Placebo effect

Discussion in 'Wood' started by otterhound, Aug 15, 2013.

  1. otterhound

    otterhound New Member

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    I maintain that there is a placebo effect where the eye will trick the mind into believing that a pretty guitar sounds better than a plain one .
    I believe that this also exists with species in both acoustic and electric guitars .
    Opinions .
     
    Purelojik and Given To Fly like this.
  2. The Outlaw

    The Outlaw Member

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    i wouldnt know. even my most beautiful guitars sound like crap when its me playing them
     
  3. Murkar

    Murkar Well-Known Member

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    I both agree and disagree to some extent on this one :)

    I know from my own experience that wood species makes quite a bit of difference in tone. I have three guitars that are all the same model. Two are spanish cedar, and one is Honduran. The honduran definitely sounds better - I've taken the same electronics and moved them among the three guitars, and the honduran consistently sounds better. Which is unfortunately, because IMO the Spanish Cedar guitars look nicer.

    I also have several acoustics - my nicest looking acoustic is solid indian rosewood back and sides w/ nitro finish, nice MOP headstock inlay, wood bindings, and sunburst finish on a AAA sitka soundboard. This is also my WORST sounding guitar unfortunately. My favorite guitar was a cheap Art & Lutherie parlor with cherry wood back and sides, which I foolishly sold.

    That being said though...it's quite possible that I am partial to old, beaten up guitars. I can't say for certain that this doesn't influence my judgment. I know that there was a research study done a few years ago that demonstrated when people are told they will have to carry a heavy object over a distance, they tend to estimate that the distance is farther than they do when they are told they will just be walking the distance (without carrying a heavy object).

    So I think that yes, species does make a difference in sound, but people probably also think it sounds better because of the species. There's probably a bit of both going on. My two cents anyways :)
     
  4. Adam

    Adam Well-Known Member

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    I've seen beautiful guitars that when plugged in sounded like garbage, the kind of thing that sounds good to no one. Sometimes you truly get a dud. Koa acoustics have been really big offenders here, absolutely gorgeous, but never ever sounded good to me.
     
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  5. Ronsonic

    Ronsonic New Member

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    I had a koa topped Hamer Mirage. I really wanted to love it. It was beautiful. It sounded like muffled crap. Redid, checked the electronics. It wasn't that. it was the build. Sold it on ebay. Saw it on ebay again about a year later.

    Don't trust koa anymore.
     
  6. emoney

    emoney New Member

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    I believe your placebo test would fail if Willie Nelson was your case study.
     
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  7. tnt423

    tnt423 Member

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    I would have to agree with this statement, when I worked in a large music store we had some amazing sounding electrics and acoustics that were slow sellers, they were just plain-janes and it was hard to get people to try them.
    Most people buy with their eyes first, very few will just start picking up all the guitars and take the time to narrow it down and select the best in a given inventory. This takes time and doesn't satisfy the instant gratification urge most buyers have.
    In would say off the top of my head, that people in this forum would be in the minority. You just don't have instant results when building guitars. Even in the assembly line factories you have to wait for glue and finish to dry. I know the Radio Glue and UV finishes reduce this tremendously, but then you have production lines waiting that slows you down.
    Jest my 2¢. :)
     
  8. otterhound

    otterhound New Member

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    Welcome !
     
  9. DRF

    DRF Member

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    I would also extend that to species. Plywood with veneered kitchen cabinets do the same job as solid Oak but which costs more?. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, lets reverse it, beat up old guitars sound better to some guys than new glossy ones.
     
  10. otterhound

    otterhound New Member

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    The relic thing is also a placebo effect .
    That replica will make me play and sound better , just like ............
     
  11. Blue Belly Guitars

    Blue Belly Guitars New Member

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    People buy with their eyes. Anyone who builds guitars, knows that. The idea is to build something that both catches the eye & sounds amazing.
     
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  12. Given To Fly

    Given To Fly New Member

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    I saw William Kanengiser performing in concert and his guitar looked like the cheapest, glossiest, full size classical guitar you could buy. When he started playing this ugly guitar was producing sounds disproportionate to its appearance. It was a Humphrey and a really good Humphrey at that. This was a pretty unique situation though.

    As for the "placebo effect," if you can use it to your advantage...:yesway: . The advantages do need to manifest themselves in reality though for it to work though.
     

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