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craftsmanship "hidden" secrets   You are logged in as Guest
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bandurria

 

Posts: 12
Joined: Feb. 24 2013
 

craftsmanship "hidden" secrets 

Not sure if this is still true, but in the "old" days luthiers used to teach their apprentices not everything they new for they liked to keep certain "secrets" to themselves. There are many theories, like they didn't want anyone to copy their way of building their guitars, or they had this "unknown" system of doing things, etc. I don't know if that way of thinking is still present today. We all know that reverse engineering is relatively easy that any "hidden" knowledge of doing things is no longer hidden.

What do you think?

As always

Friendly regards.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 12 2013 0:24:11
 
Sean

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

RE: craftsmanship "hidden"... (in reply to bandurria

Guitar making is like cooking; you can use the same recipe and measurements, but the results still vary.
Recipes never put any master chef's out of work, and neither will guitar plans, or copyists replace master luthiers.
The secrets are intuition and experience, because they lead you to find what works best for you.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 12 2013 4:27:30
 
estebanana

Posts: 8324
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: craftsmanship "hidden"... (in reply to Sean

quote:

Guitar making is like cooking; you can use the same recipe and measurements, but the results still vary.


That is a concise way of saying a whole lot.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 12 2013 5:53:49
 
Erik van Goch

 

Posts: 1787
Joined: Jul. 17 2012
From: Netherlands

RE: craftsmanship "hidden"... (in reply to Sean

:-)
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 12 2013 14:08:37
 
Miguel de Maria

Posts: 3527
Joined: Oct. 20 2003
From: Phoenix, AZ

RE: craftsmanship "hidden"... (in reply to Sean

On our hunger for cookbooks:
http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/atlarge/2009/11/23/091123crat_atlarge_gopnik

A great article!

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Arizona Wedding Music Guitar
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 12 2013 14:25:09
 
Ricardo

Posts: 13228
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: craftsmanship "hidden"... (in reply to bandurria

quote:

ORIGINAL: bandurria

Not sure if this is still true, but in the "old" days luthiers used to teach their apprentices not everything they new for they liked to keep certain "secrets" to themselves. There are many theories, like they didn't want anyone to copy their way of building their guitars, or they had this "unknown" system of doing things, etc. I don't know if that way of thinking is still present today. We all know that reverse engineering is relatively easy that any "hidden" knowledge of doing things is no longer hidden.

What do you think?

As always

Friendly regards.


I would say classical builders are (generally) more inclined to experiment with designs, and also to share those ideas if they turn out good. flamenco builders tend towards more doing things the same as the old days, as players don't look for "new" sounds, rather THE "flamenco" sound and feel, look, etc, whatever that may be. Even though it may have been a guarded secret in the old days, it's pretty much out in the open today with plans drawn of all types of old master guitars, numerous on line discussions of wood types, top thick, brace pattern, string height at bridge, neck angle, etc. The results are so varied as mentioned that the "secrets" are most likely not even totally understood, and probably never were. I think the real "secret" is guitars change a bit over time due to being played a certain way or not. that's my personal "theory". Ok time to go salt my braces.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 12 2013 17:10:59
 
britguy

Posts: 712
Joined: Dec. 26 2010
From: Ontario, Canada

RE: craftsmanship "hidden"... (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

I think the real "secret" is guitars change a bit over time due to being played a certain way or not.


I find this very interesting.

Is the sound of a fine instrument really influenced significantly by the way it is played, and by whom?

My wife owns a rare (inherited) Italian violin - kept in secure storage for many years. Recently an acknowledged international expert advised her that the sound and playability of this instrument was influenced very much by who played it and how they played. . .

I thought he might just be blowing smoke, but maybe not. . .

And maybe guitars and violins react differently: one being plucked, and the other bowed. . .

Still interesting to speculate, though. . .

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 13 2013 21:10:22
 
estebanana

Posts: 8324
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: craftsmanship "hidden"... (in reply to britguy

quote:

My wife owns a rare (inherited) Italian violin - kept in secure storage for many years. Recently an acknowledged international expert advised her that the sound and playability of this instrument was influenced very much by who played it and how they played. . .


This is true.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 13 2013 22:02:03
 
machopicasso

 

Posts: 899
Joined: Nov. 27 2010
 

RE: craftsmanship "hidden"... (in reply to estebanana

quote:

My wife owns a rare (inherited) Italian violin - kept in secure storage for many years. Recently an acknowledged international expert advised her that the sound and playability of this instrument was influenced very much by who played it and how they played. . .


quote:

This is true.


Can you explain why? (I'm assuming "how they played" is not about damaging/not damaging the instrument). And are you saying "this is true" for guitars and not just Italian violins?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 17 2013 9:22:28
 
britguy

Posts: 712
Joined: Dec. 26 2010
From: Ontario, Canada

RE: craftsmanship "hidden"... (in reply to machopicasso

quote:

I'm assuming "how they played" is not about damaging/not damaging the instrument).


Correct.

The 'authority' guy was trying to explain to us that leaving the violin in storage for many years was not good for it's health. And that it needed to be played hard and regularly, and by someone who knew how to get the best out of it.

(We ended up giving it on an extended 'loan' arangement to a young budding virtuoso who is now playing it hard every day. . .)

However, from what I've read and heard, guitars do not improve much beyond the first 20-30 years. Not quite sure why this is so, but maybe one of the Foro builders can explain.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 17 2013 12:43:57
 
Ricardo

Posts: 13228
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: craftsmanship "hidden"... (in reply to machopicasso

quote:

ORIGINAL: machopicasso

quote:

My wife owns a rare (inherited) Italian violin - kept in secure storage for many years. Recently an acknowledged international expert advised her that the sound and playability of this instrument was influenced very much by who played it and how they played. . .


quote:

This is true.


Can you explain why? (I'm assuming "how they played" is not about damaging/not damaging the instrument). And are you saying "this is true" for guitars and not just Italian violins?



Its been discussed but i can't find it. Some of us claim that playing a guitar improves the sound over time. The science behind it is not so good but something about the aligning of crystals in the finish as it dries out, thanks to vibrations of certain playing/tuning/activation of the soundboard. The idea was carried along to a sound experiment where fresh guitars were subjected to intense long term bombardment of sound waves while drying and supposedly "broke in" after week of this, so they were as played in as a guitar typically after a year of use. I personally related my experience with cheap factory guitars sounding amazing after a year or so of very heavy rumba strumming. Several foro members asserted that this was ALL hogwash and is simply a phenomena of various players improving their playing and ears and essentially guitars will shape up the same way if played or stored and untouched.

A tricky polarized subject for sure. I can't deny my shock about that cheap junk $400 cordoba though, so I am all for the playing voodoo and go further and believe "good positive energy" helps instruments a lot. All those guitars at brune's, as different as they were, all had something "the same" about them, and maybe it was Richard and his hands on the instruments, or maybe it was just the humidity.

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CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 17 2013 16:19:52
 
britguy

Posts: 712
Joined: Dec. 26 2010
From: Ontario, Canada

RE: craftsmanship "hidden"... (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

The science behind it is not so good but something about the aligning of crystals in the finish as it dries out, thanks to vibrations of certain playing/tuning/activation of the soundboard.



Very interesting comment.

I seem to recall reading many years ago, that there was a (well-supported) theory that the "secret" of the unique tone of Stradivarius' violins was actually in the varnish he used!

Maybe the same theory may apply to guitars, also?

Any evidence to support this?

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Fruit farmer, Ontario, Canada
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 17 2013 22:18:59
 
machopicasso

 

Posts: 899
Joined: Nov. 27 2010
 

RE: craftsmanship "hidden"... (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

Some of us claim that playing a guitar improves the sound over time... Several foro members asserted that this was ALL hogwash and is simply a phenomena of various players improving their playing and ears and essentially guitars will shape up the same way if played or stored and untouched.


So, is the theory in question one according to which playing well improves the sound of the guitar or can bad playing improve it just as well? If the latter, that would presumably be a counter-argument against the detractors (i.e. the "hogwash" crowd).
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 18 2013 9:30:47
 
Ricardo

Posts: 13228
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: craftsmanship "hidden"... (in reply to machopicasso

quote:

ORIGINAL: machopicasso

quote:

Some of us claim that playing a guitar improves the sound over time... Several foro members asserted that this was ALL hogwash and is simply a phenomena of various players improving their playing and ears and essentially guitars will shape up the same way if played or stored and untouched.


So, is the theory in question one according to which playing well improves the sound of the guitar or can bad playing improve it just as well? If the latter, that would presumably be a counter-argument against the detractors (i.e. the "hogwash" crowd).


That first requires an agreed upon standard of both "playing well" and playing "bad". Even trickier subject. Keep in mind, after all the debate about it, it is not exactly clear what definitively makes a "good" guitar vs a "bad" guitar. One player's lemon might be another's dream guitar. I am only able to distinguish, personally, by what my hands and ears tell me. It's a little different for each of us although I will say I think the flamenco world is much more narrow than the classical world in terms of what players are looking for in a "good" guitar.

_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 18 2013 13:06:05
 
estebanana

Posts: 8324
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: craftsmanship "hidden"... (in reply to bandurria

Just curious Britguy if you would devulge the maker of your wonderful violin? If not understandable.

I think the crystal thing mentioed is thougt to be about the resin in the wood and how the vibrations move it and how it sets. I really have no idea and most of the tricky smart science guys of luthery have no idea either. It's one of the mysterious things in string instruments that is we don't know how to measure, or even what to meaure.

Violins and cellos and other bowed instruiments do go to sleep if they are not played and it takes some playing to wake them back up if they don't get played for a while. Even taking the top off a violin and doing some reapir work requires the instrument to sit under string tension for several hours to a few days, to longer in some cases, before it settles back into it's old self. Guitars to a certain extent have the same thing.

When a violin or cello gets played by a virtuoso player who has a group of peices they play over and over again the instruments seem to develop a sweet spot for those peices. there are lots of stories about this told by famous payers who 'inherit' a famous instrument from a previous virtuoso player only to comment on how ithe instrument seems to know its way through this or that concerto that the former owner was known for playing.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 19 2013 0:20:49
 
machopicasso

 

Posts: 899
Joined: Nov. 27 2010
 

RE: craftsmanship "hidden"... (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

I think the flamenco world is much more narrow than the classical world in terms of what players are looking for in a "good" guitar.


Curiously, do you think this is the case on account of something intrinsic to flamenco guitar playing?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 19 2013 9:06:54
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