How come so few luthiers include sound samples of their instrument?

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
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CarbonElitist
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Re: How come so few luthiers include sound samples of their instrument?

Post by CarbonElitist » Fri Jan 04, 2019 4:12 pm

Erik Zurcher wrote:
Fri Jan 04, 2019 9:13 am
I don't believe in sound samples at all. What you hear is a recording, all you do is judging the quality of the recording, not the sound characteristics of the guitar, a 2D version of a 3D instrument.
And yet deciding on a guitar from the picture alone is somehow less absurd? I decided on my Cordoba Torres after listening to a whole bunch of recordings, both good and bad. The guitar itself exceeded them. While it is true you cannot replicate the nuances of the real thing, I think it is preposterous to dismiss what a good dry recording can do for a guitar.
"If at first you don't succeed, don't go skydiving."
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Dirck Nagy
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Re: How come so few luthiers include sound samples of their instrument?

Post by Dirck Nagy » Fri Jan 04, 2019 4:41 pm

CarbonElitist wrote:
Fri Jan 04, 2019 4:12 pm
Erik Zurcher wrote:
Fri Jan 04, 2019 9:13 am
I don't believe in sound samples at all. What you hear is a recording, all you do is judging the quality of the recording, not the sound characteristics of the guitar, a 2D version of a 3D instrument.
And yet deciding on a guitar from the picture alone is somehow less absurd? I decided on my Cordoba Torres after listening to a whole bunch of recordings, both good and bad. The guitar itself exceeded them. While it is true you cannot replicate the nuances of the real thing, I think it is preposterous to dismiss what a good dry recording can do for a guitar.
And what is "a good dry recording?" Whose standards?

Recordings are only as good as the weakest link in the signal chain.

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Michael.N.
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Re: How come so few luthiers include sound samples of their instrument?

Post by Michael.N. » Fri Jan 04, 2019 4:44 pm

It's complex. When you are trying to compare guitars recorded by different players, different rooms, different recording equipment, different post production techniques it can fast become meaningless.
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Pat Dodson
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Re: How come so few luthiers include sound samples of their instrument?

Post by Pat Dodson » Fri Jan 04, 2019 5:25 pm

Our own Stephen Kenyon lists 47 UK classical guitar luthiers on his Jacaranda Music website and gives website links for these. I could not get 8 links to work (and didn’t chase up via search engines) but of the 39 that I could access 20 provided sound samples and/or videos.

So in this survey (only) just over a half of luthiers provided samples.

Each of us will have opinions on the usefulness, representative nature and quality of samples. What I will say is that visiting these 39 sites was an absolute treat visually. Wonderful!

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CarbonElitist
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Re: How come so few luthiers include sound samples of their instrument?

Post by CarbonElitist » Fri Jan 04, 2019 5:43 pm

Dirck Nagy wrote:
Fri Jan 04, 2019 4:41 pm

And what is "a good dry recording?" Whose standards?

Recordings are only as good as the weakest link in the signal chain.
I concede it is subjective, but a few things come into making a good recording.
*A decent microphone (or two) is a given, preferably one that can capture many of the nuances of the tone.
*No frills added (little to no reverb, noise reduction, etc.)
*Record both up close and far away.
*Assuming the luthier knows a little bit of classical technique, they should explore the instrument, (scales, chords, harmonics), it does not even have to be a song, just a few simple improvs that explore the voice of the guitar.

Yes, there are going to be inconsistencies due to equipment, room size, humidity, etc. But again, a recording gives a better impression of an instrument's voice than pixels do, and not everybody has the time to drive out and audition an instrument.
Last edited by CarbonElitist on Tue Jan 08, 2019 3:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"If at first you don't succeed, don't go skydiving."
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Stephen Faulk
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Re: How come so few luthiers include sound samples of their instrument?

Post by Stephen Faulk » Sat Jan 05, 2019 6:18 am

Most makers find that they get commissions by ' word of mouth ' referral and because people like them as people, or that they are local. There's lots of reasons. To focus heavily on one aspect of what presents your work is difficult, maybe not even a good idea.

There's no standard for what a sound sample should be measured by, so it's also difficult to deliver what each person wants in a sound sample. Probably the best one can do is offer two versions of a sample. One version with engineering adjustment to the sound, and one version just raw straight off the mic.

One other thing, it's not as easy as most non makers think to get good players to play your guitars for recordings. And a shout out to those who help makers with sample recordings, those musicians that play for makers are saints that help keep the art going. Thank you to any and all of you who take guitars for test playing. That's valuable information.

Most makers do sample recordings, but not everyone can record each guitar. If there is a particular guitar you want to hear, most guitar makers will make a fast sample for you of a particular instrument if you ask.
Patience at the bending iron pays in rounded dividends!

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Michael.N.
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Re: How come so few luthiers include sound samples of their instrument?

Post by Michael.N. » Sat Jan 05, 2019 9:59 am

CarbonElitist wrote:
Fri Jan 04, 2019 5:43 pm
Dirck Nagy wrote:
Fri Jan 04, 2019 4:41 pm

And what is "a good dry recording?" Whose standards?

Recordings are only as good as the weakest link in the signal chain.
I conceded it is subjective, but a few things come into making a good recording.
*A decent microphone (or two) is a given, preferably one that can capture many of the nuances of the tone.
*No frills added (little to no reverb, noise reduction, etc.)
*Record both up close and far away.
*Assuming the luthier knows a little bit of classical technique, they should explore the instrument, (scales, chords, harmonics), it does not even have to be a song, just a few simple improvs that explore the voice of the guitar.

Yes, there are going to be inconsistencies due to equipment, room size, humidity, etc. But again, a recording gives a better impression of an instrument's voice than pixels do, and not everybody has the time to drive out and audition an instrument.
That won't fly in a million years! If a maker were to follow your suggested recording method it would be all well and good, perhaps be quite truthful in it's representation. Unfortunately it wouldn't impress one single player. He/she would be effectively saying 'listen to how cr*p my guitar sounds'. Their sales book would be a big fat zero guitars sold per year. There's a reason why commercial recordings are made the way they are, with all the little tricks of the recording studio.
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Jasonm
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Re: How come so few luthiers include sound samples of their instrument?

Post by Jasonm » Mon Jan 07, 2019 5:16 am

If the guitar doesn’t sound good through my iPhone speaker then it’s clearly a bad guitar!

Dirck Nagy
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Re: How come so few luthiers include sound samples of their instrument?

Post by Dirck Nagy » Mon Jan 07, 2019 2:13 pm

Jasonm wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 5:16 am
If the guitar doesn’t sound good through my iPhone speaker then it’s clearly a bad guitar!
:lol:

(hey, i got to use on of those "Smilies" thingys!)

David Conti
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Re: How come so few luthiers include sound samples of their instrument?

Post by David Conti » Mon Jan 07, 2019 2:29 pm

The guitar is much too complex an instrument to see how it "sounds" in a recording. The other factor is that it will not sound the same when YOU play it. The only way to tell is to hold it in your lap and play it. Add to this that every player has a different nail shape and attack and the way they hit the strings and you will never be able to determine how a guitar sounds until you hold it. You are comparing mics and recording techniques as well as the guitar and oftentimes a quiet guitar will record great but not be so great in a big hall.
To think that a guitar that Bream or Desiderio plays will sound the same as when I or you play it it pretty much a fantasy.
You can get a bit of insight if there is a comparison between different guitars in the same room playing the same piece with the same player but again, this will not be what you experience yourself.

Bill-stl
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Re: How come so few luthiers include sound samples of their instrument?

Post by Bill-stl » Mon Jan 07, 2019 3:51 pm

Reading these posts makes me think that buying a guitar is a combination of "Wheel of Fortune " , "Love it or List it " and a Vegas roulette wheel! I am still amazed at what some folks spend on a guitar - and envious of their place on this journey of exploring this instrument, as I am no where close to being that far along. I am sure a $10,000 guitar would sound no better than a $10 one in my hands. Still fun to read and dream.😊
Esteve Fernandez Valencia

Dirck Nagy
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Re: How come so few luthiers include sound samples of their instrument?

Post by Dirck Nagy » Mon Jan 07, 2019 4:31 pm

Bill-stl wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 3:51 pm
Reading these posts makes me think that buying a guitar is a combination of "Wheel of Fortune " , "Love it or List it " and a Vegas roulette wheel! ...
Still fun to read and dream.😊
You got it!

Stephen Faulk
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Re: How come so few luthiers include sound samples of their instrument?

Post by Stephen Faulk » Tue Jan 08, 2019 3:01 am

Bill-stl wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 3:51 pm
Reading these posts makes me think that buying a guitar is a combination of "Wheel of Fortune " , "Love it or List it " and a Vegas roulette wheel! I am still amazed at what some folks spend on a guitar - and envious of their place on this journey of exploring this instrument, as I am no where close to being that far along. I am sure a $10,000 guitar would sound no better than a $10 one in my hands. Still fun to read and dream.😊
Buying a guitar and knowledge about which guitars work for you is the result of concentrated effort at cultivating how you listen to and appreciate guitars. It's working at it little by little over time.

People who know guitars well have taken time to cultivate the understanding of what s guitar sound means to them. It's actually hard work. But you begin by trying to play and listen to yourself and others play a variety of guitars.
Patience at the bending iron pays in rounded dividends!

Tom
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Re: How come so few luthiers include sound samples of their instrument?

Post by Tom » Tue Jan 08, 2019 12:55 pm

A $50 guitar will sound like a top luthier made guitar with a respected good player.

Therefore I never trust sound clip.

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souldier
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Re: How come so few luthiers include sound samples of their instrument?

Post by souldier » Tue Jan 08, 2019 8:47 pm

If I were a luthier I'd definitely want to have some sound samples of my instruments on my website and I do think recordings can offer some value. With that said, I've learned through the years of deceiving recordings can be and I wouldn't spend thousands of dollars on a guitar based on recordings alone. Through doing my own recording I've found that the gear you use, settings, reverb and even something as simple as mic distance/position can greatly affect how a guitar sounds. The second big factor is the players technique, right hand position, etc.. Just by having poor nail condition the guitar sounds like a completely different instrument.

An example of this is the recordings of the 1862 Torres that GSI has on youtube. Listen to George Sakellariou playing it, then Rafael Elizondo, and you'll think they were 2 different instruments.
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