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Joscho Stephan's favourite luthiers and guitar brands

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  • ScoredogScoredog Santa Barbara, Ca✭✭✭✭
    edited March 2
    Don't get me wrong - you can hear the difference between a cigano and a Holo in anybody's hands - but the "Joschoness" or "Gonzaloishness" or whatever will be present in both if that makes more sense. You sound like Gonzalo by playing like Gonzalo and the guitar won't change that but you will sound better on a Holo. Still more than other guitars the sound comes from the technique.

    While I agree the sound on these guitars comes from the technique more than others the phenomenon of an expensive guitar to a cheaper one depending on players ability goes across all genres equally. A few guitars have a really distinct voice to them but still most people can't hear that.

    If you are buying a guitar because you think it will sound better to the audience you are probably purchasing for the wrong reason. I have tracks recorded using different guitars and I often can't remember which guitar it was I used unless I listen really closely. I am sure that if I can't tell no one else can either.

    The reason to buy a good guitar or maybe more than one is for the experience you get from playing a well made (or vintage) instrument and the sound coming out of it inspiring you at that moment. When I'm playing various guitars I hear and feel the difference at the time of playing. A poorly setup instrument no matter how good will often ruin the chance for enjoyment so setup is inexpensive and most important to me. I'll enjoy a well setup Cigano over a poorly setup anything else. A fine instrument setup well is my best chance for an enjoyable playing experience and isn't that why we do this in the first place?
    richter4208Wim GlennBonesBuco
  • scotscot Virtuoso
    This isn't a snarky question, but it's something I always wondered about. When you have an acoustic guitar with just a nut and a bridge, exactly what is a "set-up"? Is it just setting the string height or is there more to it? I'm not fussy about my guitars, I usually just play them the way they are when I get them.

    I think scoredog is right about everything else he says. You buy a nice guitar for yourself, a standard audience could not care less about your guitar or stage rig. And a fine guitar is it's own reward - once I owned that first Martin 00-18, there was no going back.
  • Andrew UlleAndrew Ulle Cleveland, OH✭✭✭ Antoine DiMauro modele Django
    A set up could include the obvious bridge height (shim/sand down); bridge mass reduction or replacement with different material; clean up bridge string notches if causing buzz; bridge positioning for intonation; neck relief adjustment if it has a truss rod; nut or zero-fret height adjustment; and fret leveling/ dressing. Did I miss anything?
    Buco
  • I don't think this is exclusive to these types of guitars, don't see why would it be any different in the flat-top and archtop world.

    But I think it's two completely separate things, the inherent sound a given guitar might have and the expression of the person that's playing it.
    It's the musicality, this expression of the player that comes through, that people recognize and hear. And yes of course, the good players know how to shape the tone.

    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • klaatuklaatu Nova ScotiaProdigy Rodrigo Shopis D'Artagnan, 1950s Jacques Castelluccia
    Many years ago at Django in June, I asked Joscho to play my Rodrigo Shopis F model (Favino) for a few minutes. After about an hour and a half, he rather sheepishly handed it back to me. The next morning, he noticed it and asked if he could use it for the class. He loved that guitar, as did every other pro who plated it that year.

    He also was rather fond of Michael Bauer's Di Mauro heart hole as well as Michael's Castelluccia, which I now own.

    Benny

    "It's a great feeling to be dealing with material which is better than yourself, that you know you can never live up to."
    -- Orson Welles
  • dennisdennis Montreal, QuebecModerator
    scot wrote: »
    This isn't a snarky question, but it's something I always wondered about. When you have an acoustic guitar with just a nut and a bridge, exactly what is a "set-up"? Is it just setting the string height or is there more to it? I'm not fussy about my guitars, I usually just play them the way they are when I get them.

    Hi Scot! I think I can answer this one with examples that might make things clearer. Besides the obvious, a good set-up depends on one’s expectations out of the instrument. For instance, Bireli Lagrene, whenever he plays acoustic guitars (at least these days), favors a set-up that is close to that of an electric guitar: fairly low action, relatively low tension. He needs this because he plays more electric guitar these days and also uses a lot of techniques that require low action (left hand percussive effects that aren’t as effecitve with higher action). Bireli also prefers to amplify on stage.

    Another player is Amati Schmitt who plays blazingly fast runs and prefers to have his guitars set-up with extremely low action. His guitars buzz a lot and he doesn’t care so much. He’s another player who amplifies.

    Then you have Tcha Limberger who absolutely hates amplification and doesn’t use any unorthodox technique. He wants maximum projection out of his guitars, and doesn’t want any kind of buzzing. So the action is a bit on the higher side (though not painfully difficult to play) compared to Bireli or Amati. And boy can Tcha project!
  • edited March 4
    Maybe the most obvious way to show what I was talking about.
    Stochelo on different guitars.
    Recorded in a very similar way, maybe even with the same microphone.
    In any case as controlled as you can reasonably get to show how each guitar sounds distinctly different.
    The player on the other hand sounds like himself and is always easily recognizable as Stochelo on a blind listen.







    So, a guitar sounds like a guitar.
    A player's voice, musicality comes the same through every guitar.
    Two separate things, guitar's voice and the player's voice.
    Wim Glennrudolfo.christScoredog
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
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