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Ugly tones on the A and D strings   You are logged in as Guest
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Armando

Posts: 302
Joined: May 27 2005
From: Zürich, Switzerland

Ugly tones on the A and D strings 

Hi Folks

Some of my flamenco guitars that i have built in the past have ugly tones particularly on the A and D string between the 3rd and the 7th fret. The strings have a nasal, tight and metallic tone that is unpleasant to the ear especially when played hard. I don't know exactly what the reason for that phenomenon is. One guitar doesn't have that at all. It's the Romanillos model which is a classical guitar. This guitar has open harmonic bars as usual for Romanillos guitars. I guess it might play a role but i'm not really sure.

Has anybody made similar experiences and if yes, what did you do to avoid it?

Could it be a good idea to open the harmonic bars on a flamenco guitar?

I do not make my soundboards too thin nor too thick. I think there must be another reason for the problem. Probably it has something to do with the coupling of the part's which i do not manage to control very well yet. As you know the parts change in frequency when the guitar is assembled.

Thanks a lot in advance for any inputs on the topic.

best regards

Armando

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 4 2013 19:19:17
 
Sean

Posts: 672
Joined: Jan. 20 2011
From: Canada

RE: Ugly tones on the A and D strings (in reply to Armando

Are these notes louder as well, or just not the sound you like?

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 4 2013 19:28:34
 
Armando

Posts: 302
Joined: May 27 2005
From: Zürich, Switzerland

RE: Ugly tones on the A and D strings (in reply to Sean

Hi sean

To me they appear to be louder but it might be just my perception as the tone is not pleasant to the ear.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 4 2013 19:30:55
 
estebanana

Posts: 8548
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Ugly tones on the A and D strings (in reply to Armando

Do you always use the same brand of strings? Some D strings are just crappy. I've had guitar that sounded bad with certain brands.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 4 2013 19:49:01
 
pink

Posts: 570
Joined: Jan. 8 2013
 

RE: Ugly tones on the A and D strings (in reply to Armando

Hi Armando
A thought has popped up,do the offending guitars have uneven bases on the bridge saddles? This can cause a huge problem from a minor issue if you see what I mean....the guitar ceases to talk to itself and the smallest of humps can really knock a guitars tone.
All the best
Pink
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 4 2013 21:59:48
 
Sean

Posts: 672
Joined: Jan. 20 2011
From: Canada

RE: Ugly tones on the A and D strings (in reply to Armando

When you change the strings, check that the saddle seats properly in the bridge. Nice flat slot and bevel the sharp corners off the bottom of the saddle. Is it one note, or several notes this happens on?

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 5 2013 4:06:27
 
Armando

Posts: 302
Joined: May 27 2005
From: Zürich, Switzerland

RE: Ugly tones on the A and D strings (in reply to pink

estebanana

I use mostly the same strings. I already changed them to another brand once and it didn't really solve the problem.

pink and Sean

The one with the bridge slot is a good point. It could play a role. the slots were made with a handsaw and they are not perfectly level. I'll definitely have to pay more attention to this issue. I'll have to check these bridges and see what i can do to improve them. If it changes the tone to the better i'll let you know.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 5 2013 4:49:49
 
Anders Eliasson

Posts: 5780
Joined: Oct. 18 2006
 

RE: Ugly tones on the A and D strings (in reply to Armando

Armando,

If your bridge slot is a little bit higher than the wings, its pretty easy to fix.

You can look for a STRAIGHT file, 2mm wide. if you find one, tell me. I I havent been able to find one myself.

what I do is to use a piece of hardwood. In my case, a cutoff of rosewood. Mine is 100x20x2,2mm Make sure that the edges of the 20 and the 2,2mm are 90 degrees. Cut a piece of sandpaper (I use 100 grit) and glue it on the 2,2mm side. Trim the sandpaper and level the bridge slot.

If the bridge slot is lower than the wings, you have a problem.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 5 2013 10:22:41
 
Sean

Posts: 672
Joined: Jan. 20 2011
From: Canada

RE: Ugly tones on the A and D strings (in reply to Armando

If you have a drill press Armando get a downcut also called downspiral inlay bit. When you make your bridge blanks route the slot using a guide fence. You will get much better results then a handsaw.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 5 2013 15:27:44
 
Sean

Posts: 672
Joined: Jan. 20 2011
From: Canada

RE: Ugly tones on the A and D strings (in reply to Armando

For the guitars you have already made there is this tool. If you have a dremel with a router base use this picture for an idea, and make something similar out of scrap wood. You could also just order everything from Stewmac, but at the very least you should get that bit.



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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 5 2013 15:50:25
 
Armando

Posts: 302
Joined: May 27 2005
From: Zürich, Switzerland

RE: Ugly tones on the A and D strings (in reply to Armando

Thanks everybody for your help

Sean

Yes i have a Dremel router with that mounting tool. I should have used that to make the slot and i'll definitely will use it on any future bridge. The bridge on the Romanillos guitar was routed in that manner so it probably explains, why that guitar doesn't have the problem.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 5 2013 16:31:07
 
jshelton5040

Posts: 1500
Joined: Jan. 17 2005
 

RE: Ugly tones on the A and D strings (in reply to Sean

quote:

ORIGINAL: Sean

If you have a drill press Armando get a downcut also called downspiral inlay bit. When you make your bridge blanks route the slot using a guide fence. You will get much better results then a handsaw.

Sean,
It's my understanding that the bearings in a drill press are not designed for side pressure. Using it as an overhead mill may not be a good idea in the long term. I use a table saw with a 3/32" planer blade. It's fast, accurate and leaves a perfectly square bottomed slot.

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John Shelton - www.sheltonfarrettaguitars.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 5 2013 18:12:05
 
jstelzer

 

Posts: 30
Joined: Dec. 14 2008
 

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 5 2013 21:25:30
 
estebanana

Posts: 8548
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Ugly tones on the A and D strings (in reply to Armando

If your slots are uneven you can do what Anders said, but you can also make small scraper chisel and straighten an level the saddle slot that way. I kind of like that you saw them by hand, but it might just be the final clean up that is what you need.

A few ideas to make scraper chisel:

An old nail driven into a wood handle can be filed and shaped into a hooked scraper the exact width of your slot.

A piece of cabinet scraper can be ground to the exact width of the slot and then glued and bound between to pieces of wood to make a handle.

A old file, discarded chisel or any scrap of hard metal can be worked into the width of the slot and ground on the end to scrape.

With some magnification and light down in the slot you can work carefully to remove material until it's level and square.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 5 2013 22:19:08
 
Andy Culpepper

Posts: 2975
Joined: Mar. 30 2009
From: NY, USA

RE: Ugly tones on the A and D strings (in reply to Armando

I have a couple little scrapers made out of razor blades, one with a piece ground to the width of a saddle slot for cleaning it up.
One other thing you can do with a saddle is to carve out notches in the bottom with a round fine. You just leave about 3-4 mm of saddle contacting the bridge under each string with the arches carved out in between (not high enough to be visible over the lip of the bridge).
Some luthiers do that on all guitars but it works well on guitars where the saddle slot may be a little uneven, because you're only touching the bottom at a few points.

Don't know if that's your problem though. A recording of the sound might help.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 5 2013 22:50:32
 
estebanana

Posts: 8548
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Ugly tones on the A and D strings (in reply to Andy Culpepper

quote:

One other thing you can do with a saddle is to carve out notches in the bottom with a round fine. You just leave about 3-4 mm of saddle contacting the bridge under each string with the arches carved out in between (not high enough to be visible over the lip of the bridge).
Some luthiers do that on all guitars but it works well on guitars where the saddle slot may be a little uneven, because you're only touching the bottom at a few points.


Whenever I see those kinds of saddles I replace them and straighten out the saddle slot. I don't like that approach personally.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 6 2013 0:42:17
 
Andy Culpepper

Posts: 2975
Joined: Mar. 30 2009
From: NY, USA

RE: Ugly tones on the A and D strings (in reply to estebanana

quote:

Whenever I see those kinds of saddles I replace them and straighten out the saddle slot. I don't like that approach personally.


I've tried a notched saddle and a regular saddle on guitars and I can't hear any difference in the sound. So I don't do it either... but if the luthier made it that way I would probably just leave it.

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http://www.andyculpepper.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 6 2013 1:14:59
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