Blind Listening Test Results

Last week I posted samples of five different guitars all recorded the same way all playing the same pieces and wondered if anyone was able to match guitar to tone. Nobody successfully guessed all five but special mention goes to Alfie who was spot on with the first three and just got guitars 4 and 5 the wrong way round.

The guitars, in order, are;

  1. MacLeod Custom Jazzmaster
  2. 1978 Fender Telecaster
  3. MacLeod Custom Voodoo Telecaster
  4. Benford Custom
  5. Hohner G2T

The blind listening test

Following on from my fifthfret.org 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 http://www.random.org/sequences/ to generate the order in which you hear them. Can you match up the sound with the guitar?

The answers are available at https://damacleod.wordpress.com/2011/10/09/blindtestresults/

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.

Finishing off the Minibass

Just about there now. I found a couple of old “top hat” knobs in my parts bin. In the spirit of using stuff I already had, these seemed to fit the theme.

As I was wiring it up and testing it out one of the biggest problems I found was that the string anchor holes were too close to the bridge which gave a very steep break angle. This had the effect of canting the bridge saddle forward, so that the main weight of the strings was actually pushing against the back edge of the saddle slot. This meant that there was very little downward pressure onto the piezo pickup. For now I’ve implemented a bodger’s solution of a rounded bar which forces a much shallower break angle over the strings. I may just live with it and call it the Sustain-o-Barâ„¢.