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Graphite vs. Wood - some advice

07 Nov 03 - 07:48 PM (#1049935)
Subject: Tech: Graphite vs. Wood - some advice
From: freightdawg

I have read most of the posts regarding Rainsong graphite guitars and I am truly intrigued. Due to the nature of my work I travel a lot and would like to have a guitar that could take a lot of punishment, but still look dressy enough to impress. I would like to ask those of you who are experienced traveling musicians some advice regarding graphite and/or solid wood guitars. Any help or experiences would be appreciated, especially those of you who own a Rainsong.

How durable would the graphite/laminate Rainsong be vs. the all graphite model? Obviously there is a huge price difference. Would the all graphite model sound okay unplugged? I would kind of like to have the model with the pre-amp, but I do not want to trade too much in sound when used pure acoustic.

My current practice guitar is a Yamaha LL11. It has a solid spuce top and mahogany back and sides. In your experience does a guitar with a solid wood top hold up well when travelling? The guitar would have to withstand temp changes up to 40 degrees or more (F) and some pressure and humidity changes.

Finally, is anyone aware of any other graphite guitars that compare with the Rainsong?

Thanks and I look forward to your help.


07 Nov 03 - 08:12 PM (#1049948)
Subject: RE: Tech: Graphite vs. Wood - some advice
From: Leadfingers

I have hauled a D 35 Martin across the pond a couple of times,without any problems,especially after I got the Calton Case.A decent case is the most important thing if you are trusting the instrument to any
baggage handlers. Cant help with info on Rainbirds though

20 Jul 08 - 12:16 PM (#2393484)
Subject: RE: Graphite vs. Wood - some advice
From: GUEST,shaler

I purchased a composite acoustics guitar for that reason and I love it
I play bluegrass with the valley road band in alexandria AL and so far this guitar has been perfect. You will need to experiment with your string type to find what fits your feel the best, I use ghs meidum strings and they have plenty of tone and bite needed for blugrass. the guitar is the CA GX the strings are GHS TM 335 check it out I think you will be surprised if you are a seasoned guitar player. Also in humid conditions it will out perform any wood.

SC Whiteside

20 Jul 08 - 05:55 PM (#2393678)
Subject: RE: Graphite vs. Wood - some advice
From: Zen

I don't own a Rainsong but have played one several times. I was quite impressed with the tone, both unplugged and plugged in. There is the advantage of course of reduced problems with humidity when travelling. Sorry I can't help further.


21 Jul 08 - 02:43 AM (#2393880)
Subject: RE: Graphite vs. Wood - some advice
From: Dead Horse

So why not steel?
A "National" can take a hell of a lot of punishment, huh?
I aint never had no trouble tourin' wid MY instrument :-)

26 Nov 08 - 05:38 PM (#2502412)
Subject: RE: Graphite vs. Wood - some advice
From: GUEST,Mikey

I have to agree with Leadfingers in-that the type of case you transport your guitar in is very important. Unfortunately I did not follow that advise some years ago when an attendent at LAX let my Taylor 510 hit the tarmac. It was in a gig bag instead of a hard-shell case. The result was that the back was separated from the sides at the bottom. I just got it fixed last month.
On the effect of weather on a composite, I had an Ovation where the neck became tweaked because I moved from Ohio to California. Not sure if the tweaking was due to warpage of the wood neck or the fiberglass body. A luthier fixed it for me.

26 Nov 08 - 07:19 PM (#2502492)
Subject: RE: Graphite vs. Wood - some advice
From: Midchuck

August of '07 we made the Pilgrimage. We drove across country from Vermont to Montana to see the kids, and cut up through Michigan just to go to Elderly Instruments in Lansing. (We went on up and crossed Lake Michigan on the Badger, the old ferryboat, thus both avoiding Chicago and avoiding going into Canada while transporting some ammo and such for the kids. Which latter Would Not Have Been Good.)

I was hoping to try one of the smaller CAs but they didn't have the full-depth body model in stock. They did have a Rainsong OM-1000. I had played an early one 7 or 8 years previous and was unimpressed. But I took this one down and tried it. In a couple of minutes Kris saw that look in my eye and sighed. An hour later (mostly spent playing that guitar) I had the credit card out on the counter.

Over the last 15 months I've played it about 95% of the time when I've played anywhere outside my own house. It doesn't have the best sound of any guitar I own - the Collings 000-2H and the Proulx OM/D are certainly superior in tone - but it has an excellent tone, great power for the 000/O.M. size, and I don't have to worry about it. I can carry it in a gigbag and save my back, although I've always used a hard case for instruments of substantial value. I can leave it out on a hanger in extremes of weather, from hot, muggy summer days to the dead of winter when the humidity in the house drops to dangerous levels for wood instruments in spite of humidifiers running everywhere.

At flatpick Kamp last summer, I was playing in the evening on the front steps of one of the dorms, when I stepped back and the back of the lower bout, treble side, whacked into the cast-iron knob at the top of the post at the bottom of the stair rail, hard enough to put a substantial crack in the back of a solid wood instrument. There was a boom like a giant bronze gong being beaten in a cave. I panicked and looked the guitar all over. Nothing. Not even a mark on the finish.

I would strongly recommend the present all-graphite Rainsongs for anyone who plays out and has to haul the instrument around a lot, and play it in less then ideal conditions.