Mudcat Café message #631379 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #9606   Message #631379
Posted By: GUEST,Riley Stokes
19-Jan-02 - 08:27 PM
Thread Name: INFO/Opinions:Taylor,Larivee,Collings,et al.
Subject: RE: INFO/Opinions:Taylor,Larivee,Collings,et al.
Being a neophyte net grazer, I'm not at all sure of what I have stumbled into here. I just plugged in "Larivee OM" into Google and all these opinions popped up. Very interesting. I have to say, though, that I hear a lot of apples-to-oranges comparisons. When you sit down to compare guitars against each other, you are also comparing sizes, woods, strings (light, medium, new, worn-out), action setup, price range.... Even the relative age of "new" guitars is important. One may have just arrived at the shop and be only a few weeks from all its components having been separate slabs of wood. It still has internal tensions that will kill the sound for a while. And on top of that, guitars are just plain individuals, which is one reason we're fascinated by them.

Concerning price and price range, a high percentage of guitars made by individual luthiers (those who know what they're doing) and the top-end small shop makers like Collings and Bourgeois, etc., will be great guitars. They have the advantage of being made of choice woods and are the beneficiaries of a dozen decisions, large and small, made by the luthier or luthiers along the way. They are tweaked, in other words, and have every chance of being great instruments. But that doesn't mean you can't find equally great-sounding guitars in other price ranges, and from the big factories like Martin and Taylor--or the even bigger factories in Asia. Very often there's the serendipity factor; a certain happy combination of pieces of wood come together in a certain way and you've got a great instrument, no matter whose name is on the headstock.

All this comes into play when you compare guitars. So when you go away from a comparison session in which you've had a chance to play only a few instruments, and you're thinking, well, I like Taylors better than the new Gibsons and Guilds and... you're doing both the makers and probably yourself a disservice. A really good time to comparison-play guitars is when you're not looking to buy one. You just stop in at the showroom once in a while and pick around on stuff. But if you make that a practice, don't be surprised someday if a particular guitar seems to jump off the wall and into your arms and says "Buy me!" The best thing to do then is walk out... and sneak back in a few days and try the thing again, and it still speaks to you, ask yourself: Is buying this guitar worth straining the family budget and therefore my marriage? If the answer is yes, you may have found yourself a new guitar.

Riley Stokes