50's Wood? This is How a Good Les Paul Supposed to Sound Like

Discussion in 'Vintage Les Pauls' started by d1m1, Nov 6, 2017.

  1. mono

    mono Senior Member

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    I'm really not sure it is worth your time. Some people just hear what they want o hear and nothing to the contrary. It's all good in the end, we are all passionate about Les Pauls and that is why we are here but I think this is an 'agree to disagree' type situation.
     
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  2. korus

    korus Senior Member

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    ANYONE can spend a single minute of leisure time listening/watching this comparison, go to 0:47, preferably use some decent earphones:

    No hat needs to be eaten, as this is as obvious as it gets.
     
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  3. BBD

    BBD Senior Member

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    @mono

    What disappoints me is the combination of incivility and laziness. If the previous commenter had read the recent pages of the thread carefully and actually thought about what was said, they might have responded differently. Something along the lines of this:

    "The bursts I've played all sound acoustically similar to the video in the OP. Reading what BBD posted I can see that this is most likely not because the body is highly resonant, but because it is not. What I'm hearing acoustically is the strings vibrating strongly as the energy from playing stays in them for a long time."

    Anyway, sod it.

    BTW, if I can ask, is the 9 1228 in your sig the serial number of a guitar you own?
     
  4. korus

    korus Senior Member

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    That is the way original electric guitars sound unplugged compared to modern ones, even with fresh strings. I did not know that before I played originals, but I've learned that the only way one can - by playing originals, and A/B testing them with modern ones . However, once the TUBE/VALVE drive kicks in upper harmonics 'explode' which means - they are restrained, almost lacking in primary/unplugged tone and also played clean through the amp BUT then with tubes in tube amp that are taken to overdrive they amplify them (upper harmonics) more than fundamental and lower harmonics and driven tone becomes wonderfully balanced. Actually the fact that upper harmonics are low is deliberately created to sound like that - it is a common knowledge what Les Paul model was designed to be in the first place - a first solid body jazz guitar for popular jazz/pop guitarist, and probably first signature guitar ever. That 'soggy' tone is tone of a big box archtop jazz guitar simulated on a solidbody electric guitar. The fact that overdriven tube/valve amp does what it does to that 'soggy tone' is just a happy accident. On which we based most of the music made in last ~60 years.

    Problem with modern copies of original guitars is that they all have primary tone that is too bright even for clean tone, and drive makes them worse. So, if a player never played original electric guitars, he knows only tone of modern ones, tone that is too bright, his ears are adjusted, used to that tone only and then he inevitably calls primary tone of originals - dead strings, rusted strings, soggy and similar.


    It's pretty much the same as with previous point - those with pair of good ears easily recognize tone of originals even as 'audio recorded ambiently and compressed for YouTube and played over tinny computer speakers' BUT ony if they've played originals. Those who did not played originals, and here comes sorry, one HUGE sorry, I meant - STOCK ORIGINALS - they won't recognize it, as they can not recognize what they don't know. And they only know tone of modern ones.

    Do bear in mind that there is no way in the known universe that ANY player can make best modern LP that replicates originals to sound exactly like or should I say so much like original LPs that it will be mistaken for original - best setup, any signal chain, any player. It is because primary tone is too bright on modern guitars, to hard, has too much attack, not enough mids, tight lows ... and then that tone gets amplified through a driven amp where upper harmonics 'explode' - there is not a tiny chance modern LP will be mistaken for original, tone-wise. Unplugged tone tells that at first few strums. That is why it is used as reliable indicator. Once a player experience STOCK originals unplugged, it becomes second nature to check unplugged tone of any guitar, sometimes with an ear on body or neck of a guitar while strings are vibrating. Cause no signal chain (pickups included) or playing style will alter the basic character of wrong primary tone. Once a player knows proper=original primary tone, I mean primary tone of STOCK originals, it's all clear in first few strums unplugged. That is what clips like the one in OP have an intention of demonstrating and that is why are they recorded in the first place.
     
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  5. PierM

    PierM Premium Member

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    LOL
     
  6. THDNUT

    THDNUT Senior Member

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    PSA: Don't ever get into an argument about man made global warming with BBD.

    :rofl:
     
  7. Pleximan

    Pleximan Premium Member

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    I have a 59 replica that is very lively acoustically. To me that can be a good indicator of how resonant a guitar is, but. It is an electric instrument. It's meant to be played, loud! Preferably with a Marshall or something similar.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2017
  8. moreles

    moreles Senior Member

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    Yowsers. A lot of these declaratory posts use terms very loosely, and offer as pompous pronouncements what are at best personal speculations or unproven assumptions. I'm not going to contribute to this beyond offering a few reminders: (1) a cleanly fretted and picked string vibrates and transmits those vibrations to the neck, directly (not through the air) at the point of contact (fret) and to the body through the bridge. Of course, and absolutely, the consequent vibrations of all parts of the system feed back into the string and affect the vibration sensed by the pickup. So while the string itself plays the major part, the other vibrations feeding into this "loop" often make a difference. Unamplified tone can suggest what the body may or may not offer in this system (2) tap on your guitar's body while it's plugged in and tell me that the body has no influence on a guitar signal. (3) Billy Gates guitar may reportedly sound relatively dull acoustically, but his wonderful tone, which he replicates on every guitar he plays, regardless of design, does not come, particularly and obviously, from the influence of the body. That's why SD makes Pearly Gates pickups. (4) If you play high gain, overdriven, or otherwis effected tone -- and I'll bet that 3/4 of the posters here do -- then you don't need to be concerned with acoustic tone at all because you've likely driven any of that tone coloration right out of your signal chain anyway. Thus: basswood and alder shred guitars.
     
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  9. BBD

    BBD Senior Member

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    This is a key point. To what extent does energy return from the body to the string? I hope we'd all agree that the net energy flow is predominantly from string to body and out to the atmosphere. The body is a sink. So the potential energy input from the body back to the string is always less than the loss from the string to the body.

    The body sheds energy to the atmosphere across its entire surface area. That's a lot of sink and that's where most of the energy goes. The body can return some energy to the string only at the two points of contact: nut / fret and bridge saddle. This is a very small surface area compared to the body so the return of energy to the string is unlikely to significantly amplify its vibration. That's why there's unlikely to be any noticeable effect on sustain through an amp.

    Tapping the body is apples and oranges. The energy input from tapping the body is much higher than the energy input to the body from a picked string. So yes, the strings vibrate when you tap the body. But that doesn't mean that enough energy flows from the body to the strings during playing to have a noticeable effect on sustain / tone.

    I've got low-wind OX4s in a 2014 R9, and I like to hear ze nuances :)
     
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  10. BBD

    BBD Senior Member

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    Well, that's about energy flows in a physical system too... :thumb:
     
  11. XpensiveWino

    XpensiveWino Senior Member

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    There is a winemaking analogy that I think fits this situation. It goes something like: With great grapes I can make great wine. With poor grapes, I can never make great wine. To me, a great sound unplugged is an OPPORTUNITY for a killer amplified sound. Rarely is there ever a dud unplugged that becomes amazing plugged in.

    Now, carry on!
     
  12. LenPaul

    LenPaul Premium Member

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    I thought that sounded awesome, putting aside the technique of the player.
    That guitar sings,, I'd love to get my hands on it & give it some tenderness.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2017
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  13. yeti

    yeti Senior Member

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    I'm not a physics major so I'm not going to pretend that I know what goes on in an electro-mechanical system like a solid body guitar but I feel qualified to comment on the juncture where scientific reasoning and observable facts meet.
    I think there are threads on here where I actually argued a similar point as yours regarding acoustic properties of electric guitars vs amplified tone, posted in threads regarding acoustically loud electric guitars that were believed to yield superior amplified tone by some. My core argument went something like this :"energy either goes into vibrating the wood or prolonging string vibration which can be "heard" by the magnetic pickup, what you hear acoustically your pickup can't hear because that energy is "lost to vibration", so I get where you are coming from.
    It is of course a very simplistic and flawed argument born out of the need to get a point across quickly in a very rudimentary way but it doesn't hold up to scientific scrutiny. What it does however is confirm observable facts, namely that acoustically loud solid body guitars don't sound better, volume acoustically doesn't equal better amplified tone, a fact that can be repeatedly observed by anyone willing to do so.
    Many players have for decades observed a connection between acoustic properties of solid body guitars and their amplified tone that go way beyond "gee, it rings loud for a long time, therefore it must sound great plugged in" . Good tone is subjective to some degree but there is an ideal version of what a good vintage Les Paul should sound like that most enthusiasts could agree on. That tone is a puzzle much more complex than you make it sound like, where in your scenario the energy that initiates string movement either drives the body to resonate or sustains the string, two choices with no interaction between them.
    The solid body guitar is a driver with a frequency specific resistance (lets call it impedance) , then there are impedance matching devices, called the nut and the bridge (and frets) and their combined impact on the strings' ability to vibrate and what the ratio between fundamental and harmonics of that vibration is, including the envelope of each partial becomes one very important factor that determines the amplified tone. Tone is more than volume and sustain, it's easy to build a solid body guitar that is acoustically loud and has sustain, just like it is easy for acoustic guitar makers to build guitars with tons of overtones, but the golden era Martins and Gibson acoustics had a very particular relationship between fundamental notes and overtones regarding their loudness and sustain (I prefer "decay"), they have a very strong fundamental and a well ordered set of musical harmonics vs many newer guitars that just go zing for days without a clearly defined core tone. The same goes for the few really great vintage electrics, and those properties can be heard acoustically. Does any of this matter to most players? No, it shouldn't, it certainly doesn't make me run out and spend ridiculous amounts of money for a vintage lester (especially since that money is much better spend on a great vintage amp, a much more drastic and efficient way to improve tone) but it is observable fact, proven by repeatable empirical data collection, while your explanations of the physics involved sound contrived.
     
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  14. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Senior Member

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    He wasn't playing jazz in there ... he had all the swing of a tetherball pole, playing right on top of the beat.

    He got some nice blues from that Goldy, though.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2017
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  15. RAG7890

    RAG7890 Premium Member

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  16. RAG7890

    RAG7890 Premium Member

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    I’m no expert & I do have a Science Degree but I’ve had good, bad & indifferent Guitars from all years.

    I’ve played old Wood that was meh!

    I’ve played newer Wood that was great.

    My Replicas resonate really well & sound great & they are old Wood, but they were made more recently. I do use Vintage PU’s though.

    What I’m trying to say is that each guitar from each time period is different.

    There is a reason the great Guitarists of our time (I’m 57) are / were great, it is because they had it in their fingers not the Guitar or the Wood etc.

    Page, Hendrix, Gilmour, Green, SRV, DiMeola, Barre etc., etc., etc. I can’t name them all.

    As a matter of fact, I know of a highly regarded Guitar player & I do mean highly regarded who prefers his Replica over his Burst. So go figure.

    Lastly a lot of people go absolutely ga ga over a Vintage Guitar, I’ve seen it first hand........& they weren’t even good Guitars / Musical Instruments.

    Sometimes I think we need to look past the name on the HS & the History.

    My 2c FWIW.........not that I think it really matters. :)

    :cheers2:
     
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  17. Thermionik

    Thermionik Not Fade Away Premium Member

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    Talking
    about tone
    is like dancing
    about architecture...
     
  18. mono

    mono Senior Member

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    Last 2 posts.... nail on the head.
    It just bothers me when people wax lyrical over what they can hear in the 'tone' of an umamplified (electric) guitar on a poorly recorded video over the internet. Things have gone bananas!
     
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  19. sws1

    sws1 V.I.P. Member

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    Last point...just to throw more confusion into the mix.

    Anyone who has ever mic'd an acoustic guitar knows how important mic placement is. Just sliding the mic further up the neck adds a ton more "plucked string" tones. Move it towards the body and the tone is completely different. Rotate a bit...more change.

    All these videos of unplugged LPs suffer to same phenomenon. If the cell phone cam, pro cam, microphone is pointed more towards the neck, that plinky sound is far more noticeable. There is no consistency in how these are recorded, and therefore, I'd be careful drawing any conclusions.
     
  20. yeti

    yeti Senior Member

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    Many times acoustic guitars are miced with directional mics while smartphone mics tend to be omnidirectional, making mic placement a bit more forgiving. I find that smartphone recordings/ videos do rather well when it comes to giving the listener a realistic impression of what's going on in front of the microphone, assuming there's no clipping and wind noise. I've made recordings with haphazardly placed smartphones that sounded very much like the guitar in the room.
     
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