In this video, we are going to see a quality that a guitar should have. The sound balance of all the notes in all the registers of the guitar. Also, we talk about the famous Wolf Notes that can appear on a guitar. Wolf notes are one of the biggest headaches for guitar makers.
At the end of the video, we compare three guitars. Luciano Lovadina 2022, Antonio Marín Montero 1973, and a Chinese Factory Guitar.
in this video we are going to see an important quality that every guitar should have the sound balance of all the notes in all the registers of the guitar there are several types of sound balance quality that the guitar has in this video we are going to focus on this particular kind of balance when we play a note on the guitar the sound we produce develops differently on each guitar in relation to four parameters sound attack sound sustain sound Decay and resonance you may hear sometimes someone said this guitar has a fast or slow attack or response the attack parameter is how long it takes for the note to project the sound from the moment we touch the string we play the string so here we are talking about the parameter that is measured in milliseconds the second parameter sustained is how long the note sounds while maintaining the same intensity we are talking about a sustain can be long or short it can last a longer or shorter and the Decay parameter is the way in which the note disappears decreasing the sound it stops sounding little by little until it it reaches silence and this decay can be long or pronounced Decay on the contrary a short or very fast Decay we can also talk about it as be a gentle Decay or a soft Decay Etc you can see these three parameters as they are in your guitar by playing notes in trebles and basses keep in mind that on the guitar the low bass notes will always have more sustain than the high treble notes the fourth parameter is the resonance resonance resonance is what we call here the amplitude of sound the quality of the harmonics contained in in that note the intensity of that note so we here for example something like that note has a lot of harmonics also partly the expression it has a round a rounded sound has to do with this parameter we also hear the notes are very intense or that note resonates a lot it has a lot of sound amplitude our guitar can have one kind of sound depending on how the sound resulting from these four parameters together is produced and as for the quality of balance of the notes of the guitar this is established depending on whether these four united parameters appear equally in each of the notes one by one by testing in different registers of the guitar on the low notes and on the high notes as we have said to see this quality in our guitar we do a very simple exercise which is to play one by one each note in a chromatic way on each of the strings going up from position one to the to the last fret 17 18 19 frets
paying attention and observing how the attack sustain Decay and Resonance of each note are produced in our guitar again the more similar these four parameters together appear in each of the notes we are playing the better quality of sound balance between notes our guitar will have and the fact is that in most guitars we always find differences it is very difficult to find a guitar with a perfect sound balance between notes very very difficult here is a graphic example so that you can understand what we are looking for and what we want to hear if you play a chromatic scale on your guitar as we say and let’s say we play the first string we could see that our guitar develops this sound on the open air note E with with certain characteristics in the resonance and in the attack sustain and decay let’s suppose in an idyllic way I would say that our guitar has a perfect sound balance between the notes and we hear this on the Note f that is to say it is the same as the note E and then this on the F sharp this on on G this on G sharp this on A sharp and this sound on B so we go down to the last frets as we have said and we see each note as it is produced if the guitar has produced each note in the same way as we can see in this graph then we are talking about the guitar with an excellent sound balance in this case is perfect but I would say again that this is very difficult to find normally it’s not like that and many times we are going to see that maybe on our guitar it does this; the note E produces like this the note F like this F sharp like this G sharp like this with a lot of resonance later I will explain why this happens on this note why there is such a difference in the resonance between G sharp and A and if we move toward the last frets we will also see things like the note B like this the note C and maybe C # all of a sudden like this let’s first see what happened with this note C # why did it sound less? the Decay was very fast and the sustain was shortened in a very obvious way here we find what we call a wolf note wolf notes are one of the biggest headaches for guitar makers they are notes that I repeat suddenly sound very obviously much shorter than the others we say they are like a deaf notes we call them “sordas” in Spanish I don’t know if that’s how they are also described in English and many times you find the guitar maker doesn’t know why that wolf note appear there in that part of the guitar so there is something in the making of the guitar that has gone wrong and that causes that note to be shortened I wonder if it’s maybe a strut in the Fan bracing that is placed in an inappropriate way that makes that note not sound the way it’s supposed to sound or maybe the thicknesses he uses, the guitar maker used on back and on top woods cause that or maybe the guitar is tuned to a frequency that when that note is played the overall frequency of the guitar causes it to make it shorten I don’t know because every guitar is tuned to a frequency I don’t know if you know that some are tuned in a frequency between F # and G others between G and G # even A is something I’ll try to talk about in another video because this is actually very interesting anyway the the wolf note problem can be very varied again is the guitar Maker’s job to know why this happens and to make sure that it doesn’t appear on his next guitar because we guitarists don’t like it if for example a guitarist is playing a slow lyric melody in that area where the note needs to be heard with a certain sustain and suddenly when the guitar reaches that wolf note it is involuntarily shortened and one could say that it kind of destroys the interpretation with these wolf notes you have to see that it is not the same as having a wolf note here on this C note on the eighth or C sharp on on the ninth fret of the first string of the guitar which you are almost always going to play in all the pieces if this wolf note is found on frets that appear in the works in a common way then we are talking about a major problem on the guitar now if the wolf note is on on this G sharp at this 16th fret which you will almost never play in the pieces it is a much lesser problem for the Guitar let’s go back to the graph what happened to the note a on the fifth fret of our first string well, the guitar has produced more harmonics in it it has a more sound amplitude and when we play this note other strings of the guitar sound by sympathy and more harmonics are produced it is let’s say a natural fact that this happens in guitars if we focus on the notes of the first string for example on the fifth fret with A on the seventh with B on the 12th with E with the 10th fret note D because of that characteristic of the guitar that is when we play a note other notes sound by sympathy this increased resonance can also affect the sustain and decay again the question is: is it good that this happens that a note suddenly has a much higher resonance? no it is not good because I repeat what we as guitarists are looking for is to have total control of our interpretation we are the ones who interpret the music through the guitar the guitar alone should not give us a more accented notes or notes that are suddenly shortened maybe we want to play for example maybe we want to play molto pianissimo at the fifth fret and suddenly we play it and it sounds with a big resonance and accented with a lot of harmonics a lot of amplitude we are not going to like that and now another question is what if certain notes have a higher resonance because of something natural in the instrument of the guitar which is that other strings sound by sympathy when playing that note how can we avoid this? and can it be avoided? well, that’s where the magic of the master guitar maker who has built your guitar comes in, and makes that note to sound the same as the others or at least that bigger resonance that is produced is not very accentuated it is faint and therefore doesn’t affect our interpretation with much relevance how does a guitar maker achieve this? I really don’t know but the fact is that some guitar makers of very high quality do achieve it there are guitars that have this and you see that every note, no matter which one, sounds the same or very similar to the others it may even be that the guitar maker doesn’t know exactly in his making what has determined that this guitar has such a good balance but since he knows how he has made the guitar he simply repeats exactly the same process the same making process on the next one so that it comes out in the same way and so this quality may remain in every guitar he makes
actually sometimes it’s like that with guitar makers they try things out and suddenly one guitar comes out very good and they just repeat the same construction process on the next ones many other times, it’s also true, they know very well what it is that has made the guitar have that quality and they look for it with a lot of intention and a lot of knowledge and talent and experience of their work this simple exercise of playing all the notes of each string chromatically to see the quality and sound balance between the notes can be done on all parts of the guitar the area that we could say begins to be dangerous and where the sound can be unbalanced is most noticeable in the trebles part and above all on the first string and on the first string above all I tell you from the especially from the seventh fret toward the last frets that’s where the biggest problems often appear on a guitar in terms of balance now, are we talking about a bad guitar if the guitar doesn’t have a perfect sound balance of this kind we talk in this video? this kind of balance? wel, not in my opinion it may be that the guitar is not great in this quality but it is great in many other qualities for example I prefer a guitar with a very beautiful very nice sound that doesn’t have a very good balance between notes to one that does have a perfect balance let’s say but that the sound is very ugly and that the sound quality is bad that it has no character and doesn’t transmit anything I think you always have to evaluate the whole package the qualities by which we describe a guitar as being a high quality guitar are dozens of qualities and the fact that one of them fails a little should not make us discard it and consider it a bad guitar in fact finding guitars with a perfect balance in all its notes is something very difficult to find as I say I think you always have to leave a margin for some note or notes are not totally equal I even tell you that I have played cheap factory guitars that have a better sound balance than a famous guitar Maker’s guitar that’ cost even more than 10 000 Euros seriously I found them but of course the factory one was kind of a neutral sound without beauty without colors with a very low possibility of dynamics without any personality and on the other guitar the expensive one had all of all these so the factory one was much worse guitar despite maybe the balance between notes is better in my personal experience I have played guitars of great historical guitar makers that didn’t have a perfect note balance and even you can perceive a kind of little Wolf note here or there or on the other hand some note with also you can find notes with a lot of resonance in those guitars but it’s beauty and sound quality is such that the lack of a very very good quality of balance is a bit in the shadow of having on the other hand so many other qualities in other aspects of the guitar
let’s listen this guitar I think it has a really great balance
see between G sharp and A you cannot notice so much that bigger resonance
Sound Testing between 3 guitars Luciano Lovadina 2022 – Antonio Marín Montero 1973 (preBouchet) – Factory Guitar
here I think we can listen a little bit of a wolf note a note that suddenly decay very fast
you see? I repeat
the sustain stops and decay very fast but it is placed in a very high position that almost never you are going to play that note
let’s play another guitar now
this one has a lot of resonance on open air E see?
you can see that in A and B they both have quite a lot of resonance let’s play G #
let’s play Let’s play in comparison this guitar which is a very cheap guitar I mean it’s a factory Guitar let’s say like 500 euros
we have here two notes that they don’t have any kind of sustain or they have a short sustain and decay very fast
in comparison with this one for example
this one is better than the other