Mar
19

I’m going to go ahead and guess that the folks who make guitars using these more modern methods, which have been more or less maligned here over the last week, are not doing so willy-nilly. Perhaps some are following a trend, but I’d guess that most of these luthiers have reasons that they consider convincing enough that they devote their lives to making guitars in this way, and I’d really like to hear from them, as well.

I hope it’s not naive of me to ask that we keep this civil and respectful – after all, I think we can all learn something if we invite this group of luthiers into the fold and find out why they think these methods are better than the traditional ones (and keep in mind, of course, that tradition is almost always relative). I haven’t played or heard enough of these more modern guitars to have an opinion myself, but I tend to believe that there is always room for progress, which is not to say that all attempts at progress are successful. But experimentation is what leads to progress, and perhaps we’re in a period where folks are seeing if a better guitar can be made, and I wouldn’t want to discourage that.

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14 Responses to “Any Pleas For Modern Construction Methods?”

 
  1. Here is the biggest problem, we do not think that these methods are better. That assumption is made all the time. It is different not better.

    I don’t know of any “modern” style builder who thinks these are better. It seems that the “traditional” builders love to attack the “modern” builders. Is it because we are doing something different? Modern builders are very open minded. We look at these “modern” methods as an alternative. If you like it , great, if not, no big deal. I like both so I build both traditional and lattice. I even build ladder braced 19th century guitars. Those have a pleasant and unique sound as well. Just another flavor.

    The other misconception is that the reason for these methods is volume. That is not correct either.

    What I find interesting are those luthiers that criticize lattice, or double-top, guitars haven’t made any! Or if they did, they didn’t make enough to learn how to control the sound. You can’t build a lattice or double-top guitar with a traditional guitar construction mindset. If you do, you will fail. There are many more ingredients than just the soundboard, and you have to get all of them just right to get the guitar to work properly.

    Let’s also disregard the elitist attitude that if you don’t hear what they hear you don’t have a refined or trained ear. That is BS, disrespectful and belittling to others. It isn’t that they can’t hear what the “elitist” hears, its that they have different likes and dislikes which should be respected. Trying to win an argument by saying, “Your hearing isn’t as refined as mine” just doesn’t cut it. That’s like saying red is the best color and if you don’t like it you have bad vision.

    Bottom line is the music experience that is communicated from performer to the listener. When I go to a concert I’m there for the beauty of the musical experience regardless of the brand of guitar. What does the performer have to say? I don’t think I would enjoy any concert if I was of the opinion that I only go to concerts that are played on Hauser braced guitars, or Romanillos, Rodriguez, Fleta, Smallman, etc…That’s just ridiculous.

    I suppose I’m in the open minded guitar camp. I like them all! After all, they’re guitars. Guitars are cool! ;-)

  2. Jeff says:

    Regarding the 2nd paragraph of Kai’s top blog-text…

    Guitar construction…
    It’s not about progress. It’s not about modern methods being better than traditional ones.

    This mindset of ‘something being better’, seems to be a pervading interest in people today, particularly in those who blindly criticise.

    There’s a reason that many luthiers today are beginning to speak about ‘sound aesthetics’ of instruments. The reason is that it’s not about building a “better” instrument, but to emphasise that there are differences, and that these differences relate to performer preferences.

    Beauty – so I’m told – lies in the eye of the beholder. And this holds true for any branch of aesthetics, including the tonal aesthetics of instruments… where the ear differentiates.

    As has been mentioned ( http://guitarsalon.com/blog/?p=1467&cpage=1#comment-3055 )… it’s impossible to build the perfect instrument that has it all. The properties of sustain, volume, beauty, power, overtone-presence, etc. cannot all be had at once.

    Different guitars give preference to different qualities.
    And there are musicians who want these differences.

    Flamenco players, will not like lattice-braced guitars, because they need something that really cuts through: something with less sustain, and less emphasis on the low spectral content.

    Other musicians playing jazzy music also don’t want endless sustain…

    Neither do guitarists playing 19th century music (particularly early 19th century). For later 19th century repertoire, it they want some sustain, they want it wrapped in sympathetic resonance by added floating bass strings… which lightly surrounds the main playing.
    But they don’t want ultimative booming basses (lattice) at the cost of higher overtone-character.

    Modern guitarists often seek guitars with shimmering uniformity of sound… they want sustain. And they want a guitar that works good for dissonances, requiring more emphasis in the fundamental (i.e. thinner tops). They want something with real depth. Often they find these qualities in lattice-braced guitars.

    To sum up: an instrument is not about progress. In art there is no progress. Rather it’s an aesthetics of sound.

    • Jeff says:

      Of course this does not mean that all luthiers are equal. Luthiers must have a vision and work at realizing it.
      Some luthiers manage to realise their vision better than others: think of any good luthier.

      Unfortunately some luthiers don’t even have a vision.
      The just build and hope something comes out.
      If they don’t know what they want to give… they cannot possibly succeed… The luthier-performer relationship should not be underestimated.
      A performer looking for something particular, will quickly recognise the luthier who has no clue… and just wants his instrument sold.

      In the end it’s the law of attraction – I suppose.
      Performers who know what they want, will tend towards luthiers that can provide it soundwise… not towards luthiers who just build.

  3. Tom says:

    David and Jeff, very well expressed and, in my view, incontestable. Recently, I have seen so much reactionary prejudice on this blog that I am beginning to conclude that many here are part of the problem and not part of the solution. We may be, as Marcelo Kayath has said, at a crossroads – an uncomfortable crossroads perhaps – but the onward progress of the guitar continues and will continue.

  4. Tom says:

    …and, when I say progress, I mean more choice, choice in how the guitar is played and choice in the kind of sound and characteristic that is preferred.

  5. Sebastian Dumas says:

    I agree with Mr.Schramm assertion that we need to respect each other. Begone the elitist mentality. I have my opinion and I respect yours. As I indicated n my post within the previous Stenzel discussion, I lean towards the traditional guitar because of the sound it produces. This does not mean that I will never play a modern guitar. Never say never. I will play a modern guitar if it maintains that old world sound that I look for.

    • Lawrence Tendler says:

      Sebastian Dumas : ‘I have my opinion and respect yours ” .Clearly ,you do not know the meaning of the word respect .You need to check a Dictionary.

  6. Lawrence Tendler says:

    If we all liked the same things it would be a boring and uniform world .There should be a place for innovation ,but there is not much wrong with traditional guitars ,IMHO.

  7. Declan says:

    Hey, I have a dumb question. How do I e-mail you about this post? I can’t find your current email address and I want to speak with you about this, thanks a lot…

  8. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make your point. You definitely know what youre talking about, why waste your intelligence on just posting videos to your blog when you could be giving us something enlightening to read.

  9. I WANT TO KNOW WHAT PEOPLE THINK WHEN THEY HEAR THIS PIECE AND HOW THEY FEEL?? PLEASE COMMENT.

  10. Blaine Patts says:

    Any Pleas For Modern Construction Methods? | Guitar Salon International | The Blog cool post