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Biggest innovations in acoustic guitar in the last 10 years!


Crab_Cake
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I dunno....we mostly hanker after pre-war instruments.

 

It seems guitar building is reluctant to move on!

I think those McPhersons are cleverly designed...but given my fondness for soundhole magnets, I don't see me ever getting one!!!

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I totally agree. With acoustic guitars, even electrics, there is much focus on the past. Very reluctant to move on or innovate.

 

But even if you are a wood-only guy, here's my vote... CA Guitars. They've made a composite acoustic that actually has pretty great tone. It may be "arguably good," but it's tone that fools people in blind tests.

Supplies of good wood wont last forever, but even with great wood guitars, now we can also get great-sounding, durable composite guitars.

 

So, as far as innovation goes, they get my vote. But most acoustic players aren't interested in innovation.

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i'll toss my dad's guitars in there...

 

i know martin has some sort of aluminum topped unit and i have seen a liberty reso that had a copper layer laminated to a wooden top for looks...

 

ours are all aluminum... lot's of pics and clips in my sig... 8^)

 

old news to most in here...

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The improvements are better bonding agents and other things unseen. It is possible that acoustic guitars have not changed much by design because some of the very best boxes we see are from a day before amplification when the guitar had to project sound better and people did not have a love affair with volume, per se.

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Yes - all traditionalists here. Conventional wood choices, 12-fretters, ladder bracing - bring it on!!!

 

But there are some technologies being accepted (most over a slightly longer time frame than 10 years but never mind):

- Neck joints. Many people will argue that bolted neks give no disadvantage and many advantages (easier resets, etc.). Some very reputable companies and luthiers have adopted them.

- New materials. People mention the CA/Rainbird graphite/carbon fibre option, but there are others being developed. In particular, in the UK, a company has been set up to commercialise research from Loughbourough University. They have a composite product that has entrained air to make it lighter (spruce is very light and this makes a difference to sound). In theory they can make a soundboard of variable density with mass and stiffness where you want it and not where you don't. A leading luthier (Rob Armstrong by memory) has developed some guitars with this soundboard.

- Soundboard bracing. Again it is easy to say X-bracing is set for the future, but there are alternatives. Greg Smallman has a lattice braced design that has advocates. Even at a consumer level some of these are coming in.

 

I recently read a compelling review of a guitar with some of these technologies (Moondog Grand Auditorium). This has a soundboard which is braced with a lattice of lightweight struts (thicker on the bass side) overlaid with a graphite fabic. The back is not braced - instead it is arched but made of a rosewood/balsa/grahite fabric/rosewood sandwich. All this with a in-board bluestick microphone mounded off the undersaddle (not a peizo) and a very good case. I'm surprised I haven't already bought it. Jake7 says that this maker is well worth looking at, and he seems well up to date on these things.

 

So traditionalists but "the times they are a changing" ... maybe ...

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I'll go with composite materials. I'm willing to bet one of the mainstream manufacturers will get involved in it soon. Most of the carbon fiber is made in Taiwan and it seems few guitars are made there. We just need to get the carbon fiber and the guitar making together in Asia and things should start to happen. I really like the concept of composite materials in musical instruments. They are really stable. If they sound a little different that's OK. They sound like they sound. I'm looking forward to buying my first $500 carbon fiber guitar.

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I think acoustics will remain wood acoustics until someone comes up with a new instrument. Why do we lean towards older guitars? Because we want that sound...Martins are Martins, Taylors are Taylors, Gibsons are Gibsons because we recognize the sound.

 

Until a new sound comes out, we won't be moved into that direction. Like Ovations and Al Di Meola...I think his "new" sound caught on pretty strong and influenced a lot of players. There are others of course, but until someone re-invents the wheel, I don't see wooden guitars being replaced by anything.

 

And when it comes to wood, I think we have seen the best designs available. They have been around for ages and there has been plenty of time to modify design.

 

So I think its more a case of what we listen to and play than the instrument itself. As long as we love to listen and imitate the likes of Leo Kottke, TE, Neal Young, etc...I believe we will continue to use our beloved wooden instruments....by the way, trees do grow, and they are recyclable.;)

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it's hard to beat the visual beauty of natural wood instruments, but composites are probably here to stay. I took the plunge last year, but I'm not giving up my wooden guitars; no-sir-ee.

Luddites; all of us, eschewing innovation...

Electronics have improved dramatically affording us the opportunity to be heard even when we are playing a smaller-bodied instrument.

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unseen improvements in manufacture and quality control. Accurate measurements of neck angle etc in manufacture. Look at some of the far eastern makers ( Yamaha springs to mind! ) - their consistency of build is astounding. I don't think we live in the past at all. The guitar is a historic, iconic instrument, the basic design won't/shouldn't change but the capabilities of manufacturers to assemble consistently excellent guitars has and will continue to improve. This to me is the greatest innovation.

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Some years ago, I remember seeing a Science or Discovery channel show about an orchestra playing on what was described as "ceramic" instruments. They sounded pretty good to me. Kinda the precursors to the composites I guess. Maybe these will improve in the coming years. Maybe the prices on them will come down.

 

The Bolt-on neck is an innovation that seems to be coming into its own. Eliminates the major malady of most of the older guitars.

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The overall level of quality (CNC machines being a big part of) is the one thing I think of for the past 10 years or so of acoustic guitar making. You can now find amazing guitars for under $500. Well under $500. We're truly in a golden age, IMO (that could run out at any moment with good mahogany, rosewood and spruce getting harder to come by).

 

Bolt-on necks and the Buzz Feiten system also come to mind.

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The overall level of quality (CNC machines being a big part of) is the one thing I think of for the past 10 years or so of acoustic guitar making. You can now find
amazing
guitars for under $500.
Well under
$500. We're truly in a golden age, IMO (that could run out at any moment with good mahogany, rosewood and spruce getting harder to come by).


Bolt-on necks and the Buzz Feiten system also come to mind.

 

+10

It's the manufacturing innovations that made it possible to get such great sounding guitars in my price range.

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rickoshea and eviltwin pretty well nailed it. To be fair, I give Bob Taylor credit with the modernization of guitar building (Although I prefer a deeper sound). Bob's bolt on neck system demanded manufacturing tolerances that could only be achieved via CNC machining centers.

 

Guitar finishes have evolved considerably too - but I like the old Lacquer and nitrocellulose. The Buzz Feiten system I have been wanting to try - it sounds intriguing. Anyone have one installed? (buzz feiten nut)

 

Garrison had a good innovation with their one piece brace system, but it didnt deliver what had been hoped for.

 

But undoubtedly, the very best innovation is:

 

[YOUTUBE]nE49-yDxf0Q[/YOUTUBE]

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