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View Full Version : Can tell which sound sample belongs to which of these two vintage baris?



Doc_J
12-19-2015, 09:29 AM
Thought I'd post a fun hearing test. I've got 2 vintage (50s-60s) baritones, a Silvertone (made by Harmony for Sears) and a Favilla. I'm not sure what strings are on them, but from the looks Aquila and Martin. I won't say which set is on which one.

Can you tell which sound sample belongs to each one?
Do prefer one over the other?

Here are two recordings:

Sample Bari 1 : https://app.box.com/s/zb2nho96fc71avmkwgbvoi8x001gizkg

Sample Bari 2 : https://app.box.com/s/zl3qt3d5479md20b7mwvm1h8vy3qdj5p

Here's a picture of the two. (Don't look at the strings to help with the test.) :)

http://i1298.photobucket.com/albums/ag56/Doc_Jenkins/Misc/P1070590_zps4ydqqfmq.jpg?t=1450467961

stevejfc
12-19-2015, 09:53 AM
I'm guessing that #1 is the Favilla and #2 the Silvertone. #1 has a fuller tone with deeper base. #2 has a thinner tinny tone, kinda like the Silvertone guitar I had as a kid amillion years ago. I've never played a Favilla or a Silvertone Bari...........so just a guess from what I've read about Favillas.
By the way, nice playing Doc!

JustinJ
12-19-2015, 10:03 AM
First off, thank you for taking the time to do this. I know it takes time and effort to put this up. I enjoy these type of threads.

I liked both ukes for different reasons. Vintage 1 is my favorite. I'm not sure which one it is but I would choose it, even if it was the Silvertone and not the Favilla. When vintage 1 is strummed it sounds like it has more dynamics in the higher range tones. The vintage 2 has a nice midrange and may work better in some forms of music.

They both have a nice sound. I just prefer Vintage 1 but could see how someone would like Vintage 2 .

Ukulele Eddie
12-19-2015, 10:12 AM
Fun stuff. I think Favilla is #1; has a deeper tone to my ear.

DownUpDave
12-19-2015, 10:50 AM
Both sounded nice for different reasons. I liked the sound of #1 better, more note seperation and a more complex sound. Baritones can sometimes be too muddy sounding when strummed but both had a good clear sound, #1 was just better.

I have no idea which one is which. Pride would make me say Favilla is #1 but I really dont have a clue. I love these tests. Like great tenors with a spruce top and a cedar top and most of us cannot guess correctly. We buy with our eyes alot of the time.

By the way Hodge what do you have them tuned to.

UkieOkie
12-19-2015, 11:19 AM
Thanks a ton for doing this. I like the tone and general sound of number one better. To be honest I have no idea which one is which. #1 has a richer, fuller sound. I haven't heard enough favillas or silvertones in person to try to pick which is which.

Thanks again.

Doc_J
12-19-2015, 11:22 AM
Dave, I've got both of them tuned DGBE. I think they sound very similar.

JustinJ
12-19-2015, 01:03 PM
Dave, I've got both of them tuned DGBE. I think they sound very similar.

I agree that they are very close. It could be my personal preference for tenor uke that makes me like vintage 1 .

They are very close but it's the strumming that pushes vintage 1 for me.

johnson430
12-19-2015, 03:57 PM
OK, here are my guesses.
Favilla is uke #1
Silvertone is uke #2

As others have said, I like #1 the best.

PM which is which. Please!
I want to know if I was right.

Thanks,
Johnson

ps: You sound great on both of them. Nice picking and strumming.
What mic are you using?

Doc_J
12-19-2015, 04:55 PM
OK, here are my guesses.
Favilla is uke #1
Silvertone is uke #2

As others have said, I like #1 the best.

PM which is which. Please!
I want to know if I was right.

Thanks,
Johnson

ps: You sound great on both of them. Nice picking and strumming.
What mic are you using?

Thanks. I'm using a Blue Yeti USB mic in mono Cartoid mode with Audacity.
Sent you a pm about which one is which.

mm stan
12-20-2015, 05:17 AM
Aloha Hodge,
Favilla numba 1

johnson430
12-20-2015, 06:07 AM
Thanks. I'm using a Blue Yeti USB mic in mono Cartoid mode with Audacity.
Sent you a pm about which one is which.

Hodge,
Awesome.
I have the Blue Yeti and use Audacity as well.
Mono? I didn't think about that. I was using stereo cartoid mode.
Pardon my ignorance. Why use mono to record?

Johnson

PS: And thanks for the PM about my guesses. It is nice to have such friendly people in the forum. =)

bunnyf
12-20-2015, 06:07 AM
I've had a Harmony Bari and a Favilla and I immediately thought #1 was the Favilla. It'll be funny if I'm wrong. Interesting thread. I liked the blind listen (didn't look at the ukes. I didn't want the strings to give me any clues). It's like watching The Voice and finding out the female singer you like is a dude.

Doc_J
12-20-2015, 06:39 AM
Hodge,
Awesome.
I have the Blue Yeti and use Audacity as well.
Mono? I didn't think about that. I was using stereo cartoid mode.
Pardon my ignorance. Why use mono to record?

PS: And thanks for the PM about my guesses. It is nice to have such friendly people in the forum. =)

Yes, it was recorded in Mono instead of stereo.
It's funny, but Mono just seems to give a better sound sample to my ears than Stereo (I have no idea why).
(Side note on recording settings: Gain is just past mid-way on the mic and I use 256 kbps for the MP3.)

And you're welcome.

Patrick Madsen
12-20-2015, 09:06 AM
I think Favilla is #1

Doc_J
12-20-2015, 02:23 PM
Here's which one is which. Don't read this post if you want to try and figure out by listening.

Sample Bari 1 : https://app.box.com/s/zb2nho96fc71avmkwgbvoi8x001gizkg

Sample Bari 2 : https://app.box.com/s/zl3qt3d5479md20b7mwvm1h8vy3qdj5p

Sample Bari 1 is the vintage Silvertone with (?)Aquila strings.

Sample Bari 2 is the vintage Favilla with (?)Martin fluorocarbon strings.

I agee and was surprised at the Silvertone sound quality. It is very balanced across the frequencies, especially nice midrange.
The fluorocarbon Martin strings made the Favilla a bit brighter with good bass, but the mids were less noticeable.
Playability was better on the Silvertone, with a slimmer neck profile than the Favilla. But the action was better on the Favilla. The action on the Silvertone is a little high at the 12 fret and can't be adjusted much at the saddle without taking down the bridge height.

String differences also contributed to the sound differences. I can't say for sure that those are Aquila and Martins, but that is my best guess. Also don't know how long the strings have been on either, but they aren't discolored or worn (no fret indents on the string bottoms).

Silvertone/Harmony baritones seem under appreciated. And they are fairly low priced (in the $100-$200 range is common).

Hope you had some fun. Thanks.

UkieOkie
12-20-2015, 03:43 PM
That was lots of fun. Please someone do another one.

bonesigh
12-20-2015, 06:12 PM
Okay, I didn't read the other posts and I'm liking the sound of the second recording. Now I'm gonna go back and see what was said (: Interesting as I was the only one who like the second recording just a bit more. Had a warmer tone to my ears. If I see an old Bari that's a Favilla I'll know to grab it.

Dan Uke
12-20-2015, 06:51 PM
I did not guess since I've never played either instrument so wouldn't know one from the other. However I liked #1 better as well. We've had several discussions on ukes and you know I trust my ears the most...and then your opinion. :)

Another good sound sample Hodge!

DownUpDave
12-21-2015, 05:47 AM
Ha.......I love it. So glad that I made the disclaimer about liking the sound of one instrument but usually guessing wrong. Our ears tell the story but sometmes our eyes or our predetermined opinions get priority

Patrick Madsen
12-21-2015, 05:58 AM
I tried Flouros on my Favilla and took 'em off right away. They just didn't bring out the vintage sound a F. produces. Went with old style nylon and worked like a charm.

JustinJ
12-21-2015, 07:39 AM
I'm impressed with the sound of the Silvertone. I'm thinking that I might have to take a look at some of their older Silvertone Acoustic Archtops.


I'm going to keep a lookout for a cheap Silvertone baritone as I'm sure others will be. I like having a nice instrument but then you're hesitant to take it out of the house with you. If I had an old beater, then just bring it and play it.

Ukulele Eddie
12-21-2015, 09:34 AM
Good fun. It would be an interesting follow-up to put identical new strings on both and do another blind compare.

Joyful Uke
12-21-2015, 10:59 AM
Thanks for taking the time to do this. I had never heard either instrument, so had no guess on which was which, but it's fun to listen for the differences, and read the comments.

bunnyf
12-21-2015, 02:40 PM
Good fun. It would be an interesting follow-up to put identical new strings on both and do another blind compare.

Having had both and still not guessing correctly, I too would love to hear the difference in sound when strung up similarly.

Teek
12-24-2015, 09:39 AM
I'd like to hear them both with the same set of Southcoasts. I have a Favilla classical guitar, the right strings definitely make it shine more. My circa 40's Favilla soprano gives my c. 1940 Martin 3M a run for it's money.

Harmony made some real winners though, especially in the baritone ukes. I bought and set up and buffed a Harmony 910 parlor sized classical, all solid birch body with a radiused fretboard! and the sound was awesome! Neck was like a baseball bat though so I sold it to someone with big hands. I also had a tenor guitar and sold it, wish I had it back now that I have more interest and time on longer scales.

Doc_J
01-28-2016, 10:45 AM
Both of these baritones now have the same strings, Aquila.

Can you decide which is a Favilla, and which is a Silvertone, now?

Here are the two new recordings.

Sample Bari 1 : https://app.box.com/s/3qz943sbntfigaezjcc6vrz5g8z3mf3i

Sample Bari 2 :https://app.box.com/s/4wyo3j4faxlk9f5st7setprw7jw7993a

DownUpDave
01-28-2016, 11:13 AM
Oh you are a beauty Doc, thanks for taking this one step farther. It is a very intersting comparison, I have given up trying to guess, at least I have given up betting any big money on my picks :p

I liked the sound of #1 the best. Espiecally when finger picked, good highs, quite articulate for a baritone. The strummimg seems to retain some note seperation, as much as can be expected from a baritone.

#2 had a softer mellower sound and there was not as much single note clarity.

So if I had to buy one with my ears I would pick number 1.........guess it is the Silvertone, probably wrong.

wildfire070
01-28-2016, 04:10 PM
I think #1 = Favilla and #2 = Silvertone

knotscott
01-28-2016, 04:54 PM
I sure don't which is which, but I liked the sound of #1 best.

JustinJ
01-28-2016, 04:56 PM
I liked the first one the best during finger picking until the strumming part and then I felt like the second had a more interesting tone strummed.


I'm guessing #1 is the Silverstone and #2 Faille .

johnson430
01-28-2016, 05:33 PM
I like #1 the best.

Doc_J
01-29-2016, 02:26 AM
Both of these baritones now have the same strings, Aquila.

Can you decide which is a Favilla, and which is a Silvertone, now?

Here are the two new recordings.

Sample Bari 1 : https://app.box.com/s/3qz943sbntfigaezjcc6vrz5g8z3mf3i

Sample Bari 2 :https://app.box.com/s/4wyo3j4faxlk9f5st7setprw7jw7993a

OK. You all have pretty good hearing. :)

Bari 1 is again the Silvertone.

Bari 2 is the Favilla.

johnson430
01-29-2016, 03:21 AM
Doc J,
If you ever need to find a new home for that Silvertone, please put me at the top of the list.
Johnson
=)

DownUpDave
01-30-2016, 02:00 PM
Ears don't lie. Favillas are legendary but most everybody liked the Silvertone. I even guessed right.......for once, yipeee.

Thanks for doing that Doc, those blind comparisons are always a lot of fun.

johnson430
02-07-2016, 04:56 AM
Doc_J.
Because of your sound samples I have pulled the plug on a Silvertone bari. This will be my first bari.
It has the same headstock logo style as yours and appears to be in excellent condition. (photo attached)
And I got it for a good price too.


Thanks again for doing this comparison.

Johnson =)

Doc_J
02-07-2016, 05:43 AM
Doc_J.
Because of your sound samples I have pulled the plug on a Silvertone bari. This will be my first bari.
It has the same headstock logo style as yours and appears to be in excellent condition. (photo attached)
And I got it for a good price too.


Thanks again for doing this comparison.

Johnson =)

You're welcome. That looks like a nice one. Silvertone bari's are hard to beat for a vintage USA made solid mahogany bari. Let us know how it sounds.