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topic icon Author Topic: Advice on Dreadnaught Guitar ...  (Read 20110 times)
RockyMtnGuy
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Telluride Bluegrass Fest -- 2011


URL icon « on: February 05, 2008, 09:04:35 PM »

Greetings Fellow Festivarians.

  I'm looking to add another guitar to my 'collection'.  Having played 12-string in duo/solo-gigs for past 20 years off and on, I'm now looking for a decent dreadnaught for jam sessions and more 'social' venues.  I'm considering a martin custom deluxe rosewood (D15) .. or .. a Washburn thats also redwood sides/back and spruce top .. for half the price.  Any recommendations??  Thx for your time.

  Kevin
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RockyMtnGuy
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URL icon « Reply #1 on: February 10, 2008, 02:48:21 AM »

 .. thank you for the response. :) ... it was helpful.  :)

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RockyMtnGuy
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URL icon « Reply #2 on: February 19, 2008, 06:42:33 PM »

UPDATE:   I just received today an 82 Yamaha FG331 dreadnaught ... I know .. its not a Martin .. but .. the price was great .. and.. it is one of the loudest guitars I've played .. still keepin my eye out for a decent Martin .. but .. this guitar will definitely carry me thru this next festival season.  I'm probably gonna go on and get the D-15 Rosewood .. but .. have reservations about draggin that out camping and such.  This one is just right for what I wanted (at least for now).   Have my eye on a 72 FG331 .. may get that one next week  LOL. ... older guitar, more aged wood, better tone, etc.

At any rate .. just thought I'd relay current results (eventho it appears as tho this thread doesnt get posted to often).


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« Last Edit: February 19, 2008, 06:46:49 PM by RockyMtnGuy » IP address Logged

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cletusaz
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URL icon « Reply #3 on: February 20, 2008, 03:22:16 AM »

Grats on the new guit-fiddle  Thumbs Up, I hope she serves ya well!   Cheers

On a semi-related note, I was feeling bad about beating my Alverez so i decided to take her in for a new bone nut, fret dress and setup.  Kinda like polishing a turd...but hey, shes my turd, and shes earned it.  Wink  Im sure the open mic-ers i let use her will appreciate it lol.

« Last Edit: February 20, 2008, 03:26:13 AM by cletusaz » IP address Logged

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RockyMtnGuy
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URL icon « Reply #4 on: February 20, 2008, 10:05:11 PM »

LOL .. 'polishing a turd':)

...In your opinion ... does augmenting a guitar with a bone nut and and saddle make a big difference?  I'm taking the latest procurement in for a professional setup (want the action lowered a bit) .. and .. am considering having some additional changes made to make the sound / tonal quality even better.

  kevin

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cletusaz
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URL icon « Reply #5 on: February 21, 2008, 04:24:07 AM »

To be perfectly honest, On this guitar, the difference is negligible.  MABEY slightly better sustain, but if it is indeed an improvement its very minor.  The acoustic tone of this alverez is not really its strong point though. Especially when compared to the Martin, Worlds apart.  It IS very playable and the action is very good after the recent work. I've paired it with an LR Baggs M1 pickup and Im quite happy with the combo for playing clubs and such.

A high quality guitar will usually come with bone as standard and Im sure its a superior material. In theory its added density should improve sustain.  Your mileage may vary on a different guitar.  I dont recommend changing the nut unless you have to or have the resources to blow.  Mine was cracked from a fall.

I find that strings make the biggest difference in tone outside of a guitars construction.  I personally like .12 Elixer polywebs  (NOT nanowebs!)  and .12 Martin SPs.

Its also worth noting that Im no expert in any of this. Just relaying my personal experience.

Cheers!  :)
« Last Edit: May 09, 2008, 06:25:31 PM by cletusaz » IP address Logged

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david blair
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URL icon « Reply #6 on: March 27, 2008, 06:35:31 AM »

A new saddle and nut are pretty simple to make and blanks are less than $5.00 at Stuart Macdonald online. It's not hard to shape these yourself. Go to    http://www.frets.com/  for detailed photo essays of repair work from one the best.

Replacing a plastic saddle and nut should be done without question. Proper set up of these and truss rod adjustment can make a world of difference. Bridge pins and as well careful attention to their holes and the break angles of the strings are crucial. Ebony bridge pins are not expensive. Brass pins have been used on Yamaha guitars with a noticeable increase in volume. Tune up and tighten your tuners for more sustain. Finally feel around for any loose bracing. Some experts modify the bracing and bridge materials to coax either bass or treble range. And Krazy glue in the seams of the frets against the wood. Really!
 
 
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RockyMtnGuy
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URL icon « Reply #7 on: March 30, 2008, 07:46:19 PM »

Wow David .. thank you for the info and insight!  Since my last post .. i've also acquired a '72 Yamaha FG110 .. yeah .. its one of the 'low end' models .. but to be honest .. its extremely LOUD for its size, and can take a beating!   I'm gonna make some repairs/enhancements to both of the Yamahas in the next month or so. 
.. and thanks for that link .. great stuff!

/r

  Kevin

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david blair
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URL icon « Reply #8 on: April 08, 2008, 08:09:27 AM »

cool, just do it. there's really nothing to lose. I made a new saddle for my guitar yesterday, and a have few thoughts to share.
Straighten the neck first. Does it need a truss rod adjustment?
Then evaluate how it plays, like is they action high or low enough? When using a heavy pick do the strings bottom out anywhere?
So then cut the blank a bit longer than needed and trace the contour of the saddle. The low E string top corner should remain high, not sloped like the E and B string side. Use a flat surface, 330 and then finer paper to sand, thinning until it fits in the slot of the bridge. The front (towards soundhole)  should ideally be an edge for the E and B strings, angled then downward toward the pegholes. Keep that front side flat. The wound-strings area can be rounded.  Really slick is if the E and B ledge is forward and the saddle is sanded so that the wound strings have a slightly longer scale length, diagonally. Imagine a split -two piece saddle. This method gives better intonation.
DON'T SAND IT TO THIN. Check it often and when close draw the saddle over the sandpaper in the direction of the top side so that the top will not be thicker then the bottom. The bottom side should remain flat. Never sand the bottom side. Very important. Also start the end polishing process when it almost fits because when it does fit perfect you are done. If the fit is sloppy, or made to thin it cannot be used. It must not be forced in either. Don't crack the bridge..
Making the nut requires gauged files. I could bring a set to Town Park. Emery boards are handy in a pinch.
You'll love it.
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RockyMtnGuy
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URL icon « Reply #9 on: April 13, 2008, 08:19:26 PM »

Wow David, great info, again.  To be honest, making the repairs  myself is something I'd like to do, however, I'm kind of leery of messing it up and having to go out and buy replacement parts  LOL.  I took the FG331 in and was gonna leave it for a week, but the guy at the shop asked me if I had a minute, and he removed the truss rod cover and adjusted the neck ... turns out it had never been adjusted before and brought the neck right into where I wanted it.  Action on that guitar is great now.  I ordered a set of ebony bridgepins (need to go pick those up).. but .. guitar sounds great with the martin SP's  (med-light) that I threw on last week. 

The 72' FG110 still impresses me.  I still need to replace the pins on that one, and may have a set of nickel tuners installed (has plastic ones, but .. surprisingly, that thing NEVER goes out of tune, it seems).  I'm still amazed and the sturdiness and deep intonation and high trebles that emanate from that ol' girl.

Again, thanks for taking the time to respond.  Maybe someday I'll get up the nerve to take a saturday afternoon to do some luthier-work myself (aside from basic preventive maintenance)

/r 

  Kevin

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david blair
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URL icon « Reply #10 on: April 18, 2008, 06:25:59 AM »

I bought a Yamaha dread in 1972, and still have it! It plays perfect, and has a factory magnetic pickup that works great.
I love those Martin SP's too, BTW. They last forever.

 See ya there.



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Casey71
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URL icon « Reply #11 on: August 24, 2010, 07:40:24 PM »

I know I'm late on this - but great guitar advice. I'm going to pick up my first Yamaha because it's Japanese made and from the advice, it's high quality that would last me for years. The best "bang" for my bucks so to speak.
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KooKee
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URL icon « Reply #12 on: September 20, 2010, 10:08:33 AM »

I have been playing a Washburn D52SWK guitar, for a few months now and I love it.  If you are in the market for a new dreadnaught guitar you need to get to your local guitar shop and try it out.
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