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Andy Culpepper

Posts: 3002
Joined: Mar. 30 2009
From: NY, USA

Harmonic bars 

Hoping to open some discussion on the theory of the large lateral braces above and below the sound hole, otherwise known as harmonic bars. Luthier-walks-into-a-harmonic-bar jokes are welcome.

My premise is that perhaps some of us just think of them as "well, let's just put something big and stiff here to tighten up the whole upper bout", without approaching them with the nuance that we would fan braces. I've certainly fallen into that camp in the past.

I think that most guitars are probably built with the harmonic bars stiffer than they need to be, structurally speaking, so is there a benefit to that in the way you build?

I'm mostly interested in the lower harmonic bar, as I've seen a few guitars with that one shaved down quite low, sometimes moreso in the center, and they seem to share a certain punchiness in the basses and lower sustain.

My first guitar, which I own, is somewhat overbuilt in the top and over the years I've used it as a good test subject for shaving braces, etc. because I know its sound quite well. The harmonic bars were about 8 x 14 mm Sitka, rounded on top so certainly some excess stiffness I think. I decided to shave about 3mm off the lower one with a small plane, and noticed a pretty apparent change for the better. I like the guitar a lot but the sound has always felt a little stiff and tense, this seemed to relax the bass register quite a bit.
I took it to dance accompaniment and it definitely seemed punchier, almost felt like I was playing a new guitar.

On my current guitars I've found ways to get those qualities with other methods so I'm hesitant to change anything, but I might experiment with shaving down my lower harmonic bars a bit.

So, how do you decide how stiff to make your harmonic bars? Do you ever fine-tune them on a finished instrument?

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 5 2016 23:03:26
 
Leñador

Posts: 5237
Joined: Jun. 8 2012
From: Los Angeles

RE: Harmonic bars (in reply to Andy Culpepper

Three luthiers walked into a harmonic bar, you'd think the third one would duck.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 6 2016 0:46:17
 
estebanana

Posts: 8672
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Harmonic bars (in reply to Andy Culpepper

Romanillos is the one who began calling them harmonic bars. Robby Krieger led us to the next whiskey bar, a bar I like much better.

I don't touch them once make them. I don't think of them as harmonic modifiers, I think of them as carpentry for structure. The lower lateral brace is important as I think it moderates the string excursion to an extent and also determines to some degree the play in the top. A slightly flexible lower lateral brace goes along for the ride and this plays into the idea that bass is generated by bigger or wider top vibration. A limber lower lateral brace lets the top have a tiny bit more play which I think is mainly effecting bass string excursion a response.

And this is relative to top thickness because a thick top with a low elevation lateral brace can be quite stiff do to the the brace becoming a rafter building upon the already stiff top. A brace that is 13mm high ona thick top can be quite stiff and not allow the top to depress at the lower edge of the sound hole. The same brace on a thin top will give a bit. A stiffer lower lateral brace also seems to play into the idea that higher frequency partials need stiff tops or stiffer areas in the top to be sustained. The way the lower lateral brace is anchored to the side and scalloped or not scalloped has some bearing on how it enhances bass or treble. A strongly pillared brace with shallow scalloping supports higher partials more than a less intense anchoring and deep scalloping. It also seems that thin tops are more effected by rigid coupling to the sides a deep scalloping that thick tops. I see it as a thicker top is ding the stiffening work so it needs less structure, while a thin top is more manipulated by structure, or lack of.

The upper lateral I see as carpentry to keep the upper half of the guitar from folding up, first. Then a device to distribute vibration. It can be over built. Although I think some of the best makers went with substantial upper laterals. Daniel Friedrich comes to mind and also the way it is done on Miguel Rodriguez is fascinating. There is also something to the idea that the top needed more structure after the nylon string was introduced because it has a different kind f mass than gut strings and the architecture of the top was made stiffer to get more high partials activated with a less dense string material.

That is how I thin about it although I don't take that as dogma. I just do how i feel in my zone and rework the results and it gets better. One thing that bothers me about heavy structure up top is that I can't bring myself to build a Fleta copy because it just looks like it has too much wood in it. I have built th Frederich idea centering on his A frame fan scheme and that stuff really works, but I think you have to commit to it for many guitars time before you dial it in as well as he does. I think those over determined upper laterals are a classical guitar thing and not the best use of wood. Certainly not in a flamenco guitar. Being a control freak action up there probably robs the guitar of flamenco color. The best flamencos remain spare and reductive.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 6 2016 11:31:53
 
Echi

 

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RE: Harmonic bars (in reply to Andy Culpepper

I don't know if you ever heard of Mario Garrone: a businessman and a luthier in his spare time with very good success in Italy (Segovia highly praised his guitars).
This man had a serious scientific approach in his guitar building and wrote an interesting book together with some mechanic engineers: a kind of a "Gore-Gilet" book in Italian and more complicate.
To make it short: He said that the exact position of the lower harmonic bar and its dimensions are a determinant factor of the tonal answer of the guitar.
Among others Matthias Dammann used to shape the armonic bar of his guitars after the assembling, working from the soundhole.
I never did it honestly, so I don't know much more, but I did shave here and there the braces of an overbuilt guitar of mine and it came out successful. I wouldn't ever do it in a guitar not built by me, anyway.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 6 2016 13:52:18
 
jshelton5040

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RE: Harmonic bars (in reply to Andy Culpepper

The upper one needs to be more stiff than the lower one. I make the upper brace 1/4" wide by 12mm high and the lower 1/4" by 9mm.

Sorry about the mixed measurements, sometimes it's easier to use mm sometimes inches.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 6 2016 14:05:58
 
Anders Eliasson

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RE: Harmonic bars (in reply to Andy Culpepper

I got tired of harmonic bars and started frequenting my local disharmonic bar. Much more fun.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 6 2016 15:03:45
 
Andy Culpepper

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From: NY, USA

RE: Harmonic bars (in reply to Andy Culpepper

I've never really liked the term "harmonic bars", but I have noticed that opening them up like Romanillos does enhances the overtones on a classical guitar. I tried it once with a flamenco and I didn't really like the effect. There seems to be a big difference between concentrating the stiffness in the center vs. more at the edges.

I appreciate all the input, Stephen and I agree with you when it comes to flamenco guitars. It takes a lot of intuition and repetition to arrive at a top structure that works as a whole.

John, that lower harmonic bar sounds quite dainty! That sounds like what I've seen on some newer Condes. I honestly believe that the shaping of that brace is what makes those Condes work. The top is so thick and stiff that it defies logic or intuition, but that flexible lower brace gives it the outlet it needs. I think that's a big part of the formula for that unique boxy, dry, punchy kind of sound.

I once went to an atonal bar. The drinks were all made at random by pulling numbers out of a hat

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 7 2016 0:39:44
 
estebanana

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RE: Harmonic bars (in reply to Andy Culpepper

Fan braces, lateral braces, top thickness, harmonic/ enharmonic.....it's all Bartok.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 7 2016 2:57:57
 
Anders Eliasson

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RE: Harmonic bars (in reply to Andy Culpepper

Ok, besides the jokes.
My harmonic bars are more or less like Shelton´s.
I agree that they are there mainly to keep things from colapsing
Besides that, my feel or intuition is that the lower one can have some affect on tone. To high, it works like a fence the the sound has to pass in order to get out. To small, it will let the area around the soundhole move to much and then (also) work like an obstacle for the sound to get out of the hole.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 7 2016 6:49:31
 
estebanana

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RE: Harmonic bars (in reply to Andy Culpepper

quote:

I think that most guitars are probably built with the harmonic bars stiffer than they need to be, structurally speaking, so is there a benefit to that in the way you build?


I think this is to some extent true for flamenco sound, but for other kinds of sound variable.

I also think the idea that the height of the lower lateral brace traps or inhibits sound is not quite correct. But it is correct that a loose floppy sound hole area is an energy sink. A loss point.

I go bout 12 mm on the lower brace, but the upper I feel is more about weight and structure, I'ver made that as high as 17mm, but with extensive scalloping.

I have seen Santos guitars with 1/2" high lower brace. I think is really depends a lot on how it couples with the top to create an overall structure. It is intuitive engineering by trial and error. I called this 'Vernacular Engineering' once a pissed off a whole bunch of real engineers. HAHAHAHA They were willing to settle for calling it engineering vernacular, but I think this is only a semantic difference.

The guitar is vernacular structure and it is engineered in a vernacular language of structure.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 7 2016 9:29:42
 
Anders Eliasson

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RE: Harmonic bars (in reply to estebanana

quote:

I also think the idea that the height of the lower lateral brace traps or inhibits sound is not quite correct.


Yeah, you can be right on this one. Its mainly speculation based on looking at a lot of different type of bars.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 7 2016 9:43:27
 
Flamingrae

 

Posts: 218
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RE: Harmonic bars (in reply to Anders Eliasson

quote:

I got tired of harmonic bars and started frequenting my local disharmonic bar. Much more fun.


I go to disharmonic and datharmonic bar, but usually end up in her manic bar.

That aside - I'm agreeing with most of what is going on here. Top bar (different to topless bar) a bit thicker stronger etc. Bottom bar (lets not go there!) - lighter, lower etc.
I do a couple of quirky things like putting scollops into the end of the bars. (makes them taste better too) It reduces a little wood and it might be fussy, but it's what I do.
Of late, I'm getting into the idea of having a small arch in the lower bar both sides, so the outer braces can travel through and finish somewhere in between the two harmonic bars. (five fans) It's not a new idea and is well documented, but I thought I'd try.
Finish as desired but the logic was to increase the working area of the soundboard and I'm up for doing this again as the treble sound had a noticable boost right from the word go.
I'll get a better idea when I repeat and see if this confirms the above.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 7 2016 12:18:13
 
estebanana

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RE: Harmonic bars (in reply to Andy Culpepper

I say that only in speculation because many more classical designs have high lower brace. And there's the tournavoz and the baffle in side some Maccaferri designs etc. Some Fleta brace patterns have two lower lateral braces..

I also know from the few lute and oud tops I have made that tall thin braces tend to accentuate high partials, much more over tone activity, that lower wider bars. And the same for back braces.

I also speculate the Dammann braces shaved down are about weight, those guys are Weight Watchers TM*

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 7 2016 12:19:19
 
Tom Blackshear

 

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RE: Harmonic bars (in reply to estebanana

Steve,

I've been told that the Dammann Nomex top guitars do not exceed mine in volume or projection, just different in character.

What does this mean? Just that there is a difference in personal stamp for each builder.

In 1974 I started building again and my flamenco prototype included a lower harmonic bar, at the sound-hole, about 1/2" high and with fan braces about 1/4" high and 1/8" wide with what is known on the current Condes as outside low fans with high in the middle areas.

This was actually based on a 1958 Ramirez style with certain modification that added 2 outside low fans. It was a fire cracker with a 3/32" thick top, and I revived many stores orders for it. And as you know I have been doing fine tuning for the past 30 + years, much longer than Dammann.

So why add this information but just to say that much of this modern style has already been done, to some extent, before Jose Romanillos and Matthias Dammann started building. I built my first guitar in 1958, when David Spinks (Jose Rubio) and I were playing flamenco and building. And I might add that Eugene Clark was giving Mr. Rubio pointers on how to build guitars at that time in history.

So the truth be told, there is not hardly anything new under the sun that hasn't been tried before.

Note: Romanillos and Dammann are certainly well respected builders and they provide interest in this art.

And Steve, I agree that everything in the top has to do with weight and thickness, even in compliance with wood to wood ratio between fan braces and top thickness.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 7 2016 15:33:17
 
estebanana

Posts: 8672
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Harmonic bars (in reply to Tom Blackshear

quote:

Steve,

I've been told that the Dammann Nomex top guitars do not exceed mine in volume or projection, just different in character.

What does this mean? Just that there is a difference in personal stamp for each builder.

In 1974 I started building again and my flamenco prototype included a lower harmonic bar, at the sound-hole, about 1/2" high and with fan braces about 1/4" high and 1/8" wide with what is known on the current Condes as outside low fans with high in the middle areas.

This was actually based on a 1958 Ramirez style with certain modification that added 2 outside low fans. It was a fire cracker with a 3/32" thick top, and I revived many stores orders for it. And as you know I have been doing fine tuning for the past 30 + years, much longer than Dammann.

So why add this information but just to say that much of this modern style has already been done, to some extent, before Jose Romanillos and Matthias Dammann started building. I built my first guitar in 1958, when David Spinks (Jose Rubio) and I were playing flamenco and building. And I might add that Eugene Clark was giving Mr. Rubio pointers on how to build guitars at that time in history.

So the truth be told, there is not hardly anything new under the sun that hasn't been tried before.

Note: Romanillos and Dammann are certainly well respected builders and they provide interest in this art.

And Steve, I agree that everything in the top has to do with weight and thickness, even in compliance with wood to wood ratio between fan braces and top thickness.

_____________________________


Tom,

Both my guitar teacher and guitar making teacher were fellows of David Rubio's in NY. David Serva and Mr. Spinks were playing guitar duets together and Eugene was one of the people on the NY scene who did show a few things to Rubio the builder. I've heard the narrative from both of them and a few others who were in that crowd. It would be interesting to hear your version. I've been told by a dealer it was not possible Clark taught Rubio anything about guitar making and that he learned from someone else, but I have pretty good reason to understand a different narrative.

I'm not super interested in Dammann/ Wagner style work. I met Randy Reynolds, one of the best double top makers in the US , and probably in the world by now, in 2003. He offered to teach me to make DT's , in retrospect I should have taken him up on it, but I've never seen them as a necessary to understand or make great flamenco guitars. I'm still reeling from playing Steve Kahn's 1924 Santos and I figure you could spend you life just trying to accomplish that as a guitar maker.

Under Gene's influence, I guess he made a pretty big impact on my basic understanding, and in some ways I've had to outgrow retool my thinking because he made such an imprint on me; that is to say one real basic thing he brought home is that the guitar is not a LOUD instrument, it's an instrument with voice. When you stress the voice, the human voice, it breaks all apart. He said the guitar does the same thing, if you stress it is ceases to be a voice, it becomes a shout or a yell. We talked a lot about making guitars that speak like great actors, not scream.

We had a lot of these silly conversations, that was great fun, and there are some truths, I think. I really need to see him, or send Gene a guitar so he can play it and I can finally get my 'diploma'.


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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 8 2016 8:11:42
 
Tom Blackshear

 

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RE: Harmonic bars (in reply to estebanana

quote:

Under Gene's influence, I guess he made a pretty big impact on my basic understanding, and in some ways I've had to outgrow retool my thinking because he made such an imprint on me; that is to say one real basic thing he brought home is that the guitar is not a LOUD instrument, it's an instrument with voice. When you stress the voice, the human voice, it breaks all apart. He said the guitar does the same thing, if you stress it is ceases to be a voice, it becomes a shout or a yell. We talked a lot about making guitars that speak like great actors, not scream.


My association with Eugene was over the telephone in the years we talked together. He basically put into words what I had always felt through personal intuition about the guitar. As Brune put it, I innately understood how a guitar worked. But this was not so in-born, as I understand it, but a love that overcame certain problematic disagreements to help me blend with what the guitar wanted to be. The guitar was and still is a part of me in this regard.

So my search brought me to the Miguel Rodriguez guitars back in the 1970's that characteristically were loud but had certain inter-dimensional voicing that could be guided by the master builder to be raw or sweet in its dynamic range. But Eugene is right about a guitar when it comes to having both loudness and sweetness; you have to sacrifice some of its loudness to get the sweetness. Otherwise you wind up with a traditional style guitar that is not well balanced.

To get the vowel tone, like a human voice, you have to bend the sound with fine tuning, as I understand it, and this is accomplished many different ways. But I like my techniques as they are humanly possible and play well with those, like me, that have a simple mind for stretching the imagination:-)

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 8 2016 11:45:05
 
estebanana

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RE: Harmonic bars (in reply to Andy Culpepper

We kind of let this go into a mossy area of persona stuff.

I wanted to throw out the dimensions of the Fleta double lower bars that I have been musing over for years on various plans.

Two lower braces one cutting across the waist at 90 degrees and one right below. On the bass side 10mm below the brace under the soundhole a second brace crosses the belly at an angle of 9 degrees toward the treble bout.

The 1st brace is 16mm high and 6 wide, number 2 brace is 15mm high and 6 wide. The upper bout brace is also 15mm high and 6 wide. That is a lot of wood. Those braces must weigh 12 to 15 grams each.

Then the fans are 6mm by 6mm and tapered like a gothic window. Or shaped like clothes iron. The closing bars are the same size. It looks like a lumber yard, yet these guitars really work.

I really want to make one, but the Fleta's I have played in the past were too much guitar for me at the time. They were big and willful and stiff, but great sound. My worry making one of these now is that big tough guitars are out of favor.

Thoughts?

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 9 2016 6:54:34
 
Tom Blackshear

 

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RE: Harmonic bars (in reply to estebanana

quote:

I really want to make one, but the Fleta's I have played in the past were too much guitar for me at the time. They were big and willful and stiff, but great sound. My worry making one of these now is that big tough guitars are out of favor.


Unless you have additional time and economy to be experimenting with a Fleta design, I would suggest you stay with what you know to be fine sound and character. I think the Fletas are a little too tubby sounding for flamenco and the Fleta brothers are using violin scraping techniques inside the top to fine tune their sound.

The best Fleta I've examined had a 3 mm top thinned out to 2.5 mm to its edges, and scraped out the size of a quarter on its bass outside edge between the sound-hole and bridge. I'm sure they gradually scraped this with strings tightened at concert pitch, to get the open tone they were looking for.

Many years ago, Tim Miklaucic of GSI in California asked me to build a Fleta design but with a relaxed top, not like its normal stiff presence. I think he was more interested in getting a sweeter treble sound out of the instrument. But I had no interest in its character of tone, as I liked the Miguel Rodriguez tone better. The Rodriguez gave a strong sound that could be modified toward a flamenco edge but still retain its classical beauty.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 9 2016 14:34:38
 
RobJe

 

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From: UK

RE: Harmonic bars (in reply to estebanana

quote:

I wanted to throw out the dimensions of the Fleta double lower bars that I have been musing over for years on various plans.


If you get a chance to try a late 80s or early 90s Manuel Bellido "concierto" flamenco model (not the cheaper "professional" model) you can see what he made of a (slightly slimmed down) version of the Fleta layout.

Here is Tomatito with his in Granada 2014. My own peghead blanca weighs in at 1450 g - not the heaviest flamenco I have had.

Rob

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 9 2016 22:13:14
 
estebanana

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RE: Harmonic bars (in reply to Andy Culpepper

That Bellido, even through you tube a layers of mics and such sounds great.

The reason I was thinking about Fleta however was to make a a classical to put on consignment at a dealers in Nagoya. They granted me, finally, the invitation to show in their shop. The Fleta would be a first for me so not sure I want to chance it. I have been making a Hauser II brace scheme for classicals that I am getting used to, maybe not the best time to switch to a new model.

Wondering now how you think Bellido trimmed down the Fleta idea to make a flamenco? I have seen a de la Chica with 9 fans and a few other rely good flamenco guitars with seven or nine fans, that taught me that it's not a number of fans or always light structure that makes is flamenco. You would not happen to be adventurous enough to shine a light in your guitar and show the braces would you? haha Or speculate on how thick or thin the top is?

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 10 2016 2:33:37
 
Echi

 

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RE: Harmonic bars (in reply to Andy Culpepper

I think the problem with the transverse bar has few to do with weight and more to do with stiffness.
In my understanding it's relevant how it's shaped at the wings and where you place it.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 10 2016 8:19:45
 
RobJe

 

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From: UK

RE: Harmonic bars (in reply to estebanana

quote:

You would not happen to be adventurous enough to shine a light in your guitar


I will try to do it - it might take a day or so to find time - after dark!

Here are some more of this period
http://www.flamencoguitarsforsale.net/en/flamenco-guitars/galeria-vendidas-2-en/manuel-bellido-92-en.html
http://www.guitarsforsale.es/en/product/manuel-bellido-1990-2/

I also took this photo in a "luthier workshop" exhibit (by Jesus Bellido) in a space attached to an underground car park in Malaga about 20 years ago. It looks dusty enough to have been a failed project.



Rob



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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 10 2016 9:45:48
 
estebanana

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RE: Harmonic bars (in reply to Andy Culpepper

That bracing actually makes sense to me. I can see how it would be a trimmed down take on Fleta.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 10 2016 13:37:21
 
jshelton5040

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RE: Harmonic bars (in reply to estebanana

quote:


quote:

ORIGINAL: estebanana

That bracing actually makes sense to me. I can see how it would be a trimmed down take on Fleta.

I agree with Stephen about the bracing. It looks light enough to work fine but I'm surprised by the number and size of the back braces. Unless it's very thin that back is going to be tight as a drum (maybe a good thing?).

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 10 2016 13:55:14
 
Echi

 

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RE: Harmonic bars (in reply to Andy Culpepper

This should easily be a classical guitar instead.
BTW some years ago I saw a Manuel Bellido flamenco guitar with a quite similar "reverse" Fleta bracing (the traverse bar was slanted towards the bass side instead).
It wasn't mine and I couldn't take any measurements but I remember it had just 3 back braces.
The guitar sounded to my ears very similar to my Jose' Lopez Bellido (just 5 struts bracing).

The problem I have with these kind of guitars (while they sound amazing) is the low "pulsacion" of the top and the soft attack.
Maybe this is the price to pay for such a big dynamic range.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 10 2016 17:00:21
 
Richard Jernigan

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From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Harmonic bars (in reply to estebanana

When I was at Arturo Huipe's shop in Paracho ten years ago there were a couple of dozen guitars hanging in the humidity controlled room, most of them unfinished. We talked and I played occasionally for an hour and a half.

He handed me a guitar with Oregon myrtle/California laurel back and sides. I believe the top was spruce, but I am no longer sure. I played some flamenco with rasgueados. It responded crisply, but not in an expected way. Huipe smiled and said, "It's a Fleta."

I'm sure I looked puzzled so he explained, "I wondered what a flamenco made by Fleta would sound like, so I made one with [Spanish name of wood] back and sides and a little bit lighter bracing." It was interesting, but not really flamenco, at least the way I played it.

I ended up buying a cedar/cocobolo "Fleta" model from him. It was the second best guitar I played in Paracho that day, and I liked Huipe. The best was the small Torres model (632mm) that Abel Garcia made for his daughter.

I plan to give the "Fleta" model to the Austin Classical Guitar Society for them to give to some student in one of the secondary school guitar programs. It's a good guitar, but not quite in the same class as my two best classicals, one of which is the spruce/Brazilian I ordered from Abel Garcia the next day.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 10 2016 19:31:59
 
estebanana

Posts: 8672
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Harmonic bars (in reply to Echi

quote:

This should easily be a classical guitar instead.
BTW some years ago I saw a Manuel Bellido flamenco guitar with a quite similar "reverse" Fleta bracing (the traverse bar was slanted towards the bass side instead).
It wasn't mine and I couldn't take any measurements but I remember it had just 3 back braces.
The guitar sounded to my ears very similar to my Jose' Lopez Bellido (just 5 struts bracing).

The problem I have with these kind of guitars (while they sound amazing) is the low "pulsacion" of the top and the soft attack.
Maybe this is the price to pay for such a big dynamic range.




Why? There are tons of flamenco guitars with 9 fans or 7 fans. You can't really judge a guitar by it's fan braces, because there are many other factors at play. In fact some great "classical" guitars have been made with 5 fans- or less.

You can make a singing classical with three, four or five fans and a perfect flamenco guitar with seven. It's how you drive the road, not fold the map. That lay out of fans with the small bar on top looks like a perfect start for a cedar top flamenco. The problem with all this speculation without having the guitar strung up is that player then think that builders have to follow certain frame works to get results. It starts misconceptions about the structure that a maker begins with. Players begin to say "Oh I don't want my guitar made with 7 fans because So and so said that is not good." That is a bunch of hogwash.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 11 2016 3:41:27
 
Anders Eliasson

Posts: 5780
Joined: Oct. 18 2006
 

RE: Harmonic bars (in reply to Andy Culpepper

quote:



quote:

This should easily be a classical guitar instead.
BTW some years ago I saw a Manuel Bellido flamenco guitar with a quite similar "reverse" Fleta bracing (the traverse bar was slanted towards the bass side instead).
It wasn't mine and I couldn't take any measurements but I remember it had just 3 back braces.
The guitar sounded to my ears very similar to my Jose' Lopez Bellido (just 5 struts bracing).

The problem I have with these kind of guitars (while they sound amazing) is the low "pulsacion" of the top and the soft attack.
Maybe this is the price to pay for such a big dynamic range.





Why? There are tons of flamenco guitars with 9 fans or 7 fans. You can't really judge a guitar by it's fan braces, because there are many other factors at play. In fact some great "classical" guitars have been made with 5 fans- or less.

You can make a singing classical with three, four or five fans and a perfect flamenco guitar with seven. It's how you drive the road, not fold the map. That lay out of fans with the small bar on top looks like a perfect start for a cedar top flamenco. The problem with all this speculation without having the guitar strung up is that player then think that builders have to follow certain frame works to get results. It starts misconceptions about the structure that a maker begins with. Players begin to say "Oh I don't want my guitar made with 7 fans because So and so said that is not good." That is a bunch of hogwash.


I totally agree with Stephen.
I had a VERY similar discussion with Echi the other day. He just likes to have very square and finally cooked ideas about bracing systems.
I told him than that he wasnt helping anyone and least himself and this time I will say the same again.
I have actually played one of these Manuel bellido guitars with the 9 strut light bracing. (I worked in a Bellido shop some 12 years ago) It was a spruce top guitar. Very nice. A little bit on the the low pulsation side, but that has nothing to do with the bracing because I have tried many different Manuel Bellido guitars with very different bracing and they are in general like that. Not to low pulsation and very nice guitars. But Its kind of his stamp.

So Stephen and just out of curosity and I´m not discussing anything...ok. Just curious and maybe I could learn something. You wrote:
"That lay out of fans with the small bar on top looks like a perfect start for a cedar top flamenco."
What makes you think that. I have no doubts you can make a nice flamenco like that, but why 9 and not 5, 6 or 7 struts?

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 11 2016 7:28:00
 
estebanana

Posts: 8672
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Harmonic bars (in reply to Andy Culpepper

I am into giving cedar more structure and I like the parallel fans which look light. The placement also gives some space between the edge of the lower bout and the outer most fan. I think that openness in that area is a good attribute in a flamenco intended design, but on Cedar leaving that too open is risky. You risk losing power if you make that area too thin or unsupported.

I like the small second bar on top again for Cedar it would give a nice stiffness t that area but is leaves open the space at the edges. It reads like a design I could understand if I made it and flexed it. I think you could make that work with 9,7 or 5 fans, but right now I just feel like I want to work Cedar with more fans and parallel not angled. Pointing the fans at the 13th or 14th fret like the Torres basic design will make a flamenco too, but I think the voice is more flamenco if you leave them more parallel...of course this is not written in stone. No particular reason to use 9 fans or 7 but I like structure under cedar tops.

I doubt I could say anything you don't already see there. So what do you see? Maybe I need to be schooled.


I also admire Bellido's work a great deal, both the older and the younger. The old man is a magician.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 11 2016 8:00:13
 
Anders Eliasson

Posts: 5780
Joined: Oct. 18 2006
 

RE: Harmonic bars (in reply to estebanana

quote:

It reads like a design I could understand if I made it and flexed it


I like that. We are where we are for reasons. And next year we will be somewhere else and thats why we learn if we have our senses open.
I think you should go for it. I have played a 9 strut Bellido and besides being very good it wasnt more classical or whatever than his 7 or 5 strut system. As you say, its not the ingredients, but the cooking and the Manuel Bellido flamenco 9 strut is a lot lighter than the Fleta classical. In the end its all about balance.
I personally dont feel atracted by using 9 struts for a flamenco right now. But that could change of course. And the extra lower harmonic bar puts me off a bit. I just cant feel it or see it. Hopefully I will build a Fleta classical copy one day and then I´m sure I will learn something. And hopefully it´ll be something good

I dont think you need to be schooled. Not at all and I´m not the one to school anyone. I´m way to crusty for that purpose :-)
I agree with your point about the space between the outer fan and the side, but i feel like that for both spruce and cedar. Its good with a slightly uncontrolled area there, but it can easily be to much and then that area can be cutting down vibration to much.
The way I work that area is to use slightly longer closing struts that go further up and this bridge strap that I think I´m the only one here using. Its only 10mm wide, 1mm thick and tapered down to 0 from the outer fan (total of 5) to the sides. It just gives that extra tad of control. But thats just my way.
Also, on flamencos, more parallel than 14 fret apex for sure. I agree

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 11 2016 10:34:50
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