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Thin vs thick back and side?   You are logged in as Guest
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Ahmed Flamenco

 

Posts: 163
Joined: Feb. 22 2014
From: Egypt

Thin vs thick back and side? 

Hey guys how are you
I have a question right now
Is it better or not for back and sides to be thicker than usual,somebody told me that thicker is better as it will rebound more sound leading to more sound to come outside the sound hole so louder sound.
What do you think?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 1 2015 21:45:16
 
estebanana

Posts: 8324
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Thin vs thick back and side? (in reply to Ahmed Flamenco

There is a school of thought about classical guitars that thick sides are good. However thick sides kill flamenco guitars generally.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 2 2015 2:42:01
 
Jeff Highland

 

Posts: 401
Joined: Mar. 5 2010
From: Caves Beach Australia

RE: Thin vs thick back and side? (in reply to Ahmed Flamenco

I'd agree with estebanana, no place for thick sides for flamenco.
Guitars don't really work like that anyhow "somebody told me that thicker is better as it will rebound more sound leading to more sound to come outside the sound hole so louder sound"

With the back there is no real advantage in going extra thick just don't go too thin or the resonant frequency of the back can get too close to that of the soundboard and attenuate output.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 2 2015 6:13:51
 
keith

Posts: 1108
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From: Land of Daniel Boone

RE: Thin vs thick back and side? (in reply to Ahmed Flamenco

greg smallman is the principal person who began using thick backs and sides coupled with a thin top braced with a lattice framework. the theory is this morphology allows the back and side to reflect sound. this type of guitar structure has been used for classical guitars and some critics might say bluegrass--it sounds like a banjo.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 2 2015 9:19:26
 
Sr. Martins

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RE: Thin vs thick back and side? (in reply to Ahmed Flamenco

You should be more concerned about building with headstock joint holders.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 2 2015 9:59:00
 
Stephen Eden

 

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From: UK

RE: Thin vs thick back and side? (in reply to Ahmed Flamenco

I like to think of it as relative stiffness rather than thickness. Will it project more? You could say what will it project more of too. I have personally found I get a deeper sounding bass with a stiffer back (thicker when using the same wood). This works with the way I build and definitely isn't the only way. You can also stiffen the back using bigger and/or more braces.

A lot of the thicker say double side guitars I have tried have greater sustain. I have played a few Friederich's and a Rohe with double sides that seem to control the bass's sustain, The trebles seem fairly similar double sides or not but I haven't got a huge pool of those particular guitars to draw from.

When it comes down to it though, you have to figure out what works for you and the sound you want to achieve. That can only be done with trial and error as changing the thickness or stiffness of something can change some things for the good and at the same time change things in a way you do not like.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 2 2015 10:59:36
 
Ahmed Flamenco

 

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Joined: Feb. 22 2014
From: Egypt

RE: Thin vs thick back and side? (in reply to Ahmed Flamenco

Really Thanks my friends
but with these opinions I can see that controlling the sound of the guitar might be very difficult and come with building many guitars varying different parameters .
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 2 2015 12:49:46
 
Ahmed Flamenco

 

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Joined: Feb. 22 2014
From: Egypt

RE: Thin vs thick back and side? (in reply to Stephen Eden

quote:

I get a deeper sounding bass with a stiffer back

Do you mean it has more low frequency bass character?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 2 2015 12:52:13
 
estebanana

Posts: 8324
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Thin vs thick back and side? (in reply to keith

quote:

greg smallman is the principal person who began using thick backs and sides coupled with a thin top braced with a lattice framework. the theory is this morphology allows the back and side to reflect sound. this type of guitar structure has been used for classical guitars and some critics might say bluegrass--it sounds like a banjo.


Nope, it was Daniel Friederich long before Smallman. He laminated thick sides, but not backs. His guitars are probably the best of the best.

Smallman's are really different. The structure is not to reflect sound it's to be so stiff it does not get effected by the sheer forces of the strings. and other tensions in the guitar. All backs reflect sound, but the Smallmans are built more like speaker cabinets, but not al of the sound like banjos. But they are loud.
Everything is built stiff to provide a rigid structure for the top to to be isolated. And the ribs and body structure don't steal energy from the top.

Spanish style construction by contrast gets some of the timbre and by allowing the back a ribs to transmit vibration around the guitar. Flamencos needs thin ribs because that is part of what allows the sound to be shaped that way.

It's a not a super fun conversation and it's difficult to pin down what each parts does because the whole system is so complex.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 2 2015 15:24:36
 
keith

Posts: 1108
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From: Land of Daniel Boone

RE: Thin vs thick back and side? (in reply to estebanana

Stephan, I used Smallman, per the O.P. inquiry, as the example as he uses thick sides and back and his work is readily known to many. As you correctly pointed out he is not the first to use thick sides--several luthiers have used various laminations of sides including Ramirez. I believe Smallman is the first to use both sides and back--or at least he is well known to be one of the first to use both. I have read the rationale for the thick sides and back is, in part, to help reflect sound--as well as providing a stiff framework to allow the top to vibrate to its' maximum. As to banjos, many folks who have played or listened to a Smallman have remarked the guitars have a banjo sound to them. There are a couple of pieces on John Williams, The Guitarist, CD that have a shrill almost banjo-ish tone to them. Overall the guitars I have heard, played by John Williams and Xuefei Yang, have a lot of range and depth.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 2 2015 17:18:59
 
Miguel de Maria

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From: Phoenix, AZ

RE: Thin vs thick back and side? (in reply to Ahmed Flamenco

Here's JW playing Koyunalibabaandthefortythieves:



It's an odd sound, for sure.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 2 2015 19:46:16
 
eg.czerny

 

Posts: 56
Joined: Jun. 30 2005
 

RE: Thin vs thick back and side? (in reply to Miguel de Maria

If this is JW playing a thick back and side guitar (or double) then I want one.
Odd sound? Not to me. I just put new strings on both a blanca and a negra in the last two days. Both sound very "flamenco" but I did like the sound of this guitar. Very pure. Nice piece. Of course it might have a lot to do with John Williams. He's no slouch.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 2 2015 23:27:38
 
estebanana

Posts: 8324
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Thin vs thick back and side? (in reply to keith

quote:

Stephan, I used Smallman, per the O.P. inquiry, as the example as he uses thick sides and back and his work is readily known to many. As you correctly pointed out he is not the first to use thick sides--several luthiers have used various laminations of sides including Ramirez. I believe Smallman is the first to use both sides and back--or at least he is well known to be one of the first to use both. I have read the rationale for the thick sides and back is, in part, to help reflect sound--as well as providing a stiff framework to allow the top to vibrate to its' maximum. As to banjos, many folks who have played or listened to a Smallman have remarked the guitars have a banjo sound to them. There are a couple of pieces on John Williams, The Guitarist, CD that have a shrill almost banjo-ish tone to them. Overall the guitars I have heard, played by John Williams and Xuefei Yang, have a lot of range and depth.
 



Keith,
you may be right Ramirez may be first, ( or even some one in the 19th century, but the Freiderich and Ramirez both have similar reasons for using stiff sides.


It's a super can of worms I'd rather not get bogged down in, but all backs are reflectors, they don't really add much sound. The exception might be the double body guitars John builds.

Smallmans work the same way ever other guitar works, but certain parts have been taken to extremes of stiffness and lightness which emphasizes some characteristics over others.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is a flamenco guitar, if the ribs are thin and movable then some of he movement of the top and energy is absorbed by the ribs. The rim of the sound board is not as inviolate to movement, all this is really complex and it's not as simple as one style of construction reflects sound and the other does not.

I think the comparison of Smallmans, Redgates and the other makers who build those guitars to banjos slightly off. I think they sound and function musically more like pianos. They have precise articulation in chordal playing and very little "distortion" ( in th electric guitar sense) the kind of romantic fuzzy sound a Spanish style construction can have.


The difference between flamenco guitars and Smallman's to me is more like a clean jazz archtop and a electric guitar with a bit of distortion. Or a big grand piano and a harpsichord. The other way characterize them is warm an cool, like colors. Smallmans seem generally cool and Spanish guitars are warm.


I've thought about building one, but it's like being flamenco Luke Skywalker and then having classical Darth Vader say come to the dark side, you are my son Luke. It's like once you go there maybe you don't come back....hahahah

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 3 2015 2:05:01
 
keith

Posts: 1108
Joined: Sep. 29 2009
From: Land of Daniel Boone

RE: Thin vs thick back and side? (in reply to Miguel de Maria

Miguel, Koyunbaba is one of the great pieces. I am fortunate to have learned it--a nice 12+ minutes spent. Sure wish I could play it half as good as John Williams.

Stephan, as you correctly stated, Smallman guitars have a very piano like sound. The "banjo" sound is an opinion of some--mainly the anti-Smallman crowd. There is piece after Koyunbaba, I think it is Lamento or Ductia or Saltarello (got the names from Amazon but my CD is at home) that has some serious "twang". Could be the Smallman or could be Williams doing some really interesting.

A lattice top flamenco would be interesting. There is a story about one of John Williams' techs accidently putting his thumb through the top. A few golpes on a Smallman and the guitar could begin to take an appearance like Willie Nelson's Trigger.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 3 2015 13:13:45
 
tijeretamiel

 

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Joined: Jan. 6 2012
 

RE: Thin vs thick back and side? (in reply to Miguel de Maria

quote:

ORIGINAL: Miguel de Maria

Here's JW playing Koyunalibabaandthefortythieves:



It's an odd sound, for sure.


The guitar sounds horrid to my ears, like it was mastered with the high pass filter switch left on.

I read somewhere someone's Smallman has a back which is 6.7mm thick! I also read he uses multipiece tops of 4-5 pieces for the soundboard, which isn't a new practise but interesting nonetheless.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 3 2015 13:54:57
 
jshelton5040

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RE: Thin vs thick back and side? (in reply to estebanana

quote:

ORIGINAL: estebanana

It's a super can of worms I'd rather not get bogged down in, but all backs are reflectors, they don't really add much sound. The exception might be the double body guitars John builds.


I haven't any empirical data showing how or why the double body design works (just theories). We have found though that making the inner back thicker than on a traditional guitar improves the sound. We discovered this as a result of making the inner back very thin to cut weight and noticing a degradation of volume and sustain. The sides being two sides joined together with spacers do become very stiff.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 3 2015 18:27:10
 
Tom Blackshear

 

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RE: Thin vs thick back and side? (in reply to jshelton5040

I have found that building the Reyes designed flamenco style has its sound improved by using a solid two piece lining, like the Miguel Rodriguez classical guitars, keeping the sound from being absorbed into the sides; pushing the sound back into the top for better projection, etc.

This will cause a higher frequency to some extent but allow the sides to be thin.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 3 2015 20:54:20
 
estebanana

Posts: 8324
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Thin vs thick back and side? (in reply to Tom Blackshear

quote:

I have found that building the Reyes designed flamenco style has its sound improved by using a solid two piece lining, like the Miguel Rodriguez classical guitars, keeping the sound from being absorbed into the sides; pushing the sound back into the top for better projection, etc.

This will cause a higher frequency to some extent but allow the sides to be thin.


I kind of agree wit that. But at a certain point too much stiffness and the sound turns classsical...or changes the feeling under the hand.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 4 2015 2:36:46
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