Spruce vs. Cedar and Maple vs. Rosewood

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Topics archived from Public Space and its subforums after a long period of inactivity, or redundant for some other reason. This section is read-only.
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James Lister
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Location: Sheffield, UK

Post by James Lister » Tue Aug 14, 2007 10:57 pm

Ho hum - we've had 4 different answers so far - keep them coming, I'll probably post the answer late Wednesday night (GMT).

James
James Lister, luthier, Sheffield UK

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Anthony Campanella
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Post by Anthony Campanella » Wed Aug 15, 2007 12:35 am

:bravo: Nice sounds

3 1 2 3

Nacio de Falla

Post by Nacio de Falla » Wed Aug 15, 2007 4:37 am

hmmmm...............hard to tell from recordings.

but..............i'll guess it's 1,3,2,3

i'm probably way off.......... :lol: :lol:

can't wait to find out!! 8)

Pres

Post by Pres » Wed Aug 15, 2007 11:44 am

I think, 1,3,1,2

:?:

jcrants

Post by jcrants » Wed Aug 15, 2007 6:25 pm

Like Azalais, I will say 1, 2, 3, 3. It's suspiciously orderly, I know, but that's just how it sounds to me. Whatever Guitar C is, I liked that one best, followed by B.

Luis_Br
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Location: Brazil

Post by Luis_Br » Wed Aug 15, 2007 8:20 pm

I haven't listen to it yet, but could you inform the age of the guitars?
I think it is another very important info.

Natan

Post by Natan » Wed Aug 15, 2007 8:46 pm

Luis_Br wrote:I haven't listen to it yet, but could you inform the age of the guitars?
I think it is another very important info.
Wait... I have listened. That's we definitely can determine from the sound. :D
Let me guess...

Guitar 2 - Brand new
Guitar 1 - Brand new but a little older
Guitar 3 – The oldest and "opened up", probably.

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James Lister
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Post by James Lister » Wed Aug 15, 2007 9:10 pm

Luis_Br wrote:I haven't listen to it yet, but could you inform the age of the guitars?
I think it is another very important info.
Guitar 1 - Spruce top and Maple back and sides. 6 weeks old
Guitar 2 - Cedar top and Brazilian rosewood back and sides. 3 weeks old
Guitar 3 - Spruce top and Indian rosewood back and sides. 8 months old

Final answer coming in the next half hour or so.

James
James Lister, luthier, Sheffield UK

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James Lister
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Post by James Lister » Wed Aug 15, 2007 10:23 pm

OK, well here's the answer:

0m:0s Start (guitar A) : Guitar 3 - Spruce/Indian rosewood
0m:49s Start of first repeat (guitar B) : Guitar 1 - Spruce/Maple
1m:38s Start of middle section : Guitar 3 - Spruce/Indian rosewood
2m:20s Start of last repeat (guitar C) : Guitar 2 - Cedar/Brazilian

i.e 3,1,3,2

Congratulations Pacfan and Lemonsieur - the only 2 correct answers out of 11. The probability of getting it right by guessing is 1 in 6, and the correct answers were 1 in 5.5 of the total.

Less than half identified the cedar guitar - which surprised me, but I think I would have found it very difficult to separate the maple and rosewood spruce tops - I think the difference is too subtle to really hear on this quality of recording.

Anyway, thanks for playing the game. If any of you are coming to the GFA convention in October, you can compare my maple and rosewood guitars in person.

James

P.S. I'm still looking for somewhere to stay in LA for the convention in October - any offers? :D
James Lister, luthier, Sheffield UK

Nacio de Falla

Post by Nacio de Falla » Wed Aug 15, 2007 10:32 pm

WOW!!.............i was way off! :lol:

that was fun! :D

and it also shows that guitars sound different.

i have actually owned guitars in all of the wood combos you used in the samples and tried using my old recordings of them to match up to the sounds of yours.

but i really thought i had that Spruce/Maple one down...........because the first guitar on your sample sounds unbelievably like my old Spruce/Maple.

Thanks! 8)

Again that was a lot of Fun! :wink:

Robert England
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Location: Toronto, Canada

Post by Robert England » Wed Aug 15, 2007 10:44 pm

James,
Thanks for giving us the opportunity to play this game. It was lots of fun. :) The results confirm my suspicion that the differences between spruce and cedar tops are not as consistent and obvious as usually assumed. Other factors may be as important in determining the sound of a guitar.
Robert

Azalais

Post by Azalais » Wed Aug 15, 2007 10:45 pm

I agree with Nacio! The first sounds like my very old spruce/maple too! (maybe the extra few months in age may have made the most difference... ?)

Fun test! Thanks James. (If you still have them all a year from now, it would be REALLY interesting to repeat the test!)

sv_07
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Location: Sweden

Post by sv_07 » Thu Aug 16, 2007 6:18 am

Fascinating experiment!
My conclusion (as a beginner, not experienced) is that the differences in sound, timbre, etc. do not justify the differences in prices of those guitars (Brasinian, Indian, maple, etc.).
It is technique that really counts.
Steve

jcrants

Post by jcrants » Thu Aug 16, 2007 1:32 pm

I was certainly off the mark. I was convinced that the last two sections were played by the same guitar, and that guitar was my favorite of the three. That means that I could not distinguish the spruce/BR from the cedar/IR, but I could clearly distinguish the first part played on the spruce/BR from the second one!

One lesson I get from this is that you have to hear a particular guitar to get any decent idea how it sounds. You can't get far making guesses based on the way certain woods are supposed to sound relative to each other.

James, I think the odds of guessing right by chance might have been smaller than 1 in 6. You'd have a 1 in 6 chance of guessing guitars A, B, and C correctly, times a 1 in 3 chance of guessing the mystery guitar for the middle section, or a 1 in 18 chance of getting the whole thing right.

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tgwilt
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Location: Kissimmee Florida USA

Post by tgwilt » Thu Aug 16, 2007 3:24 pm

The lesson to be learned here is that we should abandon our pre-conceived notions of which woods have the "best" sounds.

This also tends to make me believe that you should really be able to physically play an instrument prior to purchasing.

If you hear the sound you're after, go for it! It doesn't matter whether that sound comes from spruce, redwood, indian rosewood, etc. Just close your eyes and play several instruments and listen to each one with a critical ear and forget whether it is made with a spruce top, cedar top, redwood top, etc.

"You can't judge a book by it's cover - I may look like a farmer, but I'm a lover"
Cheers,

Tom Gwilt

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