2014 Somogyi OM, Brazilian Rosewood/Sitka
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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, 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 different 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. Alas, the Sitka and European Spruce OMs have already found new homes! But the Cedar is still available.
|Scale Length||24.88 in|
|Nut Width||1.81 in|
|String Spacing||2.19 in|
|Woods||Spruce - Sitka, Rosewood - Brazilian|
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, Ervin Somogyi embarked on a project to build three guitars for a client in an attempt to answer that landmark question