New Guitar & Harmonic Resonance

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Joined: Thu Feb 08, 2024 4:46 pm

New Guitar & Harmonic Resonance

Post: # 6559Post Lostbirds
Thu Feb 08, 2024 10:24 pm

Hi all,

Newish to the forum, just thought I'd make a post but also pose a question to anyone who might know about acoustic construction and harmonic content of acoustic guitars.

By a stroke of luck, I came into possession of a 1997 D2H not long ago and I am really impressed with the guitar. Obviously that will come as no surprise to anyone here, as a forum dedicated to Collings is obviously full of loyal devotees lol. I have never had an instrument this nice, and the only acoustics I played that were on this level, were other Collings guitars, and a maybe a few others by some other buildings that were in a similar tier of craftsmanship. I feel a since of responsibility to steward this guitar for as long as possible before handing it off to someone else who will enjoy it as much. Although I would maybe consider a trade for an OM2H at some point... but that's another story.

My questions are about guitar building, specifically Collings methods, and the harmonics/harmonic content and resonance produced by these guitars.

This guitar is so incredibly vibrant and resonant! I had the D2H hanging on a wall hanger and was playing electric in the same room and was going crazy thinking I was hearing some feedback coming from my amp or speakers or something; nope, it was just the acoustic resonating w/ certain pitches I was playing, and doing so very loudly. When I play individual notes or chords, mostly below the 12th fret, and almost in any key, the strings will ring with a lot of sustain, and sometimes extra harmonics are created and linger far longer than the fundamental. On most places on the fretboard, the 2nd harmonic (octave up) will sustain for quite a while longer than the fundamental. Sometimes when I play just a diad, I can hear other notes that are not even being played. For example, when I play C and E together (3rd fret, 5th string, 2nd fret, 4th string, respectively) a B is produced, and it sounds like I am playing a CMaj7.

This might not be interesting to anyone who has owned or played many nicer acoustic instruments, but I have never had an acoustic nice enough to produce harmonic content like that. I also mostly play electric guitar and even if I had a particularly vibrant instrument, I don't know that I've heard an electric do this in this particular way.

My questions are:

1. Is this simply a byproduct of quality craftsmanship and materials? Or is there something Collings is doing specifically that makes their guitars do this?
2. Do all Collings have this quality? Or is this guitar special in some way? Do other high end builders have guitars that do this?
3. Does age of the instrument increase or diminish this?
4. Has anyone had this actually be a problem when recording and if so, how have they dealt with it?

Just curious what some yall might think about this. Cheers and thanks for reading.

Frank Sanns
Posts: 147
Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2018 5:38 pm
Real Name: Frank Sanns
Location: Pittsburgh

Re: New Guitar & Harmonic Resonance

Post: # 6560Post Frank Sanns
Sat Feb 10, 2024 3:08 pm

Congrats on your Collings acoustic guitar. It is a fine one!

Materials, design, build, and tuning are all factors that will affect the voice and playability of an acoustic guitar. Collings of course is one of the premier builders so their combos are near the top of the food chain.

Assuming great woods, there is still a great variability in the different models of guitars even within the Collings line. So to answer one of your questions, no, not all guitars will give lush and full harmonics. The D2 series is to do just that so you picked a good one. It is one of the favorite and perhaps THE favorite model that Collings and other manufacturers make.

While the full sound with all of the overtones is a joy to play, it has its place. Long sustain and full harmonics are not always the choice for vocal accompaniment or primary instrument recording. It may also not be the first choice for quick passages where differentiation of notes is desired. Still, it is one of the nicest sounding of them all.

Contrast that with even the D1 series, There tends to be a little less harmonic content and more fundamental tones. That is also a very popular instrument for certain styles of music and playing.

Then there are the slope shoulder models that are even more balanced with less boom and more focus.

Going to other manufactures, you can find some brands and models on some of the greatest recordings that are thinner sounding, less dynamic but work stunningly well for the purpose.

I am sure others will add their thoughts but enjoy the guitar. That vintage and build is a great find.

Posts: 24
Joined: Sat Nov 10, 2018 6:50 pm

Re: New Guitar & Harmonic Resonance

Post: # 6561Post Derek
Sun Feb 11, 2024 4:54 am

More like sympathetic string vibrations to the soundwave vibrations in the air from the electric guitar especially if it volume was up somewhat.

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