The blind listening test

Following on from my post about the pursuit of tone, I thought it would be interesting to record, under identical conditions, five radically different guitars, playing the same piece as consistently as possible. You’ll hear a sample of the playing, first with the bridge pickup and then with the neck pickup. The details about each guitar are outlined below. The recordings are in a different order to the alphabetically ordered list. I used the random sequence generator at to generate the order in which you hear them. Can you match up the sound with the guitar?

The answers are available at

Guitar Neck Body Pickups Bridge
Benford Custom Lestercaster 24.75″, set neck, sapele with ebony fretboard Telecaster shape sycamore Seymour Duncan P-Rails in series humbucker mode Gotoh tune-o-matic
Fender Telecaster 1978 Standard 25.5″ bolt on maple neck and fretboard Ash Standard original bridge pickup, The Creamery Hot Alnico 5 neck pickup Standard
Hohner G2T 25.5″, thru neck, rosewood fretboard, unknown neck wood Steinberger shape, unknown wood EMG licensed passive humbuckers Standard
MacLeod Custom Voodoo Tele 25.5″, thru neck, sapele with ebony fretboard Telecaster shape chambered body with sapele back and 0.25″ maple top Axetec Iron Gear Steel Foundry Telecaster set Wilkinson Tele bridge
MacLeod Custom Jazzmaster 25.5″, set neck, maple Jazzmaster shape solid sapele Gretsch Filtertrons Brass/chrome Strat-style hardtail

All guitars fitted with 10-46 gauge strings. Hohner with D’Addario double ball-ends, all others with Ernie Ball Slinkies.

The guitar’s volume and tone controls are turned up full through the test.

Recorded with a Line 6 Pod XT, using a Fender Twin Reverb amp simulation, with no other effects, directly into Reaper. The only post-processing was to equalise volume levels. It was rendered to a variable bitrate MP3 at 90% quality, equivalent to 256kbps. If anyone thinks they would have a better chance listening to a non-lossy version let me know in the comments and I’ll tell you where you can download the FLAC version.

4 thoughts on “The blind listening test

  1. I couldn’t do this blind or seeing! I like the different tones, but figuring out which is which is very difficult.

    • In some ways that is the whole point of the post. Five radically different guitars (in price and construction) and yet in their own way each has a reasonably pleasing but very slightly different sound. We spend hours obsessing about minor details like different types of hardwood, brass vs steel bridge saddles, different vintages of the same types of pickup, to what end? Absolutely none IMO. We all need to stop bumping our gums and play more.

  2. I seriously don’t know, they do have a slightly different character but il be dammed if i can tell which is which???

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