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In what ways will the guitar's sound change, given a different species of wood for the soundboard? Faced with one of the oldest questions in the business, "What does the top wood have to do with the sound, anyhow?" Ervin Somogyi embarked on a project to build three guitars for a client in an attempt to answer that landmark question. In order to isolate the differnt tonal properties of Sitka Spruce, European Spruce, and Cedar, Ervin controlled for the other variables by using matching Brazilian Rosewood sets which were sequentially flitch cut from the same log, and using the same neck dimensions and scale length.
Once built, Ervin knew that a musician of a certain calibre would need to bend their ears to The Trinity in order to best glean the differences, if such they were, or their similiarities. Enter: Michael Chapdelaine, the only guitarist to win first place in GFA International Classical Guitar Competition and the National Fingerstyle Championship. Chapdelaine was so enthused by the prospect that he recorded a series of videos and an entire album worth of material highlighting the nuances of The Trinity, titled The Somogyi Incident (but there's nothing incidental about the rigors of this project). The Cedar OM, #455, was predictably the warmest of the three, but in addition to that warmth the bass and middle registers had a dark tinge that seemed to color the overall tone with a brooding, emotive force. Not as loud as the other two, #455 nevertheless had an easy projection and sustain. The treble overtones in particular were fat and lingering. The Sitka Spruce OM (#457) was drier than we expected, and that also meant that the bass response had an aggressive bark. The trebles cut very well, and boy would the Sitka top howl if you dug in with a heavier attack! Lastly, the European Spruce OM (#456) also featured a dry tone, but this one erred more on the side of breathy and mellow. While quieter overall when compared to #457, the European Spruce OM offered the best note separation of the three, and we found that the string-to-string balance was the best for fingerstyle arrangements in lowered tunings. The bass response was more focused and defined than the other OMs as well. The Trinity, The Somogyi Incident, and our own videos stand as a unique opportunity to observe firsthand the particulars of these time-tested tonewoods from one of the world's finest luthiers.
In what ways will the guitar's sound change, given a different species of wood for the soundboard? Faced with one of the oldest questions in the business, "What does the top wood have to do with the sound, anyhow?" Ervin Somogyi ...read full descriptionArtists who play instruments by this builder: Martin Simpson
"This is a dream opportunity: a chance to compare and contrast three iconic top woods as voiced by one of the field's masters. Aside from the rich academic potential The Trinity can offer to modern lutherie and guitar playing, these Somogyis are all done up with Ervin's matching elegant aesthetic with corresponding marquetry inlays across the back of the peghead, neck, fingerboard, and rosette. " - Paul Heumiller
"All three of these guitars are awesome and different enough from each other to make them unique. It's really rare to be able to compare three guitars by any builder that were made this close together from different materials like these were. I have my favorite, but it might not be the same as yours, so if you want a piece of history and a rare collection that will probably never be repeated, this is the time." - Al Petteway