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Folk Size vs. Dreadnought Size Guitars?

Johnhenry'shammer 20 Jun 06 - 01:14 AM
Scrump 20 Jun 06 - 04:28 AM
Big Al Whittle 20 Jun 06 - 04:30 AM
Richard Bridge 20 Jun 06 - 04:36 AM
Pete_Standing 20 Jun 06 - 07:42 AM
Midchuck 20 Jun 06 - 08:01 AM
Grab 20 Jun 06 - 01:38 PM
Terry K 21 Jun 06 - 01:08 AM
Don Firth 21 Jun 06 - 03:49 PM
GUEST,van lingle 21 Jun 06 - 05:32 PM
Big Al Whittle 21 Jun 06 - 05:46 PM
GUEST,sam 18 Aug 10 - 12:54 PM
Old Vermin 18 Aug 10 - 01:24 PM
Little Hawk 18 Aug 10 - 02:12 PM
Don Firth 18 Aug 10 - 06:15 PM
Little Hawk 18 Aug 10 - 10:24 PM
Stringsinger 18 Aug 10 - 10:36 PM
GUEST,Andrew 19 Aug 10 - 04:25 AM
Backwoodsman 19 Aug 10 - 05:03 AM
Bobert 19 Aug 10 - 01:22 PM
leeneia2 19 Aug 10 - 01:52 PM
Cool Beans 19 Aug 10 - 04:38 PM
GUEST,Steamin' Willie 20 Aug 10 - 06:20 AM
GUEST,Ann 18 Mar 11 - 02:59 AM
Deckman 18 Mar 11 - 03:20 AM
GUEST,Stan 18 Mar 11 - 04:39 PM
Mark Ross 18 Mar 11 - 05:01 PM
Guernsey Pete 18 Mar 11 - 05:13 PM
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Subject: Folk Size vs. Deadnought Size Guitars?
From: Johnhenry'shammer
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 01:14 AM

It my search for buying my first guitar, I've noticed that there are some that are called dreadnoughts or dreadnought size that seem to look like the standard acoustic guitar. However, there is also "folk size" which seems to be more piched in at the sides. Is a folk size guitar better for folk music? And whether it is or isn't, what's the difference between these two sizes in terms of sound?


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Subject: RE: Folk Size vs. Deadnought Size Guitars?
From: Scrump
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 04:28 AM

In general I doubt whether the so-called "folk size" guitar is any better for folk music than the "standard" acoustic. There are more important factors than the shape of the body - the size is one of them, for unamplified acoustic playing.

But why not try some out at your local music shop? Or if you don't yet play, ask an assistant to demo them while you listen, then you can decide for yourself which sounds better for the type of music you want to play.

However I'm not an expert (just an amateur guitarist), so someone else here may be able to explain the significance of the "folk" shape in terms of sound quality.


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Subject: RE: Folk Size vs. Deadnought Size Guitars?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 04:30 AM

John, just take along someone who will make sure the guitar is playable with you.

then get something YOU are comfortable with. There really are no right and wrong answers in this game - other than the thing having a better than 50/50 chance of staying in tune for a while.

martin Carthy plays a little guitar, Doc watson plays a big one. Gordon Giltrap plays little ones and big ones. they're all shit hot guitarists. its just a question of personal preference.

have fun mate!


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Subject: RE: Folk Size vs. Deadnought Size Guitars?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 04:36 AM

I like the "big boom" of a dreadnought, but quite a lot of fingerpickers think you can hear the notes more clearly for their fingericking with a guitar that has less bass and a stronger midrange - as tyically a "folk size" will.

I have however one dreadnought in my collection that has very little real bass, but a very strident midrange that would almost compete with a banjo for penetration, so it does rather depend on the individual instrument.


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Subject: RE: Folk Size vs. Deadnought Size Guitars?
From: Pete_Standing
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 07:42 AM

Nick Benjamin has some interesting stuff on his web site about the size, shape, construction and woods used in the making of guitars and how it affects the sound. As to what is the best - it is what suits you that is important.

benjamin guitars


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Subject: RE: Folk Size vs. Deadnought Size Guitars?
From: Midchuck
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 08:01 AM

You want a dreadnought for maximum volume and power, especially in the bass register. If you are playing with fiddles, mandolins, or those never-to-be-sufficiently-damned tamborines with necks and strings, in an unamplified setting, you probably need a dread or a full jumbo. Unless you can afford a Collings 000-2h. Most flatpick guitarists use dreads because they came out of a bluegrass band setting and the consider that size "normal."

What you call a "folk" size guitar - the 000 size and smaller - usually have better balance across the range, and are more comfortable for people, except tall males with long arms, to play.

I've gotten out of playing dreads in the last few years because they tend to be uncomfortable to play for very long if you're short, or have a little belly on you, or are getting older and not as flexible as you once were. That's three out of three with me.

I'd try the smaller size for your first guitar unless you're going to play a lot in groups with other instruments.

The ideal size, IMO, is the Martin "M" or "0000" - as big as a dread, but narrower in the waste, and a shallower body, so you don't have as far to reach around. But they don't seem to make many of them.

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Folk Size vs. Deadnought Size Guitars?
From: Grab
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 01:38 PM

Dreadnaughts generally feel "looser" in terms of sound, but at the cost of a certain "muddiness" on individual strings. It's a more bluesy sound too.

"Folk size" (which doesn't seem to have a proper name - "jumbo" is sometimes used, but strictly that relates to the overall size of guitar as well) as Richard says generally gives a more "focussed" sound which is better for fingerpicking. There's a reason that classical guitars are shaped like this instead of like dreadnaughts.

The other factor is the size of it. Whilst there's the different outlines, they come in larger or smaller versions, and with thicker or thinner bodies. The larger the "box" of the guitar, the louder it is, but at the cost of maybe being less comfortable for your body and arms, as Midchuck says.

Do you play at all right now, or are you really starting from scratch? If you're a complete raw beginner, maybe getting a cheap classical for learning on would be a good move. Classical (nylon) strings are generally easier on the fingers than heavier steel strings - it is possible to use ultra-light electric-type strings to reduce the tension, but then you tend to lose the "feel" of the instrument. (Before you ask - sadly it isn't possible to string most steel-string guitars with nylon strings, due to the design of bridge that most steel-string guitars have.) A cheap classical should be cheaper than a steel-string, especially if you can find one second-hand. And then you can go and get a steel-string when you're good enough to be able to play it and hear whether it sounds like what you want.

Before you worry about this, worry about getting a guitar with a solid top. There do exist guitars with plywood tops that sound good (I was lucky enough to pick one when I went shopping for my first guitar :-) but it's unusual - usually they're cheap crap. A guitar with a solid wood top is almost guaranteed to sound better than a plywood top, whatever shape or size it is.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Folk Size vs. Deadnought Size Guitars?
From: Terry K
Date: 21 Jun 06 - 01:08 AM

I'm not really a proper guitarist but when I bought my first guitar I had the assistant play, and bought the one which sounded best within the price range, and which most looked like my perception of a standard guitar - a dreadnought.

All well and good, but I found eventually that part of my difficulty in playing was that my fingers am too thick enough to make, for example, an A chord properly. As that was the first chord in the tuitor book this was not the best start you can have!

Some time later, I happened to try an OM shape which I absolutely loved - firstly because its small, slim body against my large fat one meant that I could access the fretboard better - it felt just the perfect size. But secondly, I noticed it had a slightly wider neck (common to OMs) which meant that chord fingering was sooooo much easier.

I still play my dreadnought, but I think it's only so that I can then go back to the OM and get that feeling of how comfortable it is once again. So I will support the advice to go with what you find most comfortable to hold and finger. (Then maybe ask her which guitar you should buy .....).

cheers, Terry


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Subject: RE: Folk Size vs. Deadnought Size Guitars?
From: Don Firth
Date: 21 Jun 06 - 03:49 PM

Except for very early on, I've always played nylon-string classics. I do a lot of English, Irish, Scottish, and Anglo-American stuff, mostly ballads, and a classic works particularly well for that, at least in my opinion.

So I'm no expert on playing steel-string guitars. But from out front, as a fairly sophisticated listener, I do have an opinion or two. As far as dreadnaught models are concerned, I think they tend to be a bit specialized. Strong in the bass, but to my ear, they always sound a little anemic in the trebles. I don't consider them a particularly well-balanced guitar for accompanying a solo voice. Good for bluegrass or other ensemble playing if you're going to be the one laying down a strong bass.

For accompanying solo singing, I personally like classics. But were I to use a steel-string guitar for accompaniment, I would choose one of the smaller, so-called "folk guitars." You might even look into parlor guitars. One of the nicest sounding steel-string guitars I've ever heard for accompanying the voice is the old Martin O-45 that Joan Baez played for years. Actually, it's a parlor guitar. If someone quibbles at that designation, the O-45 is sure not much different in size and shape from a parlor guitar. Good balance between bass and treble and plenty loud, despite being relatively small.

Don't let anyone kid you into believing that a dreadnaught is louder than other guitars merely because it's bigger. Not so. Volume and carrying power have more to do with construction than size.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Folk Size vs. Deadnought Size Guitars?
From: GUEST,van lingle
Date: 21 Jun 06 - 05:32 PM

I play a Collings OM1A (which is 000 sized with a 25 1/2" scale), a Froggy Bottom F which is 0000 size and a Dreadnaught and a Lowden L model which I believe falls in the small jumbo category. All of them do different things well. The OM is a fine fingerpicking instrument for blues, ragtime, jazz and fiddle tunes, the Bourgeios D is great for flat picking tunes and killer for Irish Rhythym guitar and the Lowden handles ballad accompaniment and British Isles fingerpicking beautfully. But the Froggy Bottom F (again, 0000 size) basically does it all extremely well, as well as jazz chording and soloing. This may be due the quality of the instrument though, rather than it's physical dimensions.If I had to live with one guitar, heaven forbid, it would be the Froggy.
I understand that Collings and some others are making OM's with Dreadnaught body depth, around 4 7/8" inches, which might be interesting.
This is just my experience and I believe you're best off doing the agonizing work of comparing lots of guitars till you find the one that steals your heart.
Don mentioned Joan Baez' O-45. She played one on a snippet of "Love is Just a Four Letter Word" on the recent Dylan documentary and I was mightily impressed with it's sound. I feel a GAS attack coming on.vl (jack of all trades, master of none.)


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Subject: RE: Folk Size vs. Deadnought Size Guitars?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 21 Jun 06 - 05:46 PM

if you want a parlour sized guitar, yamaha are doing a very nice parlour sized range with csf prefix. they are quite new but one came up on e bay a few weeks ago - very reasonably priced.


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Subject: RE: Folk Size vs. Dreadnought Size Guitars?
From: GUEST,sam
Date: 18 Aug 10 - 12:54 PM

mate go with what ever suits you best pearsonal i go form smaller fuitars 'folk size' simply becuse i find them more comtablee. i also think they are more selicatre and all you to add more detail to your pecies. dregs are good for chord and playing backing tracks to other instruments. small bodied guitars are more for solos. gibsons make the best small bodied guitars like the the bluesmaker,]. however you can pick cheap ones from most music shops and ever argos all the best good luck mate.


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Subject: RE: Folk Size vs. Dreadnought Size Guitars?
From: Old Vermin
Date: 18 Aug 10 - 01:24 PM

could I have some of whatever guest sam is on? Or perhaps not.

Apart from pure playability - there is such a word - and sound, consider portability. More weight and size to carry or stow in a vehicle.

As luck and lack of money and judgement would have it, I started with a classical on which a previous owner had fitted steel strings. Don't ask. Followed by a cheap nylon-strung classical, which tended to go off as you went up the neck.

Thirty years later, I got round to getting a decent Yamaha FG700MS [without actually checking what it says inside] dreadnought. Then inherited a 'Lorenzo' nylon-strung classical - smaller-bodied and taken to be a parlour size.

Finger-picking, the louder Yamaha can get lost in a pub session, more so the parlour. Both OK for volume if there is a listening audience. My plectrum work is utterly undeveloped.

Neither is bad. Parlour is easier on the fingers and I think nicer to play for melody stuff. For exuberant unamplified noise, the Yamaha wins. Don't have stuff that I only do on one or the other.

One slight regret is not getting the Yamaha with a pickup built-in. At the time I didn't foresee that I would ever need one. Hadn't even heard of open mics....


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Subject: RE: Folk Size vs. Dreadnought Size Guitars?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 18 Aug 10 - 02:12 PM

Smaller body guitars are a lot more comfortable to play. They're superior in an ergonomic sense, as many posters have said above.

But which guitar is best for you? Well, that's hard to say. You just have to go play a whole ton of them in a good store, both large and small ones, and find one that speaks to you in a special way. There's no predicting which one it will be. It might be a dreadnought (what you call "standard size") or it might be a smaller body guitar.

There's also no predicting which one will have the better sound. They can vary tremendously when it comes to that, and we all have our own unique tastes anyway when it comes to sound. Generally speaking, the more expensive guitars will have the better sound....but even THAT cannot be given an ironclad guarantee. ;-) AS time goes by we get more and more picky, though, and the price range we look at tends to go up.


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Subject: RE: Folk Size vs. Dreadnought Size Guitars?
From: Don Firth
Date: 18 Aug 10 - 06:15 PM

Little Hawk speaks true.

One piece of advice I would add is, don't be stampeded into buying a guitar like a Dreadnought just because that's what a lot of other folk musicians play. There's a lot of that going around. Those who use Dreadnoughts with good reason are generally those who play in ensembles a lot, such as bluegrass groups, and are responsible for laying down a strong bass-line.

As I said in my post of long ago and up above, I've never been particularly fond of the Dreadnought for a couple of reasons:   I feel they're bass-heavy at the expense of good balance of sound, and I also find them somewhat awkward to hold compared to other models. But then, I do mostly solo work, using the guitar primarily for song accompaniment. I like the sonic balance of a good classic or parlor guitar. Nice handling instruments, and the tonal balance of a well-made instrument is excellent.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Folk Size vs. Dreadnought Size Guitars?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 18 Aug 10 - 10:24 PM

I have 2 guitars right now that I absolutely love. One is a Martin HD-28 (Dreadnought) and the other is a much smaller bodied Taylor Grand Concert much like the one in the link:

Taylor Grand Concert

They're both marvelous, but quite different. The Taylor is very comfortable to hold and play because it's small, and it has wonderful tone, terrific for finger picking, tough enough that you can drive it hard too. The Martin is more awkward to hold, like all big guitars, but it's got a great sound right across the range. I like to switch back and forth between them for a change of mood.


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Subject: RE: Folk Size vs. Dreadnought Size Guitars?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 18 Aug 10 - 10:36 PM

The dreadnaught is bass heavy and not as balanced across the strings as the smaller
style guitars. I don't understand why they are marketing it. I don't care for the boominess.
Tone quality for me reflects a dynamic consistency across the strings.

Even with flatpicking, you can tell the difference. The evenness of tone on the treble
strings is present in the other style of guitars and not with the dreads.


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Subject: RE: Folk Size vs. Dreadnought Size Guitars?
From: GUEST,Andrew
Date: 19 Aug 10 - 04:25 AM

I find my dreadnought Martin D28VS is perfectly balanced across all the strings. The evenness of tone from bass to treble is better than any other guitar I have ever played.

I am a bluegrass flat picker and I do not try to play loudly for that seems to spoil the quality of sound. I have heard many strummers who play the guitar so loudly it sounds like a chuff-chuff and is louder than their voice. Its the way you play it that counts.

Incidentally is there any site where I can hear what the following sounds are like? Muddy, looser, bluesy, boomy, woody, crisp, and all such descriptions?

A


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Subject: RE: Folk Size vs. Dreadnought Size Guitars?
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 19 Aug 10 - 05:03 AM

"I don't understand why they are marketing it."

Simples - because they sell more than any other shape. It's Marketing Common Sense - people want them and are prepared to buy them, so make them and sell them.

It's horses for courses where guitar shapes and sizes are concerned, not a 'one-size-fits-all' scenario.

For anyone looking for a do-anything-go-anywhere-workhorse kind of guitar, they can do a lot worse than buy a Dread.

BTW, I have two guitars, neither of them is a Dread, so I have no axe to grind here (pun intended). :-)


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Subject: RE: Folk Size vs. Dreadnought Size Guitars?
From: Bobert
Date: 19 Aug 10 - 01:22 PM

I'm kinda past my "dread"nought days... I do have an old S. Yairi "parlor" geetar that I am having fixed an' 'lecterfied to perform with and it plays (or used to play) better than my old 1966 Martin D-18 "dread"nought which I gave to my niece 'cause she is a purdy good little geetar player and needed somethin' decent to play...

I love the feel and sound of the S. Yairi and am lookin' forward to getting it back from the lutheir... Should have never given it to my son 'cause he just stuck it in a damp closet and when I got it back it was ion bad shape... But, hey, it's an all wood geeter from the 70s and ain't a...

...dread...

B~


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Subject: RE: Folk Size vs. Dreadnought Size Guitars?
From: leeneia2
Date: 19 Aug 10 - 01:52 PM

Here's what i would do. Have somebody play it, if you can't play yet.

1. Listen to the sound. Do you like it? Does it play the scale right as you go up the neck?

2. Think about the neck. If you have thick fingers, are the strings too close together? If you have small hands, is the neck too wide? Is it too thick?

3. Are the strings too high in the air? This can probably be corrected.

4. Does it buzz sometime? This can probably be corrected.

5. How are you going to hold it? Now is the time to get the strap that will keep it from straining your neck, shoulders, etc. Get knowledgeable advice here. Don't hold it any old way.

Good luck. If you make a good decision, you will have many hours of pleasure to come.


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Subject: RE: Folk Size vs. Dreadnought Size Guitars?
From: Cool Beans
Date: 19 Aug 10 - 04:38 PM

After four years I wonder which guitar Johnhenryshammer chose and how it worked out. John? You out there?


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Subject: RE: Folk Size vs. Dreadnought Size Guitars?
From: GUEST,Steamin' Willie
Date: 20 Aug 10 - 06:20 AM

I always liked dreadnoughts and have had many in the past, (still have, once my lad stops nicking them on the pretext of returning them next week....)

However, I soon realised I liked the big acoustic sound rather than the aesthetics, especially when playing without amps say in folk clubs & pubs.

I recently bought a Rainsong carbon fibre guitar. It is small, (OM) with a cutaway but because of the design, (no bracing) has a very loud sound. ( used a decibel meter out of curiosity to compare it to a Taylor 810 dreadnought. At the standard 4m distance, doing the same fingerpicking tune, the difference was 4dB (a) which is more than you might think, as it takes only 6dB to double the pressure of sound.)


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Subject: Martin OMC16OGTE or DC16OGTE
From: GUEST,Ann
Date: 18 Mar 11 - 02:59 AM

Hi, I have a similar but more specific question: I am trying to decide between the Martin OMC16OGTE or the DC16OGTE. I hope to play mostly folk, and maybe some bluegrass and country. I would probably be playing by myself and singing rather than with an ensemble. I like the smaller size of the OMC but also like the bigger sound of the DC. Thoughts, advice? Thanks!


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Subject: RE: Folk Size vs. Dreadnought Size Guitars?
From: Deckman
Date: 18 Mar 11 - 03:20 AM

Interesting thread ... thanks for revising it. For many, many years, I have played and performed with my vintage Martin Classical guitar (1938). It has the quality tone and lighteness I need for many of my ballads.

But this last summer, I picked up TWO new steel string guitars, my latest is a Dreadnought size.

I did this as I needed a guitar that I could take around to outdoor gigs, places where I won't risk damage to my olde Martin.

With this new steel string, I'm discovering sounds I'd forgotten: a very vibrant bass range ... a clearity of the upper range. It's allowing me to get into some better sounding blues sounds.

So ... the downside is that now I have to carry two guitars, two banjos, one autoharp, and nine suitcases when I go on the road! SHEEUH! bob(deckman)nelson


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Subject: RE: Folk Size vs. Dreadnought Size Guitars?
From: GUEST,Stan
Date: 18 Mar 11 - 04:39 PM

Another difference between Dreadnought and folk size is string length. Most Martin Dreads have a string length of something like 25.5". The Gibson LG range string length is about an inch shorter. The 00 and 000 range are somewhere in between. This means that any gauge of strings will feel tighter on a Dreadnought than it will on a folk guitar when tuned to the same pitch.
You can get used to this but I found moving to Dreadnought size dispiriting and went back to the shorter size.
The advice to listen to someone else playing is good. What you hear when you play may not be what others hear, but most important is how it feels in your hands.


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Subject: RE: Folk Size vs. Dreadnought Size Guitars?
From: Mark Ross
Date: 18 Mar 11 - 05:01 PM

Check out the Recording King OOO 12 fret with a slotted headstock. Under $300 here, and it can't be beat for the price.


Mark ROss


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Subject: RE: Folk Size vs. Dreadnought Size Guitars?
From: Guernsey Pete
Date: 18 Mar 11 - 05:13 PM

If you have a budget, Martin are now making their little brown 00-17s again. I'm lucky, I've got an old one, '39, but this is a lovely little guitar, not too big, the 00 size gives a balanced sound across the range. Not too loud, but responsive. They are also doing spruce-tops with a composite/ply neck. Not sure about those yet, the only one I know is played by a very hesitant older lady learner, so it isn't really developing as it should.
But the big questions are;
Do you like how it sounds ?
'''    ''      ''       ''    '' feels ?
And will it project sufficiently for what you want it for ?


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