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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,guitarfixer Help: What makes a guitar make its sound? (62* d) RE: Help: What makes a guitar make its sound? 04 Jun 02

I interviewed Bill Collings years ago. He and a staff of about 15 workers build 1,000 spectacular guitars each year in Austin, TX. My question to Bill was "What is different about your guitars?" (They follow many traditional Martin and Gibson size and wood combinations.) His answer: "Nothing really. Everything. Each step makes a contribution to the whole. You can improve one thing and make the whole better. But you have to improve each thing a just little bit to make the whole a lot better." We live in a golden age of guitar building. The advantage of the small builder is that he or she can learn from each guitar and apply each kernel of new knowledge to the next instrument. Enthusiasts who have heard Collings, Santa Cruz, Lakewood or Goodall guitars of 8 or 10 years ago will find that their more recent instruments are much improved in sound. (Not that previous instruments from these guys weren't excellent.) These small shop builders keep refining their craft each year, seemingly on each guitar. Of course, tastes vary. The ideal ax for me is surely not the perfect choice for everyone else. But intonation, sophistication in harmonic structure, resonance, sustain characteristics; these are the combinations that send the chill down your spine and make you fall in "love at first listen." The main ingredient: the experience of the builder. On the other hand, we all know people who don't grow and build from experience, they just have the same experience every day until their life comes to an end.

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