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Attn Aaron Green + Charles Veva   You are logged in as Guest
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Jim Opfer

Posts: 1876
Joined: Jul. 19 2003
From: Glasgow, Scotland.

Attn Aaron Green + Charles Veva 

Aaron and Charles,

Great to read that you're both on the forum.

I have a guitar question.

I have come to the conclusion that flamenco guitars should be lightweight. I have a fine Ramirez 1a spruce/cypress with pegs from 1969 and it weighs in at 1.150kg.

Now every other guitar just feels too heavy.

There's something about the energy and sound from this instrument that makes me think that in most other guitars, much of the sound is lost in just trying to overcome the inertia/mass on the instrument whereas a light guitar is free to sing.

What's the facts?

Cheers
Jim.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 16 2004 19:25:39
 
Escribano

Posts: 6254
Joined: Jul. 6 2003
From: England, living in Italy

RE: Attn Aaron Green + Charles Veva (in reply to Jim Opfer

Try Stephen Hill as he is also a member. I am setting up a Luthiery section to the forum.

Why not email these guys via the forum as they may not be checking on us very often? I will let Aaron, Charles and Stephen know about the new section.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 16 2004 20:18:15
 
aarongreen

 

Posts: 367
Joined: Jan. 16 2004
 

RE: Attn Aaron Green + Charles Veva (in reply to Jim Opfer

Thats an interesting question. Cypress is a very light weight wood, it weighs quite a bit less than rosewood. And while there are many schools of design in classical guitar, there are less variations in the flamenco guitar. I have come across many light weight classical guitars made from rosewood. I have also seen some real tanks.
In so far as materials differences both rosewood and cypress have their advantages. One reason why we love real good Brazilian rosewood is that it has less damping than any other wood we use for the back and sides. (African blackwood, which is a true rosewood, may have less damping but I am not sure, I am sure that it weighs considerably more and that to me cancels out any damping advantages, but I digress) Damping is a term that we use to talk about internal friction, where a certain amount of energy is lost to get that piece of wood vibrating. Another factor in that equation is the mass of the piece of wood. So in rosewood we have low losses for the mass but more mass. In cypress we have higher damping, greater losses, but considerably less mass.
In the end though its all what you do with the materials you have. I am finding more and more that I really like the lyrical nature of a cypress guitar. The expansive tonal pallete of a great cypress guitar is something every guitarist would like to have, classical or flamenco. I still love rosewood and enjoy building in it. The more robust response of a great rosewood guitar is compelling enough to make me want to build more. I would hate to have to choose one material over the other, they all can offer great potentials.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 17 2004 2:00:05
 
Jim Opfer

Posts: 1876
Joined: Jul. 19 2003
From: Glasgow, Scotland.

RE: Attn Aaron Green + Charles Veva (in reply to Escribano

Interesting development now that we have 3 great luthiers, congratulations! Simon for providing a super Foro.
Cheers
Jim.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 17 2004 12:00:57
Guest

RE: Attn Aaron Green + Charles Veva (in reply to Jim Opfer

Well Aron. This is a very interesting point. Makes me think. I to like very much the lyrical quality of cypress, and I do think it has a pallete a lot bigger than the traditional shortsustain flamenco we all know. I´m currently playing a M.A. Bellido blanca with cedar top, and it´s got the most beautifull midrange growl I´ve ever met in a nylon stringed guitar.

This with the damping/weight factor interests me a lot. What do you think about CDN cypress. It´s taptone is a bit brighter than Mediteranean Cypress, and it´s got the stability and evenness that´s so difficult to find in Med. Cypress, (or very expensive)

Also I would like to know yours (and anyone elses) opinion on Palo Escrito (trad Mexican tonewood), which weighs a great deal less than Indian Rosewood, but has got a very nice ringing taptone.

Well thanks
Anders
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 17 2004 20:47:12
 
aarongreen

 

Posts: 367
Joined: Jan. 16 2004
 

RE: Attn Aaron Green + Charles Veva (in reply to Guest

Hey Anders,
Canadian cypress (aka Alaskan Yellow Cedar) is a wood that I don't have a great deal of experience with and really am not able to comment on it. I did build a flamenco guitar from it once but it was my 9th or 10th guitar and well there's not a lot from back then that I would treat as informed observations. There are a couple of local (North America) alternatives to Med cypress. One of them is Monteray cypress, which I built a guitar from a couple of years back. It is visually as close to identical as you can get to Med. cypress although I found it a bit softer and spongier, if that makes sense. The guitar was good but more classical than flamenco. Robert Ruck sold me a set of Port Orford Cedar about 8 years ago that he was very hot on for flamenco guitars. Seems like a good alternative but I have yet to use it. I have never used Palo Escrito, for one thing it seems to have a lot of knots and Indian rosewood is a wonderful tonewood that I am more than happy to use.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 18 2004 1:29:18
 
Escribano

Posts: 6254
Joined: Jul. 6 2003
From: England, living in Italy

RE: Attn Aaron Green + Charles Veva (in reply to aarongreen

quote:

Cypress is a very light weight wood, it weighs quite a bit less than rosewood


It's also a lot easier to work than rosewood, especially for amateurs

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 18 2004 17:52:12
 
nhills

Posts: 230
Joined: Jul. 13 2003
From: West Des Moines, IA USA

RE: Attn Aaron Green + Charles Veva (in reply to aarongreen

Hi Aaron!

Where does maple fit in this spectrum of damping, weight, etc. Love the one you did for LaBella, although I assume it's a classical. I built a maple guitar many years ago - primitive, but loud.

Cheers,
Norman
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 20 2004 20:45:43
 
aarongreen

 

Posts: 367
Joined: Jan. 16 2004
 

RE: Attn Aaron Green + Charles Veva (in reply to Jim Opfer

Hi Norman,
Maple is different than cypress in terms of it's weight and density, at least in my experience. The results are enough different that I would not really consider it a wood for flamenco guitars, at least my flamenco guitars. The La Bella guitar is a classical and an interesting example of the right guitar for the right player. Most players like it's clarity and tonal pallete but sound a bit thin on the guitar. The guys who can work it so far all play lute as well as guitar and play a lot of early music. Jerry Willard is one of these guys, he is an amazing musician in NYC. When he played the guitar it sounded like the most beautiful guitar I have ever built, and makes me want to build more like it. He really liked the guitar and we have talked about doing one similar for him. When I play it I sound like I have a bit of a head cold.
Certainly I think I could get very different results in how I pick and brace the top. The top on the La Bella guitar is an excellent piece of European spruce that has tons of figure, (no real runout though). It's a bit dense compared to some spruces, very tough and strong as well. Great top. On the other hand if I were to do it over again I might pick a less dense top and brace it lighter. Combinded with the maple that might have given more of a round tone and a more forgiving response. I do have the most beautiful set of European flame maple that has been sitting around for about 9 years. Would be fun to do another.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 21 2004 15:17:21
 
Escribano

Posts: 6254
Joined: Jul. 6 2003
From: England, living in Italy

RE: Attn Aaron Green + Charles Veva (in reply to aarongreen

quote:

I do have the most beautiful set of European flame maple that has been sitting around for about 9 years.


Interesting, does wood get better with age when not on the guitar? I have some nice 1997 rosewood for a negra when I get around to it. How should it be stored? Sorry for all the questions

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 21 2004 16:18:43
 
aarongreen

 

Posts: 367
Joined: Jan. 16 2004
 

RE: Attn Aaron Green + Charles Veva (in reply to Escribano

If it is stored in a stable enviroment then wood slowly loses it's moisture to become in equalibrim (hope I spelled that right) with that enviroment. Over time it becomes more stable. Some people talk about the wood cells actually becoming harder (?) due to the loss of moisture and therefore increasing the acoustic potential of that set of wood. Not sure what to make of that theory. What I do know is the more stable the set is, the better off the guitar is. A set of wood that you have had since 97 is more than ready to build with if you have been keeping it in an area of stable humidity. I keep my shop at 40%. New England is bad for guitars, in the summer it often goes right up to 100% humidity and this winter it sure got down to 0%. A lot of cracked guitars coming through the shop this year.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 21 2004 18:58:06
 
Escribano

Posts: 6254
Joined: Jul. 6 2003
From: England, living in Italy

RE: Attn Aaron Green + Charles Veva (in reply to aarongreen

quote:

A lot of cracked guitars coming through the shop this year.


Thanks for the advice, my first project - still underway - picked up a small crack in the back during our record English summer last year. It hit 103 and high humidity.

So how did you go about repairing said cracks?

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 21 2004 19:47:53

Paco E.

Posts: 70
Joined: Nov. 16 2003
From: Wieringerwerf, Holland

RE: Attn Aaron Green + Charles Veva (in reply to Escribano

hello,

About woods........

Rosewood, indian is a little less denser the brasilian.
The strength of brasilian (rio) is higher
Maple is a little lighter hen cypress, but denser and stronger

The difficulty is to find the compromise between a high volume en the tonal quality.
when the rythm of the piece you are playing is impotant, like flamenco, the it is important to find tonal woods that give a quick repons, the stiffiness en wheight is important.
For example: cedar, is sounding warm and gives a natural G-tone, but mixes all the tones together. Spruce is better for quick playing and mixes less.

Besides the quality of the tonal woods, the construction of the guitar makes the quality.
That is the major fator, the craftmanship of the Luthier and the design.
These things doing it.

Ed
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 21 2004 23:23:08

Paco E.

Posts: 70
Joined: Nov. 16 2003
From: Wieringerwerf, Holland

RE: Attn Aaron Green + Charles Veva (in reply to Paco E.

Hmm, moist........

There are a few things to consider about that.

Moist in woods is in two way in there.

In the cells and around the cells

The moist around the cells is easy to releave
the moist in the cells needs more time to releave
normaly a moist (in the cells ) of 12 % is good

Further more,
Try to imagine that wood is a set of fibers, that, when you wetting the wood have the ability to slide towards eachother.
That is the capacity that gives you the ability to bend it.
Try rosewood.
Wet the complete part 24 hours in water.

Put the bending iron on

when you put the wood on the iron, there is stil tension in the wood, suddenly, it is flexibel, the water steams and de internal fibers are sliding towards eachother. this is the bending moment, when the wood cools off, it will stay in position.

Ed
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 21 2004 23:33:21
 
nhills

Posts: 230
Joined: Jul. 13 2003
From: West Des Moines, IA USA

RE: Attn Aaron Green + Charles Veva (in reply to Paco E.

HI Paco!
I think we've been a victim of language. Density is a measure of mass per unit volume; therefore, if maple is denser, it must be "heavier". From the wood I've seen, I would call maple heavier, harder, and stronger than cypress. But there is a lot of variation from piece to piece.
Cheers,
Norman
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 22 2004 1:25:37

Paco E.

Posts: 70
Joined: Nov. 16 2003
From: Wieringerwerf, Holland

RE: Attn Aaron Green + Charles Veva (in reply to nhills

Hi Norman,

You are right, this is what I ment.
Sorry, it was late and I had a few beers,

Cheers

Ed
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 22 2004 12:22:58
 
aarongreen

 

Posts: 367
Joined: Jan. 16 2004
 

RE: Attn Aaron Green + Charles Veva (in reply to Escribano

Simon,
There are two kinds of cracks that are not caused by external forces (a hammer would be an external force for example). There are cracks caused by humidity and cracks caused by internal tension in the wood. Humidity cracks can sometimes can be massaged into closing by simply humidifying the guitar. So far that's what I had to deal with this year. Once the crack is closed up to the point that both sides are in contact then it's a matter of working in some glue, making sure that the sides of the crack are level and reinforcing said crack with patches, a spline or whatever seems appropiate.
Internal tension cracks are often helped along by lack of humidity but then it's a different kettle of fish. The tension has been relieved by the crack and therefore the wood usually won't want to close back up. Somtimes you can get the crack to close but you need to be careful not to create more tension by doing so. I am not a fan of putting splices in either tops or backs but sometimes there is no other way around it. How to tell the difference between the two? Sometimes it's real hard and it's impossible without having the guitar in your shop, at least for me.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 22 2004 19:30:43
 
Escribano

Posts: 6254
Joined: Jul. 6 2003
From: England, living in Italy

RE: Attn Aaron Green + Charles Veva (in reply to aarongreen

Thanks Aaron, the crack in the back is a combination of tension and lack of humidity, so I have put it in a more humid place to see if will close up a little, then slice it. The other is in the grain on the soundboard and will be patched from beneath, it's more of a split really where I went too thin with the scraper.

As this is a prototype, I am rather glad it has cracked as I get to learn from my mistakes

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 22 2004 20:04:15
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