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Can you correct a too soft pulsacion?   You are logged in as Guest
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Echi

 

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Can you correct a too soft pulsacion? 

A question:
I recently tried a nice guitar with a pulsacion too soft for my taste: the guitar is otherwise lovely teonewise and very easy to play.
The guitar comes from Granada and I assume has a thin top: is a 664 mm scale, traditionally braced and without underbridge patch.
Is anything a skilled luthier would do to correct the pulsacion without altering the tone?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 28 2018 9:44:49
 
tri7/5

 

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RE: Can you correct a too soft pulsa... (in reply to Echi

Curious as well, and the answer isn't hard tension strings. I had a soft guitar and the difference between medium tension and hard tension wasn't much. It's inherent character was still soft regardless.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 28 2018 15:43:12
 
etta

 

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RE: Can you correct a too soft pulsa... (in reply to Echi

With a 664 the guitar should be rather stiff in action. But, try high tension strings. HT strings will of course vary by name brand. "Strings by Mail" has tension listings of various brands with individual string tensions. The other solution might be to raise the action at both ends, nut and saddle.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 28 2018 15:47:12
 
Ricardo

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RE: Can you correct a too soft pulsa... (in reply to Echi

Pulsation is nonsense.... it’s just about action, and as mentioned you just raise the bone saddle

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 28 2018 16:42:47
 
tri7/5

 

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RE: Can you correct a too soft pulsa... (in reply to etta

quote:

ORIGINAL: etta

With a 664 the guitar should be rather stiff in action. But, try high tension strings. HT strings will of course vary by name brand. "Strings by Mail" has tension listings of various brands with individual string tensions. The other solution might be to raise the action at both ends, nut and saddle.


Scale length can’t be generalized as such in regards to pulsation. There are hard pulsation 640 scale guitars and soft 670 guitars and everything in between. I have played numerous examples.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 28 2018 18:41:33
 
Richard Jernigan

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From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Can you correct a too soft pulsa... (in reply to Ricardo

The Ramirez blanca and the Arcangel blanca have about the same action. If they differ at all, the Ramirez may be 1/2-mm higher. Both have been strung with Savarez 520R "red cards" since I have owned them, with one exception. For about six weeks the Arcangel had Hannabachs on it.

Both are easy to play for the left hand. The Arcangel feels stiffer for the right hand to get a brilliant tone, but it will go louder than the Ramirez. When classical players try the Arcangel, the trebles often sound a little dull. It takes a firm flamenco attack to get it going. I think that's the kind of difference most people are talking about when they say "pulsacion."

When I tried Tom's most recent "Reyes" model negra, I thought it was, if anything, just a little stiffer for the right hand than the Arcangel, though the trebles were more brilliant. (The Arcangel trebles are brilliant enough to suit me, but I think I might have come to like Tom's guitar quite well.) Tom said that after comparing the two, he sanded the braces of his guitar to make it "pull" a little more like the Arcangel.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 28 2018 19:28:11
 
Echi

 

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RE: Can you correct a too soft pulsa... (in reply to Echi

quote:

Pulsation is nonsense.... it’s just about action, and as mentioned you just raise the bone

Is there something I’m missing?
I suppose we may agree that 2 guitars may have a different pulsation at the same action (let say 3 mm at the 12th fret): keeping 3 mm as standard, one of them may have a stiffer or a softer pulsation at your right hand.
If I understand your point, you are suggesting that I should raise the action of the guitar (let say up to 3.5 mm) to compensate a softer pulsacion, but then I would get both a too high saddle at the bridge and an uncomfortable action.
In the specific case of the guitar I’m referring to, I would end up having 11 mm room at the bone saddle. Other than that I would increase the torque force on a thin top.
My question is if by working the fretboard or adding a strut more underneath, orby doing something else a luthier can sort the issue out.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 28 2018 20:03:32
 
Ricardo

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RE: Can you correct a too soft pulsa... (in reply to Echi

It’s about the neck angle....it was not set correctly for flamenco style and playability adjustments (saddle height) will reveal the problem. Classical players are rarely concerned about a saddle being a certain height, and likewise never bring up “pulsacion” issues.

Top thickness might affect tone but not playability.... changing the thickness won’t fix an action problem or neck angle problem

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 28 2018 22:44:37
 
Echi

 

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RE: Can you correct a too soft pulsa... (in reply to Echi

The problem is the soft pulsation IMHO: As it is, the guitar is at 9,5 mm at the bridge and 2,5 mm at the 12th fret, which is not wrong.
Many Reyes and Condes of the 80ies are set this very same way.
Again, the thing is that I like a harder pulsacion.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 28 2018 22:53:09
 
estebanana

 

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RE: Can you correct a too soft pulsa... (in reply to Echi

You need to realine your lower chakra series and get your personal synergy tuned.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 28 2018 22:55:23
 
Echi

 

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RE: Can you correct a too soft pulsa... (in reply to Echi



If the things are (or were) as Ricardo suggests, it wouldn't be a problem of neck angle but of shape of the fretboard: it would be enough to have the fretboard planed down a little towards the sound hole.
I'm not sure that this would sort out the problem of the pulsation though.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 28 2018 23:02:56
 
estebanana

 

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RE: Can you correct a too soft pulsa... (in reply to Echi

I've often thought about what makes one guitar feel harder tension than another. It's part saddle. But some guitars are intrinsically more stiff than others. There are several factors working at once to make an overall effect. Geometry is one thing, saddle hieght and also how the transverse braces especially the lower one, allow the strings to feel the top.

A stiff transverse brace can absorb some of the tension the top gets and hold the top in such way it's not giving up as much pull to the strings at bridge. If braces are making the top really rigid in front of the bridge I perceive that as a factor. Also areas on the bouts that are too thin will give a soft feeling.

And it surely has something to do with the stiffness of the top itself.

To try to back engineer stiffer feel into a guitar is probably a dead subject. Guitars are born the way they are. Breaking them down to be less stiff is a reductive process. You can weaken a guitar very fast by sanding it thinner, right? But putting the structure back in is tough.

The way I look at Flamenco guitar is that voice doseni matter, or building for certain voice doesn't matter too much. Building for the good feeling under the right hand is the trick. And if you can do that, those guitars always have something to the voice.

Guitars or specifically flamenco, if they have a sloppy or floppy cross dipole they are almost always too soft. That means the side to side rock across the grain at the bridge is too loose. That area is critical for flamenco, if too uptight you don't get any juice. If too loose, no substance.

Saddle hieght us important, but there are problems too much and it brings too much overtone series forward, too little and you get dull and thuddy muddy response. So ideally you can punch up the tension by raising the saddle, but sometimes this also introduces some high partial stuff you don't want.

Keep looking. I hear conde can be good for tension mavens.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 29 2018 5:45:39
 
RobJe

 

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From: UK

RE: Can you correct a too soft pulsa... (in reply to estebanana

quote:

The way I look at Flamenco guitar is that voice doseni matter, or building for certain voice doesn't matter too much. Building for the good feeling under the right hand is the trick. And if you can do that, those guitars always have something to the voice.


I agree. The feel is more important than the voice to me. I am reminded of the Miguel Rodriguez guitar played by Manolo Franco that gave his solo recording and live solo performances a slightly unpleasant nasal sound. He referred to the guitar as having a “distinctive” sound. It was certainly instantly recognisable and no amount electronic trickery could disguise it. The guitar obviously worked for him and after winning the Giraldillo del Toque in 1984 he went on to record Aljibe with this guitar only giving up on it some years later when the action and tension (his description) deteriorated. He never had another guitar with this sound and I doubt if he was looking for one!

Rob
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 29 2018 9:32:47
 
Echi

 

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RE: Can you correct a too soft pulsa... (in reply to Echi

That’s the problem with some classical guitars. played as flamenco: even Manolo Sanlucar used to have a very distinctive sound.
To feel it right is important (hence this 3D about the pulsacion) but in my opinion this concurs equally with the quality of the tone.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 29 2018 15:49:08
 
estebanana

 

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RE: Can you correct a too soft pulsa... (in reply to Echi

Tone quality it almost completely subjective. It's the right hand feel. Can it rip alzapua without hanging up your thumb?

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 29 2018 16:43:38
 
Anders Eliasson

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RE: Can you correct a too soft pulsa... (in reply to Echi

Trying to answer the initial question:

quote:

Is anything a skilled luthier would do to correct the pulsacion without altering the tone?


IMHO:..... No. I cannot be seperated

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 29 2018 16:50:18
 
Ricardo

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From: Washington DC

RE: Can you correct a too soft pulsa... (in reply to Echi

quote:

The problem is the soft pulsation IMHO: As it is, the guitar is at 9,5 mm at the bridge and 2,5 mm at the 12th fret, which is not wrong.


That’s what my Sanchis is..... it’s no good sorry that’s a classical set up.




Images are resized automatically to a maximum width of 800px

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 29 2018 17:46:23
 
mt1007

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RE: Can you correct a too soft pulsa... (in reply to Echi

Luthier Peter Tsiorba in Portland did some work on my 1990 Marin recently. When I sent him the guitar the action/pulsacion felt soft and mushy. When I got it back the action/pulsacion was nice and stiff. Especially in the right hand, picados, arpegios, rajeos, tremolo, alzapua are now great, the tight springy action really helps. Hopefully I'm describing things correctly.

Peter did the following on the guitar:
Refret
New nut and saddle, saddle channel cleanout

I asked Peter what he did to achieve that nice tight action. He said that he cleaned out the saddle channel and made sure the saddle bone sat tight, flush and square. Same for the nut.

Guitar rocks now with 2.8mm height on bass side and 2.5mm height on treble side at the 12th fret. 7.8mm string height at bridge. Small amount of sizzle, yet very clean sounding even when pushed hard in tablao setting or solo gigs.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 29 2018 18:21:51
 
Ricardo

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From: Washington DC

RE: Can you correct a too soft pulsa... (in reply to mt1007

quote:

ORIGINAL: mt1007

Luthier Peter Tsiorba in Portland did some work on my 1990 Marin recently. When I sent him the guitar the action/pulsacion felt soft and mushy. When I got it back the action/pulsacion was nice and stiff. Especially in the right hand, picados, arpegios, rajeos, tremolo, alzapua are now great, the tight springy action really helps. Hopefully I'm describing things correctly.

Peter did the following on the guitar:
Refret
New nut and saddle, saddle channel cleanout

I asked Peter what he did to achieve that nice tight action. He said that he cleaned out the saddle channel and made sure the saddle bone sat tight, flush and square. Same for the nut.

Guitar rocks now with 2.8mm height on bass side and 2.5mm height on treble side at the 12th fret. 7.8mm string height at bridge. Small amount of sizzle, yet very clean sounding even when pushed hard in tablao setting or solo gigs.


That’s how it’s done. Anything above 9 mm at bridge I call it the meat grinder

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 29 2018 20:08:24
 
estebanana

 

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RE: Can you correct a too soft pulsa... (in reply to Echi

There you go. Forget about any kind of evaluation until the saddle it fit properly.

A pro player in CA brought me a guitar like a Sanchis or maybe even a Cordoba.... something like that. Not super fancy. It sounded ok, but not full and Rich. I thought to myself this is a crappy sounding guitar, why? First thing I look at it is a saddle. The saddle on this guy's guitar was filed to a sharp point near the front of the saddle, the strings were sitting on a knife edge.

I rounded over the saddle, tuned it back up and it was dramatically improved. I had the guitar for an hour. As soon as he left I located the knife/saddle and corrected. Then called him to come right back. He couldn't believe it.

Bridge /saddle contact and nuance with the way the saddle is filed and finished is crucial. And it should always be checked.

I let a guitar get out of the shop with a hasty saddle fit in 2014 and it really caused me a lot of grief. No one thought to check or had time to check the saddle fit.

A really fine guitar is only as good as the saddle work!

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 30 2018 1:18:36
 
Echi

 

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RE: Can you correct a too soft pulsa... (in reply to Echi

Being honest I don’t think the pulsacion depends from the bridge saddle, even though this has to be properly fitted.
I too fixed many saddles in my life, but I never noticed a dramatic change in the pulsacion.

In my opinion the pulsacion has more to do with the stiffness of the wood used for the top or with the bracing.
Conde and Sanchis have notoriously a good pulsacion but they also have 3 mm thick tops.

As a matter for thoughts, in the Orfeo magazine dedicated to the French makers I noticed a clever fix for a wobbly (or too thin) top made by Dominique Field.

@Ricardo,
7 to 9 mm room at the saddle is the market standard.
Low bridge and stiff pulsacion works for many of course, but it’s not the only valid set up in flamenco : many guitars made in Granada are just done differently and they seem to sell well.
As I said above, 9 to 10 mm at the saddle is a set up widely used by Manuel Reyes and found in many old Condes. It’s not a classical set up.
Anyway, in case you want a lower bridge you may always have it fixed as it’s not a neck angle issue but just the fretboard (straight over the top).

Again: do you think that a bridge lowered of a couple of mm would stiff the pulsacion?
I have no idea, but my guess is no.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 30 2018 6:58:22
 
JasonM

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RE: Can you correct a too soft pulsa... (in reply to Echi

Jeez Ricardo, you try to slay your wife with that axe?! Blood spatter like a horror movie.

I improved the stiffness of my Sanchis by making a 12 hole tie block which out some more torque on the saddle. And switched to using Luthier strings. That way I didn’t have to jack the saddle up.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 30 2018 15:06:47
 
Ricardo

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RE: Can you correct a too soft pulsa... (in reply to Echi

quote:

Again: do you think that a bridge lowered of a couple of mm would stiff the pulsacion?
I have no idea, but my guess is no.


I think pulsacion is an illusion (nothing to due with top stiff or thickness) caused by the action which may or may not be optimal due to initial set up and neck angle, coupled with individual playing style.

What I hear: “ this guitar is stiff and requires a heavy hand”. Or the opposite “this guitar requires a soft touch or the heavy hand will over play it”.... and of course there is Goldilocks guitar nobody says anything about it being too stiff or too soft, just perfecto.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 30 2018 16:45:56
 
RobJe

 

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From: UK

RE: Can you correct a too soft pulsa... (in reply to Ricardo

The Spanish word is Pulsación. It often gets translated as “tension” (for example on the flamencoguitarsforsale website) but this is inadequate to express how the term is used in Spain. It is definitely not about string tension – this is fixed by the length of the string and its physical properties. Pulsación is sometimes translated as “touch” and this might help a bit. As I understand it it about how the guitar feels under your fingers – not just “hard” or “soft” but also about how the strings respond to different pressures, how the strings snap off your finger nails etc. And yes there are Goldielocks Pulsación guitars that work for well flamenco and others that don’t.

I think we have been here before!


http://www.foroflamenco.com/tm.asp?m=135815&appid=&p=&mpage=1&key=&tmode=&smode=&s=#135815

Rob
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 31 2018 11:18:21
 
estebanana

 

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RE: Can you correct a too soft pulsa... (in reply to Echi

I understand the pulsation thing, but I translate it as ' String
Tempo' meaning the strings have a return time from being activated. String tempo seems like to me it don't what they are saying in Spanish.

Rob that is hilarious, 2010 and we all said the same thing.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 31 2018 15:21:53
 
RobJe

 

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RE: Can you correct a too soft pulsa... (in reply to estebanana

quote:

Rob that is hilarious, 2010 and we all said the same thing.


Unlike politicians who only need a day to say the opposite!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 31 2018 15:48:32
 
estebanana

 

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RE: Can you correct a too soft pulsa... (in reply to Echi

True artists and musicians suffer from integrity and honesty. Conditions of existing unknown to politicians.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 1 2018 0:17:02
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