Exactly, demonstrating that a solid back (and sides) makes a huge difference vs laminate. There are many people who seem to believe this is not so.Chris Sobel wrote: ↑Mon Apr 08, 2019 7:39 pmI would agree with Trevor in the sense that how the back is built can make a huge difference in sound. We recently re-backed a guitar that had laminate Brazilian for the back with a heavier solid Brazilian back... the sound difference was night and day.
I personally have never been able to make maple or cypress sound like excellent Brazilian... and to boot; the aesthetics of rosewood are second to none IMO.
Great info there, Trevor. Thanks!Trevor Gore wrote: ↑Mon Apr 08, 2019 12:22 pmOne can get very picky about the way these sorts of experiments are performed, but I'll try to stay away from that. However, trying to identify differences in sound due to the back woods when the T(1,1)1's and T(1,1)2's range over a semi-tone on non-live back instruments (no T(1,1)3's apparent, Fig 1A) doesn't give you much of a chance.
How the back and sides are treated can make a huge difference to the way a guitar sounds. Live vs. non-live backs, mass loaded sides etc. are ample proof of that. But what wood you use, much less so, UNLESS you systematically rely on the average species properties rather than build technique to effect the differences.
What you hear when a guitar is played are the modal resonances, defined by their center frequencies, amplitudes and bandwidth. If you can measure the mechanical properties of the wood (density, Young's modulus, damping) and use the right, well documented techniques, you can match the important modal resonances of guitars made of different woods pretty closely. That's what builders are doing (whether they realize it or not) when "The guitar maker, by treating each back in the way that his experience suggested was best, has to a very large extent compensated for any physical differences between the types of wood". So a wide range of woods can be made to sound alike, which means, of course, that players can't pick the difference, and guitar builders have a much greater range of woods at their disposal. I know that I can't pick wood species on my (modally tuned) guitars. All we need to do now is stop the dealers from perpetuating the species myths and get them to promote some of the more sustainable alternatives.
I remember that wine study as well. Great point transferring the results to this field.chiral3 wrote: ↑Mon Apr 08, 2019 8:08 pmAs others have stated the result is no surprise. There are other studies that I think are relevant from a multidisciplinary perspective. I can’t recall citations right now, but I’ll paraphrase one to give a sense: there was a study using wine where people were randomly given various wines ranging from bargain juice to Napa cult and also told their prices in some random assignment. fMRI suggested that awareness of the higher price point correlated with more brain involvement in a number of important regions which was further correlated with higher self-reported enjoyment. If this translates to instruments it’s arguable that people could legitimately perceive and enjoy music more from an instrument made from exotic woods over their non-exotic analogue even though they sound the same.
That has been my experience as well.
To quote from the LGRP conclusions:guitarrista wrote: ↑Tue Apr 09, 2019 12:17 amBTW, how does the study discussed in the thread here relate to the Leonardo Guitar research project and the blind listening tests? If I recall correctly, that blind study found almost complete inability to differentiate between the sound of guitars with tropical vs non-tropical woods (traditional vs. non-traditional woods) as well as between different guitar makers.
I was involved in the blind listening/playing tests conducted at Newark College on the classical guitars made for the project by the students. One of the issues with the project was the fact that the guitars were all made by students, so that there was bound to be more variation from guitar to guitar (regardless of woods used) than if the guitars had been made by professional luthiers. The first pair of guitars made by the students were quite different, and the tropical guitar was perceived to be "better" than the non-tropical by the majority of listeners and players (although certainly not by all). My own opinion was that the differences were largely due to small differences in the soundboard/strutting, and to the significantly lower mass of the bridge of the non-tropical guitar.This test shows that the distinctive sound qualities and the supposed nature of T’s [tropical] and NT’s [non-tropical] were not distinguishable one from the other.
This is an odd way of agreeing with the the study's conclusion, which is that guitar buyers' preference for tropical woods is irrational. The choice of question is odd, yes, because it was precisely on point.Martin Woodhouse wrote: ↑Tue Apr 09, 2019 11:15 amTropical vs non-tropical seems like an odd choice of question: tropicalness isn’t a physical characteristic of the wood, it just tells you where the tree grew/originated... Is the question really 'relatively high density woods which tend to grow in tropical climates vs relatively medium/low density woods which are more common in temperate climates?' Or maybe wood from warmer countries gives a warmer sound?
Fair point, but in the case of the Leonardo project, the object was specifically to investigate the use of alternative, non-tropical species to reduce the reliance on rare/expensive tropical hardwoods, many of which have trade restrictions imposed (by CITES and the Lacey Act), or are being illegally harvested.
I fully agree.Julian Ward wrote: ↑Fri Apr 05, 2019 7:21 pmThis is simply not true at all. I have demonstrated this in my local guitar shop when the assistant said the same thing to me. I said he was mad, and the back and sides make a big difference. I 'played' the guitars to prove it. Players that cannot tell are those that have a soft technique or rather a 'weak/quiet' one. In this case they are simply not able to drive the top enough to get that sound fully moving through the body. I can absolutely tell if a guitar is solid wood or laminated plywood - on nylon strung and on steel strung guitars. I can also hear a lot of difference between the mahogany bodied vs rosewood guitars of the same guitar in the steel string category. And a big difference in the sustain of rosewood vs cypress. But you really have to 'dig in' and "play' the guitar to hear it easily.