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  • Bill Da Costa Williams 6:05AM

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Django in a can

Ok, I admit I bought a cheap Enorez D-hole, but my question is this: What is it that causes cheap guitars to have that "tin can" sound. I'm sure you've all heard it.....it's sort of like the guitar is not capable of projecting it's full sound potential.....kind of stays inside the body. What, if anything, can improve this? Interested in what the main components are, that contribute to this condition.
Since I don't have much invested in this guitar, I'm open to shaving braces, enlarging the sound hole or whatever, if it would help. I'm ready to operate. :-)
Thanks,
Tom
Why do they call it a rest stroke......I get tired every time I try playing like that.
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Comments

  • Jeff MooreJeff Moore Minneapolis✭✭✭✭ Lebreton 2
    Posts: 476
    I think your gonna get some speculation. Here's mine

    Potential problem:
    The tops are cheap, sides and back are inferior laminates, maybe weaker linings too. All of these issues = guitar not stiff = doesn't vibrate as a unit but vibrates easily therefore can be loud, but disjointed with weird partials.

    Solution: Stronger braces to compensate for the lesser top wood, but never completely fix. If the top is to thick already (to preclude warranty issues or just to make them durable enough for a mass market), then stronger braces will probably not fix anything anyway.

    If you compare the guitar top to a drum skin, a tight skin resolves into a single note more than a loose one. A stiff body better supports the vibrating air mass in the drum-guitar.

    I took a D-500 and increased the neck angle so I could install a 24mm bridge. This created considerably more pressure down on the top (braces and top wood) thereby making it stiffer through stress.
    Result: Fewer partials, clearer tone, and the top is now convex!
    I have a standard 500 as well so I've got a good comparison.
    It was a little louder before the surgery too.
    "We need a radical redistribution of wealth and power" MLK
  • TomThumbsTomThumbs NebraskaNew
    Posts: 68
    Interesting.
    The top is solid cedar, so I'm thinking about sanding it down as I had to move the bridge due to really poor intonation. It was off by a mile.
    I have hollowed out the bridge somewhat, but that made little difference.
    Thanks for your input.
    Tom
    Why do they call it a rest stroke......I get tired every time I try playing like that.
  • Guitars are more than the sum of their parts.

    If you can get your hand in the sound hole it is possible to take material out of the braces which in cheaper guitars tend to be bigger than necessary.

    Also make sure that the bridge fit to the top is precise as much sound can be lost by the lack of good contact.

    Tap test the back and front to see what it's response is both strung and unstrung. Then either get a good book on the subject or try to figure out on your own whether the changes you want would be achieved by sanding the top, the back, or the braces or the various combinations of them. Keep in mind that if you have a veneer top or back you shouldn't sand that. If the braces are parallel sided much can be achieved by changing the shape to an ellipse. which will be as strong/stiff without the mass. There are probably online resources to find out some of this info.

    Adding more tension into a guitar by changing the neck angle is usually counterproductive. There is an optimal range for string break angle that going beyond results in less response.

    Generally the tools and the time to do this unless one has the experience and tools already will take more than if you went out and cut lawns or whatever to pay for a luthier to do the work. :D
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • BluesBop HarryBluesBop Harry Mexico city, MexicoVirtuoso
    Posts: 1,378
    TomThumbs wrote:
    What, if anything, can improve this?
    Take your guitar to a Stochello Rosenberg gig, wait for him backstage and when he comes your way hit him in the head with your Enorez, take his Selmer and run! You'll have a much better sounding guitar! :lol:
  • Best advice yet
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • crookedpinkycrookedpinky Glasgow✭✭✭✭ Alex Bishop D Hole, Anastasio, Godefroy Maruejouls
    Posts: 719
    Hi there, I don't know anything about the merits of shaving struts and bracing or even shaving the top down a bit. When I started out laying this style I bought a Richwood - not the greatest but ok for getting started. One thing I did do to it was to raise the action - that helped a bit. The second was to replace the bridge with a better quality one - I think from Manouche guitars. The third thing which I would recommend you try is to try out some Philppe Bosset strings - they last longer than Argies or Gallies and I think they have a warmer loyder tone. If you can get them in your area I'd try them out - it might improve the tone a bit and maybe the volume.

    Most GJ guitars ship with pretty rubbish strings - it makes you wonder why anyone woudl buy one in a shop after hearing them and also too low an action.

    Finally, never mind hitting Stochelo - I found that really hitting the strings as though your life depends on it will help. A couple of Polish Gypsys who sometimes play with us seem to be able to get at least half as much more volume out of any of the guitars they play. So technique plays a part as well. ANd dont forget that if might open up a bit with some vigorous playing.

    Anyway, good luck with whatever you try
    Alan
    always learning
  • TomThumbsTomThumbs NebraskaNew
    Posts: 68
    Thanks for the replies, although I don't think I'll use the smash 'n grab technique on anyone....except possibly someone with more discretionary income than talent or ability. In which case, they don't deserve much more than an Enorez, anyway. Being that as it may, as far as I know, this cheap guitar may very well have the exact same sound as an original Selmer...they were after all, cheap guitars, too....even if they have become the stuff of legend. I do not expect to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, but some of your answers have given me food for thought.

    Thanks,
    Tom
    Why do they call it a rest stroke......I get tired every time I try playing like that.
  • IMO like any decent quality production guitar there are goodun's badun's, inbetweenun's and once in a while the odd great one that over time will sound like a fine made hand built instrument from a skilled luthier.

    Several years ago I spent a few hours in a the high end section of one of Montreal's best guitar/music shops. Ran into another guitar player there who was a pretty fine picker and we spent the time jamming on all the guitars there. Over 40 different instruments from a several top end mfrs. the cheapest near $2,000 the most expensive north of $4,000 as memory serves. The fit and finish of all the guitars was excellent. HOWEVER ... both of us agreed that only two (or maybe 3) were good value musically. Memory (which ain't quite what it used to be :lol: ) serves that they weren't the cheapest nor the most expensive of the lot.

    PS if the sound hole is big enough to get a hand in AFAIK the effect of increasing the size is to lower the sympathetic frequency response. Here is some discussion from another forum

    Jay:
    If I recall correctly .... the area of the the hole is important relative to the volume of the body. One can fine tune an instruments characteristics by getting the area of the holes in the desired proportion to the volume of the body. Erik Waynesmith and a few others on this site would know the math on this.

    Erik
    This is correct. The bass response of most resos is primarily determined by a Helmholtz resonator formed by the volume of air enclosed inside its body coupled to a pair of 'air pistons' formed by air in [and near] the soundhole openings. By adjusting the effective size [mass] of these pistons relative to the instrument's internal body size it's possible to tune the body's primary bass resonance frequency.

    Jay:
    I don't know if the shape of the hole has any real effect on the sound.

    Erik
    With identical surface areas, a narrow elongated shape (such as an f-hole), or several smaller circular shapes (i.e. ported Wolfe) should be slightly more efficient at producing bass frequencies in comparison to a single round soundhole opening.
    __________________
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • Jeff MooreJeff Moore Minneapolis✭✭✭✭ Lebreton 2
    Posts: 476
    I'm not suggesting you do anything: Increase the neck angle, buy a lawnmower, go to a luthier, buy books, shave the struts, wait till you are experienced and then shave the struts, sand the top, or anything else.

    If you use the Enorez as a test bed for your own ideas you'll get experience that has its own value but I'd be floored if you got it to sound even like the gj guitar you deserve. My attempts to make purses out of ears have all failed in the sound department. Maybe yours'll be different. I don't think you can do anything that will affect a poor sounding guitar unless its made from good stuff to begin with.

    I wanted to share my experience with the 500s because I at least could verify it myself to a pretty good degree. My "experience" trying to improve cheaper guitars, leads me to believe that quality tops really matter and there's no fixing a poor one, if that's what you have.
    Raising the bridge on the D-500 did improve things sound wise, but as I pointed out is likely ruinous to the existing top without getting under the hood again and trying to "gain experience through doing".

    I spent 18 years practicing and even making money with a solid plywood Fender dreadnaught. I thought it was great (I just didn't know) but 18 years of practice has payed off a lot. Just play it and practice on it as if its an original Selmer and you'll have nothing to regret. Even when you get that original Selmer you'll still see greener grass and wonder what to do.
    Don't hurt Stochelo what ever you do!

    Do it legal: Become a bank, apply for a bailout, and buy everything Micheal's got.
    "We need a radical redistribution of wealth and power" MLK
  • TomThumbsTomThumbs NebraskaNew
    Posts: 68
    Ok, just to clarify, I really don't expect to do much with this cheap guitar. I do have some fine instruments.
    May original intent was to try and hear from those more knowledgeable than I, what it is specifically that causes a cheap guitar to have that cheap sound. And what I've gleaned so far, is that: (1) a solid top does *not* guarantee a good sound, (2) braces on cheap production guitars are generally overbuilt,
    (3) a good bridge and a good fitting bridge are essential, which most production guitars lack, (4) neck angle can come into play within certain bounds, (5) the right (proper) strings are necessary, (6) sound hole size does count, and (7) there's probably not a lot that can be done for a poorly constructed production guitar's sound.

    The biggest revelation for me was that a solid top probably only makes a cheap guitar sound better than a cheaper plywood topped guitar.

    So, it appears that I can sand tops and shave braces and enlarge sound holes 'till I'm blue in the face and all I'll end up with most likely is a blue face. Lesson learned. Blue's really not a good color for me. :-)
    Thanks All,
    Tom
    Why do they call it a rest stroke......I get tired every time I try playing like that.
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