff really makes a big difference. If you are building an electric guitar, you have to worry about the acoustics of course, but how the guitar sounds electrically will be driven by the acoustic tone and then heavily shaded by the pickups.
    All this is just my opinion. I have listened to some really great luthiers, but I am an amateur at best.
    Bill

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by ArchtopHeaven View Post
    Try playing two of Bobs guitars made the same way from the same wood. They're gonna sound exactly the same right?

    Then if not what is it your expecting this tone wood to do.

    Unlike Ronseel it doesn't do what it ses on the tin.

    Don't get me wrong, Im not saying there isn't a difference and that I myself am driven by those differences but once in a while, I come across a guitar that breaks all those rules. Am I supposed to ignore that?

    The problem I have, is that its all so massively subjective. Now I take each guitar on a case by case basis.

    Yes generally Maple is more glassy, spruce can be brighter and or darker with a quicker or slower attack lol

    You see where I'm going?
    Sure, I see where you're going. That's not the debate at all . . at least as I see it. The implied comment and resulting question from Klatu, the OP . . was based upon his sampling of his three different Heritage arch tops . . and stating that he couldn't tell [much] of a difference and therefore in his estimation, tone wood choices don't matter . . at least not to him.

    Of course when working with tone woods there are myriad variables. Solid carved spruce tops may be married with solid or laminate maple backs and may include solid or laminate maple rims. The bindings may be plastic or they may be wood. Only God might know what a specific luthier chose to use for tone bar or X bracing, kerfing and rim supports . . and how thick they might have been cut. (Then again, even he may not know). Similar species of wood will have differing densities of cellulose content, older and slower grown trees (due to less rain fall) will have different size growth rings and grain spacing, a 50 year old tree recently felled will yield planks with different tonal qualities than a 150 year old tree that was felled naturally and laid in a foot of water in a swamp land for the next 20 years. Then, we can discuss how . . and how long the billets were aged. Then we can discuss whether or not the loggers pissed on the logs after they cut the tree down . . and whether the content of their piss was Budweiser, Becks or Heineken. God help up all if it was Strabucks dark Italian roast!!!

    So we do not speak in absolutes as it relates to the effect tone wood choices have on tonal response. We speak in generalities. As you say, it is massively subjective and each guitar will be unique unto itself. But, more often than not . . an arch top guitar made with solid carved European master grade spruce . . and AAAA level solid carved maple backs are going to sound inherently different than those with sitka AAA grade spruce tops and laminate maple back and rims.
    Patrick2 . . Heritage representative (now former)

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick2 View Post
    But, more often than not . . an arch top guitar made with solid carved European master grade spruce . . and AAAA level solid carved maple backs are going to sound inherently different than those with sitka AAA grade spruce tops and laminate maple back and rims.
    There is no doubt that there is a difference between solid carved wood and laminate, so I would submit that the difference between said guitars would have everything to do with the laminated vs solid contrast and imperceptibly little to do with the AAAA vs AAA quality spruce top.

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Klatu View Post
    There is no doubt that there is a difference between solid carved wood and laminate, so I would submit that the difference between said guitars would have everything to do with the laminated vs solid contrast and imperceptibly little to do with the AAAA vs AAA quality spruce top.
    I agree...

    These non-standard grading of woods appeared over the last 10-20 years. AAAAA, AAAA and master grade are all based upon visual criteria like, grain count, visual runout, silking etc. and have very little to do with the set or billet's potential sonically. A master grade set is a set select by a master luthier period. It can be AA aesthetically or AAAAA aesthetically. They are more interested in density, cross-grain stiffness, structural runout, its seasoning and tap tone. Luthiers stock pretty sets because they know that they sell. Players love pretty guitars.

    Regarding European Spruce (e.g. Norway Spruce, Picea Abies), it is my favorite of spruces. Guys like Rudolph Bachmann, Martin Guhl, John Preston and Rivolta all supply wonderful sets and billets. That being said, there is huge overlap between the species. Great guitars can be made from North American species such as Engelmann and Lutz spruce as well. In the end, it is about the individual set and the person crafting the guitars ability to find the music in the tree.

    My $.02
    Last edited by iim7V7IM7; 02-12-2015 at 06:04 PM.
    __________________________________________________ ____________________________________
    Bob


  23. #22
    a friend of mine just bought 2 SJ200s, one with koa and one with walnut back. Same build, same top, same etc. The sound of these two guitars is as different as night and day. Recordings with equal strings and ultra-high qual studio mics were made, acoustic and amplified, and the comparison makes one really wonder. Yes, that's flattops and not archtops, but I believe still an interesting reference point in this discussion.

  24. #23

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    Same stuff, different day ... I posted this last week in a thread here that also discussed the impact of wood (among other things) ... I still stand by this. I would also suggest to some folks that if you don't find the answer you expect, do not assume that no answers exist. That is not a logical certainty. You may even be asking the wrong question.

    I'll make some blanket statements about tone wood and those statements are based on experiences with a LOT of guitars with the exact same construction type and design specifications. I did a lot of controlled experiments changing only one or two variables at a time and I have some beliefs that I think are pretty well founded and realistic.

    First, I believe is that wood types do not have a specific tonal response but rather a range of possible reposes that fit into a tonal type. Take a sample of many guitars with identical construction,wood and electronics and they won't all sound the same but they will all (or at least almost all) fit into the specified tonal range.

    Second, I believe that different wood types have their own tonal ranges. Those ranges may overlap in some instance and not in others.

    Third, I believe that once the woods, design, building method and electronics have been selected, an experienced builder can describe the tonal range into which a guitar will fit before the first piece of wood has been cut and be right in the overwhelming majority of instances.

    All of that adds up to this: I believe that tone wood makes a difference. That difference is not 100% predictable and it is not narrowly specific but it is real and in a large sample will overwhelmingly fit the tonal range anticipated by an experienced builder.
    Last edited by Jim Soloway; 02-12-2015 at 06:03 PM.
    My CD "Bare Handed" is available as a download at Bandcamp.com
    http://jimsoloway.bandcamp.com/album/bare-handed

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Socalbill View Post
    I have also met Bob and had him review one of my first guitars. He is a very nice guy. He brought the first guitar he ever made and showed it to me.
    Out of curiosity, what were your impressions of Bob's first build?
    Jay

    'boobadoobadoobaooababop!'

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by iim7V7IM7 View Post
    <snip> A great guitar can be made from many types of tonewoods in the hands of a master artisan. <snip>
    True. But what about a factory guitar as played by 98.75% of those reading this thread? For the most part, in a factory guitar everything is pretty much done the same so there are no special considerations for variations in a given wood sample. In this environment a species is selected on general suitability, cost, and availability. Unless there is a readily detectable flaw, all sets are applied regardless of their potential or lack thereof. Guitar tonewoods will be left to perform 'on average' and are not uniquely tuned by master artisans.

    Does wood selection matter in an acoustic archtop or flat top? Absolutely. Does it matter in an electric archtop? I'm not convinced when it comes to stage volumes but running a 5 watt amp late at night listening to each nuance of the sound it likely does.
    Hell is full of musical amateurs - George Bernard Shaw

  27. #26

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    There are some factory guitars as good as the finest luthier made guitars. But that's just it isn't. When you build to dimension and not in response to the materials you are using, some guitars will be "ok", some will be "good" and some "great". Hence the need to audition many of the same model in order to find the "winner".

    There are different risks that a buyer trades-off when buying a luthier made instrument. You typically can't audition them in advance and rely upon effective communication between a client and a builder. This aspect can vary greatly (both client and luthier). When it works, its fantastic; but there are misses now and then. People get concerned when buying a guitar site unseen because they mistakenly carry the experience of factory audition paradigm with them.

    I do believe back/side wood does influence sound, but their influence pales in comparison to the influence of the builder, their design and the selection and voicing of the top. I do agree with you that it has a greater influence on acoustic instruments than electric instruments. That being said, I do hear differences but you are adding pickups, pots, caps, cables and amps into the mix.

    The simplest way to illustrate my belief is through this example. If I had a choice of a guitar made by a better luthier in "standard" woods vs. a guitar made by a lesser skilled luthier but using the most "premium" woods for the same price, I would choose the former every time. In my experience more "magic" lies there.

    Quote Originally Posted by Spook410 View Post
    True. But what about a factory guitar as played by 98.75% of those reading this thread? For the most part, in a factory guitar everything is pretty much done the same so there are no special considerations for variations in a given wood sample. In this environment a species is selected on general suitability, cost, and availability. Unless there is a readily detectable flaw, all sets are applied regardless of their potential or lack thereof. Guitar tonewoods will be left to perform 'on average' and are not uniquely tuned by master artisans.

    Does wood selection matter in an acoustic archtop or flat top? Absolutely. Does it matter in an electric archtop? I'm not convinced when it comes to stage volumes but running a 5 watt amp late at night listening to each nuance of the sound it likely does.
    __________________________________________________ ____________________________________
    Bob


  28. #27

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    Although the guitars in this video are flat-top acoustics - not arch-tops - it's a good example of sound produced by various woods:


  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by iim7V7IM7 View Post
    There are some factory guitars as good as the finest luthier made guitars. But that's just it isn't. When you build to dimension and not in response to the materials you are using, some guitars will be "ok", some will be "good" and some "great". Hence the need to audition many of the same model in order to find the "winner".

    There are different risks that a buyer trades-off when buying a luthier made instrument. You typically can't audition them in advance and rely upon effective communication between a client and a builder. This aspect can vary greatly (both client and luthier). When it works, its fantastic; but there are misses now and then. People get concerned when buying a guitar site unseen because they mistakenly carry the experience of factory audition paradigm with them.

    I do believe back/side wood does influence sound, but their influence pales in comparison to the influence of the builder, their design and the selection and voicing of the top. I do agree with you that it has a greater influence on acoustic instruments than electric instruments. That being said, I do hear differences but you are adding pickups, pots, caps, cables and amps into the mix.

    The simplest way to illustrate my belief is through this example. If I had a choice of a guitar made by a better luthier in "standard" woods vs. a guitar made by a lesser skilled luthier but using the most "premium" woods for the same price, I would choose the former every time. In my experience more "magic" lies there.
    Great post.

    The last paragraph, my gold standard is . . best luthier and best wood (available). Also, I'm a bit confused by the portion of the sentence I highlighted above from you post. Please expand on that.
    Patrick2 . . Heritage representative (now former)

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by nopedals View Post
    I need to pick up a guitar and test this, but if the back has no effect on sound, the acoustic character would be unaffected by whether the back was flush against your stomach, as opposed to at a slight angle, leaving it undamped, right?



    This depends. Right now there are two general schools of building: the first is to make everything but the soundboard as rigid as possible, so none of the energy is "stolen" from the soundboard, therefore increasing sustain. A very good example of this is the Smallman style for building classical guitars. The second is to build lightly and allow everything to vibrate. I haven't built enough to decide which I prefer, but both methods create excellent guitars. So, to answer your question: damping the back would have an effect if it was build in this second school, but not in the first.

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by iim7V7IM7 View Post
    I agree...

    These non-standard grading of woods appeared over the last 10-20 years. AAAAA, AAAA and master grade are all based upon visual criteria like, grain count, visual runout, silking etc. and have very little to do with the set or billet's potential sonically. A master grade set is a set select by a master luthier period. It can be AA aesthetically or AAAAA aesthetically. They are more interested in density, cross-grain stiffness, structural runout, its seasoning and tap tone. Luthiers stock pretty sets because they know that they sell. Players love pretty guitars.

    Regarding European Spruce (e.g. Norway Spruce, Picea Abies), it is my favorite of spruces. Guys like Rudolph Bachmann, Martin Guhl, John Preston and Rivolta all supply wonderful sets and billets. That being said, there is huge overlap between the species. Great guitars can be made from North American species such as Engelmann and Lutz spruce as well. In the end, it is about the individual set and the person crafting the guitars ability to find the music in the tree.

    My $.02
    The qualities you mentioned above (highlighted) are believed (by some pretty high profile luthiers) to contribute to tonal differences due to differences in density. I had this same conversation with Comins at a Philadelphia Guitar Show about 3 years ago. The grading, while most specifically references aesthetics, as you indicated, also lends itself to characterists affecting tone. Exalmpe; very wide grain European spruce, with less lines per inch vs very tight grain with more lines per square inch. Similarly with hazelficht indicating a very slow growth and very old tree.

    Jim Deurloo mentioned the same thing when he and I were looking at a Super Eagle with the wildest imaginable medular rays I'd ever seen. He commented that this type of spruce will more often than not produce a brighter tone than similar spruce with little or no pronounced cross medular rays. (silking)
    Patrick2 . . Heritage representative (now former)

  32. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jehu View Post
    Out of curiosity, what were your impressions of Bob's first build?
    He told me that he finish sanded it in the back seat of a car while he was on some road trip. He was pretty young. It looked like someones first guitar. Playable, a bit clunky, but hey, it survived all those years and was still strung up. Can't say the same for my first. Mine got deconstructed for parts.Bill

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick2 View Post
    Great post.

    The last paragraph, my gold standard is . . best luthier and best wood (available). Also, I'm a bit confused by the portion of the sentence I highlighted above from you post. Please expand on that.
    What I mean is some luthiers are better at having conversations with probing questions about a clients goals for the instrument, likes and dislikes. Conversely, some clients are better at communicating their goals for the instruments, like and dislikes etc. Just because you are a skilled artisan doesn't mean that you are a good communicator. Some clients know exactly what they want; some think they know what they want (but don't) and some really don't have much of an idea.

    A luthier needs to understand how you play, your touch, techniques, ergonomic preferences, are you playing in a big band or small low volume solo gigs. You can design something to cover them all, but if you wanted for example a better acoustic response, that might come at the expense of feeding back at higher volumes of play. Some of the client disappointments that I have seen has been the result of poor communications upfront.

    Hope that helps...
    __________________________________________________ ____________________________________
    Bob


  34. #33

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    The simplest way to illustrate my belief is through this example. If I had a choice of a guitar made by a better luthier in "standard" woods vs. a guitar made by a lesser skilled luthier but using the most "premium" woods for the same price, I would choose the former every time. In my experience more "magic" lies there.[/QUOTE]

    I like this too. If I built you a guitar, I would likely go to a source for wood where I can examine a bunch of tops, sides backs etc. I would pick the wood that would best suit the guitar I'm building. So say out of 100 tops I pick 1. My skill in choosing is important, but I was trained, so its a pretty good bet that the top I pick will be a good one. Bob Taylor on the other hand buys 100 tops and makes 100 guitars. He is expert at getting the most out out each piece, but still, individual wood selection trumps mass production every time. I never had a hard time making a guitar that sounded great. One that sounded great, played great and looked hot, thats a different story.
    Bill

  35. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick2 View Post
    The qualities you mentioned above (highlighted) are believed (by some pretty high profile luthiers) to contribute to tonal differences due to differences in density. I had this same conversation with Comins at a Philadelphia Guitar Show about 3 years ago. The grading, while most specifically references aesthetics, as you indicated, also lends itself to characterists affecting tone. Exalmpe; very wide grain European spruce, with less lines per inch vs very tight grain with more lines per square inch. Similarly with hazelficht indicating a very slow growth and very old tree.

    Jim Deurloo mentioned the same thing when he and I were looking at a Super Eagle with the wildest imaginable medular rays I'd ever seen. He commented that this type of spruce will more often than not produce a brighter tone than similar spruce with little or no pronounced cross medular rays. (silking)
    Like yourself, I am just reflecting the opinions of a number of custom luthiers who I have had the privilege to commission acoustic archtop, classical, flattop gypsy guitars with. In general, the care:

    - What they know about the sawyer that they buy it from,
    - that it is well seasoned and stable,
    - how much on quarter the billet of set is,
    - its density with respect to the cross-grain and long-grain stiffness of the set,
    - and its tap tone

    Sonically, the luthiers that I have worked with don't care about wood attributes like grain per inch, hazelficht, bearclawing and some small degree of visual (non-structural) runout. Client's do care about figure, tight grain etc. Luthiers want to make client's happy, therefore they use it. They of course make sure that these aesthetically pleasing sets meet there structural/sonic requirements. They relish when a client allows them to pick a set based on sonic properties and not aesthetic properties. Yes, some visual properties that are pleasing are associated with well quartered wood, but there are many well quartered sets that don't reflect them.

    Here are two examples:

    This builder had a AA aesthetic quality set of 30-year old German Spruce that he purchased from Martin Guhl. It had dark striped areas of hardline and grain count deviations associated with compression grain in the wood, but out of the dozens of sets available it had the best properties for the instrument being considered.




    Another example would be a set of Western Red Cedar that presented dark colored stripes. This set was harvested in a forest in Oregon in the 1980s and had the best properties of any set that he had, despite these cosmetic flaws.



    I am sure that there are differing opinions about this, but I am just sharing my experience.
    __________________________________________________ ____________________________________
    Bob


  36. #35

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    Tonewood . . . it seems there are even more varying opinions about tone wood . . than there are variables within the wood itself. :-)
    Patrick2 . . Heritage representative (now former)

  37. #36

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    If you ever want to have some real fun, gat a 1/2 dozen luthiers in a room and start to talk about adhesives...

    Here is a nice piece of history courtesy of Todd Taggart of Allied Lutherie:

    GRADING

    I believe the grading designations of A, AA, AAA began with the C.F. Martin Co. and Oddvar Nass, when Martin bought spruce soundboards from Niedemeyer-Martin of Portland, Ore. Oddvar was foreman at that company and later after retirement started his own company supplying spruce tops. Oddvar later sold his company to Larry White. The designation of "master grade" was one of Bill Lewis' of Lewis Luthier Supplies. Tom Peterson and I bought Lewis Luthier Supplies in 1978 and moved it to Healdsburg, California and began The Luthiers Mercantile. After a few years we began using the A — AAA grading system, and had continued using "master" for a grade. Although the nomenclature is almost standard these days, there are still grading variations from vendor to vendor.
    __________________________________________________ ____________________________________
    Bob


  38. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by iim7V7IM7 View Post
    What I mean is some luthiers are better at having conversations with probing questions about a clients goals for the instrument, likes and dislikes. Conversely, some clients are better at communicating their goals for the instruments, like and dislikes etc. Just because you are a skilled artisan doesn't mean that you are a good communicator. Some clients know exactly what they want; some think they know what they want (but don't) and some really don't have much of an idea.

    A luthier needs to understand how you play, your touch, techniques, ergonomic preferences, are you playing in a big band or small low volume solo gigs. You can design something to cover them all, but if you wanted for example a better acoustic response, that might come at the expense of feeding back at higher volumes of play. Some of the client disappointments that I have seen has been the result of poor communications upfront.

    Hope that helps...
    I feel exactly the same way regarding communication between client and builder. But, there's also another element of that relationship. Sometimes it's best to leave certain things to the descretion of the luthier. I'm sure we've both seen examples of a client insisting on a specific . . resulting in complete disappointment in the results . . and then trying to blame the luthier. There are some players that would be better of just playing the guitar, rather than trying to redesign it to their perception of the way things should be done. Johnny Smith comes to mind.
    Patrick2 . . Heritage representative (now former)

  39. #38

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    I've had a Kinscherff Brazilian High Noon flat top made for me and I agree with everything being said about the process including focusing on early communication and listening to the builder when it comes to wood. That being said, why do people spend $5K and up on a non-custom? Actually, I guess I know why from all the L5 discussions, but if I were spending that on one guitar, it would go to an individual luthier.

    I am sympathetic to those that don't hear a difference in woods. This is stated so frequently that it appears to be the case for those individuals. This could possibly be based on the guitars they've been exposed to or maybe something about how we hear things. Based on my own limited experience, the differences between a maple backed versus mahogany backed flat top is greater than the difference between these woods on an archtop

    Not all agree but IMHO, high end flat top factory guitars are pretty consistent. Does this reflect their wood grading, limited sonic variation within a specific wood type, or the repeat-ability in their construction?
    Last edited by Spook410; 02-13-2015 at 05:20 PM.
    Hell is full of musical amateurs - George Bernard Shaw

  40. #39

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    This comment doesn't directly have to do with tonewoods, but rather the need for direct access to a luthier to build a guitar with the customer's specific specifications. Where commissioned guitars may have been necessary 30-50 years ago, there are so many manufacturers making quality instruments nowadays that most people can find a guitar already being built that has the specs they're looking for.

    The only specs I can think of that wouldn't be readily available would be so out of the mainstream that I would never consider having them done because I'd know that it would be impossible to ever move the instrument should the necessity arise.

    I do like the argument that says that the independent luthier is best equipped to find the best wood and construct the best quality instrument possible.

  41. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by Klatu View Post
    This comment doesn't directly have to do with tonewoods, but rather the need for direct access to a luthier to build a guitar with the customer's specific specifications. Where commissioned guitars may have been necessary 30-50 years ago, there are so many manufacturers making quality instruments nowadays that most people can find a guitar already being built that has the specs they're looking for.

    The only specs I can think of that wouldn't be readily available would be so out of the mainstream that I would never consider having them done because I'd know that it would be impossible to ever move the instrument should the necessity arise.

    I do like the argument that says that the independent luthier is best equipped to find the best wood and construct the best quality instrument possible.
    There is NO need, it is a luxury for those who seek high performance, custom features or aesthetics. Factory guitars are wonderful and can as you say and can cover 99% of most players needs.

    Regarding acoustic performance, I firmly believe that guitars are complex systems made from materials with highly variable properties. Because of this, voicing a top (top, bracing, bridge, linings etc.) among other aspects, needs to be adjusted to a specific piece of wood by someone skilled in the art in order to achieve its highest performance. It is also about being willing to take on risk. Luthiers can build quite lightly compared to factories with performance in mind where a factory thinks about the costs of warranty repairs (think vintage Martins vs. Modern Martins).


    Regarding woods the subject of this thread luthiers to their detriment are typically certifiable wood nuts. They amass woodlockers of select tonewoods that are in many cases seasoned in their shops for decades. Woods of these type and quality are not available in factories. They just aren't available in the quantities to support factory volumes and they are selected by craftsman skilled in the art. I have heard from almost every builder that I have worked with cull sets by hand at suppliers and bring home a small subset of what they try. I think people sometimes underestimate the importance of selection as part of the process. Sometimes it is about comfort. Features like wedged bodies, sound ports, armrests, custom scale lengths, multi-scale lengths, custom nut widths are used. In many cases it is about custom aesthetics as well.

    In the classical guitar World, the tables are turned, and you would be hard pressed to find a top artist who doesn't play a luthier based instrument. That is driven by both performance but there are also cultural traditions at play as well.

    I also think for those who can afford it, it is about supporting the tradition of artisan craftsman who handcraft beautiful and unique objects.
    Last edited by iim7V7IM7; 02-13-2015 at 08:37 PM.
    __________________________________________________ ____________________________________
    Bob


  42. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by Klatu View Post
    This comment doesn't directly have to do with tonewoods, but rather the need for direct access to a luthier to build a guitar with the customer's specific specifications. Where commissioned guitars may have been necessary 30-50 years ago, there are so many manufacturers making quality instruments nowadays that most people can find a guitar already being built that has the specs they're looking for.

    The only specs I can think of that wouldn't be readily available would be so out of the mainstream that I would never consider having them done because I'd know that it would be impossible to ever move the instrument should the necessity arise.

    I do like the argument that says that the independent luthier is best equipped to find the best wood and construct the best quality instrument possible.
    I do agree with much of what you said here . . . up until elements of the last sentence/paragraph. But, I'll get to that in a minute.

    Given the quality of factory and custom shop built guitars avaialble to working and hobbyist guitars today . . there really is very little if any *need* to have a guitar custom built. It's now a matter a wanting to have one (or many) built, for self indulgent purposes (self indulgence is always fun) . . . and the financial ability to commission the build. I also agree that more often than not, a guitar with the individuality of one's personal specifications and tastes can definitely affect resale adversely. Now, on to the last sentence/paragraph;

    With some of the great arch top guitars I've seen coming out of Gibson's Custom Shop, Guild, Heritage, Ibanez and some others, you'll not convince me that you need to go to an independent luthier to get a *best* guitar build. The independent luthier will certainly provide a more skill and talent laden level of time consuming processes . . such as hand carving and tap tone refinement (in some instances) . . that will generally result in a different guitar from the very best ones produced at factories . . but, not necessarily always a better one.

    Also, mere mortal individuals like myself are easily as capable of finding and buying the best wood available. I've done so myself on two separate occasions. The last one was the best. The wood I got for my Heritage Super Golden Eagle is easily equivalent to anything that Benedetto, Buscarino, Comins, Monteleone, Lacey . . or any other top luthier could have gotten. It's out there . . suppliers are anxious to sell it to whom ever will pay for it. One needs only a computer, Goggle and the resourcefulness to find these purveyors . . and the ability to communicate to them exactly what they want in tonewood . . and the fortitude to accept nothing less than what they want. But, to your point . . you're not going to find what you would consider the best tonewood available, and send that to Gibson's and have them make you an L5C or Super 400C . . unless you've got some real clout with the manager of the Custom Shop. I was fortunate to have such relationships at Heritage at the time of my Super Golden Eagle commission. I would put the quality of components, raw materials and workmanship on that guitar up against any guitar built by anyone, anywhere on the planet.
    Patrick2 . . Heritage representative (now former)

  43. #42

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    There are many nice factory guitars out there and some even have a reasonable price tag. However, the craftsmen at Heritage or Gibson are not going to spend time with you figuring out exactly what you need for the way you play or how you wish to sound.
    Hell is full of musical amateurs - George Bernard Shaw

  44. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spook410 View Post
    There are many nice factory guitars out there and some even have a reasonable price tag. However, the craftsmen at Heritage or Gibson are not going to spend time with you figuring out exactly what you need for the way you play or how you wish to sound.
    You couldn't be more wrong and/or ill informed . . even if you tried real hard to be.

    You, or anyone else for that matter, could visit the Heritage plant by appointment and sit and talk personally with the guys (and the gal) who will build the guitars. You could walk with one of the owners to their wood stock and help to select the wood your guitar will be made from. If you wanted to, you could arrange an appointment with Marv Lamb, to be there when he rolls the neck profile . . sampling it periodically until it meets with you approval. You could sit with Ren Wall as he does the final set up . . and let him know if he has the guitar set up to your own personal wants and needs. You could specify scale lengths. There's a guy who had 3 Super Eagles custom built with a 24-3/4" scale.Three big ass 18" arch tops with a 24-3/4" scale length!! Jim Soloway got two littel 16" H575s built with a 25.5" scale length. You could go upstairs into the spray room as your guitar is being shaded . . to let that craftsman know, as he's spraying it, if you wanted it to be a little lighter . . or a little darker. You could specify exactly which pickups, pots, caps, bridge, tuners you want. You could specify a choice of finger board inlays you wanted. You could choose between various pick guard shapes, woods and colors. You could specify how much and what color binding you wanted . . and where you wanted it or where you didn't want it. You could specify how you wanted the end top carve to be graduated (to a certain extent. You could specify bracing options. I could continue . . but, I'm sure you get the picture.

    I'd also have to believe that to a lesser degree, you'd also be able to interact with the Gibson Custom Shop as well. You could ask Danny W. about that. I think he might have had one or two built by Gibson's Custom Shop. :-)

    With Gibson having to remain truer to the design of a specific model, you'd undoubtedly have far fewer options and choices. But, you'd have a voice.

    Too often, too many people just can't seem to remember, or purposely refuse to acknowledge, that these people making crafted instruments in factories or factory custom shops, are every bit as much proud crafts people, as the luthiers in the boutique builders shops are. They thrive on pleasing customers' personal wants and needs. When my last custom build was completed, Jim Deurloo was sitting next to me as I was playing it in ren's set up room. He was beeming from ear to ear. I asked him what the hell he was smiling so broadly about. He assured me he was getting more joy from seeing my satisfaction with the guitar . . than I was getting from playing it. I believed that to be true then . . and I still do.
    Patrick2 . . Heritage representative (now former)

  45. #44

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    Patrick,
    Actually I am surprised that Heritage would spend that much time and custom effort with individual customers. While this isn't represented on their website (there was a 'contact us' to discuss an instrument) you've been in the middle of this and I'm sure you know how it works. Thing is, as a business model this would seem tough for a small operation to sustain if there are lots of customers on the phone wanting a unique neck profile and looking for their shading to be just a certain way. Even more so if they show up at the front door wanting to look over someone's shoulder.

    I would also be surprised if Gibson does this. Especially for someone walking off the street. It's an expensive way to do business if your margins depend on a given volume and would have to be managed.

    I realize you have a unique insight into Heritage and while the passion of their craftsmen comes as no surprise, the amount of time they can spend with individual customers and still remain profitable does.

    That doesn't change what I would do if I were spending $5K or more on an archtop, but it's interesting.
    Last edited by Spook410; 02-14-2015 at 03:02 AM.
    Hell is full of musical amateurs - George Bernard Shaw

  46. #45

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    Since this seems to be a thread comprised of frank and open disagreement (how unusual for this forum...:-), there are two points that Patrick has made that I don't happen to agree with:

    1) With respect, a non-experienced luthier player (which perhaps incorrectly, I believe you to be) does not have the same ability to select tonewoods like an experienced luthier with decades of crafting guitars. They do not possess the same skills nor experience and cannot evaluate sets of tonewood in the same way. Some luthiers will allow a client to supply wood, but it is really an exception and in some cases they wont warranty the guitar in those cases not knowing the provenance of the wood.

    2) As a past owner of two custom Heritage guitars from 2001-2013 that were commissioned through the largest (Most experienced) Heritage dealer, and being the owner of seven custom instruments over the last five years that were all commissioned directly with the luthier/builder; the process that I experienced upfront, throughout the build process was not the same type of interaction and the resulting guitar delivered were not on the same level of craftsmanship nor performance. In my experience, there is a difference and it is significant.

    That being said, I believe Heritage makes fine guitars and I am not diminishing what they are, I am just not placing them on an equal footing. I just would say in my personal experience, they are small team made, factory guitars made in the Gibson tradition that can be configured in a variety of ways beyond what many factories can to suit a player's desires. The Parsons Street culture is knowledgeable and capable of greatness, but they also have for some unexplained reasons put out somme guitars with flaws that no custom luthier in my experience would. Overall, on average, I think they represent an excellent value and I recommend them.

    This thread was a discussion about tonewood and not about luthier vs. factory guitars where it seems to have drifted to (my apologies). Perhaps we should continue to discuss that?
    Last edited by iim7V7IM7; 02-14-2015 at 06:49 AM.
    __________________________________________________ ____________________________________
    Bob


  47. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spook410 View Post
    Patrick,
    Actually I am surprised that Heritage would spend that much time and custom effort with individual customers. While this isn't represented on their website (there was a 'contact us' to discuss an instrument) you've been in the middle of this and I'm sure you know how it works. Thing is, as a business model this would seem tough for a small operation to sustain if there are lots of customers on the phone wanting a unique neck profile and looking for their shading to be just a certain way. Even more so if they show up at the front door wanting to look over someone's shoulder.

    I would also be surprised if Gibson does this. Especially for someone walking off the street. It's an expensive way to do business if your margins depend on a given volume and would have to be managed.

    I realize you have a unique insight into Heritage and while the passion of their craftsmen comes as no surprise, the amount of time they can spend with individual customers and still remain profitable does.

    That doesn't change what I would do if I were spending $5K or more on an archtop, but it's interesting.
    I think what is surprising you, is your misconception that Heritage would be bombarded with 20 requests per week from end user buyers to infringe upon their time. Keep in mind, they're in Kalamazoo, MI. You won't have people driving or flying in from Los Angeles, Miami, Tokyo, or Dusseldorf to stand with Marv as he rolls a neck, or walk to the back of the plant to choose the wood of their new build. Nor will you have many people like myself who love road trips enough to drive 12 hours to do such things. So the occurrence of such an infringement on their time is so rare . . that they welcome it when the opportunity does present itself. Keep in mind also, an unadvertised policy they have is that one day per week (I think it's Thursday) their doors are open to anyone who wants a plant tour. Would you imagin that during such a plant tour if a person wanted to commission a new build they wouldn't be allowed to visit the stock to help with a selection of wood . . or stand with Ray Noud, the finger board specialist, to select which piece of rosewood or ebony went on their finger board . . or talk with Ren Wall and tell him exactly how they like their set up? Of course they would be allowed. It would be encouraged.

    The other thing that Marv Lamb encourages regarding neck profiles . . if you can't visit the plant he encourages customers to provide him with specific caliper measurements at the 1st, 5th, 7th and 9th frets. If provided with such measurements . . he nails them every time.

    For the past 5 or 6 years, the Heritage Owners Club has hosted what they call a Parsons Street Pilgrimage. You've probably heard about it.?.? Every year about 40 or so fanatical Heritage guitar owners visit the plant during the first week in August. It often turns into a selling event, with wood selected and specs discussed on several new builds. Also, there are indeed people looking over the shoulders of guys like Arnie as he sets a neck on a guitar body . . or on Chris as he routs the top of an H150 for humbuckers, or Katie as she refines the final clean up sanding in the white wood department. The one rule is . . you are not allowed to talk with any of the crafts people if they are operating machinery.

    Make no mistake about it . . it's not at all a burden to them, on their time. It's actually the only intellegent marketing concept they've got going for them.
    Patrick2 . . Heritage representative (now former)

  48. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick2 View Post
    Katie as she refines the final clean up sanding in the white wood department. The one rule is . . you are not allowed to talk with any of the crafts people if they are operating machinery.

    Make no mistake about it . . it's not at all a burden to them, on their time. It's actually the only intellegent marketing concept they've got going for them.
    Why do women always get to the job of cleaning

  49. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick2 View Post
    I think what is surprising you, is your misconception that Heritage would be bombarded with 20 requests per week from end user buyers to infringe upon their time. Keep in mind, they're in Kalamazoo, MI. You won't have people driving or flying in from Los Angeles, Miami, Tokyo, or Dusseldorf to stand with Marv as he rolls a neck, or walk to the back of the plant to choose the wood of their new build. Nor will you have many people like myself who love road trips enough to drive 12 hours to do such things. So the occurrence of such an infringement on their time is so rare . . that they welcome it when the opportunity does present itself. Keep in mind also, an unadvertised policy they have is that one day per week (I think it's Thursday) their doors are open to anyone who wants a plant tour. Would you imagin that during such a plant tour if a person wanted to commission a new build they wouldn't be allowed to visit the stock to help with a selection of wood . . or stand with Ray Noud, the finger board specialist, to select which piece of rosewood or ebony went on their finger board . . or talk with Ren Wall and tell him exactly how they like their set up? Of course they would be allowed. It would be encouraged.

    The other thing that Marv Lamb encourages regarding neck profiles . . if you can't visit the plant he encourages customers to provide him with specific caliper measurements at the 1st, 5th, 7th and 9th frets. If provided with such measurements . . he nails them every time.

    For the past 5 or 6 years, the Heritage Owners Club has hosted what they call a Parsons Street Pilgrimage. You've probably heard about it.?.? Every year about 40 or so fanatical Heritage guitar owners visit the plant during the first week in August. It often turns into a selling event, with wood selected and specs discussed on several new builds. Also, there are indeed people looking over the shoulders of guys like Arnie as he sets a neck on a guitar body . . or on Chris as he routs the top of an H150 for humbuckers, or Katie as she refines the final clean up sanding in the white wood department. The one rule is . . you are not allowed to talk with any of the crafts people if they are operating machinery.

    Make no mistake about it . . it's not at all a burden to them, on their time. It's actually the only intellegent marketing concept they've got going for them.

    Thing is Patrick, you're lucky in that regard.

    In general, like we talked about in the other thread, your not gonna get that same level of attention to things like the carving and woods etc (unless your patrick apparently).

  50. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by iim7V7IM7 View Post
    Since this seems to be a thread comprised of frank and open disagreement (how unusual for this forum...:-), there are two points that Patrick has made that I don't happen to agree with:

    1) With respect, a non-experienced luthier player (which perhaps incorrectly, I believe you to be) does not have the same ability to select tonewoods like an experienced luthier with decades of crafting guitars. They do not possess the same skills nor experience and cannot evaluate sets of tonewood in the same way. Some luthiers will allow a client to supply wood, but it is really an exception and in some cases they wont warranty the guitar in those cases not knowing the provenance of the wood.

    2) As a past owner of two custom Heritage guitars from 2001-2013 that were commissioned through the largest (Most experienced) Heritage dealer, and being the owner of seven custom instruments over the last five years that were all commissioned directly with the luthier/builder; the process that I experienced upfront, throughout the build process was not the same type of interaction and the resulting guitar delivered were not on the same level of craftsmanship nor performance. In my experience, there is a difference and it is significant.

    That being said, I believe Heritage makes fine guitars and I am not diminishing what they are, I am just not placing them on an equal footing. I just would say in my personal experience, they are small team made, factory guitars made in the Gibson tradition that can be configured in a variety of ways beyond what many factories can to suit a player's desires. The Parsons Street culture is knowledgeable and capable of greatness, but they also have for some unexplained reasons put out somme guitars with flaws that no custom luthier in my experience would. Overall, on average, I think they represent an excellent value and I recommend them.

    This thread was a discussion about tonewood and not about luthier vs. factory guitars where it seems to have drifted to (my apologies). Perhaps we should continue to discuss that?
    In response to your two points of disagreement;

    I'm not at all an experienced luthier . . never claimed to be. But, I am an experienced player (just not a very skilled one) and I do know what I want an instrument to look like and play like. I referenced Johnny Smith's insistence on how a guitar should be made as causing more problems than anything else. I'm certainly no where near qualified to determine wood selection for a specific desired tone. But, I do know what I want a guitar I'm paying thousands of dollars for to look like and play like. I want [demand] having a say in that. I've told the story hear before (I love telling stories) of how JP Moats and I rummaged through virtually every set of planks they had in stock for my first build, a Golden Eagle back in 1994. JP wouldn't let me settle on the first three choices I made. He explained why . . I followed his advice. That's how one learns. That's how I gained some of the limited knowledge I have today. I've done the same and learned as much or more from Aaron Cowles. I also know how I want the neck profile on my guitars to feel . . as well as how I want the set up. These are all of the same things that one would expect to do and have a say in if sitting with Mark Campellone . . or any other individual luthier.

    Further, any luthier unwilling to warranty a guitar he/she builds if the customer supplies the wood . . . well, they just ain't worth their salt . . as the saying goes. Any competent luthier would be able to look at a set of planks and determin if they're build worthy or not. If a customer were to supply the wood to a luthier, the luthier would be free to reject that wood . . just as they are free to do so when the wood is provided to them by their existing supplier.

    Regarding point number 2; was your interaction with Jay Wolfe as intimate as it was with the other people (luthiers) you interacted with? If not . . why wasn't it? Was that Jay's fault? Or was it yours? It's all a matter of approach, in most of these situations. But, it's also sometimes a matter of a dealer who doesn't really give a hoot. "Just tell me want you want . . give me your deposit . . and I'll call you when the guitar comes in. Until that time, don't bother me" But, that's certainly not the Jay Wolfe I know. Keep in mine too, there are also independent luthiers who feel and act similarly.

    I agree that when all is said and done, Heritage is a small team producing factory made guitars. Neither they, nor I ever said otherwise. But, what would you call the current Benedetto operation? Are they too not just a small team of crafts people . . producing hand crafted guitars in a small factory environment? At any given time, there are probably around sixteen or so crafts people working a Heritage. I know of only a few who couldn't build a fine arch top entirely on their own . . and some of them actually have done so.

    I do love my Heritage guitars. But, I cherish my two Unitys, much for some of the reasons you've pointed out. It's a great feeling knowing that no ones hands other than Aaron Cowles' ever touched either of my Unitys . . until my very own did. :-)
    Patrick2 . . Heritage representative (now former)

  51. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by ArchtopHeaven View Post
    Thing is Patrick, you're lucky in that regard.

    In general, like we talked about in the other thread, your not gonna get that same level of attention to things like the carving and woods etc (unless your patrick apparently).
    "Unless you're Patrick" . . or a Patrick like person! I didn't get . . and still don't get the attention that I get from Heritage because I'm affiliated with them. I get what I get from Heritage because I understand the art of relationship building and interaction. If one cannot effectively interact with a luthier on a new build commission . . why the heck would one ever want to spend thousands . . and in some cases tens of thousands of dollars on a custom made instrument? Ask Jim Soloway how well he was able to interact with Heritage on the building of his two H575s.

    I'm sure that there are some who might want nothing more from a Benedetto arch top than an arch top with Benedetto's name on the head stock . . sent Bob a check and said . . "Hey, Bob. Build me a nice guitar and call me when it's ready" That's just not me. Heck . . I've gone as far as asking Jim Deurloo why he broke away from Gibson's customary procedure of a dove tail neck joint . . to a tongue/mortise connection. Or, why he would embrace Tite Bond over hot hide glue.

    There are ways of being intimately involved in the build without becomming a royal pain in the ass. I've perfected that very much to the same extent I've perfected actually becomming a royal pain in the ass in other matters. But, now that I think about it . . I'm not really sure which of the two I'm better at, or enjoy more. Hmmm . . . .
    Patrick2 . . Heritage representative (now former)