December 25, 2019 at 9:13 pm #3362Acoustic SoulParticipant
Happy Holiday Season! I had a funky song come to me while I was in the shower today which therein inspired a golden concept in my mind on matters of stated and unstated sophistication. Here it is, question embedded but would like to gather your thoughts as many or most Cruzes I’ve played focus on quick bell tones more dominant in the mix.
A pondering gem I discovered in the realm of my ear, mind, and nomenclature:
– My biggest idea of ‘soulful’ sophistication (genre/style) might be the absence of a quick thick bell tone with lots of harmonic density and instead an artful absence of that. WHY??? Here’s why…
- When you have a dry, woody, dynamic, powerful fundamental sound in a larger body cavity, you get the attack of the note(s), the substance (which is different with adirndack + african or mahogany), and then in the absence of the ‘always on’ effect of the rosewood bell tone glassy dreadnought D tone there is a MUSICAL VACUUM. —> two things happen here in my mind that I perceive
- You get to hear the internal reverb, air, and breath… literally the reverberant hushings that carry forward what you just played very subtly but swirlingly and the ghost notes of what was played. That emphasizes the punch yes, but it helps a drier sound by giving it some extra lifetime – and in that…
- The human mind gives implied overtones and enormous musical potentials. It’s almost like that potential energy is far more substantial in the funky gut and groovy mind than anything that could be overtly stated. Perhaps that’s why rests and skipping beats in repeated grooves can have such an impact. It inspires improvisation and ties the audience more into what is going on live.
**caveat: This is in the context of santa cruz which in my opinion very often builds guitars that are very rich with quick bell tones especially under my strumming hand (unless otherwise requested). Maybe this has to do more with the stock woods that I have experienced in shops as opposed to what people desire and custom order. Note: This idea does not apply to a dead Gibson. There is a point where you need a studio engineer to go in and fix the EQ of your instrument, add compression, and add reverb to get a balanced, punchy, airy sound behind the force of the guitar. That’s why I believe in Santa Cruz because you can deliver that sound acoustically and naturally without electronics.
Quick note on that: I will be curious in the future about adirondack/mahogany vs old growth adirondack/old growth mahogany. My fear is the old growth while being dry and delightfully responsive will become thinner or more glassy thus giving the guitar the opposite of what I’m looking at.
These notes are very accurate and true for my joyful, funky soul vibe that I imprint musically on expression through guitar and vocals. In this genre context, empty space, rests, implied ideas, potential energy, and ghost notes are the vehicle that carries the musical emotion forward and adds to eat meaning beyond the song… a real outburst of the human condition. You would find the opposite ideology in a bluegrass guitar which I have started to identify Santa Cruz Dreadnought models with as all of them I’ve played and heard in person have been more suited to playing faster, quicker, with a different intent, tighter, and more with a glass cannon effect which pads those type of appalachian songs really well. The vowel and percussive sounds I associate with that are PANG and bzang… the more focused vowel sounds of ‘ay’ – a forward nasal hard a. My stuff is more associated with the THWUMP and hum. That vowel sound is a more open ‘um’, ‘ah’, ‘ooh’. That’s why I’m looking at the slope shoulder guitars – especially the RS with that sweet scale. I’ve only gotten to play VS though in person. I think behind the sloped shoulders, the OOO and then the OM Grand follow as my favorite models. The firefly is in a category of it’s own though!
I’m not sure in the voice of the firefly and tone woods on the stock one how you got that attack, dynamic delivery, tonal response to right hand, and eq balance… but it was really nice. With more low end power of a larger cavity and more woody punch added into the same idea for pure acoustic sessions with small groups I think that would be the highest ideal of acoustic I could render. I don’t think the RS will land far from that.
Carolyn said you can even do a cutaway that doesn’t impact the sound or response of the guitar, but I also hear that everything effects the sound of the guitar… even the wood binding. I’d be surprised if wood binding had more effect than cutaway… but that’s why I’m here to learn so I can specify correctly 😀
I thought this realization was important for my ordering, but also as a philosophical and musical concept it’s something that is a good indicator of HOW someone wants to use sophistication and in what context. Soulful/funky strumming woody sophistication is wildly different than elegant, ethereal, jazzy fingerstyle light sophistication full of color. I thought it would be of benefit as a forum discussion as well.
Thank you! I’m very happy to have these interspersed conversational exchanges with you on this platform to start seeding the constitution of a future coming build.
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