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Michael Gilligan29/10/2020 23:44:32
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Just found this : **LINK**

https://www.commercialforestproducts.com/good-swamp-ash/

... more technical detail and less hype than most sources.

MichaelG.

.

Edit:  also this ... https://www.wood-database.com/swamp-ash/

and this endgrain photo of [Black] Ash shows how unlike MDF it really is !!

https://www.wood-database.com/wp-content/uploads/black-ash-endgrain-zoom.jpg

Edited By Michael Gilligan on 30/10/2020 00:00:31

John Olsen30/10/2020 03:05:45
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Jimi Hendrix made item 6. a deliberate part of his performance.

I had a discussion along the lines of this one with a workmate who played electric guitar. He was quite emphatic about the importance of the shape of the body of an electric guitar, a factor which I suspect actually makes very little difference. i can see it being quite important for an acoustic guitar of course.

The reason I mentioned double blind tests above is that the way people feel about these things seems to have a much greater effect on their opinions than any measurable difference in the sounds. So it is important to try to eliminate any bias, by performing tests where neither the listener, or the performer, or the person running the tests, knows which variable is being changed for each test. I think you can readily see the difficulty of actually doing that!

There was a test done many years ago, in the vacuum tube/valve days, where they set up a room with a divided off corner in it. It had something like loudspeaker grill cloth across it, and behind that could have various boards and stuff added to give different frequency responses. There was room behind for a performer or even perhaps a small chamber group. Or of course you could put a loudspeaker behind there and perform pre-recorded music. The result that they found was that people preferred to have their live music filtered to have the same sort of abysmal frequency response that they got from recorded music of the time, the actual live stuff was too bright and trebbly. The takeaway from this is that people prefer what they are used to, not what is technically better or closer to the original sound. Psycho-acoustics has more to do with psychology than it does to do with acoustics!

John

SillyOldDuffer30/10/2020 08:46:43
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Posted by John Olsen on 30/10/2020 03:05:45:.

...

The reason I mentioned double blind tests above is that the way people feel about these things seems to have a much greater effect on their opinions than any measurable difference in the sounds. So it is important to try to eliminate any bias, by performing tests where neither the listener, or the performer, or the person running the tests, knows which variable is being changed for each test. I think you can readily see the difficulty of actually doing that!

...

Psycho-acoustics has more to do with psychology than it does to do with acoustics!

John

Blind tests of old versus new high-end violins have been done at least twice and aficionados find it difficult to accept the results. The mental gymnastics they resort to in order to refute the awful truth is quite fun.

In blind tests professional musicians and a lay audience are equally unable to identify old from new violins, and their answers are no better than a randomised selection (ie throwing a dice such that 1,2,3 decides old, and 4,5,6 = new.) Asked to identify blind which instruments they preferred, professional and lay audiences both liked modern violins more. Reason may be modern violins are slightly louder than old ones, it's not because they strike quality notes.

Naturally people who take music seriously like to think it involves special skill and appreciation, and that 'quality' is improved by psuedo-scientific advertising, fancy engineering, exotic materials, decoration, finish, and finding other devotees to confirm their beliefs.

Buying equipment to change the character of music is a danger sign. Even twiddling a tone control means the owner thinks he knows better than the composer, musicians, and sound-engineer who produced the original! Actually, changing the colour of music to suit oneself is respectable. But don't imagine your opinion and set-up is somehow better; music is highly subjective - no-one is right. Look how upset each generation is when their 'good' music is displaced by modern rubbish!

I agree with John, and go further. Most things humans hold to be true are psychology rather than fact. Or so I believe...

Dave

Michael Gilligan30/10/2020 09:12:22
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Posted by SillyOldDuffer on 30/10/2020 08:46:43:

I agree with John, and go further. Most things humans hold to be true are psychology rather than fact. Or so I believe...

Dave

.

Be that as it may, Dave

Personally, I find it intriguing to pursue the possible explanation [and perhaps toppling] of dogma.

Little things like the isochronicity of a pendulum, or the rigidity of a structure

... both of which assumptions are de-bunked by looking a little more carefully.

MichaelG.

John Olsen30/10/2020 09:53:30
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Well of course music does involve special skill, which, having listened to Hillary Hahn playing the Sibelius violin concerto earlier this evening I could not deny. And I would also say that playing like that is so difficult that it would be churlish to deny her anything that helps, whether it can be justified on theoretical grounds or not. But as far as say the reproduction of music goes, I came to the conclusion many years ago that it was best to just make sure the gear is good enough that you can live with the imperfections and just listen to the music. So for instance, even knowing that a typical tone arm on a record player has a tracking error of up to 2%, thereby contributing a similar amount of actual harmonic distortion in places along its travel, still provides a good listening experience and most people do not notice it. So why pay over the odds for linear tracking. Of course, now that we have digital recordings, that one need no longer be a concern, except to people who like to think that vinyl is somehow better.

For Michael's point, well, pretty well all of our models of how the universe works are approximations, or are likely to turn out to be so with later discoveries. That does not mean that a pendulum is useless for a clock, the results are good enough to be useful. (so long as you stay on this planet!) And no structure is actually really rigid, but that can be a useful approximation for many purposes. For critical things like aeroplane wings, the flex does have to be taken into account.

John

Michael Gilligan30/10/2020 10:11:35
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Posted by John Olsen on 30/10/2020 09:53:30:

[…]

For Michael's point, well, pretty well all of our models of how the universe works are approximations […] the results are good enough to be useful. […]

.

Yes, John ... that was my point

Finesse is a step or two above useful though ...

MichaelG.

Neil Wyatt30/10/2020 10:13:24
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Volume has a significant impact on tone with electric instruments - the amplifier and speaker response changes, the listeners ears change their response. Yes I can see that 'tonewood' might affect feedback, but there are other factors at play here - for example (and intuitively) semi acoustic guitars are far more prone to feedback.

Try and decide what you feel the differences are before the end of this where the guy tells you what he thinks. I won't post my thoughts:

Roderick Jenkins30/10/2020 11:18:49
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He made all three bodies weigh the same which seems to me to nullify his test straight away since, surely, the 1st order difference between the woods is their densitysurprise

It's not science it's marketing wink

Rod

Michael Gilligan30/10/2020 21:54:12
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16616 forum posts
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Sorry ... been otherwise occupied today

1. Rod makes a good point: I think a much more ‘focused’ test would be to use the same dimensions, and let the weight be whatever it is.

2. YouTube audio is hopelessly inappropriate for a test like this

3. I would rather start by comparing the behaviour of three simple rectangular ‘plates’ of timber, of equal dimensions, in a simple modal analysis test. [but of course I worked for a vibration test-house. not a custom guitar components supplier]


MichaelG.

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For a brief introduction, see Section 2, here:

https://www.crystalinstruments.com/basics-of-modal-testing-and-analysis

 

Edited By Michael Gilligan on 30/10/2020 22:22:58

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