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Posted by: olderelder ( )
Date: June 11, 2019 02:21PM

I was watching a video about the debate whether a guitar shaped by hand is better than the same guitar shaped by a CNC machine. There are guitarist who insist you can hear the difference, that hand-shaped guitars have some sort of mojo that soulless robot-shaped guitars don't have. A craftsman at a small guitar company who builds guitars both ways thinks that's baloney, but he said, "If you believe that’s what you need, then that’s what you need. Because we hear with our preconceptions."

Hmmmm. What other topic could that statement apply to?

It reminds me of the lyrics from "What a Fool Believes" —

What a fool believes, he sees
No wise man has the power to reason away
What seems to be

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Posted by: Roy G Biv ( )
Date: June 11, 2019 02:50PM

Interesting debate. As an avid guitarist and owner of several dozen various guitars and other stringed instruments, and as an experienced process/ quality engineer, I would say that the difference and perception could be this....

The hand made instruments may have more variation in the sound, tone, and action due to the manual human process. This variance creates the soul or mojo of the instrument. Each soul/ mojo catches the ear of each musician differently, so when they hear the one they like, they choose it based on that connection.

The machined instruments may have less variation in the sound, tone, and action due to the accuracy and repeatability of the process. This lesser variance creates the perception that they have no soul or mojo, but they do. Play a few of the same model and you'll hear/ feel it, especially if you are an experienced player.

I've played hand made and machine made guitars and the bottom line is....choose the one you like the best. Don't worry about brand names, models, bells and whistles, etc. Brand names may be an indication of overall quality, but that doesn't mean you'll like the sound of a $2000 Gibson over a $500 Epiphone just because its a Gibson. I have Epiphones that cost a fraction of my Gibson's that I like as much and in someway more.

And if I said "I'm tired of guitar and don't want to play anymore", that would be just fine, although some people would be hurt and urge me to return to it.

The same can be said for religion. Choose the one you like best, the one with soul and mojo, and if you decide to quit, that's fine, but people will be hurt and urge you to return to it.

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Posted by: Roy G Biv ( )
Date: June 11, 2019 02:53PM

Oh, and one more thing.....I know guitars are true.

A person will be upset and judgmental if you stop associating with them and will stay that way unless you return.

A guitar will wait quietly and patiently if you stop associating with it and will carry no ill will if you never return.

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Posted by: stillanon ( )
Date: June 11, 2019 08:56PM

Well, here's what I know. When I lived in CA, I had 2 customers that built guitars and drums. Drum Workshop in Oxnard and Seymour Duncan in Goleta. I know and worked with both owners. Duncan made guitar pick ups, which, could change the sound with the amount of wire winds or the gauge of the wire.He also had guitars mass produced in Japan. Major guitar stars would spend time in his Goleta studios, finding their particular liking. It was a personal choice. The guitar bodies varied, but the pick ups made it different. Same things with drums. They try to make drum kits from similar type wood from the same trees. Density, shape and machining make them all sound different. 2 or 4 or 6 or 8 coats of paint change the sound. It truly is an art. Mass produced stuff is repeatable, but bland. Dickey Betts likes different winds than Eric Clapton, who likes different winds than Slash. It's creative and artistic choices.

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Posted by: Roy G Biv ( )
Date: June 12, 2019 12:57PM

>> Mass produced stuff is repeatable, but bland. Dickey Betts likes different winds than Eric Clapton, who likes different winds than Slash. It's creative and artistic choices.

Exactly, and if your ear likes bland and you can make it work, its no better than extra coil winds or wood from the same tree essentially. Its just a personal choice for the musician and the listener. Its all about being different, not better.

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Posted by: Jordan ( )
Date: June 11, 2019 08:28PM

Well, say what you like about guitars, but with violins, the Strads are still regarded better than the mass produced ones and no one knows why.

I tend to find that musical instruments, like cars, often develop their own individual characters over time. Wear and tear might actually be a good thing.

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Posted by: Roy G Biv ( )
Date: June 12, 2019 01:03PM

What I've learned is, Stradivarius violins achieve their sound due to the particular condition of the wood used at the time. People have thought is was the craftsmanship, or the lacquer, or other things. During that time period and in that region, weather and climate conditions produced trees with grain that produced excellent acoustics.

SO if that is accurate, it had more to do with the natural occurring wood grown than anything else, although I'm sure there are lesser variables that may make them unique as well.

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Posted by: Amyjo ( )
Date: June 11, 2019 08:38PM

The best guitar would produce the best sounding tones, right?

I dunno how you'd judge that other than by testing the instrument.

What are the best guitars today? Yamahas used to be, weren't they? Now there's another one that's really super expensive, oh I remember. They're made in Vermont.

Froggy Bottom guitars.

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Posted by: scmd1 ( )
Date: June 12, 2019 12:06AM

Can't speak for anyone else, but I'm partial to Martin.

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Posted by: olderelder ( )
Date: June 11, 2019 08:59PM

I suspected this would become about guitars rather than the question I asked.

So, once more: What other topic could that statement apply to?

(Hint: a certain religion)

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Posted by: Jordan ( )
Date: June 12, 2019 08:43AM

I'm not sure what you are pointing at here about Mormonism, since it combines elements of both the homespun (bespoke scriptures, F&T etc) and the mass produced (general conference, identikit units)

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Posted by: Roy G Biv ( )
Date: June 12, 2019 12:54PM

Hint taken...mormonism.

I don't meant to's just more fun to discuss guitars than mormonism once it a while :)

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Posted by: Amyjo ( )
Date: June 12, 2019 09:31PM

Guitars have the potential to make beautiful music.

Can you say the same thing for Mormonism?

Nein. Nicht.

Bringing up the discussion of what guitars produce better sounding music goes off into a whole different realm from religion.

Sorry but the divergence was too real to ignore.

If you listen to William Ackerman's music you'll understand.

I first heard him play when he was starting out in Palo Alto, California. His music is still as beautiful. Because it is timeless. The guitar is merely the instrument that brings it to you. You won't find that reproduced elsewhere ...

Froggy Bottoms are the guitars he endorses. That was why I mentioned it. They are hand made. If he sees a difference between them and others, then there is. He wouldn't bluff about it. He is a genuine artist and the real deal like his music.

Instruments v. belief well they can inspire. But they are not the same thing as closely held beliefs other than they may lead one to higher thoughts that might become some. Music has that effect to stir the soul.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/12/2019 09:35PM by Amyjo.

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Posted by: Amyjo ( )
Date: June 13, 2019 07:26AM

As an aside, Will Ackerman dropped out of Stanford University to pursue his love of music. I believe he made a wise choice.

His adopted mother committed suicide during his adolescence/young adulthood. That may have been a catalyst for him. He was born in Germany then brought to the USA by his adoptive parents. He was five credits shy of graduating with his degree in English & History, and took up carpentry before recording his first album of his own musical compositions.

He's had an illustrious career since developing his niche in New Age genre.

From his first album, 'The Bricklayer's Beautiful Daughter,'


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Posted by: Aloysius ( )
Date: June 11, 2019 10:30PM

De gustibus non est disputandum.

Whenever we talk about "good," "better," "best," "bad," "worst," or "worst" we are making subjective judgment statements. There can never be an objectively correct position on these sorts of things. But that doesn't mean there there can be no consensus of opinion.

As with many things, an individual's aesthetic perception involves more than just the observable qualities of an object. We all carru our own background, knowledge, and experience with us.

A few decades ago, pioneers of electronic music promised to replace acoustic instruments altogether with synthesizers. They realized quickly, however, that acoustic instruments in a live performance environment produce innumerable overtones and noise that can never be fully replicated with printed circuit boards and liudspeakers, or even complex digital sampling algorithms.

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: June 11, 2019 11:26PM

I think that people bring their preconceptions to just about every endeavor. When I had my art training as an undergraduate, a big part of the training was learning to override one's preconceptions in order to more accurately perceive what's there.

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Posted by: Lethbridge Reprobate ( )
Date: June 12, 2019 08:25AM

My Yamaha sounds pretty good in the hands of an actual guitarist and holds it own next to some high end guitars too.

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Posted by: Eric K ( )
Date: June 12, 2019 08:45AM

I am an active saxophone and clarinet player. I have many different mouthpieces for these instruments. The same model of mouthpiece can play differently from another identical model. It is common to order 3 and try them and return 2. Supposedly the machining creates identical pieces, but it is not true.

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Posted by: ConcernedCitizen 2.0 ( )
Date: June 14, 2019 04:11PM

...I enjoy watching Eddie Daniels workshops on clarinet/tenor mp's. It is fun creating your own. You can buy a lot of misc. mp's on ebay cheap, then break out the Dremel. Used to watch him play tenor in NYC along with Joe Farrell, Cliff Jordan, etc. He IS the bomb!

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Posted by: Human ( )
Date: June 12, 2019 08:56AM

I believe Hound Dog Taylor, on his cheap Japanese made guitar and Sears Roebuck amp, was only half right when he said, "when I die they'll say, 'he couldn't play shit but he sure made it sound good.” He didn’t play all that badly, either.

It is fascinating that we hear with our preconceptions. It’s also true that we see with our preconceptions.

It fascinates me how audio and visual artists talk about attempting to make the audience hear differently, see differently. The artist wants to override everyone’s preconceptions and make them hear and see as the artist sees and hears. I thank them for that.

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Posted by: Dave the Atheist ( )
Date: June 12, 2019 09:01AM

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Posted by: CrispingPin ( )
Date: June 12, 2019 01:11PM

From my perspective having played guitar for more than half a century and currently owning a collection worth tens of thousands of dollars:

Even mass produced guitars have noticeable differences even if they are made of the same type of wood and come from the same CNC machine. Individual pieces of wood vary in density and resonance. Overall, moderately priced guitars are dramatically better than they were when I first started playing. There are many inexpensive guitars that I would have no problem using at a gig.

I’ve heard some great players creating absolutely beautiful music on $200 Squire guitars. Soul comes from the player, not the instrument.

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Posted by: elderolddog ( )
Date: June 14, 2019 07:08PM

> I’ve heard some great players
> creating absolutely beautiful
> music on $200 Squire guitars.
> Soul comes from the player,
> not the instrument.

I like the above conclusion.

And regarding mormonism, it is my personal conclusion that a multi-million dollar corporation professing to save souls is absolutely worthless in that regard. Were it not for self-hypnosis/self-delusion, mormon chapels would stand empty on Sundays.

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