Are laminated side guitars really that bad?

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rpavich
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Are laminated side guitars really that bad?

Post by rpavich » Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:15 am

I've got a Cordoba C7 Cedar coming tomorrow and a C9 about a week out. I was going to try them and see what I liked. They are fairly far apart in price; the C7 was $499.00 and the C9 was $850.00. I'm trying to sort out just how big a difference there is in these two guitars in the real world.

I'm a fun player...I'm not going to do concerts or performances. I might play in front of family or friends for fun at one time or another but as long as the guitar sounds good to me, that's what I care about. I got both because I've got a problem being anal about things. I thought that if I "settled" for a laminated guitar it would always be in the back of my mind that I could have done better...it would bug me until I sold the C7 at a loss and bought the C9.

I'm looking for guidance from those who actually know the difference...I'm not sure I could pick out one or the other blindfolded...so I ask here.

In my situation, just being a casual noobie player, is a guitar with laminate sides really that bad that I should upgrade to solid if at all possible?

gitgeezer
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Re: Are laminated side guitars really that bad?

Post by gitgeezer » Wed Jan 10, 2018 1:09 pm

I don't see laminated sides as either good or bad in itself. Lamination stiffens the sides, so the question becomes, do stiffer sides improve or diminish the performance of a particular guitar? If it offers an improvement, then the question becomes, is a full or partial lamination best, and if partial, how partial and where positioned? Ramirez did it, so it can't be all bad.

rpavich
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Re: Are laminated side guitars really that bad?

Post by rpavich » Wed Jan 10, 2018 1:13 pm

Ok..so it's not an "Oh yeah...always go for the solid sided guitar..that's a no-brainer" sort of thing.

I'm thinking that based on this, I'll cancel the C9, play the C7 for a while and if I get to where I want a "better" guitar, then I'll re-evaluate it then.

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Stephen Kenyon
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Re: Are laminated side guitars really that bad?

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Wed Jan 10, 2018 2:43 pm

Another way to put it is that laminates are easier to work with in bulk - you can produce a few dozen sides and put them on a shelf; with solid wood you are more likely to shape it and use it fairly promptly. So, in general makers pair laminate back and sides with less fine tops and reduced care, time and expertise on the internals. In this sense its not so much the effect the laminate may have, as the economics of guitar making.
Another way of putting it, a fine top and carefully produced bracing etc on laminate b&s might sound better than a poor top and inexpert bracing on solid b&s.
In the end, only you can trial the guitars and see how you feel about any differences.
There's always going to be a better guitar (pretty much!) - budgeting to keep the strings fairly new can make a bigger difference.
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Michael.N.
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Re: Are laminated side guitars really that bad?

Post by Michael.N. » Wed Jan 10, 2018 4:26 pm

Laminated back/sides aren't bad in themselves. I guess they make for a less active back which you may or may not like. The very modern sounding 'piano like' guitars are often done with a less active back. If that's the type of guitar sound that you like then who's to argue. Of course you can't really view all this in isolation to the soundboard. Just because a guitar has a laminated or solid back really tells us very little. It just becomes another factor, one of many. The important one (by far) being the soundboard. In short, if you like the sound of your guitar stop worrying about whether it's laminated or not!
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rpavich
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Re: Are laminated side guitars really that bad?

Post by rpavich » Wed Jan 10, 2018 4:27 pm

Thanks again for the help. I'm going to stick with the C7 and then worry about it later on down the road.

rpavich
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Re: Are laminated side guitars really that bad?

Post by rpavich » Wed Jan 10, 2018 4:57 pm

Stephen Kenyon wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 2:43 pm

There's always going to be a better guitar (pretty much!) - budgeting to keep the strings fairly new can make a bigger difference.
that must be what happened. the dreaded gear disease before the first one even got here.

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joachim33
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Re: Are laminated side guitars really that bad?

Post by joachim33 » Wed Jan 10, 2018 5:34 pm

Stephen Kenyon wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 2:43 pm
There's always going to be a better guitar (pretty much!) - budgeting to keep the strings fairly new can make a bigger difference.
A budget for tuition fees helps even more :wink:

My tutor tells me off for changing strings to often :o :shock: :o
I do it every 3 month (100 to 120 h of play) now.

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Stephen Kenyon
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Re: Are laminated side guitars really that bad?

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Wed Jan 10, 2018 5:51 pm

joachim33 wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 5:34 pm
Stephen Kenyon wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 2:43 pm
There's always going to be a better guitar (pretty much!) - budgeting to keep the strings fairly new can make a bigger difference.
...
My tutor tells me off for changing strings to often :o :shock: :o
That's just rather weird - is it a problem of having unstable tuning too often? If so, just get basses and leave the trebles on.
Simon Ambridge Series 40 (2005)
Trevor Semple Series 88 (1992)
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celestemcc
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Re: Are laminated side guitars really that bad?

Post by celestemcc » Wed Jan 10, 2018 8:09 pm

Depends. A few years ago I tried a luthier-made laminate side guitar (ie, luthier did the laminating, or maybe I should call it double-sided), it was a powerhouse and had beautiful tone!
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Altophile
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Re: Are laminated side guitars really that bad?

Post by Altophile » Wed Jan 10, 2018 8:12 pm

Michael.N. wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 4:26 pm
Laminated back/sides aren't bad in themselves. I guess they make for a less active back which you may or may not like. The very modern sounding 'piano like' guitars are often done with a less active back. If that's the type of guitar sound that you like then who's to argue. Of course you can't really view all this in isolation to the soundboard. Just because a guitar has a laminated or solid back really tells us very little. It just becomes another factor, one of many. The important one (by far) being the soundboard. In short, if you like the sound of your guitar stop worrying about whether it's laminated or not!
+1

Jeffrey Armbruster
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Re: Are laminated side guitars really that bad?

Post by Jeffrey Armbruster » Wed Jan 10, 2018 8:30 pm

My tutor tells me off for changing strings to often :o :shock: :o
I do it every 3 month (100 to 120 h of play) now.

Wow. I change mine much sooner than that--but my hand oils seem to eat through strings. Nevertheless, on my spruce guitar in particular, new strings make it sound half again better--even with frequent re-stringing. So, do you notice an improvement in tone when you put on new strings? For me, it's like getting a new, better guitar every couple of weeks!

When I was shopping for a guitar I once tried a used Kenny Hill that was strung with obviously worn strings. I didn't buy it, and I have no idea what it actually sounded like. Bad strings make a good guitar sound bad.

But I'll stipulate that I haven't played many guitars so maybe I'm off base (but not about my spruce!)

p.s. I seem to be able to keep strings on my cedarTakamine for a longer period of time without losing good tone. What's that about?
Paul Weaver spruce 2014
Takamine C132S

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rojarosguitar
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Re: Are laminated side guitars really that bad?

Post by rojarosguitar » Wed Jan 10, 2018 8:41 pm

Who says they are bad? There are some luthier guitars with laminated sides and even laminated back, and, even :shock: laminated top, that are considered very good and payed for with loads of money. It all depends... laminated is not created equal!
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JRomano
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Re: Are laminated side guitars really that bad?

Post by JRomano » Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:39 pm

If it's a well made, well designed guitar, then the laminated sides should not be an issue. Some very expensive guitars incorporate laminates and other reinforcement to provide a stable base for a thin, lattice braced top. So, just listen to the guitar, and if you like the sound it shouldn't matter how the sides and back are constructed.

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Mike Atkinson
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Re: Are laminated side guitars really that bad?

Post by Mike Atkinson » Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:58 pm

The sad challenge is you have to order the guitars to try them. It is a constant struggle; to find a collection of instruments in an appropriate range to try.

You may find, comparing that YOU prefer the less expensive instrument.
Or YOU may find the more expensive instrument is worth three times the lesser.

You really can't tell until you have them in your hands ... side by side.
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