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RE: Tuning our guitars   You are logged in as Guest
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jalalkun

Posts: 266
Joined: May 3 2017
From: Iraq, living in Cologne, Germany

RE: Tuning our guitars (in reply to Piwin

god daym... i'm trying this pushing and pulling stuff out right now and i'm losing my spaghetti... everything he said is true 😐

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My name is Jalal.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 18 2019 21:37:58
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 2602
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Tuning our guitars (in reply to Ricardo

Great video Ricardo! Over the years I've read or been told a lot of stuff about tuning a guitar. I ended up tuning mine the way you show here.

The idea of compensation, or so I've been told by a few luthiers, is that as you move up the fretboard, you push the string down further to fret it--so the notes tend to go sharp. The the bridge is set back so the countervailing tendency is to go flat as you go up the fretboard. The setback is a bigger and bigger fraction of the free string length.

Flamenco guitars, with their low action need little or no compensation.

Over the 57 years I've been playing, the setup of classicals has gotten lower and lower, from the insane action heights that Segovia used (and I think Kazuhito Yamashita still uses on his Ramirez, which he plays un-amplified in fairly large rooms) to the more reasonable actions of today, around 4mm max on the 6th string to around 3mm on the first, sometimes even lower. So logically, the compensation setback on classicals should have decreased as well. But the few I have measured have been all over the place.

The lowest action classical I have is set up in the flamenco range. It's the easiest of the classicals to play in tune, even though the maker insists on high tension strings. But as you point out, you still have to be careful how you set your fingers down on the strings, and you may have to push or pull a little as they drift out of tune. I don't remember measuring the compensation, if any.

I have a 1991 Manuel Contreras Sr. "doble tapa" whose bridge is actually set forward about 1 1/2 millimeters. That is, it's 325mm from the nut to the 12th fret and about 323 1/2mm from the 12th fret to the bridge saddle. Action is about 4mm/3mm, but it's still not that hard to play in tune with normal tension strings.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 19 2019 2:37:17
 
JasonM

Posts: 914
Joined: Dec. 8 2005
From: Baltimore

RE: Tuning our guitars (in reply to Richard Jernigan

I was told that compensating the bridge further back was to counter the strings pulling the bridge forward under tension. So ideally the end result would be an accurate scale length. Then we have intonation adjustments to the saddle and nut. Based on Ricardo’s advice it sounds like the goal should be to get to the scale length correct and that’s it. At least for low action guitars. Beyond that you are robbing Peter to pay Paul with sweetened notes.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 19 2019 15:28:02
 
Ricardo

Posts: 11074
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Tuning our guitars (in reply to JasonM

quote:

ORIGINAL: JasonM

I was told that compensating the bridge further back was to counter the strings pulling the bridge forward under tension. So ideally the end result would be an accurate scale length. Then we have intonation adjustments to the saddle and nut. Based on Ricardo’s advice it sounds like the goal should be to get to the scale length correct and that’s it. At least for low action guitars. Beyond that you are robbing Peter to pay Paul with sweetened notes.


I don’t really care about what reasons are behind compensation... the fact is different luthiers might use varying amounts of it from 3+mm, slanted so trebs or basses get more or less, 0.0mm, and even -1+mm as pointed out... in the end folks need to listen and try to intonate their playing. I find it amusing the guitars for sale guys in Barcelona keep taking old used guitars and re-positioning the frets. You can argue they doing that because the guitars have changed over time etc... but the true reason is the guitars have changed OWNERS. Putting frets back a hair (toward nut) is the same as putting the bridge farther away from the 12th fret, and for the same reason... so buyers don’t complain about a guitar going sharp as they go up the neck.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 19 2019 16:24:56
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 2602
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Tuning our guitars (in reply to JasonM

quote:

ORIGINAL: JasonM

I was told that compensating the bridge further back was to counter the strings pulling the bridge forward under tension. So ideally the end result would be an accurate scale length. Then we have intonation adjustments to the saddle and nut. Based on Ricardo’s advice it sounds like the goal should be to get to the scale length correct and that’s it. At least for low action guitars. Beyond that you are robbing Peter to pay Paul with sweetened notes.


The bridge setbacks I have measured have been with strings on, tuned up to A=440Hz. So if the bridge was indeed pulled forward, there still remained a setback of up to 2mm.

Although I imported several Ramirez 1a's to the USA in the '60s and '70s, I sold all of them. I never measured the setback on any of them. They all had very high actions. By the '70s the fretboards were thinned on the bass side above the 12th fret, a feature Jose III ascribed to Segovia.

Richard Brune once told me that in that era the Ramirez 1a fret spacing and bridge setback were designed to mimic the "stretched" octaves of the piano.

The overtones of any vibrating string don't follow the exact harmonic series of octave, fifth, fourth,... This is called "inharmonicity." The overtones go a little sharper than the pure harmonic series as they go up in frequency.

This shows up in the equations when you account for the string's resistance to bending. In the simplest string equation, which predicts pure harmonics, the force that returns the string toward its equilibrium position is pure tension, no resistance to bending.

The inharmonicity of the grand piano's thick steel, bronze-wound bass strings is much greater than the inharmonicity of nylon or gut strings. The fundamentals of the piano's middle and higher notes are tuned sharp to come closer to resonating with the actual overtones of the basses, not with the theoretical harmonics.

Brune didn't think Ramirez' idea was a particularly good one.

...and the inharmonicity of acoustic steel strings is much greater than that of nylon, as kitarist pointed out, which is why you almost always see at least a slanted bridge saddle on steel string acoustic guitars....

Ricardo's definitely right. On the nylon string guitar, we have to rely on our fingers to play in tune, not on any sophisticated technology.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 19 2019 21:32:37
 
Echi

 

Posts: 573
Joined: Jan. 11 2013
 

RE: Tuning our guitars (in reply to jalalkun

I was pleased when I read Brune’ saying that he is still an admirer of the Ramirez guitars; particularly of those made under Ramirez III and IV.
The general consensus is that the high action was an input of Segovia and out of doubt in the seventies the influence of Segovia had no pair.
I think the Ramirez flamenco guitars (particularly those with spruce tops) are unfairly underrated.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 20 2019 1:14:12
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 2602
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Tuning our guitars (in reply to Echi

quote:

ORIGINAL: Echi

I was pleased when I read Brune’ saying that he is still an admirer of the Ramirez guitars; particularly of those made under Ramirez III and IV.
The general consensus is that the high action was an input of Segovia and out of doubt in the seventies the influence of Segovia had no pair.


Brune has written that his first successful instruments were essentially Ramirez 1a copies. I think that was true of some other successful American luthiers as well.

One of the internationally known players gave a concert here in the last couple of years on a '60s-'70s Ramirez, one with the bone decoration in the headstock. I don't remember exactly who the player was, but I do remember the guitar.

When Kazuhito Yamashita played Castelnuovo-Tedesco's "Twenty-four Caprichos de Goya last summer he played his Ramirez, unamplified as always. I was on the front row, but people in the back said he filled the hall with sound. (see attachment)

quote:


I think the Ramirez flamenco guitars (particularly those with spruce tops) are unfairly underrated.


Brune points out the influence of Barbero on the Ramirez flamencas. I think one reason they are cheap is there are so many of them.

For years I had played only one flamenca I preferred to my '67 Ramirez blanca. It was a '73 spruce/cypress Conde. But I prefer my '82 Arcangel Fernandez blanca to either of them. I still play the Ramirez a good bit. It travels while the Arcangel usually stays at home.

It seemed pretty clear to me that Ricardo prefers his Conde to the Arcangel, but as they say, "Different strokes for different folks."

Attachment (1)
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 20 2019 7:09:08
 
Echi

 

Posts: 573
Joined: Jan. 11 2013
 

RE: Tuning our guitars (in reply to jalalkun

I read an interview of Brune where he has been asked what kind of guitar had more influence on him ( or something like that, I’m going by heart) and I was surprised to read Ramirez.

Barbero is of course a master even though the main elements is famous for (bracing pattern and plantilla) were taken from his master Santos. Usually the barberos have a stiffer top than a topical Santos guitar, with a big earthy tone.
Arcangel kept Barbero’s plantilla but thinned again the top in the style of Santos (under 2 mm) and developed an original bracing pattern, quite standard throughout his career.
Ramirez III merged elements both from Barbero and Arcangel in his classical while followed Barbero for the flamecas.
Market aside, in terms of quality and tone, a spruce topped early flamenco Ramirez guitar probably had few to envy to a guitar made by Barbero.
Ramirez kept an obvious high standard for many years for his flamenco guitars, with some excellent ones.

I saw the video of Ricardo playing your Arcangel and I’m familiar with his very charming guitars having extensively played (and almost owned) one. I then owned a copy made by Caceres. Amazing guitars but eventually I turned to something different.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 20 2019 10:27:41
 
Ricardo

Posts: 11074
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Tuning our guitars (in reply to Echi

quote:

ORIGINAL: Echi

I was pleased when I read Brune’ saying that he is still an admirer of the Ramirez guitars; particularly of those made under Ramirez III and IV.
The general consensus is that the high action was an input of Segovia and out of doubt in the seventies the influence of Segovia had no pair.
I think the Ramirez flamenco guitars (particularly those with spruce tops) are unfairly underrated.


I got to spend some time with a 1962 spruce top all December, did a couple gigs with. Very different than the cedar top guitars of course, really similar to old condes... in the basses. Trebles are a different story. In the end it’s the EQ, tweeking the mid range, that seems to make the difference. Balancing the entire range.... it’s not easy to hear unless you can play really fast long scales. Anyway loved the feel and response of that one, probably the unique Ramírez spruce top I ever tried.

_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 20 2019 16:42:38
 
Echi

 

Posts: 573
Joined: Jan. 11 2013
 

RE: Tuning our guitars (in reply to jalalkun

Those are definitely nice guitars, I agree.
I recently stumbled on this very guitar:
http://www.foroflamenco.com/tm.asp?m=215658&appid=&p=&mpage=1&key=ramirez&tmode=&smode=&s=#215710
Nice indeed: a lot in common with the pre-65 Ramirez guitars but louder. Even. than my Conde in this case.
As you say the overall tone is less compressed than a typical Conde a bit less midrange Eq and with sweeter treebles.

I think that Ramirez IV made a serious attempt to refresh his flamenco guitar line to recover a better place in the market of the flamenco.
Quite cleverly he thought to come back to the pre-65 model and make it more modern. He achieve it quite well but he passed away too early to develop both the idea and the market share.

For those who like the anecdotes; this is exactly the path followed by Felipe Conde, in the same years and way.
In the eighties Ramirez had to leave home many guitarmakers working in the shop of Madrid. Actually Ramirez kept employed just five oficiales de primera and the most of the trained makers practically offered their skills for piecework for other Madrid guitarmakers.
Conde (as others) cleverly took advantage of the situation and started collaborating with some of them when the Felipe V shop separated from the other 2 Conde shops (1990).
Even nowadays, the trainer of Felipe Jr. and Maria Conde is a former Ramirez guitarmaker and the same for Mariano Conde Jr. in calle Amnistia. Small world.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 21 2019 9:04:53
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 2602
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Tuning our guitars (in reply to Ricardo

I will repeat the story of buying my first guitar at age 19 at Paracho in Mexico. Sr. Ramon Zalapa's store sold office furniture, paint and guitars. He told me he had a workshop employing a few men who made the guitars. After trying out maybe ten instruments I picked the loudest one. It also played in tune. I knew nothing whatsoever about guitars, but being a 19-year old twit I felt obliged to voice an opinion.

After I complimented the guitar, Sr. Zalapa pushed back his straw hat. A broad smile creased his Indian features, showing a handsome gold tooth.

"Pues, to'os no salen igual," he replied. ["They don't all turn out the same."]

When I repeated the tale to Bruce Bannister, the dealer from whom I bought my Romanillos 43 years later, he laughed hilariously for several seconds, then agreed with Sr. Zalapa.

Of course he added that he had played Romanillos throughout his professional concert and teaching career in Europe, and the one in question was one of the four best.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 21 2019 19:36:33
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