Is it true that guitar finish thickness affects its natural tone?

Discussion in 'Tonefreaks' started by 5F6-A, Jul 1, 2011.

  1. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Senior Member

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    I've already said as much, myself. I don't think people are reading through the thread anymore. They seem to be just tacking their crap onto the end.

    Indeed:

    Note that they're not just hearing the fiddle, they're playing it, whiich ought to provide much more information upon which to guess the instrument.
     
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  2. Mouse

    Mouse Senior Member

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    yes there is a difference, especially if you strip thick poly and apply thinner nitro or shelack. i can confirm this because i lacquered maybe hundred? solidbody guitars. but if the guitar sounds great who cares, certainly you cannot make great solidbody out of bad one by applying the lacquer :D
    but if the chosen colour is RED ... it sounds better and is more appealing to ladies-by multiplying factor 10, that's scientific fact!


    also the colour of the amp must NOT be forgoten, this man will tell you all about it--- Randall Aiken of Aiken amps


    Q: You claim purple tolex sounds best. What about green and other colors?

    A: Here is the standard tonal color hierarchy:

    Purple: the most high tone, a royal color indeed, to be played only by those secure in their manhood.

    Red: can sometimes sound as good as purple, and can be played by anyone, even those not secure in their manhood.

    Pink: to be played only by girls, and those secure in someone else's manhood.

    Orange: a rare tone, not often found. Ideally should be elephant grain, although these are seldom heard in the wild, except in old 70's Marshalls. Orange levant is a close substitute, and it is available nowadays. Rough-grain orange "nubtex" is below black in terms of tone, and should be avoided, unless your amp company name is "Orange". If your amp company name is "Orange", you should consider changing your tolex to elephant grain, to make it more readily available to those of us who want to use it without having to custom-order five 50-yard rolls.

    Green (dark blackish green only, not that lime crap): Plays well with gold-paneled amps, imparts an "elegance" to the tone, and can be played in all types of bands, including wedding gigs and jazz clubs, so it is a versatile color. This color coordinates well with older players who are feeling their oats and want to step out a bit from basic black, and make a fashion statement without appearing to make a fashion statement, and for those afraid to stand out too much by playing a brighter color.

    Fawn: a very seldom used color, it can sound very good, but again, only on an amp with a gold faceplate.

    White: what can you say about white? It's white. White has no color, but it still sounds better than black, so there.

    Black: your basic tone, the standard by which all others are judged.
     
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  3. CenCalPlayer

    CenCalPlayer Senior Member

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    The never ending argument....nitro vs poly, thin vs thick. This whole subject is a fun read but it all boils down to the sum of a given instrument's parts. Thought Bonamassa's comment about guitars about nails it...<paraphrasing> he said "have heard vintage guitars that cost tens of thousands that I wouldn't give you anything for and have heard modern production guitars i would pay a lot for. Each guitar is different, judge each on its own merit. Some have incredible tone and some don't. Buy and play the ones that do." That is the answer to the argument....
     
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  4. SuiteAmpCo

    SuiteAmpCo Senior Member

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    You know there may be something to this....
    If my gold fish comes out of the lil castle and swims to glass, I know it good tone, but if he sees the scuba diver and goes back inside, its 2 more months until I find good tone again. How does he know???:hmm:
     
  5. Syrus

    Syrus Senior Member

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    Lacquer is one of the reasons why for example violins are so fvcking expensive to begin with.

    Every luthier has his/her own recipe for lacquer. (Be it guitar or any stringed instrument)

    On electrics this is far less prominent, but nevertheless it counts towards a grand total of resonance and therefore tone.

    The stiffness of the wood is also a key factor, but any thick layer is gonna be like putting a blanket on.
     
  6. joshatatlasstands

    joshatatlasstands MLP Vendor

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    I sanded and painted my old semi hollow thinline tele several times, each time it sounded different. It sounded best with a simple thin hard and brittle clear coat, sounded worst (dead) with a thick two part elastic acrylic. Pickups made a bigger difference but the feedback and resonance changed as i changed the finish. I thought i could tell a difference.
     
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  7. AngryHatter

    AngryHatter Senior Member

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    That is called the placebo effect. ;)
    I would suggest you RECORD both before and after and play it for friends and see if THEY hear a difference.
     
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  8. joshatatlasstands

    joshatatlasstands MLP Vendor

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    I'd like to see/hear that done. Anyone have an old bolt on project guitar that they are willing to record/sand/record/refinish/record for us?:fingersx:
     
  9. Freddy G

    Freddy G V.I.P. Member

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    I'm very well aware of what placebo effect is. As a pro luthier and a pro audio engineer for 25+ years I know how to listen critically. Here's a great example. I once refinished a guitar and it sounded like shit after, totally dead and muted. Do you call that placebo? I don't. It was a shocker, not what I was expecting at all. I loved the colour and look of the finish, and after all that hard work (ever refinished a single guitar? I've done several hundred...it's a lot of work and the last thing I want to do is start all over again) I had to bite the bullet and strip it and refinish in a different finish material.
     
  10. joshatatlasstands

    joshatatlasstands MLP Vendor

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    sucks when that happens, I experienced the same sorta thing, my tone wasn't just changed, I had killed it..

    I lived with it for a while and should have sanded it immediately, but because I had help with the project and collaborated on a paint with my accomplice (I could not spray myself) I felt obligated to let it go for a while. When I sanded it back, several guitars later, the guitar came back to life, especially when I played it in highly reflective rooms at louder volumes and I could feel it real good.

    I'd be more interested in before/after scope readings of the sound wave of an open A on a the said instrument that is tested.

    Lets try organizing around a common good and do a test? Any takers, would "cost" us and we'd settle the age old query once and for all? I do not own the oscilloscope or PC/Mac bases software/mic pres to do the work, but I'll be happy to sand the thing down at halftime and get it where it needs to go for re-testing.

    I'm still convinced I heard my guitar die, but I'd be pleased seeing some snapshots of waveforms, they tell the tale. Wish I still had it and I'd offer it up as the subject of the experiment, it went through a lot...Wouldn't it would be cool, and fun to see the outcome, count me in if anyone wants to take the helm and has the gear...

    I still have a decent large diaphragm mic and a condenser I'd be happy to contribute to the test. A surface mount mic would be the best test mic IMHO and I don't have one...:thumb:

    @ River - hi man, we talked a bit about this before, you were correct in saying that any two guitars out of the same type of wood will still sound different. Hope I'm not misquoting you there. So there's no way to find out the answer in an experiment without using the same guitar as a comparison.

    I hear people say they've tried one guitar and then another guitar in comparison and they were different, well...yeah, I think a scope test would tell.

    Great discussion y'all!

    Kind Regards,
    Josh
     
  11. Freddy G

    Freddy G V.I.P. Member

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    I have all of the equipment, technical knowledge and facilities to do a very controlled and scientific test of this sort.

    What I don't have is the time (no easy task, I've seen other tests that were quite flawed in the controls)...or motivation for doing it. The only reason I might do it is to prove to people once and for all what I already know as fact through experience. I am very tired of this argument...especially from people who have no direct experience and whose argument is simply "I can't imagine it makes any difference, therefore it doesn't".
     
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  12. AxeBuilder

    AxeBuilder Senior Member

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    Apples and oranges, my friend! One cannot apply the same principles to both an acoustic instrument and an electric guitar. There's a lot of really good info on this - just remember that acoustic instruments rely on the body to vibrate in order to create tone. The tonal frequencies of electric guitar on the other hand, are absorbed (or decreased) as the body (and neck, etc.) vibrates. Totally different ballgame!
     
  13. AxeBuilder

    AxeBuilder Senior Member

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    More likely the cheap guitars were made with light, soft woods that absorb frequencies like crazy.....:thumb:
     
  14. AxeBuilder

    AxeBuilder Senior Member

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    I have no doubt you can make a lot of measurements. My question is: how does one measure the "tone" that is perceived by humans?

    Yeah, I can run the signal through a FT Spectrum Analyzer, but which signature is "good"? What sounds good to one person is not pleasant to another and a third won't even hear the difference.

    I see it as a very large challenge!
     
  15. rockstar232007

    rockstar232007 Senior Member

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    It's not about good vs. bad tone. It's about whether or not there are differences.
     
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  16. River

    River Senior Member

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    That's what it should be about, perhaps. From what I read, that's not usually what it is about. It's usually about putting down. :cool:
     
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  17. AngryHatter

    AngryHatter Senior Member

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    I have a real poly finish, none of that fake poly crap - what do they call it? Nitro?
     
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