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  • HPL Guitar Bodies

    I've read that the reason speaker manufacturers use high density chipboard is because it provides the best acoustic qualities for the money. Keeping that in mind, I tried a X series Martin at my local GC and it sounded like I was playing in a bathtub. Do all HPL guitars sound hollow, or was this just a bad one? (Note to purists - Yes, I'm aware that solid woods are better).

  • #2
    I've read that the reason speaker manufacturers use high density chipboard is because it provides the best acoustic qualities for the money. Keeping that in mind, I tried a X series Martin at my local GC and it sounded like I was playing in a bathtub. Do all HPL guitars sound hollow, or was this just a bad one? (Note to purists - Yes, I'm aware that solid woods are better).


    No, you didn't just get a bad one. You just got ahold of one made out of a cheaper grade of sawdust.
    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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    • #3
      Most speaker manufacturers make their speakers from medium density fiberboard. That is because it absorbs sound rather than reflects it. It is a mostly non-vibrating material.

      HPL is a totally different animal. The sound quality of the HPL will be determined by the type of wood the laminate is made from and VERY IMPORTANTLY the quality of the glue used. The laminate is supposed to vibrate and REFLECT sound.

      BigAl
      Instruments:
      Custom Dreadnaught Solid Hog

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      • #4
        A little helpful information regarding HPL, how it's produced and it's constituant materials.

        http://www.formica.co.uk/publish/site/eu/uk/en/home/Company/product_design_and_development/the_manufacturing_process.html
        IF IT AINT BROKE, DON'T FIX IT.

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        • #5
          I have formica on two of my benches! lol

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          • #6
            Those HPL Martin guitars appear to be made from the same formica material as cheap kitchen countertops... and that's just a bunch of chemicals, some of which are toxic. Is that what we want to be strumming? If they didn't have the Martin name on the headstock, most of us would be calling them exactly what they are... absolute bloody crap!
            Seagull S6+Cedar
            Yamaha FG252
            Yamaha FG375S
            Yamaha FG412S
            Yamaha FG700S

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            • #7
              I have formica on two of my benches! lol


              A soundhole, strings, etc and you have a bench guitar! whey hey lol
              IF IT AINT BROKE, DON'T FIX IT.

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              • #8
                A soundhole, strings, etc and you have a bench guitar! whey hey lol


                No, it'll need to be a solid body guitar. I've got some spare pups laying around. lol

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                • #9
                  Formica has been on kitchen countertops close to our food for a lot of years. It hasn't poisoned anybody yet. I doubt having some in a guitar is gonna be any worse. I gotta play one of those and see what all the hoopla is about.

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                  • #10
                    Those HPL Martin guitars appear to be made from the same formica material as cheap kitchen countertops... and that's just a bunch of chemicals, some of which are toxic. Is that what we want to be strumming? If they didn't have the Martin name on the headstock, most of us would be calling them exactly what they are... absolute bloody crap!


                    aren't the hpl's about $500 bucks, though? do you think they sound any worse than other acoustics in that price range? My first acoustic was a takamine eg523sc and my brothers was a Martin HPL, two guitars price about the same. I actually liked the playability and sound of his over mine. I question how many people actually play them before bashing them.
                    2009 Takamine EAN-10C

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                    • #11
                      I played one at Best Buy. It sounded OK. It was $500, and it sounded OK.

                      Of course, it looked like crap.

                      Pass.
                      Yamaha LS6
                      Yamaha FG730S
                      Alvarez MD350

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                      • #12
                        No, it'll need to be a solid body guitar. I've got some spare pups laying around. lol


                        What size bench? I may have a spare case kicking around.
                        IF IT AINT BROKE, DON'T FIX IT.

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                        • #13
                          What size bench? I may have a spare case kicking around.


                          36" X 72"

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                          • #14
                            Yeah, I played one and it actually sounded okay. My point is... why would anyone pay $500+ for a formica guitar that sounds okay? Paint one black, put First Act on the headstock, and price it at just $149. I doubt many here would give it much attention... except to bash it for being formica, despite it sounding okay... and I doubt anyone would buy it. We'd all be thinking why would I spend $149 on a formica First Act when I can get a laminate Yamaha F325 for the same price. Apparently, the Martin name can make people do foolish things, IMHO.
                            Seagull S6+Cedar
                            Yamaha FG252
                            Yamaha FG375S
                            Yamaha FG412S
                            Yamaha FG700S

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                            • #15
                              Just for the record here, HPL contains no wood whatsoever. It is a blended polymer (plastic) with differing qualities from one type to the next that increases formability and/or fire resistance - Gary's link, top of the page. It is called a laminate because it is typically laminated to a base material and that is usually a particle board (chipboard) material. It typically comes in thicknesses around 3/32" to 1/8" and is shipped rolled up from the source. I refurbished my kitchen with the stuff and had to special order 14' lengths so I didn't have to seam it. It's bonded with contact cement. As used in Martin's "HPL" models it is simply set up in a mold and constructed in an identical manner as solid wood guitars. They don't sound great or like crap but that isn't the point. The point is actually using the stuff in the first place and then setting a price that competes with solid wood guitars with better sound. It's nothing more than brand deception and dollar-for-dollar a person can do better with another brand using solid woods. I play an HPL dread about every other day and there's nothing remarkable about the guitar except in a negative sense. Plus, the neck on that thing is made from something distractingly textured. I can't figure out why people would buy one in favor of a better solid wood guitar other than being duped into thinking all Martins are fine musical instruments. Normally I'd agree until they introduced the HPL series. My idea of quality does not include using Formica material.

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