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MARTIN DJR-10E Sapele Dreadnaught Jr. Solid Woods, Acoustic Guitar
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
There have been many discussions on the differences between solid wood and laminates back and side
on a guitar.
I was interested in purchasing A Takamine GN90 CE zircote in the understanding that the back and sides
are solid Zircote, however after a considerable amount of digging I found out the the back and sides are
laminates looking like Zircote.(the visible part)
My Question is : how does a laminate looking like Zicote contribute to the to the sonic character of the
guitar as solid Zircote would have.
This guitar could still be a very nice sounding guitar.
 

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It depends if all the layers in the laminate are ziricote or some cheap ass plywood or something in between. Laminates are veneers and veneers are the best of the best wood from a log. But you probably won't find too many guitars using multiple layers of a high end veneer to make a laminate. It's cheaper to make a solid rosewood back than to make a pure laminated rosewood back assuming you are using AAAAA laminates in all the layers.

My Takamine is Indian rosewood and laminated sides and sounds 10 times better than my laminated Yamaha from about the same period.
 

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MARTIN DJR-10E Sapele Dreadnaught Jr. Solid Woods, Acoustic Guitar
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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
So does a guitar derives most of its sonic Character from the top, so if I was interested in a mahogany sounding
guitar and it had a spruce top and mahogany solid wood or mahogany laminate it would not sound like a mahogany guitar ?
 

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I find it comes down to the individual guitar. You can make generalizations but I have an old all laminate cheap Yamaha from the 70’s that sounds better than some solid wood guitars I’ve played. Given equal care and the same type of construction I’d expect a solid guitar to sound better than a laminate guitar. That is part of the problem. Most solid wood guitars are built better than most laminate guitars.
 

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So does a guitar derives most of its sonic Character from the top, so if I was interested in a mahogany sounding
guitar and it had a spruce top and mahogany solid wood or mahogany laminate it would not sound like a mahogany guitar ?
If you want a mahogany sounding guitar, there are mahogany tops on some guitars--personally I really like th sound of a well made mahogany top.
 

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You can laminate out of whatever you like and talk about its characteristics if it were solid but the ??? factor is the glue which will give the sandwich a large part of its tone. I have yet to see anybody wax eloquent on the resonant characteristics of plywood adhesive

j
 

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Most solid wood guitars are built better than most laminate guitars.
Probably true but like you say there are exceptions. These two sounded pretty darn good but I sold them.

Martin DC Aura
368801


Tailor 810 LTD
368802


Because they cost an arm and a leg and didn't sound quite as good as this one with laminate back and sides.

1980 Japanese made Sigma D10 Anniversary.
368805
 

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Probably true but like you say there are exceptions. These two sounded pretty darn good but I sold them.

Martin DC Aura
View attachment 368801

Tailor 810 LTD
View attachment 368802

Because they cost an arm and a leg and didn't sound quite as good as this one with laminate back and sides.

1980 Japanese made Sigma D10 Anniversary.
View attachment 368805
I just sold a MIJ Morris guitar with laminate back and sides that was a very nice sounding guitar. I bought it new in 1972. It needed a neck reset so I never played it. If the materials are good quality the construction differentiates between a good guitar and a bad guitar.
 

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Not to mention that when it comes to tone, beauty is in the.. uh... ear of the listener? Everyone prefers slightly different things.
 

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MARTIN DJR-10E Sapele Dreadnaught Jr. Solid Woods, Acoustic Guitar
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Still confusing, having listened to dozens of videos , through high quality (planar )headphones, I am starting
to believe the the sound of guitars is mainly influence by the top wood; so Spruce top Spruce sound, mahogany top
mahogany sound ,Koa top koa sound etc. here are some videos that illustrate this, at least to my ears, and yes, I could be totally wrong, what are you opinions ?


 

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Listening to a video that has Youtube compression algorithms applied is not the same as listening in person. I'm not sure how much I would rely on videos. The top is important no doubt, but two guitars with Spruce tops and different back and sides (Mahogany versus Maple for example) can sound very different. Different bracing patterns also make a significant contribution to the tone. Also keep in mind that two identical models using the same woods and construction can also have variations in sound.
 

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MARTIN DJR-10E Sapele Dreadnaught Jr. Solid Woods, Acoustic Guitar
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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Agree with the above, living in an area (Cranbrook) with no large guitar stores:Closest to me Calgary 4 hrs driving,Vancouver 10hrs , videos are the next best thing.
 

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I have an HD35 Custom Shop which does not sound like any HD35 Production Line that I've played. Same woods but this one has different sound characteristics and not as boomy as HD35s usually are. It has Adirondack bracing but I doubt that would make so much difference.
 

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Still confusing, having listened to dozens of videos , through high quality (planar )headphones, I am starting
to believe the the sound of guitars is mainly influence by the top wood; so Spruce top Spruce sound, mahogany top
mahogany sound ,Koa top koa sound etc. here are some videos that illustrate this, at least to my ears, and yes, I could be totally wrong, what are you opinions ?


The top wood affects the sound but the construction (bracing, thickness, etc.) can change the sound. If you are looking for a particular sound you will have to play the guitar. Listening to YouTube is not a valid test. Youtube compresses the audio. The way the video is recorded affects the audio. The brand of microphone affects the audio. The mic placement affects the audio. etc. etc.
 

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MARTIN DJR-10E Sapele Dreadnaught Jr. Solid Woods, Acoustic Guitar
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
More opinions on the sonic qualities and effects of top wood and back and sides on guitars:

 
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