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The Gruver Acoustic Guitars storyFive years ago I set out to find the best guitars I could find for the money. I have been playing guitars, setting them up, fixing them for over 40 years and have played most brands. I love certain brands of acoustic guitars for all the reasons that make them good, besides just the "name". So, I studied all the materials used, all the methods of manufacture the engineering and determined what I wanted in a line of guitars that I could be satisfied to sell. Keep in mind I have an engineering background and I am very particular. The main things that count are the types of woods and how the woods are cured. I only like the sounds of spruce or cedar on acoustic guitars and I am not alone. Mahogany top (sound board) guitars just don't have the resonance or even tonal qualities of spruce or cedar, and they must be plugged in and equalized to get "that" guitar sound. (Even cheap linden and some laminated spruce sounds better, in my humble opinion, than mahogany tops. ) However, mahogany makes one of the best back and sides for a sound box. It is near perfect mid range resonant tone. The rose wood bodies have a deeper tone and are immediately recognized. The preference is personal.
The absolute best sounding is solid wood spruce for that all around acoustic "guitar" sound with full resonance. If you like a deeper tone then Cedar is best. (We have some cedar models as well) I call this the "voice" of the guitar.
Every guitar has a different voice, even among the same brand and models just because of the uniqueness of the individual pieces of wood. I have never hear a bad sounding well made spruce top guitar. I have heard different tones of uniqueness from them all.
The dynamic responses of the wood to the different strings is important. This means that to get "volume" from each string you pluck them with the same intensity and you get the same or very close decibels of sound level at different notes. It must be even as possible for it to be acceptable to me. When you play cords you want all the strings to ring out with as close to the same volume as possible. Well made spruce top guitars have this quality.
Resonance. When you pluck a string it should continue to ring out for at least 15 to 25 seconds before it dies out and goes quiet.
Next comes the actual construction methods and how the internal bracing is accomplished. Done correctly or incorrectly or not carefully, this can make or break the tone of a guitar. The style of bracing used in Gruver guitars is a standardized "X" bracing that keeps all struts from being under the bridge or near the bridge. The bridge must "hang" in clear wood space to get the resonance, but the guitar must be fully structured for strength at the same time. (The manufacturer I use is the oldest in China and was trained by Gibson to make guitars. The head of production came from Korea, because he needed a job and all the manufacturing of most guitars is now in China. Gibson has since made their own factory in China.) You can name any brand and they have Chinese guitars now. But just like all manufactured items some are far better than others.
The neck must be attached in such a way as to be strong but not deaden the sounds of the spruce top. Mortise and tenon (dovetail is a type of mortise and tenon) is the way guitar necks are attached. Then the neck must have a "truss rod". We insist on the two way truss rods for control of the neck angles.
The fret board, where the action is is best made with a slight compound curve. The center is bowed back away from the strings about 10 thousands of an inch then after the 12 fret the fret board is bowed down about 5 thousands of an inch to clear the high notes. This allows for a very close action to the frets. You don't deflect the strings much to make them touch the frets. This also makes for much better intonation because the natural pressure downward will tighten the tension on the individual strings and raise the tone. All standard high end guitars will never have "perfect" intonation, but we can do all that is possible to eliminate the "physics" involved to make them sound sweet.
Then comes the over all intonation of the guitar. Using a compensated bridge, as you can see in the photos allows the length of the strings to be closer or farther off the center of the scale. In this case it is a 25.5 inch scale but the bridge compensates for the variations in tone from string to string to keep the guitar playing in tune for the entire length of the fret board. The only thing better is a compensated nut like Earvana or Delft's, Peterson's. We can put an Earvana on your guitar if you want. Contact us. This is because when you depress strings at the first and second frets they always go up in pitch on every guitar ever made, but nobody cares until you become a fanatic guitar player.
Last but not least is the head stock and the angle of the strings going into the "nut" at the top of the fretboard. If you look at the Ouray, Creed, Arboles orRaritan, it has a very smooth transition from the tuners or tuning machines towards the nut. The strings are almost going straight into the nut on the Creede and Raritan. This along with proper lubrication (use "Arjuna's Nut Sauce"; Teflon/Graphite lube) of the nut allows the guitar player to bend notes all they want and not have the tension get "stuck" in the nut. The tension of the strings pull through the nut or slide through the nut. The only other way to do this is with a locking nut that clamps down on the strings so they can't move at all. Many people don't like them and they are not necessary with this angled nut to tuner arrangement as in the Raritan. I've never seen one on an acoutstic guitar, but only on "super strats".
Enjoy a Gruver Guitar and if you don't like it return it.
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