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noeticity

Another new guiter player !

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noeticity    0

Hi everyone! I'm new to playing the guitar, but am a fairly experienced musician classically speaking - opera, piano, and flute. I live in Texas, and will be buying my first guitar in the next few months hopefully, but I want to be absolutely certain of what I'm buying and already have a decent grasp of how to play it before I make the purchase.

I have already played or heard every guitar at Guitar Center, and settled on a Fender that had a clear sound. But before my visit, I had sort of fallen in love with a guitar I'd found online...

So now my question actually comes from the guitar I found online, a Luna guitar... I like the style of it, and I like the sound in the videos of it (including some musicians that use the brand, not the company reviews)... but the specs on it call it a "quilted top." What exactly does that mean? Is it just another term for it being non solid top, or a decent alternative to "solid top"? I could not handle the sound of any of the non-solid top guitars at GC, but I didn't see the term "quilted top" anywhere there.

Here is a link to the guitar:

http://www.lunaguitars.com/acousticproduct/floralotus.php I have not played any Luna guitars and despite searching various guitar forums I haven't found much info on them. Any help would be appreciated.

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karcey    42

G'day Noeticity, Welcome to the forum.

The term quilted refers to the grain structure of the maple used in the soundboard of this guitar. When you look at it you don't see the usual lines of normal timber but that blotchy effect typical of maple.

Soundboards are often made of cedar or spruce, and as you've already worked out, the thinner solid tops tend to vibrate more than the cheaper plywood (You should use the term laminated when referring to guitars, but I've been playing with timber for generations now, much longer than playing with guitars so I reserve the right to use the description I know best.) Also you have to remember that if the word 'solid' is not used in the description of the top, then it's plywood.

It's my experience that there aren't many electric/acoustic guitars that have solid tops. The reason is that the pickup hears the strings directly, not so much the soundboard. So there's no reason to chase that holy grail of tone that solid top aficionados will forever seek.

This Luna looks pretty sweet. I like a guitar that seduces me to touch it every time I see it. If this one turns you on, then there's no reason on earth why you shouldn't own it. Except perhaps if you don't like the feel of it when you get it, or if it's too heavy, or too light, or the neck is the wrong shape, or you don't intend to play it amplified, or whatever. Maybe you should hold one in your hands first before you commit yourself to buy. I wouldn't want you to be disappointed, but guitars are a bit like shoes, they have to suit the wearer. Anyway, I'm sure you'll get a lot of advice here about what or what not to buy.

One last thing. As a beginner, your first lessons could be taken on a cheap Chinese knockoff, you'll still get the same experience of learning chords and developing sore fingers. So if you really can't choose what expensive guitar to buy, then get a cheap one and get learning. There's always room for an upgrade later.

Keep in touch.

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noeticity    0

Thank you for your response and advice :) My replies in blue below:

G'day Noeticity, Welcome to the forum.

The term quilted refers to the grain structure of the maple used in the soundboard of this guitar. When you look at it you don't see the usual lines of normal timber but that blotchy effect typical of maple.

Soundboards are often made of cedar or spruce, and as you've already worked out, the thinner solid tops tend to vibrate more than the cheaper plywood (You should use the term laminated when referring to guitars, but I've been playing with timber for generations now, much longer than playing with guitars so I reserve the right to use the description I know best.) Also you have to remember that if the word 'solid' is not used in the description of the top, then it's plywood.

Oohhhh. For some reason I was picturing the wood being woven together like a basket or something. That makes a lot more sense. So in this case, it's laminated maple.

It's my experience that there aren't many electric/acoustic guitars that have solid tops. The reason is that the pickup hears the strings directly, not so much the soundboard. So there's no reason to chase that holy grail of tone that solid top aficionados will forever seek.

I'm a little confused by this. Are you referring specifically to electrics (or an acoustic electric that's plugged in)? I noticed a very distinctive difference between the models that were declared as solid top and those that were not, even in the lower price range. The one I had found that I liked was $399 ish, but had a solid top and the sound was much clearer, and far less "tinny" sounding, than a similar model that had a laminate top. Was it something other than the top that was making the sound difference? I am not really interested in electric guitars at all, although based on advice I have been given it makes sense to get an acoustic with a preamp, more or less just in case, especially since it doesn't seem to alter the price very much.

This Luna looks pretty sweet. I like a guitar that seduces me to touch it every time I see it. If this one turns you on, then there's no reason on earth why you shouldn't own it. Except perhaps if you don't like the feel of it when you get it, or if it's too heavy, or too light, or the neck is the wrong shape, or you don't intend to play it amplified, or whatever. Maybe you should hold one in your hands first before you commit yourself to buy. I wouldn't want you to be disappointed, but guitars are a bit like shoes, they have to suit the wearer. Anyway, I'm sure you'll get a lot of advice here about what or what not to buy.

One last thing. As a beginner, your first lessons could be taken on a cheap Chinese knockoff, you'll still get the same experience of learning chords and developing sore fingers. So if you really can't choose what expensive guitar to buy, then get a cheap one and get learning. There's always room for an upgrade later.

Keep in touch.

Although I'm sure the experience would be the same to my fingers, I am also pretty sure my ear drums would never forgive me. The cheaper guitars sounded REALLY horrible to me, even with my friend who is an accomplished guitarist playing them. I hadn't expected the difference to be so strong, now I'm kind of scared to try the Luna because if it sounds that horrible I will be sad :( The going price for it appears to be around 300-350, which would make it slightly cheaper than the Fender I had liked (and the cheapest guitar at GC I could tolerate). Then again, I guess there's always the lottery! The Taylor grand concert model I saw had a very lovely sound to it.

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GotDeeBlues    3

Although Karcey is right about the pickup "reading" the strings, not the top, I would still prefer the solid top for an acoustic-electric. There will be many times you choose to play unplugged, weather alone or with a friend or two, or perhaps outdoors. The solid top will open up as time goes by and mellow, developing better tone. The tone it eventually develops will be dependent on how YOU play, and be your sound. The other thing to consider with this guitar is the amp you match to it, that can make a world of difference as well. But from the clip, it had a nice natural tone before being amplified, and worthy of consideration. As to cheap guitars at first, not a bad idea to save some money upfront, but at times lower cost result in guitars uncomfortable to play or worst case, unplayable. If cost is a factor, I would advise a better quality used guitar to start, if you're lucky, you'll find one you like enough to keep forever, as a back-up or just an old friend. Since you said you had the patients to find the right guitar, I would also suggest getting out of guitar super stores and begin checking your local music dealers. I am a firm believer that a good local dealer is worth his/her weight in gold for the service and honest advice they offer.

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Briandb1222    4

I wouldn't let prices choose what guitar you like. I have a Fender Squier Bullet Strat that I bought for 120 and I like the sound though of course I intend to be playing blues/rock and maybe a little country, which I do think that, Fenders no matter the price and quality, are decent guitars to play blues/rock. But who knows. Maybe you could find a $20 guitar to fit the sound you want! But indeed, the higher the price, more likely the higher the quality.

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karcey    42

"I am also pretty sure my ear drums would never forgive me."

As a pianist I'm sure you'll understand. I knew a person once who couldn't decide whether to learn on a Steinway or a Schimmel. Couldn't see the point on learning on anything less. Never got around to learning. Sad really because the kids who learned on whatever was available were able to make a considered decision about what suited them once they were players. End of story.

As far as purity of tone is concerned, I'm as interested as the next person. The Luna appears to be a guitar intended to be played electrically (through an amp.) Therefore I call it electric/acoustic. I'm prepared to bet that played acoustically side by side with a solid top of quality, you won't like it. Played through an amp though, it will sound different, maybe even acceptable. You can't tell when you hear someone's recording played through your computer speakers, they all sound good. It has to be in the flesh.

If you want amplification, then find the acoustic sound that you like, and make sure it has a preamp fitted. Then find an amp that brings home the goods, and you're laughing. There are some nice acoustic/electrics out there, but it's your ears that have to find them.

Remember when you played the piano for the first time they all felt the same? And how it was much later that you realised they're all different? Well same goes for guitars. Your ears may hear it, but it's your hands that do the job. You need to look for a guitar that feels good in your hands. Nice balance, nice neck, correct size, comfortable under your arm etc. If they all feel the same at this stage, then I repeat that a cheap one is going to do the job for a start. Later, when you develop your style of playing, you can buy one that specifically suits your needs. Have you considered a classical guitar? Not everyone's cup of tea, but much fine music has been played on classicals.

As a last test, maybe your friend could blindfold you and put guitars in your hands so that you could choose based on your senses rather than the names on the headstocks. Just a suggestion.

Keep in touch.

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noeticity    0

Update:

I just got back from a local shop that has Luna guitars. I also just realized I managed to typo "guitar" in my post title, serves me right for posting so late at night!

Anyway, the guy at the shop was very helpful and the Luna guitars are imported from China, but still had a pretty clear sound to them, even the ones with the lower prices (275-400). Shockingly clearer, compared to most of the other guitars in the same price range (besides that one Fender I found for 399). The guy said that they can have a lower price with the better wood quality because they aren't as fancy graphically speaking. The necks are slightly thinner than standard models, but the body is still standard size, not 3/4s. The other guitars I found in that price range and with a clear sound at his shop (in case this info helps someone else) were the Seagull S6, and an Art and Gutherie... not sure the model. This is all without amps, btw. Some of the aforementioned guitars have preamps on them, some don't, it doesn't seem to affect the price terribly much.

I hope that information helps anyone who comes across the brand and doesn't have a retailer nearby, or who is trying to find a clear sounding acoustic guitar without going over 500.

As far as my decision is concerned, I now have a list of which guitars I find acceptable so I can compare the prices (with sales, etc) when I have saved up enough. I do think I will be purchasing from the shop I went to today, instead of Guitar Center, even if they have to order it for me... the prices were lower (surprisingly enough) and the owner was very nice and knowledgeable.

I am slightly confused by the suggestion that the amp would change the sound of an acoustic guitar in any sense other than volume, can you elaborate? I'm also not sure what made you conclude that the (Luna) guitar was intended to be played plugged in?

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Briandb1222    4

My self, I don't call an acoustic that requires to be amplified. Semi-acoustic really. An acoustric... Haha. Acoustic means that it can be heard without amplification...my guess is they designed them that way so that they don't have to put an extra mic up just to amplify it's sound to be heard across a large room like at a concert setting. Also that perhaps the sound would be cleaner versus amplifying it across the room with a mic. Now I've seen that done but what's to say they don't have a spare mic? Another thought I had was that designing it, say, with a quilted top was to give it a unique sound that most traditional acoustics don't have.

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GotDeeBlues    3

The vibration of the strings on an acoustic guitar cause the top(soundboard) to move causing sound, the hollow body air space amplifies those sounds and they exit the soundhole(what you actually hear). The tone comes from the choice of woods, Cedar warmer than Spruce, Maple or mahogany brighter than Spruce. These guitars use an active(battery powered) pickup system to increase the sound, and send it to an amp to be heard over a larger area or to be heard over other instruments. The earliest were used in big bands to be heard over the horns, Charlie Christian perhaps the first real lead guitatist. So an unaplified acoustic/electric is pure acoustic augmented to suit a wider range of uses. Smaller OOO or OO sizes are popular for A/E's since they often lack the boominess of deep bass tones with reduced top surface and are often shallower as well. The smaller size results in less air being moved, thus less volume. Most recording is done with this size since the tone is more easily controlled. The amp's effect on all this is due to its design, since they are "voiced" by the choice the manufacturer makes in speaker design and components. Most acoustic amps use dual cone speakers or woofer/midrange 2 way matched with a horn tweeter. An electric guitar amp is voiced with the choice of tubes or SS board design matched with a full range speaker. And that only scratches the surface of the subject.

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johnmay    0

my only advice ...........play everything you can get your hands on reguardless of price, check second hand and pawn shops also. it may take a while but eventually you should run acrross that perfect guitar for you . at the present time I have a yamaha that I paid 100 usd for and would put it up against any 500 or 600 dollar guitar I played before that .I played others same model same year and none had the tone of this one . sometimes everthing comes together and makes a cheap guitar very good . it seems to be a buyers market for used guitars right now so prices seem to be about as low as they are gonna go .

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