Soundboard thickness vs. bracings... (Full Version)

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Ramón -> Soundboard thickness vs. bracings... (Feb. 4 2009 10:45:56)

So I'm building from the Reyes plans (thank you, Tom), and now starting to get ideas and a little understanding of other designs, and want to 'experiment' a bit. I have an older Esteso that I have been studying, along with the Ramirez flamencos of the 60's.

Soundboard thickess appears to be thicker when there is only 5 almost-vertical braces, and when a brace for the underside of the bridge is not used. I've never seen any plans with simpler bracing/no bridge support, so I'm curious, as my Esteso seems to be like 3mm thick! Great sound, though.

Any feedback or thoughts, ideas, experiences, or knowledge here would be helpful.

Thanks




Armando -> RE: Soundboard thickness vs. bracings... (Feb. 4 2009 12:41:21)

Hi Ramón

I'm not Tom but i might also be able to give a feedback.

As from my experience (which is limited, but plenty at a time) it's true that soundboards with a bridge badge are usually thinner than those without. That's logic in a way, because the bridge badge adds latteral stiffness to the top. This allows to build guitars with thinner/lighter tops without loosing significantly on strenght. This in turn is a good basis to go from, if you want a guitar with a lot of attack, nice trebles and good bass at a time. All this attitudes are tipical for Reyes guitars. The Reyes guitar on Toms plan has a relatively thin top, but the bridge badge and the seven fan bracing pattern ensures enough stiffness to perfectly support the top. The plan worked very well for me allthough there are still some uncertainties regarding some construction details of this model / maker.

A top of three milimeters thickness appears to me to be too beefy even for a classical guitar with a red cedar top. I assume you know that already, but you must make sure not to measure the thickness of the soundboard close to the a soundhole, if a reinforcement is glued around this area. Three milimeters would probably give you strong trebles but it would take you away almost all bass and the dynamics of the sound. I have a Bernal negra with a red cedar top of 2,6mm thickness and a rather beefy seven fan bracing. That guitar sounds not too bad, but it is hard to get sound out of it, compared to my sprucetop flamencas with thinner tops. It really requires "pumping nylon" to get a nice sound out of that guitar.

Indeed it is important to have the top thickness and the stiffness of the bracings well balanced. How to reach that is a matter of personal experience, belief and whatever else. This topic becoms often a matter of dispute as there are many different opinions around among luthiers.

regards

Armando




SEden -> RE: Soundboard thickness vs. bracings... (Feb. 22 2009 4:11:45)

if you want to see a thin top with a simple fan system find a santos hernedez plan. the one from roy courtnall's book master guitars. its a 7 fan system fairly virtical bracing a 2mm top. you've also got to think about width and hieght of your bars this can add and take away alot to sound.

thinner still is smallman. ultra thin cedar top. but his style of guitar is a completly different ball game.




Tom Blackshear -> RE: Soundboard thickness vs. bracings... (Feb. 22 2009 6:53:52)

quote:

ORIGINAL: Ramón

So I'm building from the Reyes plans (thank you, Tom), and now starting to get ideas and a little understanding of other designs, and want to 'experiment' a bit. I have an older Esteso that I have been studying, along with the Ramirez flamencos of the 60's.

Soundboard thickess appears to be thicker when there is only 5 almost-vertical braces, and when a brace for the underside of the bridge is not used. I've never seen any plans with simpler bracing/no bridge support, so I'm curious, as my Esteso seems to be like 3mm thick! Great sound, though.

Any feedback or thoughts, ideas, experiences, or knowledge here would be helpful.

Thanks


The best guitars are mostly thinner in their tops but thicker tops do carry more music in them based on my building experience. But the trick is to know how to get good musical response out of thinner tops since this gives the guitar better projection and voicing, if it is done right.

The Reyes plan is about the best example I know of right now to get the modern response most musicians are seeking; not the Reyes itself but characteristically something that is close in its proximity to where you will get the proper articulation without having to do too much top graduation technique. Most of the older patterns have a lot of top thickness difference to worry about.

Even the older Condes had certain or various top thickness graduations to make them right. Most really good flamenco guitars will be slightly thinner around the bridge area than on the edges. This technique comes from growing to understand the top flex before installing the bridge.

Many Ramirez flamenco guitars seem to operate with even tops but some have the tops thinner in the middle for particular articulation and power. Same with the older Conde guitars that were braced toward the middle and that presented a stiffer top that needed a thinner center area.




Ramón -> RE: Soundboard thickness vs. bracings... (Mar. 12 2009 12:07:40)

Hi Tom,

I'm successfully building from your Reyes plans (thanks again), but was curious what you thought the little strips between the soundboard braces did at the bottom of the braces, and what the differences might be if the bracing wasn't 'closed' like this?

Thanks




Tom Blackshear -> RE: Soundboard thickness vs. bracings... (Mar. 12 2009 17:38:27)

quote:

ORIGINAL: Ramón

Hi Tom,

I'm successfully building from your Reyes plans (thanks again), but was curious what you thought the little strips between the soundboard braces did at the bottom of the braces, and what the differences might be if the bracing wasn't 'closed' like this?

Thanks



I call them insert braces. They are very thin and provide support for the top to keep it from wrinkling at or near the bottom of the guitar, since there are no cross struts to act as stiffeners near the bottom.

The Reyes top is thin at about 2.1 mm and it makes sense to glue the inserts between the fan braces to support the top. Also, I think they might help lower the top key a semi tone as well; making the top about G-F# on the 3rd and 4th string.




Ramón -> RE: Soundboard thickness vs. bracings... (Mar. 12 2009 21:10:17)

Thanks for the reply...

I also noticed that you've updated (here) a bit of your thoughts on the plan, in that you're reducing the thickness under the bridge. Given how thin the bridge backing strip is, does it seem that it almost, when glued down, brings it back 'flush' with the top?

Just curious....

PS....My #2 was a bit thicker on the top, as I 'overshot' on #1, and it's definitely a bit punchier. Kind of more weight behind it, if you get my drift. Thanks.

R




Tom Blackshear -> RE: Soundboard thickness vs. bracings... (Mar. 13 2009 6:26:21)

quote:

ORIGINAL: Ramón

Thanks for the reply...

I also noticed that you've updated (here) a bit of your thoughts on the plan, in that you're reducing the thickness under the bridge. Given how thin the bridge backing strip is, does it seem that it almost, when glued down, brings it back 'flush' with the top?

Just curious....

PS....My #2 was a bit thicker on the top, as I 'overshot' on #1, and it's definitely a bit punchier. Kind of more weight behind it, if you get my drift. Thanks.

R



Reyes makes his tops different thickness but this particular guitar was 2.1 mm on the top. And to thin out the top under and around the bridge is a flamenco technique to bring up the string torque a little to stiffen the feel. Many Spanish makers did this in the past to create a bolder and tighter sound. It also helps open up the middle register voicing a little, and very little sanding is necessary to open it up; almost not even a noticeable thickness difference.

The bridge strap should not be your guide as to how you thin out the top.




Ramón -> RE: Soundboard thickness vs. bracings... (Mar. 13 2009 8:16:06)

Thank you for your insight and feedback.

I just had a chance to play, in front of a performing artist, a very nice peghead Conde against my #2 peghead 'Reyes'.

I was told mine was much nicer sounding :-)

Thank you for your time with these plans.

R




Tom Blackshear -> RE: Soundboard thickness vs. bracings... (Mar. 13 2009 9:51:33)

quote:

ORIGINAL: Ramón

Thank you for your insight and feedback.

I just had a chance to play, in front of a performing artist, a very nice peghead Conde against my #2 peghead 'Reyes'.

I was told mine was much nicer sounding :-)

Thank you for your time with these plans.

R


I'm sure Anders would agree that most any plan is good but that it takes certain insight from the builder to make a great guitar. Congratulations!




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