Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Are We Not Weenies?!

I hang out at the Unofficial Martin Guitar Forum quite a bit. It's a fun place with nice people, and you can learn a lot about Martin guitars (and acoustics in general.) They also hold a yearly get together in Pennsylvania that's pretty much heaven for Martin guitar fans.

That said, sometimes things can get a little out of hand. Discussions about some topics; the wood used for necks, the price of the D-18 Authentic, and whether so-and-so deserves a Signature Edition, can sometimes get a bit repetitive. But we're guitar geeks, and that's to be expected. The best solution sometimes is just to stop reading a specific thread. I try not to take things too seriously.

A recent posting asked 'Are we the only weenies, in the world???' and spoke about a guitar player that one of the members encountered at an open mic who had no idea what model guitar he owned.
After he was done I walked up to him, and asked if it was a Westerly. He looked at me with a puzzled expression.

I said, "Your Guild.....was it made in Westerly?" He shrugs, "I don't know."

So then, I ask, "What year is it?" Again....shrugging, "I don't know....it was a gift."

So I ask, "what model is it?" Again....a shrug...." I don't know it was a gift.....I normally play Alverez's."

The posting then went on to speculate whether the forum members were the only weenies that know so much about their instruments. Do Sousaphone players know much about their instruments? Do they debate the merits of different models and years of production?

It’s a mildly interesting discussion, but frankly I don't see it as a big issue. Some people are really into the instruments, and some people just see them as a tool they use to make music. I don't think either attitude is right or wrong, it doesn't really bother me which one you are.

But while I was pondering that a little, I saw another post:
How does tuner mass change a Martin dread?
I'm wanting to swap out the small knob Pings on my D-15 for something of higher quality [Grover Rotomatics...] I've heard that these are lighter and that the lower mass allows for more resonance.

I've also heard that the greater mass of the Rotos will contribute to greater sustain.

Say what?!!

Changing the tuners changes the mass enough to effect the tone of the guitar?!

Okay, I have suffered through discussions of Brazilian vs. Indian Rosewood. 'Opening Up' vs. guitar aging, effects of humidity, bracing patterns, top woods, and coated vs. uncoated strings. But changing tuners?!!

One reader suggested that clamping on a couple of capo's on the headstock will effect sound! Others wrote:
To my ear, the lighter, open-back [tuners] are somehow less-invasive and allow for more wood-character to come through.

On some instruments adding weight to the headstock has had a dramatic positive effect on volume and tone (Blueridge guitars & Resophonic guitars).

The general rule is greater mass will add sustain. This is particularly true for electric guitars.

This kind of stuff can only lead to madness people! Put those capo's down! Don't touch those tuning machines! It's time to go back to playing the damn things!


adrian said...

It's nice to see that guitar discussion boards get just as heated and bizarre as, say, Mac discussion boards and railroad discussion boards. : )

And I'll have you know that the 1966 Conn Varsity Sousaphone I used in high school was a fine, fine instrument. :D

mchgtr said...

People is people, wherever you go.

And are you suggesting that PC discussion boards don't get just as heated?!