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RobJe

 

Posts: 732
Joined: Dec. 16 2006
From: UK

Conde kit? 

I have always been intrigued by what appears to be pictures of parts for making Conde Hermanos guitars on
http://www.graf-martinez.info/flamenco-guitar.html
- just keep following the red links in small letters at the bottom of the page.
What is going on here? I note that the picture of the back of the blanca shows the wrong wood for the heel plate, but otherwise the details look correct. There is also a transparent Conde! Is this just some clever computer graphics or what?
Rob

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 7 2007 21:45:47
 
DoctorX2k2

 

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From: Quebec City, Canada

RE: Conde kit? (in reply to RobJe

huh? These are just 3d renders... you can't tell?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 7 2007 22:06:33
 
Anders Eliasson

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RE: Conde kit? (in reply to RobJe

What you see is correct I think. You see this "modern" conde with the 2 braces going through the lower harmonic bar and substituting the soundhole reinforcement strips. You also see that the central 5 braces are parrallel and the 2 outer are angled ala torres.
The first I dont think is specially interesting and probably wont change much IMHO. The other is very flamenco, meaning that you look for less stiffness across the grain in order to get less harmonics.

I would like to know when they started building like that. Were the 1990 condes like that or is it only the 2000 up guitars which were build like that.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 8 2007 7:24:24
 
Ricardo

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From: Washington DC

RE: Conde kit? (in reply to Anders Eliasson

quote:

Were the 1990 condes like that


Yes. And how about that really thick piece under the fingerboard Anders (the final X-ray picture)?

How about the 70's Condes? Ask Romerito to shine a bright light in his guitar face up in a dark room to see the pattern. I did that to the Hermanos Sanchis and that was quite interesting. The outer braces angle opposite (fan in) the other 5 fanned out. And the bottom ones that normally slant are straight across on the Sanchis.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 8 2007 7:33:03
 
TANúñez

Posts: 2559
Joined: Jul. 10 2003
From: TEXAS

RE: Conde kit? (in reply to RobJe

These are 3d renders as the Doctor said and Anders post is correct. That thick piece under the fingerboard that Ricardo mentions is a reinforcement used to prevent the top from splitting along the sides of the fingerboard if the ebony should start to shrink do to lack of humidity. The grain of this patch runs opposite of the grain of the top.

The heelcap can be made of anywood. I've seen some Conde's with both rosewood and cypress used for this.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 8 2007 12:22:41
 
RobJe

 

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From: UK

RE: Conde kit? (in reply to Anders Eliasson

I seem to remember hearing that this bracing pattern was developed by Faustino Conde. It is certainly nothing like that used by the three borthers' uncle Domingo Esteso. I know that it is standard for the top models at the Felipe V shop run by Mariano Condes two sons since the late 80's. Is it also used by whoever makes guitars for Faustino Conde's widow at the Gravina shop? And what about the Atocha shop which the third Conde brother Julio ran? I dont think Julio ever made guitars - just sold the guitars made by his brothers and the pictures I have seen of guitars from this shop don't seem to have any consistency at all.

Surely there must be enough Conde owners in this forum to do the research and provide all the answers!

Rob
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 8 2007 12:34:56
 
Anders Eliasson

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RE: Conde kit? (in reply to RobJe

quote:

The outer braces angle opposite (fan in) the other 5 fanned out


I´m not 100% sure I follow you, but it sounds like Barberos plan. He later added a bridge path that went all the way across the lower bout in order to improve harmonics because more players were asking for concert guitars.
The patch underneath the fingerboard as Tom mentioned is very important. The fingerboard will schrink with time and the top will crack if its not there. I dont think it influences in the sound. My patch goes all the way from the nect to the upper harmonic bar and is around 3mm thick

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 8 2007 13:10:45
 
TANúñez

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From: TEXAS

RE: Conde kit? (in reply to Anders Eliasson

A 2002 Gravina that I recently sold had the "modern" bracing as in the photos on the Graf-Martinez site.

Incidentally, the latest Sanchis Lopez F-Extra models I have sold have also had this same bracing pattern which is why they probably have that "Conde Sound".

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 8 2007 19:20:40
 
Armando

Posts: 302
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From: Zürich, Switzerland

RE: Conde kit? (in reply to Anders Eliasson

quote:

The other is very flamenco, meaning that you look for less stiffness across the grain in order to get less harmonics.


Hi Anders

Sorry i didn't got that. Should a Flamenco guitar have less harmonics? If i hear the very best flamenco guitars, i don't think they are laking harmonics but maybe i mix something up here. Are harmonics something different to overtones?
Isn't it that most luthiers are doing efforts, starting with the wood selection and continuing with the choosed bracing pattern to esure sufficient stiffness across the grain?

And another question: The computer model as shown on graf martinez website shows the harmonic bars with the grain running flat instead of vertical. I believe that it's not the first time that i see that. Besides the grain direction it seems that some luthiers use a kind of pine which is not picea but more like yellow or mediterranean pine. Do you know something about that? Is it maybe to have the harmonic bars being more flexible or maybe due to another reason?

Armando

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 8 2007 20:07:58
 
Anders Eliasson

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RE: Conde kit? (in reply to RobJe

Maybe I use the wrong words, but yes I find that most players want a guitar with little sustain and not to many harmonics, or lets say harmonics that dont stay to long. I personally like a guitar with short sustain and plenty of harmonics that die out relatively fast.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 9 2007 11:55:24
 
DoctorX2k2

 

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From: Quebec City, Canada

RE: Conde kit? (in reply to Anders Eliasson

quote:

ORIGINAL: Anders Eliasson

Maybe I use the wrong words, but yes I find that most players want a guitar with little sustain and not to many harmonics, or lets say harmonics that dont stay to long. I personally like a guitar with short sustain and plenty of harmonics that die out relatively fast.


Do you mean... sound not traveling to far, like classicals?
I know flamencos favor cross dipole vibrations more than classicals... supposed to give greater "short range" volume... maybe that's what you mean by harmonics that die out fast... I guess.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 9 2007 15:22:12
 
Ricardo

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RE: Conde kit? (in reply to DoctorX2k2

quote:

Do you mean... sound not traveling to far, like classicals?


Sorry to cut in, but I am sure he means less sustain, overtones help sustain the sound, not traveling far which is projection. A good flamenco guitar is usually very dry and percussive, more like a marimba than a piano. A guitar that has lots of sustain and overtones, sounds like mud when you do rasgueados. Flamenco guitars often sacrifice volume by having a low bridge and dryness, but the result is a more percussive instrument that cuts through better, ie "projects" or travels further, because the rhythmical sounds are more detatched and clear.

So you guys think it is the struts being parrallel rather than fanning that contributes to the clearity of the Conde sound?

Ricardo
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 9 2007 19:01:40
 
DoctorX2k2

 

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From: Quebec City, Canada

RE: Conde kit? (in reply to Ricardo

My physics are messed up... if only I could find my old books.

In projection, isn't the amplitude of sound decreasing at the square of the distance from the source? Isn't sustain also a function of the amplitude but the independant variable being the time instead of the distance? Since the wave speed and amplitude depend on the strings, I can only see the velocity could be the reason as the direction of those waves would depend on the bracing patterns (mechanical coupling). I don't think action height has anything to do with it, I'd say it's mostly braces and materials but I'm not much into physics, just taking a guess.

As for parallel struts, according to what I've learned in Voicing Top videos from Somogyi, it would increase cross dipole vibrations (short range volume - dryness) at the expense of long dipole (projection), unless the braces are scalopped further,
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 9 2007 21:11:49
 
Armando

Posts: 302
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From: Zürich, Switzerland

RE: Conde kit? (in reply to RobJe

Anders

Thanks for your clarifications.

Yes, i understand sustain to be something different to harmonics but it is nothing new that many musical terms, especially those who try to discribe sound, can be understand in different ways.

Ricardo

If harmonics and overtones are the same thing then i agree that a lot of overtones may contribute to a longer sustain.

I just have the Barbero Sound of the Sabicas recordings in my head and the guitar has it's typical old world blanca sound with plenty of metallic overtones.
Therefore i don't know if overtones are basically something bad in a flamenco guitar. Too long sustain is a bad thing though.

Armando

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 9 2007 21:14:25
 
RobJe

 

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From: UK

RE: Conde kit? (in reply to Ricardo

The plot thickens!
I think that the production of harmonics depends to a great extent on where you pluck the string. In the middle you get mainly the fundmental - towards the bridge you get more harmonics.
Just because the harmonics are produced, doesn't mean that they are transmited well by the guitar to the ear. I seem to remember reading about some research in an acoustics lab in France where they tried guitar tops with different kinds of bracing on the same guitar and measured the transmission of harmonics. The thing that semed to make the most difference was putting a plate under the bridge - this seemed to help to transmit the harmonics. Some of these under bridge plates or struts extend right across the guitar. I don't know enough about this but perhaps it is this kind of tranversal stiffening that helps transmit the harmonics. I would be happy to corrected by someone who really knows!
I was wrong earlier when I said that Conde bracing wasn't anything like that of Tio Domingo - in the catalogue for the Guitar exhibition at the New York Met in 1991 a 1932 Esteso flamenco is shown with 7 near parallel struts.
As to preferences for sound I find that I am more concerned with how the guitar feels than how it sounds. My favourite guitars couldn't be more different in sound - Conde A26 and M Bellido special (Fleta type) bracing model but fingers just bounce off the strings in the way that I like.
Rob
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 9 2007 21:52:05
 
Anders Eliasson

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RE: Conde kit? (in reply to RobJe

quote:

Therefore i don't know if overtones are basically something bad in a flamenco guitar. Too long sustain is a bad thing though.


In my opinion, and its based on a lot of guitarist input as well, High overtones or harmonics are very nice to a certain degree and I personally prefer guitars with some high overtones. But they must die of. If not, what happens is what Ricardo describes very well: It gets muddy. Very dry guitars can be very fun to play for a while, but if they are to dry (read few high overtones) me and the majority of guitarists I´ve known get tired when playing the guitar. These guitars never forgive anything and you have to create all the sound. A nice touch of high harmonics just creates this "space" of sound, which I find inspiring. Peghead blancas can be VERY dry. I tried a Very nice peghead by a very famous maker and the guitars was VERY good. I did not like to play it and most others agree, but some few just love this almost banjo sound (spoink) or almost like playing with a sponge without loosing volume.

Sabicas guitar has a lot of high harmonics and is very trebly. I like it but prefer a bit more bottom end. Always remember that Sabicas guitar has also been through a Mixer, plus I have a feeling he´s playing with very new and thin strings with a very low setup.

Sustain... No or at least not to much. I personally like the basses to be deep and powerfull, but they must die out fast. If not muddy things happen. I like deep basses because they make the overall sound beautifull.
So now we have Deep dry basses and high trebles with a bit of harmonics and there´s where the discussion normally end. That what people talk about, what they find interesting............ BUT

The most important thing........... Midrange....... Thats where most things happen and not just in flamenco guitars. Have a chat with electrical guitarists (I was one myself, I´ve been in studios and have build a few elctrical guitars) They are all over the place with midrange. Its considered to be art to be able to control the midrange by winding the pickup and choose the right magnet.

On flamenco guitars, the midrange is very important. Thats where the dynamics are. Thats where the pushing, the olé como toca, the rythmical aspect is going on. A guitar with little midrange sounds beautifull in a church, but in a juerga in a bar full of thick smoke and sweat, it totally disappears. By by beauty.

What is difficult is to find is the right blend. To much midrange sounds harsh or cold.

Finally I want to say that there´s no one way or one sound. It is personal. After listening to Sabicas, listen to Riqueni.... Its two different worlds. I like both, but its impossible to put both sounds into one guitar.n At this moment my favorite guitar is a Negra (the Madagascar I posted a while ago) Its very dry with few harmonics and I need to work a lot to play it, but its very vibrant and it always inspires me. But if I was to have only one guitar, I would go for a good blanca, because they generally have more midrange dynamics and in general they work better when playing with other guitars or percussion.

Well that was a long one.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 10 2007 8:06:29
 
Anders Eliasson

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RE: Conde kit? (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

So you guys think it is the struts being parrallel rather than fanning that contributes to the clearity of the Conde sound?


Ricardo. Its the whole that makes a good guitar. You cannot seperate the factors. There are so many different ways to combine. According to theory, making a guitar with less crossgrain control, gives more uncontroled vibration, which in my experience leads to less clarity of sound and more drumlike percussiveness. But there are so many other factors influencing in crossgrain stiffness, the soundboard itself, the thickness of the soundboard, bridge path and the size and placement of the closing struts. The X ray conde has quite big closing struts, whereas the traditional Santos Hernadez di not have any... So choose yourself

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 10 2007 8:14:17
 
legrec

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From: France

RE: Conde kit? (in reply to Anders Eliasson

Muchos gracias Anders for all these interesting informations - It helps a lot understanding how builders are trying to achieve their sound and the sound dilemmas which make each guitar different.

I'm also searching for a "ole como toca" guitar with good midrange (not sure it's the only reason to receive a "ole como toca" but it helps for sure ) , because I feel that most of the flamencas I've tried were lacking this midrange (and I'm always depressed by the awfull G-sol string, even with "compensated saddle").
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 10 2007 10:54:08
 
Anders Eliasson

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RE: Conde kit? (in reply to RobJe

Legrec

You could try with a composite G-sol string. Daddario, Savarez Alianza, Hannabach Goldin and Knobloch are all good. The goldin (med/high tension goes very well with normal tension strings

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 10 2007 13:06:17
 
Ricardo

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RE: Conde kit? (in reply to Anders Eliasson

quote:

I don't think action height has anything to do with it, I'd say it's mostly braces and materials but I'm not much into physics, just taking a guess.


I am no physicist, but remember reading somewhere that when the strings are closer to the soundboard (low bridge) you get a quicker response, but less sustain and volume. It is a trade off and the maker goes for some middle ground. If you raise the action significantly on your guitar you can notice it.

I just know from playing experience, that my louder guitar, oddly, did not cut through with the dancers (unamplified), than the quieter but more percussive or responive guitar. It was actually surprising, and you can't tell so much when the instrments are amplified or solo. Also, that guitar that is less forgiving (as Anders said), seems to me to respond better to dynamics.

What I mean as a player is, those guitars that are louder and have more sustain harmonics or whatever, you play easy and the guitar sounds great. But if you play REALLY hard, it does not go anywhere different,or can get muddy by overplaying. But the dry un-forgiving guitar, when you play REALLY hard, it gets better and better sounding. You can't over play it. Hard to describe in words, but I know it when playing, and it is mainly a right hand thing. I think there are many factors, and the rosewood/cypress is certainly part of it, as the strutting I would think.

The worse sounding Conde I ever played, (that was an A26 pro model I mean), actually had good mid range, but no bass at all. I really did not like it. But it seemed whoever made it, was going for that important midrange, but whatever went wrong, they over did it so the guitar was really not well balanced. But compared to Conde blancas in general, a lot of flamenco guitars have too much bass and overtones and sustain for my taste. I like unforgiving guitars. I always felt Sanchis guitars to feel most similar to my favorite condes, but the brace pattern is totally different.

Ricardo
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 10 2007 21:01:05
 
Anders Eliasson

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RE: Conde kit? (in reply to RobJe

quote:

What I mean as a player is, those guitars that are louder and have more sustain harmonics or whatever, you play easy and the guitar sounds great. But if you play REALLY hard, it does not go anywhere different,or can get muddy by overplaying. But the dry un-forgiving guitar, when you play REALLY hard, it gets better and better sounding. You can't over play it.


I totally agree and it leads to the most important word and most difficult aspect in building flamenco guitars.... Compromise

This peghead guitar I mentioned could really be played ROUGH, but it was/is totally unbearable to play sitting at home working with a metronome etc. You have to play it with an enourmous amout of power. The owner, a good amateur never plays it, because he gets tired after 10 minutes.... Is that a good flamenco guitar.... Yes, a very good one for about 1 - 3 % of all players. Its difficult to survive making guitars like that.

On the other hand, you can make a guitar as Ricardo sais with lots of bass and high end harmonics. It will be sweet and nice. Even you dog will like it and you can relax a lot when playing and thus play longer, which is a very important factor for many amateurs comming home from work etc. Is it a good flamenco guitar... No... Its a bit to soft, you never learn to play with that flamenco right hand, which is a part of flamenco. but you can sell it and quite a few of them.

So the compromise...Difficult I look for a guitar that you can take to juerga and almost compete with the dryest concrete ones and at the same time you can play at home without suffering to much....

With respect of bridges my experience (and others) is that its more the mass or veight that defines response, sustain and volume. Flamenco guitars have smaller and lighter bridges than classicals. The heavyer bridge reacts slower and maintain vibrating longer. Some luthiers like to us the word "Impedance" on these factors. I know what they mean, but it still sounds kind of electrical to me

As a final word I just wanna say that things are complicated. You may now think that the better the guitarist, the harder and dryer the guitar.... No way. Its such a personal and polyfacetted (can you say that in english) story and it depends a lot on your right hand position. The further back you play the dryer the guitar and the harder you can play it without reaching its limits.

So my advice is to work that right hand, to learn all the differnt sound colors of your guitar and learn where your and your guitars limits are. Many not so good players that think they are very good think they have to play hard and use a lot of right hand movement. I find that the dryest most flamenco sound comes from short, very fast and powerfull right hand movements played relatively close to the bridge. Just take a look at the good ones... Is their right hand all over the place..... No

Un saludo y todo
Anders

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 11 2007 7:50:06
 
Armando

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From: Zürich, Switzerland

RE: Conde kit? (in reply to RobJe

quote:

Ricardo. Its the whole that makes a good guitar. You cannot seperate the factors. There are so many different ways to combine. According to theory, making a guitar with less crossgrain control, gives more uncontroled vibration, which in my experience leads to less clarity of sound and more drumlike percussiveness. But there are so many other factors influencing in crossgrain stiffness, the soundboard itself, the thickness of the soundboard, bridge path and the size and placement of the closing struts. The X ray conde has quite big closing struts, whereas the traditional Santos Hernadez di not have any... So choose yourself


What i find difficult to understand as an amateur builder is, that there is no rule without an exception. I mean, you can't say a flamenco top with this and that sound character must be built in this or that way. Sure the top is not the only thing to consider if you build a guitar, but it is said that Torres successfully demonstrated with his guitar made of cardboard how important the top is in comparisson to the rest of the guitar.

So, crossgrain stiffness adds harmonics to the guitar...short braces contribute to a better treble response and struts paralel to the grain produce a drier, more percussive tone...?

So and now the exceptions...

Manuel Reyes uses seven fan struts similar to the Santos Hernandez pattern but with a bridge batch running across the whole width of the lower bout untherneath the bridge.

Manuel Bellido uses a strut in the same position as Reyes uses a batch and no paralel braces (unless the central brace) either.

Francisco Barba uses a seven fan struting close to the Torres bracing for his flamenco guitars.

So....what is it? Is it the bracing or something else? Is it really true that the soundboard bracing makes up the difference? I doubt, allthough i respect Torres very much.

I know... You must get the whole picture and understand how the differnent parts of the guitar interact and couple with each other. I agree on that, and i believe that this understanding can only be gained having built quite a number of guitars and with years of dedication and experience.

Armando

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 11 2007 12:13:11
 
Anders Eliasson

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RE: Conde kit? (in reply to RobJe

I dont beleieve in one better than other bracing systems. I believe in the luthiers capacity to combine the elements in a top. What you write is the best example. So many bracing systems work well.

They have some small different sound characteristics, but thats it.

IMO, the most important 2 factors are:
1) to get the thickness right. and all soundboards need a different thickness.
2) to balance the soundboard and the braces using taptones and experience.

The less components you have, the faster you´ll progress, because you have less variables.... So I consider a 5 piece fan system with 2 closing struts to be the best way to start..... And believe me, some of my best guitars have been made like that, and some of the best guitars of other builders the same. You can make absolutely world class instruments with a bracing system like that.
When you add more components, you can fine tune more, but if you didn´t get it before, you wont get it with more components.........

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 11 2007 17:17:01
 
JasonM

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From: Baltimore

RE: Conde kit? (in reply to Ricardo

hmmm. I just did the light trick on my Sanchis. It has 5 fan out braces (not seven), and no perpendiular braces at the heel. Wow this is getting totally weird! Yamaha may really make Sanchis after all.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 12 2007 1:50:09
 
Anders Eliasson

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RE: Conde kit? (in reply to RobJe

quote:

It has 5 fan out braces (not seven), and no perpendiular braces at the heel. Wow this is getting totally weird!


No. Thats not weird. Its a good oldfashion standard 5 piece abanico. Tons of guitars have been made like that. A lot of old Condes, You know these: Is this a Conde or not, were made like that

I like it to but when I builded with 5 braces I added 2 relatively long and angled closing struts and a bridge patch going all the way across. Something in between your bracing pattern and Barbero, and its a bracing system that I will recommend to most new builders, because it works is relatively easy to control and you get a good idea of what of what the components do.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 12 2007 7:11:05
 
RobJe

 

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From: UK

RE: Conde kit? (in reply to Anders Eliasson

5 ... 7 ... or 9 I suppose. This picture is from an exhibition by Manuel and Jesus Bellido in Malaga 2005. Sorry about the picture quality but it was in a glass ase in a dark museum in an underground car park! Manuel made flamencos like this in the early 90's. Mine also has a thin bar under the bridge extending right acrss the face. The result is a stiff top and a nice guitar to play.
Rob



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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 12 2007 9:12:48
 
TANúñez

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From: TEXAS

RE: Conde kit? (in reply to RobJe

quote:

Manuel made flamencos like this in the early 90's


That's a great pic but if that's a flamenco guitar I'd be very surprised.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 12 2007 12:14:51
 
Anders Eliasson

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RE: Conde kit? (in reply to RobJe

Well its a fleta inspired bracing system and a cedar top. Pretty classical

Manuel Bellido has made more or less everything. I know he made 9 piece braces, but I dont know if he made with double lower harmonic bar as on the fleta and on this guitar..

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 12 2007 12:52:25
 
nhills

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From: West Des Moines, IA USA

RE: Conde kit? (in reply to TANúñez

I'm with you, Tom - that's a classical.

Norman
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 12 2007 13:24:55
 
RobJe

 

Posts: 732
Joined: Dec. 16 2006
From: UK

RE: Conde kit? (in reply to RobJe

You are right of course Tom. But my 1990 blanca peg head has the same pattern with the addition of the under bridge strut and one closing strut on the base side. They all seem much thinner than on most guitars. Here is picture of the back so that you can see that it really is a blanca!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 12 2007 13:30:40
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