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Data from across 50+ flamenco guitars   You are logged in as Guest
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josswinn

Posts: 6
Joined: Apr. 3 2018
 

Data from across 50+ flamenco guitars 

Before building my third guitar (second flamenco), I thought it would be interesting to see what the action and saddle height are across a range of good quality instruments. I used the information from selected guitars on this page, concentrating mainly on older instruments:

https://www.flamencoguitarsforsale.net/en/flamenco-guitars/sold/sold-flamenco-guitars

My list of 50+ flamenco guitars is here:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1MXm385ck2XGBSs-RQ2goCIQUrNe1-DuOj6pKuhzLn7g/edit?usp=sharing

If anyone wants to input more data, I can give you edit permissions. Please PM me. It's quite tedious.

The headlines are:

Mean action and saddle height: 2.66mm and 7.78mm
Median action and saddle height: 2.6mm and 7.75mm
Mode action and saddle height: 3mm and 7.6mm

I realise that the data on each guitar is not necessarily how it left the workshop, but reflects the set up by the seller. I'm assuming the data is accurate because people are spending large sums of money to buy instruments online and unseen, so when they arrive, the set up needs to be as described.

Data on the weight of guitars is not often recorded but I pulled together the weight of 16 'blanca' guitars by well-known makers and the headlines are:

Mean = 1200g
Median = 1210g
Mode = 1290g

Scale length is straightforward:

Mean = 655mm
Median = 655mm
Mode = 655mm

Nut width:

Mean = 52.9mm
Median = 53mm
Mode = 52mm

I like the sound of older recordings, so was interested to see whether there was anything characteristic about the set up of older instruments.

For the seven pre-WWII guitars, the average action 2.5 and saddle height of 7.6.
For 28 guitars up to 1969, the average action is 2.6 and saddle height is 7.8mm.
For 13 guitars made after 1980, the average action is 2.8 and saddle height is 8.1mm

It suggests that older instruments had slightly lower action and saddle height than average. Perhaps there has been a trend away from what is considered excessive string buzz. Personally, I like it.

Joss
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 13 2018 18:16:02
 
kitarist

Posts: 556
Joined: Dec. 4 2012
 

RE: Data from across 50+ flamenco gu... (in reply to josswinn

Great work! Which action is recorded, if the 1st and 6th string action is not the same on a guitar? Do you have separate 1st string and 6th string action data?

Thanks!

_____________________________

Konstantin
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 13 2018 18:31:47
 
constructordeguitarras

Posts: 1341
Joined: Jan. 29 2012
From: Seattle, Washington, USA

RE: Data from across 50+ flamenco gu... (in reply to josswinn

Thanks for posting, Joss. Interesting data.

I wonder if it is really meaningful to measure string height to the hundredth of a millimeter though.

Also, I would take the scale length measurements with a grain of salt because people measuring may not distinguish between scale length and string length, which may or may not be the same on a guitar. However, the scale length I use for flamenco guitars is 656 mm and I extend the string length a mm at the saddle and shorten it a mm at the nut, so they do come out the same.

_____________________________

Ethan Deutsch
www.edluthier.com
www.facebook.com/ethandeutschguitars
www.youtube.com/marioamayaflamenco
I always have flamenco guitars available for sale.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 13 2018 23:09:02
 
josswinn

Posts: 6
Joined: Apr. 3 2018
 

RE: Data from across 50+ flamenco gu... (in reply to josswinn

Konstantin, the website where I got the data from doesn't indicate if it's 1st or 6th string.

Ethan, I agree, that in practice you'd round the number up or down to a tenth of a mm. I just wanted to present the data accurately and let people interpret it accordingly.

As with Konstantin's question about string height, we don't know for sure how consistently or to what standard the scale length data was recorded, but when dealing in a lot of high-end instruments worth thousands of dollars and selling them unseen on the internet, you'd think the measurements were accurate by some kind of standard.

The data as a whole offers an interesting picture and probably confirms what most luthiers and players of flamenco guitars already know from experience. It's the apparent change over time that interests me the most.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 14 2018 5:37:04
 
Echi

 

Posts: 575
Joined: Jan. 11 2013
 

RE: Data from across 50+ flamenco gu... (in reply to josswinn

Very interesting.
Solera takes the action at the Bass E string with medium strings (usually Luthier 30).
I’d say the average action is a hair under the 3 mm, more or less, while I find very interesting the saddle: you may reckon the difference between bridges by raising the action at 3 mm at the 12th fret and adding the difference x2 at the saddle.
I suppose the average weight of the guitars increased as well.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 14 2018 7:25:16
 
Tom Blackshear

 

Posts: 1849
Joined: Apr. 15 2008
 

RE: Data from across 50+ flamenco gu... (in reply to josswinn

quote:

The data as a whole offers an interesting picture and probably confirms what most luthiers and players of flamenco guitars already know from experience. It's the apparent change over time that interests me the most.


I agree that there is change in ongoing measurements of flamenco guitar scales and string actions. But the constant reminder is always going to be what does the player require for His/her set action for correct articulation, concerning sound, and in-depth dimensional return.

With all the progressions of patterns in the market today, we have to find certain adjustments that find their way toward unity in play-ability and voice control. This sometimes doesn't happen with every new concept that comes out; without a lot of necessary tweaking involved.

This is reason enough for every luthier to be able to shift certain patterns to gain positive results for every player.

I think that your volunteering this information on a broad scale is a good idea but for me, I use what I think is a pattern that closely compares to a soft or hard action, by the way it is adjusted with top thickness and graduation techniques.

So my belief is to find what pattern works best for you, among the many that are available in the European Luthiers canon, that you can work with and adjust to your own liking.

_____________________________

Tom Blackshear Guitar maker
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 14 2018 16:33:08
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