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  • #16
    Originally posted by Freeman Keller View Post
    That's exactly what I want to see. Link?
    I'll have to see if I still have those files at home. I may have deleted them, but its simple enough to make them up again.

    The method is simple enough. I happen to have three guitars with the exact same mini Humbucker pickups. The spacing from the neck and bridge are nearly the same as well. All three are made of different woods. In the studio I plug in direct with only a preamp to get a strong clean tone and play a chord progression of maybe a minute and record all three guitars playing those same chords.

    Next I use an analyzer program called Har Bal which can sample the entire waveform and give you a sum total of all the frequencies that wave file produced and it gives you a static shot which can be copied and posted.

    I can even open a reference file and compare file A&B - B&C - and A&C so you can see the two waveforms side by side and see exactly where those differences in frequency are produced.

    I then do the same thing using overdrive on the guitars using the exact same setting and simply stopping the recorder, unplugging one guitar and plugging in another.

    The only thing that may change is the playing dynamics strumming harder on one guitar or another, but that doesn't/shouldn't change the frequency response the analyzer sees.

    I can also connect a contact and record the contact mic and pickup at the same time. What you get with that is a wider frequency response in most cases, but it is dependent on where you place the contact mic. I usually just clip it to the bridge and get a decent acoustic tone.

    When you overlay the pickup and contact mic you can see where the frequencies from the pickup and contact mic are similar. The Pickups high frequencies will roll off on the high side and the piezo extends up higher so you cant compare the frequencies up above 6K . The Piezo tends to have sharper peaks as well, but like I said the frequencies do align quite well, they just aren't as large from a pickup because the pickups inductance smooth's the peaks.

    When I post the pictures and the wave files with no overdrive, and challenge people to use their ears to match the instruments, I got about 50% or better correct identification here on HC last time.. On the driven guitars, I got one out of a dozen, and I cant be sure if that person has good ears or just guessed properly. The three guitars had the same pickups which made identifying them hard, but there was a difference in the amount of bass and brightness that could be heard so there is something to work with. Later I revealed the instruments and wood types and people were surprised that those woods could produce those tones.


    I may be in the studio tonight. If so I'll try and remember to make up a fresh batch of files to post. This site has been pretty slow and it may be a fun challenge for everyone. I will again remain neutral until everyone has had a chance to hear and see the differences between the files. Then I'll let you all tell me if I'm hearing things that don't exist, or whether others need to spend more time training their ears.

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    • #17
      I remember those comparisons from way back. Would be nice to take another look.
      “One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it's worth watching”
      Gerard Way

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      • #18
        Originally posted by WRGKMC View Post

        When I post the pictures and the wave files with no overdrive, and challenge people to use their ears to match the instruments, I got about 50% or better correct identification here on HC last time.. On the driven guitars, I got one out of a dozen, and I cant be sure if that person has good ears or just guessed properly. The three guitars had the same pickups which made identifying them hard, but there was a difference in the amount of bass and brightness that could be heard so there is something to work with. Later I revealed the instruments and wood types and people were surprised that those woods could produce those tones.
        This is a significant and interesting statement. That why I would hope that you post the clips "blind" - don't tell us what they are. I remember a posting on UMGF of three clips of two guitars (a D18 and a D28, most people think they know the difference) - 60 percent could identify which of the two were the same guitar (duh). I also did a similar thing a long time ago on the acoustic forum with different string on the same guitar - many people thought that strings that they hated sounded the best, others could hear no difference. And when we did the sound port comparison the player was blindfolded and asked if the hole was open or closed, and to comment on the sound.

        I think it is interesting to have people comment on the clips, then compare time and frequency waveforms. If you simply play an high E string on each and compare the time domain response it will give you the magnitude (loudness) and sustain (duration), the shape of the envelope should tell something about attack and delay but I'm not smart enough to understand what I'm seeing. Transform to the frequency domain (so called FFT) and you get to see the magnitude of the primary frequency and all the partials ("overtones") - that really shows the difference between what people frequently call "complex" or "warm" tone.

        Anyway, I too have farted around with this stuff trying to understand my acoustics, I'm new to electric guitars so I would appreciate links to similar studies. By the way, a convenient way to standardize your pick attack is to use a piece of very fine magnet wire - say 42 or 44 gauge - pull the string with a piece until the wire breaks - it will be very consistent.

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        • #19

          Originally posted by billybilly View Post
          I don't require science to validate what I hear. Science is self limiting for there is always more to discover. Did gravity exist before science could validate/explain it?

          I suppose I am lucky to be able to clearly identify the difference in tonewoods.
          Lab coat and clip-board or it didn't happen.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by billybilly View Post
            I don't require science to validate what I hear. Science is self limiting for there is always more to discover. Did gravity exist before science could validate/explain it?

            I suppose I am lucky to be able to clearly identify the difference in tonewoods.

            Billy, are you saying that if we post clips you can tell what wood the guitar is made of?
            Last edited by knotty; 08-05-2014, 01:57 AM.
            “One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it's worth watching”
            Gerard Way

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            • #21
              Originally posted by knotty View Post


              Billy, are you saying that if we post clips you can tell what wood the guitar is made of?
              Too many variables that way Knotty. It would have to be a live situation with me playing it. I know that with over the 70 guitars I've owned there is definitely a consistency in sound with the type of wood they are made of. Most of my experience is with Mahogany, Alder, Ash, Basswood, Poplar and Alder. Can I differentiate between these woods? Yes. Will people doubt me? Of course but that's their problem.
              MIA Fender Strat / Gibson Les Paul Studio / Custom Telecaster / Washburn WI66 / Custom Stratocaster / Martin D15S / Guild D55 / Simon & Patrick Cedar / Martin HD16R LSH​

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              • #22
                Originally posted by billybilly View Post

                Too many variables that way Knotty. It would have to be a live situation with me playing it. I know that with over the 70 guitars I've owned there is definitely a consistency in sound with the type of wood they are made of. Most of my experience is with Mahogany, Alder, Ash, Basswood, Poplar and Alder. Can I differentiate between these woods? Yes. Will people doubt me? Of course but that's their problem.

                Is that sound or feel though? My MIJ strat (Basswood) certainly feels different to my lads Alder Strat but does it sound particularly different? Not to me but my ear is certainly not the greatest.
                “One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it's worth watching”
                Gerard Way

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by WRGKMC View Post
                  The results proved there was a difference in tone coming from the wood, and that tone was carried up from the wood into the strings and captured by the pickups.
                  I think of is as happening the other way around. The wood is made to vibrate by absorbing some of the energy from the vibrating stings. What is left in the strings is what gets picked up by the electronics.

                  There will be some resonances which will actually amplify some of the vibrations at certain frequencies, as you stated in your post, but the energy for this will come at the cost of attenuating certain other frequencies - all this resulting in some complex harmonics being left over for the pickups.

                  Different pieces of wood will absorb different harmonics and the resulting amplified sound will indeed reflect some of these differences.
                  the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes

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                  • #24
                    I just found this on youtube as I was wondering what a mahogany strat would sound like.



                    This is precisely the kind of tone that I was expecting based on the sound of my Gibson and my Hamers. Definitely not your standard Strat tone.

                    Thinking about doing a video myself (not really into recording) because I think the differences in tone are rather dramatic between my Ash, Poplar and Alder Strats. The differences I hear plugged in are also apparent to me unplugged but between different pickup configurations and a video recording it may be difficult to make my point.
                    "Prayer is when you talk to God. Meditation is when you're listening. Playing the piano ['guitar'] allows you to do both at the same time." -Kelsey Grammer

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by onelife View Post
                      I think of is as happening the other way around. The wood is made to vibrate by absorbing some of the energy from the vibrating stings. What is left in the strings is what gets picked up by the electronics. . . .

                      . . . Different pieces of wood will absorb different harmonics and the resulting amplified sound will indeed reflect some of these differences.
                      I think you're definitely onto something. This makes sense.

                      Originally posted by wankdeplank View Post
                      I just found this on youtube as I was wondering what a mahogany strat would sound like. . . .

                      . . . This is precisely the kind of tone that I was expecting based on the sound of my Gibson and my Hamers. Definitely not your standard Strat tone. . . .
                      Mmm. a mahogany hardtail Strat. Sounds interesting. Carvin could probably build one to spec. Now you've gone and given me GAS. Shame on you.
                      Official HCAG “Theory-Challenged Hack”
                      Member of the IBANEZ ACOUSTIC ASSASSINS
                      Proud Member of The Alvarez Alliance
                      Member of the Schecter Society
                      Person-2-Person on the Web

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                      • #26

                        Originally posted by billybilly View Post

                        Too many variables that way Knotty. It would have to be a live situation with me playing it. I know that with over the 70 guitars I've owned there is definitely a consistency in sound with the type of wood they are made of. Most of my experience is with Mahogany, Alder, Ash, Basswood, Poplar and Alder. Can I differentiate between these woods? Yes. Will people doubt me? Of course but that's their problem.
                        That's another interesting statement - I was hoping that when W posted his clips you and Helloween could educate me on what I'm hearing (assuming I could tell any difference). I really want to hear some fat tone.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by DeepEnd View Post
                          Mmm. a mahogany hardtail Strat. Sounds interesting. Carvin could probably build one to spec. Now you've gone and given me GAS. Shame on you.
                          Check out Warmoth for a mahogany strat body.
                          the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes

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                          • #28
                            ^ Haven't checked out Warmoth yet but a mahogany bodied hardtail "Strat" from Carvin would run a bit over $900 with a hard case. Not too bad for a custom US made guitar but out of my budget. A partscaster built around a Warmoth body might be doable but I probably couldn't justify it given my skills.
                            Official HCAG “Theory-Challenged Hack”
                            Member of the IBANEZ ACOUSTIC ASSASSINS
                            Proud Member of The Alvarez Alliance
                            Member of the Schecter Society
                            Person-2-Person on the Web

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                            • #29
                              Here is a $100 guitar up against a Fender. I would imagine the wood in the cheapo is nowhere near the strat,
                              But there is not a lot in it. (obviously the guy is a bit smoother on his old guitar that just years of familiarity )



                              Here's one of those SX's being played more consistently. I'm increasingly impressed
                              Last edited by Chordite; 08-06-2014, 05:51 PM.
                              .

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by DeepEnd View Post

                                Mmm. a mahogany hardtail Strat. Sounds interesting. Carvin could probably build one to spec. Now you've gone and given me GAS. Shame on you.
                                I've been holding on to this for a LP Jr but it could sure be made into a Strat. Don't know how porous it is, might not me fat enough for you.



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