Guitar Comparison


#1

Mike’s pick contest inspired me to do a guitar comparison. I played the same break or riff or whatever you’d like to call it on the following five guitars (not in the particular order in the mp3):

'96 Gibson J-60 Indian Rosewood/Sitka
’93 Taylor 810 Indian Rosewood/Sitka
’08 Collings D2HG Indian Rosewood/German Spruce
’82 Yamaha CJ-818 Jumbo all plywood (even the top) Mahogany/Sitka - My first guitar.
'96 Martin SPD-16TR TR does not stand for Tony Rice, but something Rosewood. Indian Rosewood/Sitka This is my brother’s guitar.

For anyone interested, I’d like to see if you can name each guitar and also tell me which one you like the sound of the most. All guitars have fresh uncoated PB strings, I used the same Red Bear Heavy unbeveled pick with a fairly sharp point, I played all guitars close to the bottom of the soundhole with the mic in the same position on all guitars (about eight inches away from the fretboard angled in toward where the neck joins the body. Honestly, I have trouble telling them apart, but I don’t have a good ear for this kinda thing. I’m also still new at computer recording. I recorded the first guitar a second time at the end as a refresher.

Thanks for listening,

J.W.

[attachment=0]Guitar Comparison-001.mp3[/attachment]


#2

Nice sounds and nice playing. Here’s my first pass:

Guitar #1 as the SPD-16TR

I’ll go with #2 as the D2HG. Primarily because I can hear more dollars exchanging hands with this track (listen close).

The interesting one is the Jumbo Plywood. It makes one wonder if the jumbo shape will out weigh the plywood in determining the tone. I am guessing not, so I’ll put the Yamaha as guitar #3.

I haven’t played many Gibson J-60s, but if I remember correctly they had a pretty stout bass with a quicker decay compared to a Martin. I’ll go with #4 as the J-60. Full disclosure, I had picked #2 as the J60 first, but the mids and uppers on #2 led me to believe it was the D2HG. So the J-60 kind of became “I don’t think it’s that one or that one, so it must be this one.”

Guitar #5 as the Taylor 810

As far as preferences, I like #1’s balance. I like #2’s punchy bass and mid range honk. #3 doesn’t have much bass but it has a broken in kind of mellowish tone… it might make a good stage guitar. #4 is good overall… big fat bottom. #5 there is nothing offensive about the tone, it sounds like it might be a little tight (overbuilt), but it’s a pleasing tone.

If I had to pick one based on tone, I’m going with #2.

Lemme guess… I picked the Yamaha when I could I have had the Collings?


#3

You got two right Mike. I’ll see how many more people want to give it a shot before I give any hints or tell you which two you had correct.

I got some distortion or static at the first part of guitar #4. I don’t know what that is. I don’t think I had the gain too high. I get that alot when I record and haven’t figured out what it is.

Unlike your pick contest where the winner recieved a pick of their choice, the winner in this contest will not be recieving a guitar of their choice. Sorry, but I’m a working man. I will however send a set of strings to the first one to get these correct of his/her choice. (As long as it’s not for a harp or something else like that).

— Begin quote from “mreisz”

I’ll go with #2 as the D2HG. Primarily because I can hear more dollars exchanging hands with this track (listen close).

— End quote

Are you speaking of the clock in the background or something else? I was hoping the mic wouldn’t pick up the clock. It’s even in a different room!

J.W.


#4

Well, I’ve never played any of these guitars, but I’m not going to let that stop me from guessing.

I know Mike got two right and I’m thinking they might be 3 for the Yamaha and 4 for the Gibson. I’ll shuffle the others around based on what I’ve read about them and guess:

1-Collings
2-Taylor
3-Yamaha
4-Gibson
5-Martin

If I’m correct I win my choice of the guitars, right?

BTW, those are nicely recorded samples.


#5

Larry, you got two right as well, but only one of which is the same as Mike’s choices. That could either be a hint or complicate it more!

If you win I can get you a guitar like Mike’s “travel” guitar he takes with him on the airplane that he’s holding in the picture :laughing:

Thanks,

J.W.


#6

Hmmm, either the Yamaha or the Gibson is correct. That’s a little help…

Man, I really want to win my very own Hello Kitty guitar.


#7

Doh!!! Do we get to guess again after a while?


#8

— Begin quote from “jwpropane”

— Begin quote from “mreisz”

I’ll go with #2 as the D2HG. Primarily because I can hear more dollars exchanging hands with this track (listen close).

— End quote

Are you speaking of the clock in the background or something else? I was hoping the mic wouldn’t pick up the clock. It’s even in a different room!

J.W.

— End quote

I was just trying to be funny and thought since the D2HG is a pretty high dollar guitar… especially compared to my Hello Kitty special. Sorry, I couldn’t actually hear money being exchanged. Sometimes my humor even eludes me.


#9

Sorry Mike, that one went right over my head. The chimes on our mantel clock went off during #2 guitar’s recording. I must have listened to it ten times after you said that and never did hear the chimes in the recording. I thought you must have some really good ears or I have really bad ones.

— Begin quote from “mreisz”

since the D2HG is a pretty high dollar guitar

— End quote

Yeah, you’d think from the price tag on these Collings, they would stand out in a recording a little more. :blush:

— Begin quote from “mreisz”

Doh!!! Do we get to guess again after a while?

— End quote

By all means, guess as much as you’d like until someone gets it.

J.W.


#10

— Begin quote from “jwpropane”

Yeah, you’d think from the price tag on these Collings, they would stand out in a recording a little more. :blush:

By all means, guess as much as you’d like until someone gets it.

— End quote

Don’t sweat the Collings not standing out, there are plenty of nice guitars in the collection. Once one gets above a certain level, we pay increasingly silly amounts of money for decreasingly significant improvements.

I’ll wait until tomorrow to make another guess (I won’t have to wait long in Central time).


#11

Man, this is tough. My ear is arguing with me, but there’s only so many places things can go.

My try for the day (I’ll use the same format as Larry to keep it consistent):
1-Collings
2-Gibson
3-Yamaha
4-Martin
5-Taylor


#12

Sorry Mike, you did better the first time. I’m going to give away the answer to #3 since it’s rather obvious and you both guessed right the first time. It is the Yamaha.

This is a tough contest, I doubt if I would even get them all correct if someone else played these guitars and ask me to name them, and I own all but one of them and am very familiar with the other. I think the Gibson may be the toughest one since very few people are familiar with a J-60.

As I said earlier, guess as oft as you like, no rules here. I really just wanted to get a comparison of all my guitars recorded exactly the same way and listen to what they all sound like and hear what other people think. One reason for this, I may sell the Collings. I need a loader tractor and that would help fund one (or at least be a good down payment). And honestly, the Gibson is my favorite playing guitar. It has a chunky V-neck with nice wide string spacing and is just a joy to play, although it doesn’t sound as good as the others to me. (That may have been another hint)! If I was only allowed to keep one guitar, that would be it.

Thanks,

J.W.


#13

Here is a guess:

1.Martin
2.Taylor
3.Yamaha
4.Collings
5.Gibson

If I were completely honest, my original list would have looked much closer to Larry’s guess. I am going by tone only (what I can hear through monitor speakers). The first sounded clear, full in the bottom and rich overtone, either the Collings or Martin; I chose the Martin. The second sounded very balanced and slightly brighter, Taylor sounding to my ears. The third was the most interesting, I believe it is the Yamaha as the fundamental pitches are strong with weak overtones; what you would expect from an all laminated instrument. However with new strings, it sounds pretty nice. Number 4 sounded much like the first one only darker and fatter. Martin 16 series guitar are not usually that deep sounding, so I chose the Collings here. The last track sounded unlike a Martin to me and had a boosted lower midrange punch to it with a lot of darkness to the tone. It reminded me of the last Gibson acoustic I played, so I chose the Gibson.

I love these blind listening to guitars as it shows how a handful of instruments from a very wide price range can all sound very nice!


#14

I was writing my post during your posting, but I was glad to get the Yamaha right. It would be bad news to think the inexpensive Yamaha was actually the Collings! :open_mouth:


#15

I am just happy I nailed the Yamaha :smiley:

Actually, it may be more helpful to know that I didn’t get any right other than the Yamaha as that tells me about the other one I kept the same as well as Larry’s response… the wheels are turning.

I’ll keep my guesses to one a day.


#16

— Begin quote from “drguitar”

Here is a guess:

1.Martin
2.Taylor
3.Yamaha
4.Collings
5.Gibson

— End quote

I think these were more than guesses Doc. Very keen ear and well thought out. You are correct and on the first try even! I could have never done that!

I appreciate the participation and the explanations on why you all thought which guitars were what.

Do you and Larry have a favorite? You won’t offend me in any way even if you liked the Yamaha best. Mike kinda expressed he liked #2 which would be the Taylor. Does that still hold true now that you know what it is Mike? It’s a killer guitar even if it is a Taylor. If I picked a favorite from only listening to the recordings, it would be my brother’s Martin and my Collings at a very close second. Playing in real person, the Collings is definitely the winner. Overall, my favorite as I mentioned earlier is the Gibson. It’s actually the worse sounding next to the Yamaha, (recorded or live) but as long as I’m not comparing, it sounds great and is a joy to play.

Just for fun Mike and Larry, What would your next picks have been?

What kind of strings would you like DR as the winner? You can send me a PM or I can send you one to get your address and I’ll send a set of your choice.

Thanks guys for the participation, I had fun with it. I hope others do the same, I’d like to hear what all of you have to compare as well.

J.W.


#17

My favorite probably was the Martin, followed by the Collings. Honestly, it was a toss up which was the Collings and the Martin and I really did not expect that the Collings had such a deep voice. But I was pretty sure that the Martin 16 series was not going to sound that deep (like number 4). Don’t get me wrong, I have heard other Collings guitars that had the voice of God, but this one sounded almost too deep and dark. My guess is that I was hearing a little microphone proximity effect (boosted bass at a close micing distance). But the overtones from the Collings were very rich indeed.

The Taylor seemed the easiest for me to spot; nice balanced tone, clear trebles and not too dark. Very modern sounding acoustic.

The Yamaha was a pleasant surprise as it had much more tone than I would have expected from an “all lam” guitar. New strings really made it a “listen close” experience to pick it out of the bunch.

The Gibson really sounded like a Gibson to me. Honestly, I have not played too many Gibson acoustics (a few dozen maybe), but the ones I have played all had that sort of tone; rich, dark, velvety, slightly lacking in the sparkle of the trebles compared to the ideal “Martin” tone. I would not discount it as a bad sounding instrument by any stretch of the imagination. My guess is that it would sound great backing up a bright sounding voice (high tenor or soprano) and would also sound great behind a bright instrument (violin, flute, mandolin, piccolo). A set of 80/20s might bring out the clarity if that is what you are looking for, but I like the tone for what it is, great tone without sounding like a Martin!

I appreciate the string set offer, but I am loaded up at this time and the fun of the comparison was a gift in itself.

And to be clear, there was a fair amount of luck in that choosing. I should probably go play the lottery tonight. :smiley:


#18

To be honest, just going by sound I liked 1, 2 and 4 about equally, but for different reasons. I liked the mids and highs on #2 (and it’s nice punchy bottom) and I liked the bigger bottom on #4 (but it lost a little in the balance department compared to 2). #1 sounds pretty much like a Martin (which is a familiar tone). In revealing what the correct answers are, the biggest surprise was the J60. I thought of that as a big bottomed guitar, but it’s got more of a mid range punch than I expected.


#19

Nicely done, Doc!

I’m not nearly as adept as Doc and Mike at describing what I’m hearing, so I’ll just say while each guitar has it’s charms, I believe I liked the Martin’s sound the best.


#20

Larry is politely saying he is not as full of crap as I am :smiley: