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 Post subject: Blind test
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2019 5:07 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 8:03 am
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Location: Chestertown Maryland
Not sure where to put this - building procedures sounds about right

Here is a blind test of 6 guitars from differetn back and sides woods - I did bot read the whole thing:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/01/190122115013.htm

Seems to be a trend here

Ed


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 Post subject: Re: Blind test
PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2019 1:51 pm 
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Here's a theory: the more expensive woods sound better because only experienced luthiers are likely to pay the premium cost. There is no way I am ever going to drop a thousand bucks or whatever for a Brazilian rosewood back and sides set. Regardless of the wood, a guitar built by an experienced luthier is virtually guaranteed to sound better than a guitar built by, say, me. While the difference may be attributed to the type of wood used, the real reason is better construction practices. In this case, all the guitars were built by the same luthier, so they all sound about the same.

I make no claim that theory is correct; I offer it merely as speculation.

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Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. -- Will Rogers
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 Post subject: Re: Blind test
PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2019 2:25 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2014 7:50 am
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Location: Chadds Ford, PA
MaineGeezer wrote:
Here's a theory: the more expensive woods sound better because only experienced luthiers are likely to pay the premium cost. There is no way I am ever going to drop a thousand bucks or whatever for a Brazilian rosewood back and sides set. Regardless of the wood, a guitar built by an experienced luthier is virtually guaranteed to sound better than a guitar built by, say, me. While the difference may be attributed to the type of wood used, the real reason is better construction practices. In this case, all the guitars were built by the same luthier, so they all sound about the same.

I make no claim that theory is correct; I offer it merely as speculation.


That's a well-reasoned hypothesis. I'm ready to take it as fact.


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 Post subject: Re: Blind test
PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2019 10:25 pm 
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I'll take that reasoning all day. I think how an instrument is made thoroughly eclipses what it's made of.

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 Post subject: Re: Blind test
PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2019 9:03 am 
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Location: Hegins, Pa
A guitar is the sum of its parts. There are more than one aspects to a guitar
Volume
Tone
Sound
playability
Visual
I have heard this argument before , and have read articles like this. The fact is a guitar is personal. We all
hear things differently. Agree a guitar made out of cardboard may sound just fine as the Torres experiment.
facts seldom sway an opinion.

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http://www.bluescreekguitars.com


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 Post subject: Re: Blind test
PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2019 12:08 pm 
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Location: Chestertown Maryland
I think I posted this earlier - 16 guitars by 8 makers built to the same design, 1/2 in tropical woods, 1/2 in non-tropical. I know your computer speakers are small, but can you say which one sounds "better"

http://www.leonardo-guitar-research.com

In a more complete paper on the same experiment, in blind tests the listener preference was 50/50, but in "unblind" tests, the tropicals won 75/25.



Ed


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 Post subject: Re: Blind test
PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2019 7:20 pm 
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Location: Napa, CA
I would surmise that there were big differences. But the test was looking for an overall rating not differences. Every body has their own preferences. And i question the quality of the panel of judges.

Also the agenda of the study was, and i quote, "Overall our results suggest that the back wood has a negligible effect on the sound quality and play-ability of an acoustic guitar, and that cheaper and sustainable woods can be used as substitutes of expensive and endangered woods without loss of sound quality."


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 Post subject: Re: Blind test
PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2019 11:06 pm 
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Location: Chadds Ford, PA
thronson wrote:
I would surmise that there were big differences. But the test was looking for an overall rating not differences. Every body has their own preferences. And i question the quality of the panel of judges...


That says it all for the methodological challenges of making a comparison. Everyone does hear and prefer differently so the quality of a panel of judges is moot, not germane to the purpose of the study. Given the tons of variables in each instrument's material and construction, this ends up being a futile effort. I could maybe see a highly standardized, CNC processed set of otherwise identical Martin guitars with different materials being compared and evaluated by a large statistical sample of listeners trained on standardized definitions of acoustical measures and then seeing if any conclusion could be drawn. That will never happen so we are left to folklore, personal preference and marketing over which woods are best. I'll take Br Rosewood all day over Ovangkol. :-)


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 Post subject: Re: Blind test
PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2019 8:15 am 
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I'm a biochemist. I got my degrees from a traditional research university, and I spent more hours than I can count conducting laboratory experiments. I give credit to the researchers for trying, but the experiment is flawed, because there are too many variables.

A good lab experiment will hypothesize a single question, then use methodology to attempt to rule out the hypothesis. If the hypothesis cannot be ruled out, then it's supported. The key is to control all aspects, leaving only a single variable.

Guitar building, by it's very nature, entails too many variables. Even if I'm the only builder, and I build 10 guitars, all the same body style and plan, and even if I use a billet that yields 10 tops from the same tree, and a CNC machine to make bracing, also from the same billet, there are still too many variables.

I'm unable to glue 10 bracing schemes to 10 backs and tops at the same time. Maybe my placement is slightly different. What about humidity changes as I work on each guitar, or perhaps the amount of glue is slightly different. There are differences between the wood tops/backs/sides/braces, even from the same bullets, due to year to year growing conditions encountered by the tree. But t0he biggest uncontrollable variable is the human condition. Perception is subjective.

Do you see where I'm going?

My personal belief is that the back and side wood species contribute quite a bit to the voice of a guitar. I think that luthiers actually notice this more than players. I also firmly believe that sustainable wood, like cherry, is horribly underrated by luthiers and players alike, and it's a shame.

I think the experiment would have more accuracy if the hypothesis is changed to whether players prefer the acoustics of an endangered tropical hardwood guitars over the acoustics of a guitar made out of sustainable wood.


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 Post subject: Re: Blind test
PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2019 8:37 am 
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Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 8:03 am
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Location: Chestertown Maryland
"I think the experiment would have more accuracy if the hypothesis is changed to whether players prefer the acoustics of an endangered tropical hardwood guitars over the acoustics of a guitar made out of sustainable wood."

A couple of years ago there was a violin test of just this parameter. They did the test once and realized that their methodology was flawed and did a second time. The gist was that the blindfolded players preferred the modern instruments over the older ones. There were some that said they did not pick the best of the older violins, and this makes it seem like there is no end to this sort of thing.

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/05/million-dollar-strads-fall-modern-violins-blind-sound-check?r3f_986=https://www.google.com/

Ed


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