Strangely similar to what my Mrs. got me for Xmas: a Yamaha APX5A, which is also a "thinline" acoustic/electric. I've discovered two things about mine. 1) Sounds better without a pick 2) Don't expect it to be a regular acoustic (plays like one, just doesn't sound like one).
It has decent tone, but with the smaller (shallower) body, it just doesn't come across with that small a cavity. Instead of poor tone, I'd say it's poor resonance. If the tone was truly bad, it would sound poor amplified.
Like yours, it also sounds better amplified.
What I like about it; is that being thinline it's not so far out from my body to play (being a rather large guy ) like my old Maderia dreadnought.
It's probably not what I would have picked out for myself, but like you it's dear to me because it's from her, and she took the time to get me something special.
Having a smaller body it is easier to carry around (even in it's case) and has since become my #1 played guitar. I hammer it out on the Yamaha, and then finish up with the appropriate "other" guitar.
Post by Runewalker on May 27, 2006 11:08:57 GMT -5
I almost hesitate weighing in on this knowing your religious devotion to the notion of wood and tone, howerver there is one hint about your description that suggests why the thing is dead unplugged. "Its got an ash body and top....."
Ash is a hardwood. Most "resonant" acoustic tops are made of solid carved or planed clear grained Spruce or Cedar, which are "soft"woods.
So if you see ash, or mahagony, or those maple flametops on and acoustic, these are done to drew customers in on appearance. They are unlikely to be solid hardwoods, and are most probably laminated thin plywood with a hardwood veneer top. If it was a solid hardwood it would be significantly less resoponsive, but more reflective than spruce. Amplfy that same comment when applied to laminates. Imagine a top of formica.
The thinline structuire then exacerbates the dead projective qualities as it has less amplifying capacity in its chamber. In acoustics resonance is a desired quality. (see how I avoid mentioning it as a detractive quality in solid bodies?).
This does not mean it's "bad." In fact those same principals are what make it in many ways superior when amplifed to a large box resonant acoustic that sounds good acoustically, but boomy when amplified.
One reason the jazzers in the fifties took to the Gibson ES-175, (even though it was the economy line compared to the premium carved top solid wood L-5) was that the laminated top was stiffer and more stable when amplified (less body resonance feedback).
BB King used to stuff rags in his 335s and 355s until Gibson made him a 355 with no f holes.
So what the SigOther has done is given you a better amplified instrument. And enhansed your masculinity. Afterall, arn't acoustics for girl folk singers/
Ya Ya I know a 12 string will sing anyway due to 6 more strings, but you can tell that the ash just isnt right for the guitar. Its all show and no go. Ill just keep it to play when I get ideas or when I feel like plugging in for a while.
acoustics may just be for girls I dont know, im secure in my masculinity! ;D ....having said that I do get compliments on how nice looking my hands are! I feel so cheap!
No, the chipper is not the obvious solution here. ;D
As Rune has said, the top of your guitar may not be of prime-time stuff. I'd suggest that you take it to a quality luthier, and have him or her look inside with one of their special mirrors. They can then tell you what kind of wood for sure, and how it's braced. Bracing can greatly affect the tonal quality (particularly resonance), and so can the way the bridge is attached. Try to get an opinion on that topic, too.
Since you're serious about keeping this guitar, ask for bids on what it would take to make things right, whether it be fixing the bracing, or even outright replacing the top. You may be dismayed, or you may be pleasantly surprized, but you won't know until you ask, right?
Rule #1: All Lives Are Final. Make sure that the life you have just been issued is appropriate for your needs, before departing the womb.
Rule #2: In case you don't like the life you have, see Rule #1.
i have played some FINE sounding acoustics with Ash , Maple , or even Laminated tops ...
you do not have to have a solid Spruce or Cedar top to get sweet acoustic tone , and awesome projection.
if the guitar is designed and built properly , it will sound great acoustically with a solid flamed , birds eye , quilted , spalted , etc , maple top.
and there are shallow body acoustics that have full , deep tone that project well ... even with * gasp * a laminated top ! ... and wait for it .... here it comes .... there are even Korean and Chinese acoustics that sound GREAT ! ... yes , i said it .... so let the fainting begin ;D
.... and yes , there are plenty of crappy , thin sounding guitars with laminated tops , maple tops , ash tops , etc ...... the right strings will make an amazing difference on a shallow bodied guitar .... heck , the right strings can make an amazing difference on a deep bodied guitar.