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

skydog

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If the discussion doesn’t interest you, you can always use that X on your browser tab and close it. Or you can add something useful if you have anything along those lines. That’s always appreciated.
He has an opinion on the subject and shared it; is that not allowed?
 

danzego

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He has an opinion on the subject and shared it; is that not allowed?

Was that an opinion? Or was is simply a statement made to look down his nose at people talking about it in the first place?

It’s simply someone stating in a negative fashion they can’t believe it’s being discussed ....in which case, he should just move on and not discuss it. Someone walking down the street, poking their head into a conversation, and stating, “I can’t believe you’re talking about that,” is generally not well received...and for good reason. How exactly does that same thing qualify as “an opinion” here?

Like I said, if he has something useful to contribute, it’s more than welcome. If there’s reason he’s in disbelief that it’s being discussed, by all means, offer it up. I posted the topic because I wanted to discuss it. If he doesn’t care to, then don’t. Simple.
 
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ARandall

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Re: Dana Bourgeois. He is an acoustic maker, and I agree 100% - wood matters a lot in an acoustic.
Agree.....wasn't sure who he/she was in context.
In fact grain on the top wood is paramount.......but mainly as there is a tighrope to be walked re strength vs projection.

One thing I would like to clarify is that I’m not talking about tone here. I’m considering it from a resonance and sustain perspective. I think it’s important to make that distinction.
In terms of energy.....its sort of one and the same. Tone is merely the balance of frequencies being sustained. As long as the parent tree was not diseased, such that there is rotted wood, then there is no reason to think any grain produced by a tree is detrimental. Given we are talking mahogany, there is no reason to think that cells would be poorly formed with swirly grain.
Looking further afield.....have you gone down the same questioning mechanism with some of the crazy grained maple tops - that you see when they are flatsawn in particular??
And if we look at quilt maple as the ultimate in swirly grained trees.......I don't think I've ever come across anyone questioning whether or not that is suitable as a quality 'tonewood'.....not even Paul Reed Smith who has a lot to say about wood and is a big proponent of Quilt.
 

mdubya

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The grain cannot affect the tone any more than how you hold your guitar against (or not against) your body, which knee you rest the guitar on (or don't), how much of your forearm rests on the body (or doesn't), whether you rest your hand on the bridge or tail piece or how you anchor a finger on the body or wrapped around a pickup ring or volume knob, the exact location in which you pick, how light or heavy you fret, your vibrato technique (or lack thereof), etc...there are so many variables, many of which you yourself could change or adjust.
 

1all's Pub

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Geez that is a BEAUTIFUL guitar, front AND back.

You will never be able to tell how any guitar sounds/resonates/sustains until you play it. That’s the single biggest pitfall of buying online/not in person. You just have to roll the dice. Personal opinion here though... OP, if you pass on this one you’re a dang fool! ;) (zero disrespect intended)
 

Lester

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I saw a post from a guy with two identical SG's (posted here, IIRC) that had different brightness. It was, apparently related to the tightness (not swirl in this case) of the grain (which was very visible). The looser grain was darker and less resonant. You could hear it with a "knock" on the guitar. You could hear it plugged in. He even swapped the electronics and the tone characteristics remained (Yes, and now we can argue about it instead being the nut, or tuners, or neck joint, etc :- ). But, the "knock test" still remains and it was reflected in the tone. FWIW.

That noted, the swirls in that LP are heading towards"burl". Beautiful and typically a very tight and hard section of any tree. WAG is that it would sound brighter and better. But you'll never know unless you play them side by side. Maybe for a $6500 guitar it's worth flying to Nashville to do that test. Otherwise, you'll always have doubts.

If you expect to sell it one day as an investment, I'd ask for something else. Not because it's worth less, or might not have better tone than the one you sent, but some buyers will have the same concerns you posted - legit or not. That will affect resale. If your goal is to have an incredibly beautiful guitar that sounds great to play, I'd take the risk and enjoy those curves.
 

mdubya

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My old bandmate and I both had 1991 SGs. Mine was a Special with ebony board, no binding, no pickguard, and 2 volumes and only one tone control, a maple neck, and what I was told were 500T/496R pickups. Bandmate's SG was a Standard with 498T/490R, p/g, binding, mahogany neck, rosewood board, 2 volumes, 2 tones, etc. The setups were miles apart. Played through my Marshall 2205 and 1936 cab with 70 watt Celestions, they were indistinguishable. Sure, you could have gotten really nitpicky and heard some minute differences, but it would have been a stretch.

That same mutt of an SG Special got an early '57 Classic pickup in the bridge and I started playing it through an old JMP 2204. People began to question whether is was a custom made guitar because the tone was so good. It also had a couple of really good setups done and while I was used to how it played, others were amazed by what a good sounding and great playing guitar it was. I bought it for $200.

Both SGs were ebony in color, too. So no one has any idea about the grain. They were probably both butcher blocks held together by titebond.
 

moreles

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Wood choice can affect tone, but at the level of graining or number of pieces of a back, I can't see it happening. Extremes in overall weight and density can contribute to how the string vibrates, and the resulting pickup signal, but not always and (IMO) rarely that much. With grain, it's really a stability-over-time thing, and straight grain has historically been preferred because it's more likely to remain stable as it ages, while wacky grains and stumpwood can move more as they settle out. That's why old BRW acoustics don't use "wild" grain patterns. Martin selected the straight stuff for a reason. I think (without evidenbce) that modern processing yields more stable wood and that the insance graining we see now for cosmetic effect (or just because it's all that's left) has probably been processed and dried to a stable state. Mahogany is all over the map.
 

dro

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So Does wood matter? I'd say yes. Now weather or not straight vs curly I don't know. Everyone can speculate. But My experiment was this. I had 3 Strat's in the 90's And to me, a Strat is a Strat is a Strat. Though I love the shape. They all sound like a Strat. So, the las one I bought. A white American Strat. I locked the trem. Took Pup's from a Les Paul. Installed 500k pots and a Switchcraft toggle switch. I wanted to make a Les Paul sounding Strat for a backup guitar.
When I got done. Although it did sound better. It still sounded like a Strat. Closest I ever came to making one sound like a LP, is the black Seymore Duncan loaded, MIM one I still have. the only one I still have.
black strat.JPG
 

bum

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I think most parts of a guitar affect tone with pickups being at one end of the scale (affects it a lot) and wood grain of the back of the guitar being just below the type of screws holding down the scratchplate (not very much) at the other end of the scale
 

Demon Dave

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what I meant to say was,
“come on, the back of that guitar look gorgeous, stunning and hypnotic, and it’s obviously an Electric guitar, so many aspects are composing the sound that Instruments, can do. If really the wood grain can affect the tone, it could add character and personality, on an extremely beautiful guitar. ”
this is what I would say yesterday, but was late, so only a short text came out.
cheers
 

fleahead

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Science has shown that the granular deposits of silica within certain grain patterns form a more condusive flow for lower frequencies which, depending on the direction of the grain patterns can be manipulated in such a way as to act as a tone variable.

Attempts by a Russian luthier at creating a grain pattern which could mimic a low pass filter resulting in a scooped "airy" natural resonance were only successful with a particular strain of mahogany. Maple never exhibited these tendencies.























I wonder how many thought "well, I'll be" after reading my 100% made up bullshit, lmao. :rofl::rofl::rofl:
 

danzego

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Science has shown that the granular deposits of silica within certain grain patterns form a more condusive flow for lower frequencies which, depending on the direction of the grain patterns can be manipulated in such a way as to act as a tone variable.

Attempts by a Russian luthier at creating a grain pattern which could mimic a low pass filter resulting in a scooped "airy" natural resonance were only successful with a particular strain of mahogany. Maple never exhibited these tendencies.























I wonder how many thought "well, I'll be" after reading my 100% made up bullshit, lmao. :rofl::rofl::rofl:
You sure had me going. Haha, brilliant.
 

T22

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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.

If you leave it out on a full moon, that should increase the sustain slightly. Align the neck with Mars, to increase the output of the pick ups.
 

Prostheta

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A lot of people will say "yes, it has an effect". These people are wrong. The people that say it doesn't have an effect are also wrong.
 


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