The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
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  1. #1

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    Interesting because it contradicts much of what I read on the various forums.

    https://www.sadowsky.com/wood-and-so...ars-and-basses

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    I agree with much of the article. However, I have found that a Les Paul with a maple cap sounds warmer than an all mahogany Les Paul (which to me sounds all mid range). I suppose that the maple caps on the Gibson Les Pauls that I have owned and played are thicker than Sadowsky's cosmetic maple caps.

  4. #3

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    Thrash metal does not require volume, It requires a large amount of distortion.
    Any music played live usually requires a large amount of volume and as such the majority of solid body guitars, given his assertion, don't need to sound good acoustically and to an extreme, it is therefore irrelevant what woods they're made out of.

    "if you are a thrash metal guitarist, sustain would be one of the most important variables for you and would probably override many other tonal considerations. However, for less high volume music, the more subtleties of tone might take precedence"

    Also interested when he said,

    "What gives my “generalizations” credibility, is the fact that I have built so many similar instruments over the years. Another point of argument is the occasional “listening test” where people are asked to pick something in a blind listening test. Recently I have read a couple of studies that conclude that listeners are unable to hear differences based on various woods and therefore, the wood does not make a difference. I would counter this argument by saying it really does not matter if the listener can tell the differences or not. What is important here is that the player can tell the difference!"

    That seems somewhat contradictory. If in a blind test someone cannot tell the difference, is there a difference? This is where cognitive bias comes in and when it comes to the tone debates, this is almost a more interesting subject.

    I'm not saying Roger is wrong. He's clearly got a lot of experience that can't be sniffed at and only an arrogant idiot would.
    Last edited by ArchtopHeaven; 06-22-2022 at 04:19 AM.

  5. #4
    It makes complete sense to me. Joe blow on the internet who thinks kanye is more talented than paul mccartney - i don't really care whether they can hear the difference between 2 guitar tops...

    Quote Originally Posted by ArchtopHeaven
    Thrash metal does not require volume, It requires a large amount of distortion.
    Any music played live usually requires a large amount of volume and as such the majority of solid body guitars, given his assertion, don't need to sound good acoustically and to an extreme, it is therefore irrelevant what woods they're made out of.

    "if you are a thrash metal guitarist, sustain would be one of the most important variables for you and would probably override many other tonal considerations. However, for less high volume music, the more subtleties of tone might take precedence"

    Also interested when he said,

    "What gives my “generalizations” credibility, is the fact that I have built so many similar instruments over the years. Another point of argument is the occasional “listening test” where people are asked to pick something in a blind listening test. Recently I have read a couple of studies that conclude that listeners are unable to hear differences based on various woods and therefore, the wood does not make a difference. I would counter this argument by saying it really does not matter if the listener can tell the differences or not. What is important here is that the player can tell the difference!"

    That seems somewhat contradictory. If in a blind test someone cannot tell the difference, is there a difference? This is where cognitive bias comes in and when it comes to the tone debates, this is almost a more interesting subject.

    I'm not saying Roger is wrong. He's clearly got a lot of experience that can't be sniffed at and only an arrogant idiot would.

  6. #5

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    The article is consistent with my own experience. In fact, a while ago I posted a thread with a collection of youtube videos comparing otherwise identical guitars with different body woods. In some cases people who made the videos did not expect to hear a difference and were surprised with the results.

    I also have a vague memory of seeing on Sadowsky website a discussion about laminate maple vs carved spruce archtops. Him and Jim Hall both agreed that maple laminate archtops sounded better. As a result Sadowsky's Jim Hall model uses the laminate construction. I can't find the article on the website anymore.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 06-22-2022 at 08:27 AM.

  7. #6

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    My experience leads me to generally agree with all of what he said in the article. I especially like what he said about fingerboards. And as primarily a plank player, I have to say that my favorite solid body tone ever is Chuck Loeb playing his Sadowsky superstrats. The man clearly has earned the respect he gets.

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Soloway
    My experience leads me to generally agree with all of what he said in the article. I especially like what he said about fingerboards. And as primarily a plank player, I have to say that my favorite solid body tone ever is Chuck Loeb playing his Sadowsky superstrats. The man clearly has earned the respect he gets.
    Agreed. He and Pete Skjold (another guy of equal tonal expertise IMO) used to have an interactive bass/tonal discussion in one of the big forums and they both dropped out because so many people contradicted what they were saying and IMO, pete's and roger's expertise knows few equals but folks were on there saying necks and fingerboards don't make any difference in tone and arguing with them...

  9. #8

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    The views of the article seem to be in accordance with what i read in most luthier and builder articles on the subject. Regarding solid vs laminate top archtops, i don't know if generally laminate ones sound better, but for many playing situations they do, after taking into consideration feedback and how higher volume interacts with an archtop guitars top. Where a solid top guitar would be problematic and would require specific placement and equing to work, a laminate would just play. Generally the more sensitive a guitar, the more the amp and room intricacies seem to matter.

  10. #9

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    So much nonsense has been written about wood, I'd rather hear sound clips than read anymore about it. This is the internet age, for example, no need to guess what a writer means describing a "round" tone. Like trying to explain the color "blue" without a picture.

  11. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by icr
    So much nonsense has been written about wood, I'd rather hear sound clips than read anymore about it. This is the internet age, for example, no need to guess what a writer means describing a "round" tone. Like trying to explain the color "blue" without a picture.
    I'd rather read an experts thought's - someone who has built literally tens of thousands of instruments and who's clients are a who's who of jazz and the recording industry than watch an amateur youtube video played through a distorted amp and using apples vs oranges presentation methods or anecdotal references from internet forum experts in forums. But we seem to live in an age where if some random guy says something on a forum or posts a youtube video, it's automatically given more credence than someone who's literally spent the majority of their lives doing this stuff for a living!

  12. #11

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    " A musician develops a very special and intimate relationship with an instrument. Very subtle feedback cues affect the way a player creates their tone. What the player hears and feels affects whether they play closer to the bridge or the neck, what angle they use on their pick or nails, the amount of vibrato they use on their left hand, and on and on." Roger Sadowsky

    Hi, J,
    Interesting article . . . however, the above quote says it all to me. There are certainly differences in tonewoods . . . especially in CG's where there is no amplification and much of the sound reflects the character of the wood. However, the EG is a completely different animal where tone controls on the instrument and amplifier can create multi-varied sounds and, IMO . . . . are not as critical as a CG.
    Marinero




  13. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero
    " A musician develops a very special and intimate relationship with an instrument. Very subtle feedback cues affect the way a player creates their tone. What the player hears and feels affects whether they play closer to the bridge or the neck, what angle they use on their pick or nails, the amount of vibrato they use on their left hand, and on and on." Roger Sadowsky

    Hi, J,
    Interesting article . . . however, the above quote says it all to me. There are certainly differences in tonewoods . . . especially in CG's where there is no amplification and much of the sound reflects the character of the wood. However, the EG is a completely different animal where tone controls on the instrument and amplifier can create multi-varied sounds and, IMO . . . . are not as critical as a CG.
    Marinero

    what is a CG? Classical Guitar?

  14. #13

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    Hi, Z,
    Yes. CG=Classical Guitar; EG=Electric Guitar.
    Marinero

  15. #14

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    His views seem to be right in line with guitar makers I have worked with although they were not making solidbody guitars. The fingerboard does effect the sound and what he says certainly agrees with most of the guys I know. Mahogany is a warm sounding wood for both flattops and archtops. However in an archtop the mahogany would not be as good a projecting the sound out like maple. It would also not sound as crisp and bright. Some like that sound, so investigating a that in a guitar is good.

    Bill Barker always said that a rosewood fingerboard was better on strings that ebony, at least they last longer. I think too the sound is warmer but many other variables come into play. Roger Sadowsky makes fine guitars and certainly would be a premier person to listen to for information. The funny thing is while I have played a number of his guitars all up to very high standards, they never have inspired me enough to want to own one. It is odd how some guitars hit us or don't, but over time we can change in our likes too. I have over past few years found myself changing in how I think of what is a nice guitar.

  16. #15
    Roger's basses are the bee's knees. Absolutely the top instruments in the world for ensemble playing IMO.

    Quote Originally Posted by deacon Mark
    His views seem to be right in line with guitar makers I have worked with although they were not making solidbody guitars. The fingerboard does effect the sound and what he says certainly agrees with most of the guys I know. Mahogany is a warm sounding wood for both flattops and archtops. However in an archtop the mahogany would not be as good a projecting the sound out like maple. It would also not sound as crisp and bright. Some like that sound, so investigating a that in a guitar is good.

    Bill Barker always said that a rosewood fingerboard was better on strings that ebony, at least they last longer. I think too the sound is warmer but many other variables come into play. Roger Sadowsky makes fine guitars and certainly would be a premier person to listen to for information. The funny thing is while I have played a number of his guitars all up to very high standards, they never have inspired me enough to want to own one. It is odd how some guitars hit us or don't, but over time we can change in our likes too. I have over past few years found myself changing in how I think of what is a nice guitar.

  17. #16

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    If ya can't hear the difference between a maple and rosewood board on a P-Bass, I don't know what to say...

    You also have to disregard what most use to describe differences in tones, because most lack the critical listening experience (this includes recording, intimate knowledge of eq, the ability to identify frequencies closely from listening, etc) and the fact that most listen on sub par equipment. Beyond this the most important factor is experience. Swap necks and bodies on instruments with the same hardware and you start to hear patterns.


    What many people don't understand, is that woods effect on tone is subtractive, not additive. Wood won't add anything to your tone (hence the uselessness of the recent "where does tone come from video where the guy does away with the "body" of a guitar). It's also only a single factor in your sound, that being said, it's an important one. It's quite literally the foundation of your instruments tone.

  18. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by vintagelove
    If ya can't hear the difference between a maple and rosewood board on a P-Bass, I don't know what to say...

    You also have to disregard what most use to describe differences in tones, because most lack the critical listening experience (this includes recording, intimate knowledge of eq, the ability to identify frequencies closely from listening, etc) and the fact that most listen on sub par equipment. Beyond this the most important factor is experience. Swap necks and bodies on instruments with the same hardware and you start to hear patterns.


    What many people don't understand, is that woods effect on tone is subtractive, not additive. Wood won't add anything to your tone (hence the uselessness of the recent "where does tone come from video where the guy does away with the "body" of a guitar). It's also only a single factor in your sound, that being said, it's an important one. It's quite literally the foundation of your instruments tone.
    Another huge factor is that wood resonates differently and therefore "feels" different. So it doesn't matter if 10,000 kanye west fans think there's no difference in a rosewood or maple fingerboard. If it feels different to the player it makes the player play differently and therefore sound different. Also, listen to SRV live at the el macambo and listen to when he sits down and plays lenny vs when he plays with his rosewood strat. Yes, I know they are completely different bodies, pickups, etc., but there are folks on the forums who claim that once you use a pickup, woods don't matter and IMO, that's just wrong.

  19. #18

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    Back in the day, to buy a guitar, you'd go to a store and they'd have several of the exact model you wanted.

    You'd go with a friend and play every one of them and then pick the best one.

    The point being that even the exact same features don't necessarily sound the same.

    I have some poorly informed opinions about woods, but I wouldn't bet a nickel I could identify them in a blindfold test as the player or as the audience.

    I do have the impression that maple tends to be bright and that rosewood fingerboards tend to sound softer in some way, but I wouldn't want to bet that it's always like that.

    I can get my sound, or close, out of a lot of different guitars. The biggest single factor is HB vs single coil, or so I think. After that, maybe scale length? Well, that is, not counting all the factors involved in setup.

  20. #19

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    Helpful and informative article for sure! I remember re adding Dickie Betts always auditioned a guitar he was buying by playing it acoustically first. I tend to feel the same way about it.

  21. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by jads57
    Helpful and informative article for sure! I remember re adding Dickie Betts always auditioned a guitar he was buying by playing it acoustically first. I tend to feel the same way about it.
    That's what my repairman told me when I told him I was thinking of replacing the pickups on my solidbody. He told me to wait until everyone was asleep and to play the guitar acoustically in the stairway/hallway so I could hear what it sounded like before deciding to replace the pickups...

  22. #21

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    I feel that the very basis of the guitar's sound is in the woods. How complex notes are, how even, the color, the sustain, the responsiveness, if it's going to disappear or not on a gig. Then comes the pickups, pots, etc, the finish, the setup, then the amp. Even if i change all electronics, i still hear the guitar part when playing loud, so mediocre instruments remain mediocre, just amplified in different, better or weaker ways.. I tried that a few times, then decided it's not worth it if i don't like the wood base of an instrument.

  23. #22

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    I like Danelectro guitars.

  24. #23

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    Just playing devils advocate. Doesn’t he have a reason to articulate this since what he’s built his entire career are Laminates? Give me an educated opinion from someone who builds both, not one who builds strictly laminates. My .02

  25. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by 2bornot2bop
    Just playing devils advocate. Doesn’t he have a reason to articulate this since what he’s built his entire career are Laminates? Give me an educated opinion from someone who builds both, not one who builds strictly laminates. My .02
    his basses are not laminates.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2bornot2bop
    Just playing devils advocate. Doesn’t he have a reason to articulate this since what he’s built his entire career are Laminates? Give me an educated opinion from someone who builds both, not one who builds strictly laminates. My .02
    Good point indeed .... and of course we know that this concerns the archtop guitars that Sadowsky builds, not the solidbody instruments.
    Mr. Benedetto could certainly supply some interesting info, as could Roger Borys, Linda Manzer, Bryant Trenier and a few select others who have gained enough experience from building their own designs in both laminated and solid wood versions....

    I'd never use the term "better than ..." when describing the tone of one my guitars because the feel is more important to me, the way it reacts to my playing, etc. I have no ABSOLUTE standards re instruments and when someone claims to have these I always become wary - the world is not black or white....