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. rogue3

    rogue3 Senior Member

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    How string vibration is modified by the material of the body, and the construction...and sets the tone is beyond me...but those loud acoustic lesters are clearly an example of string vibration.As is the semi hollow Gibsons, and the clearly different tone they give.Pickups read string vibration, and wood plus construction counts, to a greater or lesser degree.
     
  2. RAG7890

    RAG7890 Premium Member

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  3. Mouse

    Mouse Senior Member

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    Yup, very resonant guitar :)
     
  4. Andy California

    Andy California Senior Member

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    I don't get the obsession with the "hollow body tone" of the 50's solid body guitars. Why not just get a hollow body electric guitar then?
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017
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  5. Bobby Mahogany

    Bobby Mahogany Senior Member

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    Because it's not a Les Paul?

    :dunno:
     
  6. korus

    korus Senior Member

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    Because other guitars can be considered good sounding as long as one of those is not in the same room, ready to be played through the same signal chain. But then, if you had that experience, you would not be asking the question you did ask.

    useful link (not a LP, not a Gibson, and that is good, as difference is even greater with LPs)


    Stock originals do vary BUT no originals sound like modern guitars. If it does it is not stock. It has modern aged parts. They were invented for that purpose primarily. That is how all aged/relic thing started in the first place.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2017
  7. rockstar232007

    rockstar232007 Senior Member

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    It's funny you say that.

    I was actually playing this morning, and just for shits and giggles I decided to do a "pick test" (seeing as how everbody thinks that the pickups are only affected by the strings). I muted the strings, very lightly tapped/rubbed the pick over the top, the pickups, and the pickup rings. And, guess what? It was completely audible, through my amp. Tried it with my Epi, which has potted pickups, same results.
     
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  8. yeti

    yeti Senior Member

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    Everybody wants something different from their guitar, nothing wrong with that. I and many others want an acoustic quality to our amplified tone. It's hard to put into words but compression, tone envelope, the ratio between attack and decay, all that should, in my view mirror what a great acoustic guitar does. When you take all that out of the equation you'll end up with a Parker Fly or something, not that there's anything wrong with that but Les Pauls and Teles are basically extensions of acoustic guitars, emboldened by what amplification brings to the table but still essentially very organic stringed instruments, vs an Ibanez JEM or something designed to control unreal amounts of gain.
     
  9. korus

    korus Senior Member

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    You are spot on. Heavier gauge eg 11s pure nickel strings with wound g string on any STOCK original electric guitar with tube amp from the era played loud but right before it starts to distort and with volume on guitar at 5 or lower, with neck pickup used, strummed with light pick is the proof in the pudding. But, again, one has to experience it first hand, BOTH only listening someone else AND playing it in order to comprehand how much 'extension of acoustic guitars' thesis is correct. No pickup does that, pickups only pick that tone up and hence their name. It' s everything else that either make or break that extension, it's already done before any signal (tiny current) gets induced in pickups.

    Hence, playing electric guitars unplugged.
     
  10. BBD

    BBD Senior Member

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    Yes, but as I've said there's a big difference in the energy input from the vibration from the strings during playing and the act of tapping, especially close to / on the pickup. The dynamics are completely different. Remember that the energy transfer from strings to body is through forced vibration of the nut (or fret) and bridge saddles. These points of contact minimise energy transfer to the body. During playing, this results in a low amplitude vibration of the body (predominantly the neck) and so very minimal energy transfer to the pickup. Yes, you can hear tapping or even rubbing the pickup through the amp, but the energy input - the vibration created - is much greater than that during playing. The point is not that there is no vibrational transfer (as you mis-state) but that it is minimal during normal playing and doesn't have a significant audible effect on the amplified tone.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2017
  11. Mouse

    Mouse Senior Member

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  12. d1m1

    d1m1 Senior Member

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    I like hollow body guitars as well but they have feedback, are too big and fragile. Thats to me the isues in compare.
     
  13. yeti

    yeti Senior Member

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    Which puts you right there at the onset of the Les Paul guitar, get rid of the feedback but maintain as much as possible of the tone.
     
  14. BDW60

    BDW60 Senior Member

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    The clear answer is that one must have at least one of each ... :) I can't imagine not having a Les Paul and a 335. The biggest difference in them other than the obvious physical differences is compression. Even great "open toned" LPs have a basic signature in that way. Semihollows naturally sound more open and saggy to my ears with a different kind of attack. Greg Koch calls it squish, which is a pretty good descriptor.

    The "Tele on steroids" obsession is way overblown and that's not really what I want a Les Paul to sound like anyway.
     
  15. yeti

    yeti Senior Member

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    In an ideal scenario nut and bridge don't minimize anything, they are impedance matching devices between a string vibrating in free air (Low impedance) and a piece of wood (high impedance). The material and anchoring of the bridge has a big impact on how much "loss" there is and at what frequencies. I replaced a wooden bridge on my ES-5 with an ABR because it makes for a better energy transfer at higher frequencies since it doesn't dampen them like a wooden bridge does. The proof is that it makes the guitar brighter acoustically AND electrically. There's always loss but saying that the nut and bridge "minimize" energy transfer is simply wrong, unless you're talking about Fender Jaguars, Jazzmasters or other poorly designed bridges which can make for very interesting tones, of course. But in a guitar with a set neck and a solidly anchored bridge the string energy is dissipated into a system that, if properly designed will reinforce the vibration via resonance. looking at this as energy only flowing from point A to point B is misleading.
     
  16. korus

    korus Senior Member

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    Reinforce as in - not absorbing, not dampening as fast.

    I was faster then BBD :naughty:.

    And sure is mileading, the whole body is vibrating. Play a chord unplugged, then while strings are still vibrating lean the very top of the headstock on table or door and listen. Yes, the whole body is vibrating.
     
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  17. BBD

    BBD Senior Member

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    Wrong. The design of nut and bridge is intended to minimise the rate of energy loss from strings to body, so increasing the loudness and sustain of the amplified tone. This is well understood btw, so no idea why you've suddenly decided to argue against it.

    Nope, we're back to voodoo physics again. The net energy flow is from string to body. Energy flow from body to string is negligible. Already explained this, not doing it again.
     
  18. RAG7890

    RAG7890 Premium Member

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  19. BBD

    BBD Senior Member

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    This is all back to front. What actually happens is that the wood bridge is more susceptible to forced vibration than the metal ABR and so more readily transmits energy from the string to the body. This removes the high frequencies rapidly. When you swap the wood for ABR the high frequencies (high energy vibrations) take longer to pass from the string to the body because compared to wood, the ABR minimises the rate of energy transfer from string to body. So electrically you hear a brighter tone and acoustically you hear a brighter tone from the strings themselves, not the body.
     
  20. BBD

    BBD Senior Member

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    Tell the other guy. In physics there are right and wrong answers and insisting on correctness is obligatory.
     

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