Looking for a "throaty" acoustic

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AstroDan
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Looking for a "throaty" acoustic

Post by AstroDan » Wed Jan 20, 2010 11:30 am

Something opposite of sweet, compressed, glossy and shimmering. A mid-range only machine.

What types of materials or sizes should I look for?
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Post by douglas baldwin » Wed Jan 20, 2010 12:15 pm

Gibson J-45 or similar, like an Epiphone Texan.
Mahogany is probably the most honkin' midrange wood.
Low frets help keep it dark. Likewise a wood saddle.
Otherwise, just keep your ears open, especially to old low-budget Stellas, Harmonys, etc.
Oh, and old strings help. Old flat-wounds on an old Harmony acoustic with low frets, mic'd with a ribbon mic from three-four feet away!
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Post by Marc Alan Goodman » Wed Jan 20, 2010 1:16 pm

douglas baldwin wrote:Gibson J-45 or similar, like an Epiphone Texan.
Mahogany is probably the most honkin' midrange wood.
Low frets help keep it dark. Likewise a wood saddle.
Otherwise, just keep your ears open, especially to old low-budget Stellas, Harmonys, etc.
Oh, and old strings help. Old flat-wounds on an old Harmony acoustic with low frets, mic'd with a ribbon mic from three-four feet away!
Read my mind. Old cheaper acoustics seem to get more throaty. More modern ones seem to get thinner and brighter. Selling to what people seem to want I suppose. My Stella is one of my favorite instruments.

AstroDan
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Post by AstroDan » Wed Jan 20, 2010 3:37 pm

Awesome suggestions!

Let me ask...how versatile is a dobro? Are they only set up for slide?

That's how honking I'd like to get, but for traditional picking and strumming.
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Post by Electro-Voice 664 » Wed Jan 20, 2010 3:48 pm

yeah, I'd look at old flat-tops by Stella, Harmony, Kustomcraft ect. I have a really shitty old fender that has that honky quality to it, which I like. If the fret markers are spray painted on, you are on the right track.
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Post by douglas baldwin » Wed Jan 20, 2010 4:05 pm

Sure, a Dobro or resonator could work, although they can get REALLY bang-on-a-can annoying when you strum them hard. But for softer stuff, textural stuff - yeah!

Mark Knopfler/Dire Straits: "Romeo and Juliet." Fingerpicked dobro, and not only does he rip my friggin' heart out with that song, he hands it back to me with those solo notes on the Strat at the end... "You and me, babe. How 'bout it?"

Rips my heart out, hands it back to me...and I thank him! There's your dobro.
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AstroDan
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Post by AstroDan » Wed Jan 20, 2010 4:24 pm

Okay, Romeo and Juliet nailed it. That is the instrument!

Perfect. All my life I've had the suspicion that sound was dobro but had it in my head they were only set up for slide. Perfect for what I want to do as far as picking and short, sharp strumming. I already have my Peaceful Easy Feeling dreadnought.

Thanks guys!
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Post by DrummerMan » Wed Jan 20, 2010 4:30 pm

Look into Parlor sized guitars as well.

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Post by sir hills » Wed Jan 20, 2010 4:51 pm

Low frets help keep it dark. Likewise a wood saddle.
Otherwise, just keep your ears open, especially to old low-budget Stellas, Harmonys, etc.
Oh, and old strings help. Old flat-wounds on an old Harmony acoustic with low frets, mic'd with a ribbon mic from three-four feet away!
+1...er 2...3.

I've got an old Airline that is mega-throaty. I "inherited" it from one of my older sister's ex-boyfriends...like 20+years ago! It's been on every solo recording I've done. It's got a wood bridge...the neck is like the heavy end of a baseball bat cut in half...it's got 2 f-holes & sounds beautiful. The neck is fairly warped where it meets the body...it takes a crazy taper down but it doesn't mess with where you'd play standard chords. It's also got a couple of the tuning pegs bent & falling off...I've considered having it "fixed" but am too scared that it will loose it's mojo.

I also have a 70's Guild D25M...all mahogany. When it came out it was a low-mid level model but of way higher quality than today's low-mid level acoustic guitars. It has a scooped back & the neck is thin...like thin electric guitar neck thin. I had a bone nut & saddle made (originals were plastic) & had it refretted when I bought it a few years back. It's considerably brighter than the airline but I also have light strings on it. My luthier friend recommended using the lighter stings as the neck is thin & the top has an ever so slight bow where the bridge attaches....don't want it caving in. Anyhow, the point I'm getting at is that even though it's bright with light strings on, it's still not harsh or brittle...nice full-bodied & woody tone. The mahogany suggestion earlier is good. The wood has a darker tone to it but could be quite versatile just by changing stings.

I've also recorded a couple old Gibson parlor guitars that had that throaty sound...don't know the model #s but they were "parlor" models. Small bodies with kinda thick necks.

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Post by AstroDan » Wed Jan 20, 2010 5:14 pm

Parlor suggestion is good. I had an all mahogany Baby Taylor, but don't know if it would qualify as a parlor. I may look into that again...
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Post by Michael_Joly » Wed Jan 20, 2010 6:54 pm

Any F-hole archtop instead of a flat top.

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Post by Nathangrn » Wed Jan 20, 2010 6:59 pm

A set of silk and steel strings will mellow out the highs and lows on a guitar.
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Post by DrummerMan » Wed Jan 20, 2010 7:34 pm

Michael_Joly wrote:Any F-hole archtop instead of a flat top.
mix that with the parlor size and you've got gold. I was actually thinking about David Rawlings' main guitar when I said the parlor thing to begin with. I've always wanted something like that...

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Post by Michael_Joly » Wed Jan 20, 2010 7:57 pm

wow. what a great pic!

I've got an 1933 SS Stewart and a 1949 Orpheum - not really top of the line guitars in their time, more like working musician's guitars. In fact the Orpheum belonged to my mother in law's dad who was a big band rhythm guitarist. Both are very similar to Rawling's gtr. These guitars are all about rhythm and short sustain, percussive leads. Great for Lennon-esque riffing like "Paperback Writer". You don't have to have J160 to do that kind of stuff. Remember, the F-hole archtop was invented as to be a rhythm foundation instrument - just playing straight 1/4s or 1/8s on the chord changes. It evolved from there. Its such a great experience to go back and forth from playing any F-hole archtop to a round hole flat top. They compliment each other so well...the former is all "barky" and shit while the later is "HiFi". Can't be a guitarist with at least one of each.

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Post by KennyLusk » Thu Jan 21, 2010 6:13 am

I had a 1980[?] Vantage (Japanese) acoustic that was really throaty. It had birch top and sides. I say "had" only because the wife took it and busted it up on the concrete patio one day - we're not married any longer :wink:

The Vantage was a solid, quality build.

On the higher end, I totally agree with the J-45 thing. A low-end Washburn [D9C] tuned down a half step is extremely throaty IME and has a wonderful neck profile. They're out of production though and hard to find.
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