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Laminate top vs. Solid Top Acoustic Guitars

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  • Laminate top vs. Solid Top Acoustic Guitars

    Greetings,

    I have been reading quite a bit these days regarding laminate top vs solid top acoustic guitars and I really can't tell that much difference on with the sound of my Washburn D9C, which has a laminate spruce top, and my Kona KG1CEN and KS12NE which are solid top tone wise.

    Maybe my Washburn is just a bit better than the laminate models out there today. I am thinking of upgrading next year to a higher end acoustic and just wanted some thoughts.

    Cheers,

    Larry Harris

  • #2
    This is probably going to run counter to everything everybody else will say, but having owned several examples of both (laminate and solid top) I believe that the difference is more in terms of volume and less in terms of tone. My experience with these has been that my solid top acoustics tend to be louder and boomier, but not necessarily better in terms of tone. Flame away...
    You have the right to free speech, as long as you're not dumb enough to actually try it. -- Joe Strummer

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    • #3
      Noone sez all lam tops sound like ****************e. There are some nice ones out there
      But in generql, lam tops lack the definition, the subtleness of a solid top. Also, while a solid top evolves over time, they stay as they are. Mightn't be too bad for a strummer, but will probably be less desireable for a picker.
      If you are a cowboy-chord strummer, you might even frefer a lam top over a solid top. No harm doing so.
      .

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      • #4
        katopp -- did you spill an irish coffee on your keyboard?
        You have the right to free speech, as long as you're not dumb enough to actually try it. -- Joe Strummer

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        • #5
          We've got several lam-top and several solid-top ones around here. Some are old (10+ years) and some are fairly new. I play them all. I honestly can't say any of them sound better than their brethren, only different.

          I've played el-cheapo lam gits at GC and other stores and yeah, some sound purely awful, but I think this is more due to the woods they're made of, the thickness of the top, the bracing and overall construction. It's pretty obvious to all but the completely deaf that a all-lam Yammie sounds infinitely better than a all-lam First Act.

          Bottom line is to play a lot of gits and take home the one that sings to your heart.
          Two years in remission - Yay! Damn, it's good to be alive!!

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          • #6
            Greetings,
            I have been reading quite a bit these days regarding laminate top vs solid top acoustic guitars and I really can't tell that much difference on with the sound of my Washburn D9C, which has a laminate spruce top, and my Kona KG1CEN and KS12NE which are solid top tone wise.
            Maybe my Washburn is just a bit better than the laminate models out there today. I am thinking of upgrading next year to a higher end acoustic and just wanted some thoughts.
            Cheers,
            Larry Harris


            IMHO, a solid top has far more potential to sound better than a laminate top does, but a guitar having a solid top is no guarantee that it will sound better. It depends on how well designed and built the guitar is. Bracing, finish, wood quality, wood thickness, etc., have a lot to do with it.

            Have you spent any time with any other better known solid topped guitars, like a Yamaha 700 series?
            __________________________________________________ _________
            Proud reject from the HCAG Civil Posters Society.

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            • #7
              katopp -- did you spill an irish coffee on your keyboard?


              No, I'm typing on the stupid onscreen keyboard of my iPad. Not too bad, when you take it nice and slow, but once you speed up, it's not the real thing. You have to conentrate very hard to hit just the right spot. So either I type v e r y slow and accurately or in my usual speed of 3-4 cps and less accurate...
              .

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              • #8
                Gee,

                Thanks for all the comments. I guess I just need to concentrate on finding what sounds the best. I still like the sound of my Washburn D9C that from what I understand has a laminate top but boy does it sound good.

                Cheers, Larry Harris

                Comment


                • #9
                  I have 4 guitars, a 1977 Yamaha FG340, an old (1982) Ovation Balladeer (campfire/beach guitar), a Martin HD35, and a custom built OM with a solid Sitka Spruce Bearclaw top. The best comparison is between the lammy Yamaha, and the HD35, there is a little more bass and volume in the Martin, but other than that the tone is practically identical, and the Yamaha seems more stable dimensionally than the Martin and stays in tune longer using the same strings. I can pick it up and just start playing, while I have to tweak the Martin a bit more. The OM, and the Ovation have different sounds entirely, so are not comparable.

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                  • #10
                    No, I'm typing on the stupid onscreen keyboard of my iPad. Not too bad, when you take it nice and slow, but once you speed up, it's not the real thing. You have to conentrate very hard to hit just the right spot. So either I type v e r y slow and accurately or in my usual speed of 3-4 cps and less accurate...


                    Get a Blackberry., That said I've been looking for a guitar for my son and the Tak you have for sale would be nice, but the shipping would probably kill it.

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                    • #11
                      Get a Blackberry., That said I've been looking for a guitar for my son and the Tak you have for sale would be nice, but the shipping would probably kill it.


                      The Tak IS nice, but iut receives no love anymore since I've got the custom build by Mr.Binh. And I fear that it will receive even less when the new custom by Binh has arrived. Solid Koa Jumbo, a mix of a Gibson SJ200 body with a nice cutaway and a Taylor'ish neck. Add a few handful of Paua-Abalone ... Mhhhmmm...

                      But unfortunately, guitars are bulky and expensive to ship....
                      .

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                      • #12
                        I've got three dreads that I play a lot. One is all solid, one has a solid top and the third one is all laminated. All of them sound very nice to me. The all laminated is an old Fender F-65 that I've had since it was new in 1981. One little ding on the headstock.....otherwise, still looks and plays as good as new. I just played it last night for about two hours. It has kicked some serious ass at a few bluegrass jams. It'll go to my grave with me.

                        So, regardless of what a lot of people think about all laminated guitars (or Fender acoustics either, for that matter), they're not all junk.
                        Three Dreads......2 Martins and 1 YamahaA fiddle, a mando, a uke, eight harmonicas, a Zoom H2, a Panasonic recorder, coupla penny whistles, an Italian made Titano accordion, three handguns, at least a dozen chess sets, more power tools than Bob Vila, and one old Westclox "Big Ben" wind-up alarm clock that still works! Oh, BTW, I forgot to mention my ocarina and maracas.

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                        • #13
                          This is probably going to run counter to everything everybody else will say, but having owned several examples of both (laminate and solid top) I believe that the difference is more in terms of volume and less in terms of tone. My experience with these has been that my solid top acoustics tend to be louder and boomier, but not necessarily better in terms of tone. Flame away...


                          You might be right. And probably more "sustain" as well. Perhaps that's why people feel it is a tone issue if the notes disappear quickly or sound dead. Of course as others have stated a well built laminate top guitar with good bracing can ring like a solid top. But I haven't run across too many of these. I see a significant difference between the yamaha F series and the FG series.
                          Bob.
                          Martin HD35 | Gibson J45tv | Taylor DN3 | Guild GAD25 | Taylor Baby | Yamaha FG413SBD | Yamaha FG200

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                          • #14
                            I had an all lam Alvarez that was a cannon. I wish that I still had it.

                            Mel
                            AKA "SuperChunk"

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                            • #15
                              I think my 84 Ibanez AE may have a laminated top, but regardless, it sounds great. I've had just about everyone that's heard it compliment me on it. It projects pretty well for a thin-ish acoustic-electric.
                              Prog lover and proud of it.

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