collapse

* Member Info

 
 
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

* Like Us on Facebook

Mary had a little lamb, it's feets was white as snow

Author Topic: Instant vintage guitars  (Read 6290 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Sweet Bone Willie

  • Guest
Instant vintage guitars
« on: January 18, 2005, 09:01:22 PM »
On another guitar forum I visit (The G.A.S. Station), somebody had a picture of a Gibson L-OO reissue with two small vibrators attached with suction cups to the lower bout of the guitar. When I asked about this another poster directed me to an interesting article:  http://www.acousticguitar.com/Gear/advice/vibration.shtml

Has anyone tried attaching vibrators to their newer guitar to achieve an instant vintage sound?  If so how long does it need to be done and what were the results?

Muddyroads

  • Guest
Re: Instant vintage guitars
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2005, 06:22:35 AM »
What did Barnum say, "There's a sucker born every minute."?  I knew a fellow who did all kinds of things to his Martin D-45 to get it to sound better.  All you really have to do is play it.  It will never sound worse than the day you got it if you take care of it.

Mud

Offline outfidel

  • Member
  • Posts: 344
Re: Instant vintage guitars
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2005, 06:48:43 AM »
Even more preposterous are these Fender Relic models, where you pay an extra $1,000 or so to have the guitar top scuffed up so that it "looks" vintage.

Please, that's why had children -- so that they [/i]could wreck my stuff.  ;)
Support musicians in need - join the Music Maker Relief Foundation

Offline GhostRider

  • Member
  • Posts: 1265
  • That'll never happen no more!
Re: Instant vintage guitars
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2005, 11:17:32 AM »
Willie:

Very interesting article. Thanks for posting it.

Makes sense and why not speed things up if you can.

Now intentially scuffing up a new guitar to make it look old is weird!

Alex
« Last Edit: January 19, 2005, 11:29:28 AM by pyrochlore »

Offline ozrkreb

  • Member
  • Posts: 51
Re: Instant vintage guitars
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2005, 08:48:29 AM »
I ran across this article about a year ago and I have to admit that I'm skeptical. I will readily agree that there is a possibility that this shaking process has an impact on the sound. However, the "evidence" that they describe, which is in the form of an "experiment," is laughable. Actually, I would probably have been more persuaded that the process has merit if they hadn't even included their little "experiment."

I would argue that they're just hearing what they want to hear...and as a matter of fact, they admit this saying, "Kaiser said he hoped it would come out sounding as though Martin Simpson had been flailing away on it for several years!" And the verdict? Well, Kaiser got what he wanted: "The guitar gained nicely overall and had the "played hard" factor that Kaiser had hoped it would develop."

Of course, they aren't hiding the fact that there are problems with their experiment. They state, "Our "before and after" comparison is obviously subjective and fraught with variables...but the bottom line is that this guitar did seem to be opened up by shaking." Unfortunately, they have no real evidence to support their bottom line.

The good thing is that it sounds like they are actually attempting to come up with some objective empirical evidence: "Rabe is working with scientists at MIT to try to determine if there are observable changes in the wood that has been shaken. Samples of different woods will be shaken and compared with control samples of matching cuts from the same planks left unshaken."

If I see some real evidence, then I'll think about whether this is just snake oil or a real phenomenon.

Az
« Last Edit: July 28, 2005, 10:38:58 PM by Johnm »
My hook's on bottom, but my cork's on top

Offline waxwing

  • Member
  • Posts: 2518
    • Wax's YouTube Channel
Re: Instant vintage guitars
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2005, 10:27:36 AM »
Since I'm only interested in guitars older than me, I think all this is pretty funny. Most of my guitars opened up before I was born. The other nice thing about old guitars is that the necks and tops have done pretty much all the moving they're gonna do. A nice new guitar could go anywhere in the first 20 years or so. Even an 80 year old Stella with a big belly behind the bridge is more stable than a brand new guitar. And there are so many orphans out there looking for a home.
All for now.
John C
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

http://www.youtube.com/user/WaxwingJohn
https://www.facebook.com/WaxwingJohn

Willie Brown's Liquor at CD Baby

Offline a2tom

  • Member
  • Posts: 347
  • stickman's got 'em
Re: Instant vintage guitars
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2005, 11:29:58 AM »
so John C, how do you recommend going about looking for/acquiring old guitars?? At this point in my life I'm not interested in spending my time working on them (even though I have done some lutherie in the past), so I'd be looking for something in close to playable condition (minor set up issues are fine, but I'm not doing any neck resets or fixing cracks, e.g.).? I'm not against someone else having worked on them, to a point (but some guitars seem so rebuilt one wonders exactly what is old anymore!).

eBay is a nightmare for me - lots to look at, but buying guitars there has been far less than satisfying.? So, aside from the local guitar shops which don't have 'em, what's a Weenie to do?

BTW, the shaken guitar syndrome sounds like nonsense to me.? Even on the assumption that the basic idea is valid, why would one believe that brief intensive, non-string-originated vibration would do the same thing playing would??

tom

Offline NotRevGDavis

  • Member
  • Posts: 256
  • "Hat on a cabbage head- I've never seen before"
Re: Instant vintage guitars
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2005, 02:14:18 PM »
I hung a Pork Chop from the ceiling of my studio and locked my dogs in.

All that barking should open up ALL of my guitars, might have to do a bit tomorrow for the National.? >:D

That article was from Acoustic Guitar magazine, February 1997, No.50,
Timbre Technologies Sylmar, CA. doesn't seem to exist any more.
Got the name, still workin' on the licks!

Offline waxwing

  • Member
  • Posts: 2518
    • Wax's YouTube Channel
Re: Instant vintage guitars
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2005, 12:14:40 AM »
so John C, how do you recommend going about looking for/acquiring old guitars?? At this point in my life I'm not interested in spending my time working on them (even though I have done some lutherie in the past), so I'd be looking for something in close to playable condition (minor set up issues are fine, but I'm not doing any neck resets or fixing cracks, e.g.).? I'm not against someone else having worked on them, to a point (but some guitars seem so rebuilt one wonders exactly what is old anymore!).

eBay is a nightmare for me - lots to look at, but buying guitars there has been far less than satisfying.? So, aside from the local guitar shops which don't have 'em, what's a Weenie to do?
Well, Tom, first, I think you need to find a way to educate yourself about the various guitars you might be intersested in. Some of this, like understanding the values of various brands and models, can come from online discussions, but really you need to find them and play them. Of course, (plug) going to a gathering like Port Townsend where you can play many different guitars can be quite an education. Also , whenever I take a trip somewhere I always try to find the local vintage shops. And I try to let myself be known to the shops and what kind of guitars interest me. For instance, the two guitars that really interest me right know are the early H braced Gibson L-0's or L-1s and pre war Martin 00-17s. If I had the money and was ready to buy (which I don't and I'm not), there are about 6 or so shops in various parts of the country that I might call and say something like, "hey, I'm the guy who came in with a nice 1930 Style O, played that sweet L-Century you had, and talked to you about such and such and I'm really lookin' for one right now that's in decent playing condition but maybe has lots of honest wear. None right now? Well, give me a call if you get one in." I'd also check the various on line vendors. All of these places have a return policy. Yeah, you're out the shipping, but if you don't like the guitar you don't have to buy it.
The other thing I feel is important is having a good relationship with a topnotch luthier who really enjoys vintage guitars. Not all do. The guys at Gary Brawer's shop love to see me walk in with some new vintage guitar for them to work on. I think it's important to realize that all guitars are going to need something done to them to bring them to good playability. Hell, that's half the fun, I think. You can ask the dealer to do it or you can have your own guy do it. I prefer my own guy. I trust him and we can discuss just what we want to do with the guitar in hand. And the dealer may mark up more than just the cost of the repair on his end. The thing is, needing a neck reset or maybe just a refret and some bridge work is usually gonna reduce the value of the guitar as much or more than it's gonna cost you to have the work done.
In dealing with an online dealer, just like on ebay, the key is in asking questions. You've really got to ask specifically about all the various facets, how high is the action at the 12th fret, how much hump where the fretboard goes over the body, how much saddle is left, cracks in the top, sides, back. All of these things are acceptable but may affect price. The dealer may not think a reset is in order until you get him to admit that the action is 3/8". Ask him to lay a straight edge on the fretboard and discribe which frets touch the straight edge. And get him to play it for you over the phone, you actually can hear alot. Paranoids, of course, will assume he's playing a different guitar, so I guess you have to decide if you trust the guy from his reputation (another thing you can ask about on various online forums). If you feel that the guitar is drastically different from his original description, see if he'll come down in the price.
To me, you have to be into the whole process, the education, the search, and the renovation. And enjoying getting to know the community of people, players and dealers, is part of it, too. And for me the bottom line is not whether all the parts are original, heck, I like a guitar that really looks like it's got some stories to tell (my little Stella has a huge belly and looks like the top was stove in on one side of the soundhole). It's the sound that counts (and that little Stella has such a tone).
If you really want to buy a guitar that's been fully renovated and ready to play there are a few guys who you might go to. Todd Cambio, of course, can speak for himself here if he wishes, but the Stella he renecked and hotrodded for Frank sure is sweet. Todd may be concentrating more on building new guitars in the Stella style now. Neil Harpe, who has developed a good relationship with luthier Mike Hauver, is also a good trustworthy dealer. I did do extensive work on the two guitars that I bought from Neil before he got together with Mike, but their prices reflected that. If you are ever near Annapolis (between Baltimore and Washington) you should definitely get in touch with Neil and visit his guitars at Acousticopia. That's an education if he has a good selection at the time. I'm sure there are others out there, I'm just more aware of Stellas.
Well, I probably haven't told you everything you need to know, but this'll get you started if you really want to go in this direction. First thing is to just get out and play some and listen to the sounds they make. That'll tell you if you want to continue.
All for now.
John C.
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

http://www.youtube.com/user/WaxwingJohn
https://www.facebook.com/WaxwingJohn

Willie Brown's Liquor at CD Baby

Offline a2tom

  • Member
  • Posts: 347
  • stickman's got 'em
Re: Instant vintage guitars
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2005, 05:58:00 AM »
wow, thanks for the extensive reply John!  Indeed, I do travel a bit for my job, and I do try to always get out to guitar shops around the area when I do.  That is a real hoot.  I think you're right that I have a learning curve here that needs to start with actually playing some more that are "older than I am".  I am not "highly motivated" to buy old guitars, just curious at this point (and he who dies with the most guitars wins, yes?).  In that regard, I am considering a trip to PT, but the logistics aren't all that easy for me in that time period of the year, which roughly translates as my wife might kill me if I go.

Anyway, thanks much.

tom

Offline uncle bud

  • Administrator
  • Member
  • Posts: 8314
  • Rank amateur
Re: Instant vintage guitars
« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2005, 08:39:59 AM »
I am considering a trip to PT, but the logistics aren't all that easy for me in that time period of the year, which roughly translates as my wife might kill me if I go.
Yeah, but Tom, you'll die happy...  :P

Offline waxwing

  • Member
  • Posts: 2518
    • Wax's YouTube Channel
Re: Instant vintage guitars
« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2005, 08:43:58 AM »
Bring your wife. It is a beautiful part of the world. She can spend some time in Seattle during the week, or travel up to the San Juan Islands, or check out the Hoh Rainforest or other natural points of interest on the Olympic peninsula. All within a days travel. PT is a beautiful little town itself.
For me, it's not the most, but just the one's that work best for the songs that I want to play, representative of different styles. Check out Dai Thomas' list of Blues Singers and the Guitars they were photographed with or rumored to play. That's where I get some of my motivation.
All for now.
John C.
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

http://www.youtube.com/user/WaxwingJohn
https://www.facebook.com/WaxwingJohn

Willie Brown's Liquor at CD Baby

Offline Richard

  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • Posts: 2406
  • Drove this for 25 years!
    • weekendblues
Re: Instant vintage guitars
« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2005, 10:54:50 AM »
Quote
I am considering a trip to PT, but the logistics aren't all that easy for me in that time period of the year, which roughly translates as my wife might kill me if I go.

This is the problem of course ^-^


And, as regards
Quote
Another trick that I've heard of, but haven't tested empirically is putting guitars in bass cabinets and leaving them in there with the volume cranked for a day or two. I'm skeptical, to be sure.
one could always send them for a trip on UPS... worked in my case  ;)
(That's enough of that. Ed)

Offline Cambio

  • Member
  • Posts: 172
  • Howdy!
Re: Instant vintage guitars
« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2005, 11:37:26 AM »
Waxy brings up a lot of good points.  You really do need to educate yourself and play as many guitars as possible, figure out what sounds you like and what you like the feel of. 
I want to weigh in on the subject of old vs. new instruments and opening up.  I think an important question to ask is: How much of an old guitar's sound is related to its age vs. the way it was built?  Certainly guitars open up, I prefer to have them open up from playing rather than with a vibrator (call me old fashioned). But don't the old guitars sound great on the old recordings, when the guitars were new?  If you find a vintage guitar that is in mint condition because it was never played, won't it sound great?  I think that after a few weeks of playing, it will sound great (provided that it's a worthy instrument.  Instruments like to be played, they open up the more that you play them.  If you don't play them, they start to shut down and will need to open up again. 
Vintage instruments have a certain sound and mistique that new ones don't but oftentimes they require more maintenance.  That's not a problem if you know of a good luthier and have the funds to pay for repairs.  I think that it is possible to make new instruments that sound as good as the old ones, based on the fact that the old instruments sound good on old records, when they were new.   

Offline Johnm

  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • Posts: 10538
    • johnmillerguitar.com
Re: Instant vintage guitars
« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2005, 12:17:19 PM »
Hi all,
I absolutely agree with Todd, John C. and everybody else that instruments want and need to be played to open up and develop their full potential.  Lots of good brand-new instruments start out with a lot of confused high overtones--it's like they are arguing with themselves.  It takes a lot of playing to get the overtones in agreement with each other, when a guitar gets to that point, I think of it as being lined up.
I have to admit that, for the most part, I do not think the guitars on the old recordings sound very good.  I think the playing is incredibly good, how could you not be impressed with Lemon, Blake, etc., but the instruments themselves generally are pretty underwhelming to me.  If I think of the entire corpus of recorded Country Blues, I can think of very few recordings where I have listened and thought, "Wow, he's really playing a great guitar!".  Peg Leg Howell's guitar has always sounded fantastic to me, and Josh White always sounded like he was playing a really good guitar as was Lonnie Johnson.  Some of the twelve-strings, Leadbelly's and Barbecue Bob's, sounded really great, too.  But I think a lot of the enthusiasm for the old instruments stems from the association of the great music that was played on instruments of that type, rather than the intrinsic merits of the sound itself.  The musicians were so great they would have sounded great on a tub of guts, they just happened to be playing what was available and affordable at the time.  For the most part, I don't think the guitars they played were anything special.  I imagine I am in the distinct minority on this one.
All best,
Johnm

Tags: