Does the back grain pattern have any affect on resonance, sustain, sound quality, etc?

danzego

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Posting this here because it's not just Historic/Reissue specific. This might seem crazy or anal, but bear with me. We're not all here discussing these things because we don't care. I also have to make a decision on this one in the next 24 hours.

I'm currently in discussion with Gibson for a replacement on my 60th Anniversary V1 R0 that went if for warranty work right after I got it (finish issues). I did get it back and it came back with a ding on the back and the case wasn't mine. Gibson said they would be willing to do a replacement. Based on my preferences in a guitar, they sent over pictures of a potential replacement (I already turned one down due to a ho hum top).

The guitar is beautiful, but I'm slightly concerned about the back. It has the most swirl I've ever seen in an LP back and somewhere along the way, I read (via an interview with some reknown major company builder who escapes me at the moment) that the most resonant and best sustaining guitars tend to have straight grain. A bit of figuring wouldn't concern me, but I'll let the picture speak for itself:






Again, that's the most I've ever seen (along with perhaps a bit of distortion in the grain at points). The idea that a straight grain would lead to best energy transferral and, thus, best resonance and sustain, seems to make sense. SO, with that in mind, does anyone have any input into that based on their own experience? Please, take it easy on me if you have strong feelings about it. We're talking about a $6500 guitar here and I just don't want to get stuck with a dog, especially since the first one is actually a very nice guitar.
 

dimeified

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Ooooh I love that!! I missed out on an LP Standard with a beautiful swirl. It sets them apart from all the rest that look like planks of lumber. If it were me I would jump on it, even if the tone "suffers" or "differs" a bit. After all, tone is subjective.
 

BDW60

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As I recall, the swirly backs really got going in the 2014 historics and into the 2015 True historics. Those are some generally highly regarded LPs. I had a swirly 2014 R8 and it was an excellent guitar.

Not sure if there is any consensus on how it may (or may not) affect tone or sustain. There are so many variables, any opinion would probably be anecdotal. There would have to be a very large sample size of straight vs. swirly backed LPs for it to mean anything.
 

Jymbopalyse

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I'm pretty sure that the swirl will lock in the tone and keep it from escaping.

You want to have nice straight lines.

If you do keep it. Your strings will need to be at least 12s, to escape that vortex.
























/purple
 

Platte City Paul

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I'm of the mind that wood choices in an electric guitar don't really matter all that much.

The chain from fingers to pick to strings to pick-ups, through the pots and caps and out the jack are what really matter. Also, caps are all about the cap value and not their construction.

My ears are crappy enough that, even IF woods made a difference in an electric guitar's tone, I wouldn't be able to tell.

If I want sustain, I dial more on my compression pedal that sits just after the tuner pedal. :)

Totally different discussion with acoustics.

Also, all that aside, that is a GORGEOUS guitar, my friend. Enjoy it!
 

JMP

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I have no idea about how grain patterns may impact sustain. But I love that swirly back Les Paul. That’s unique and gorgeous.
 

dimeified

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If you do pass it up, at least provide a contact person and serial number for those that are interested. Not me, that's out of my price range, but I bet people are following this one.
 

bpolo

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I know this doesn’t answer the tone/grain pattern question, but THAT’S A KEEPER!!!
STUNNING LP!!!
 
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ARandall

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Ok, just so you know......there is ZERO way of telling what any part of a guitar is contributing to tone, sustain - or anything else.

Absolutely.

Zero.


Falling for the marketing hype......or if we're charitable the 'poor application of logic and anecdotal evidence' is just what such companies are hoping......oh, and they just happen to only use the aforementioned grain wood too.....what a coincidence:hmm:
Whilst all intelligent reasonable adults realise that physical aspects of the guitar will have some influence on the way the string vibrates (and by extension the signal the pickup generates), the relationship is of wood independent, and 'multiplicatory'. You can have 2 pieces that seem dull, and the result is extraordinary once together as a guitar. The reverse is true too. The best acoustic toned guitar I've ever owned was the dullest once plugged in.
 

AJK1

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It looks like a thigh bone connecting to a knee cap
 

Brek

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I would love to find out what effect grain have on response. Simply playing different guitars won’t cut it though as all the other factors cannot be accounted for. I suppose maybe transplanting all the metal bits from guitar to guitar might give some kinda baseline. Been reading a lot about wood used in Les pauls, most of the bodies seem to be flat sawn, with a % quartersawn, maybe just depended what was bought in at any given time. The quartersawn has a very unique grain look.
 

mudface

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All my Historics have swirly backs except my R7 which is fairly straight,.... but all have great tone and sustain.

This is my CC#28
45D82F5C-A975-48EB-9CF8-0C06E949DB8D.jpeg


Even Jimmy Page's #2 has a swirly back.

IMG_1319.jpg
 

dro

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Well if you can believe Dana Bourgeois. His statement on tone woods is. (paraphrasing) The tighter and straighter the grain. The more pleasing the tone. I have found the more pleasing tones in Les Paul's to follow this as well.
05 Les Paul Standard
Cherrybed.JPG

Best sounding one I own
Cherryback.JPG

I see you
 


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