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 Post subject: Larrivée ladder bracing
PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 1:32 pm 
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Joined: Sun Sep 08, 2013 11:39 pm
Posts: 161
I'm thinking about future guitar projects, all over the map from a Larrivée-type L 12 string, basic boomy dread, and another try at a Kinkead-design orchestra model for finger-style. I have a Larrivée rosewood dread that I got 30 years ago, and it is a fine guitar. It uses ladder bracing. I see in issue 123 of American Lutherie, Grit Laskin, who learned from L'arrivée and still uses ladder bracing, talks about "why it works."

https://luth.org/journal/american-luthe ... fall-2015/

I'd like to know more about this, but don't have the magazine (yes, I could pay for it . . .) If anyone has one, I'd be grateful if you would share the essence of what it says. In the illustration the bracing looks heavy; has anyone used this and made it lighter, or tried scalloping, and to what effect? Thanks for any insight - Bruce W.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 3:40 pm 
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I can't answer all of your questions. But, there's a local Luthier who is known for repurposing old pianos into guitars. He swears by ladder bracing and it's the only type of bracing he uses.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 4:39 pm 
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Joined: Sat Nov 13, 2010 9:55 pm
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Location: Pittsburgh PA suburbs
I wasn’t aware that Larrivee used “ladder bracing.” I thought he used a variant of X bracing called “symmetrical bracing” where the lower face bars are traverse like the “#1” upper transverse brace beneath the fingerboard extension. The back seems to be traditionally ladder braced though.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 5:06 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2006 7:09 pm
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Location: Hegins, Pa
ladder is an old bracing pattern and for old blues , that is what they used.

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Blues Creek Guitars Inc
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president of Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans
http://www.bluescreekguitars.com


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 6:12 pm 
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Neil is probably correct. I have heard it called ladder bracing, but it is certainly not like the bracing used on a lot of backs. The illustration in the original post shows what I am thinking of. To further confuse things, Larrivée has introduced a "new" system of "scalloped hybrid parabolic bracing" on some of its guitars:

https://sonicstate.com/amped/2013/08/09 ... -pattern-/


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 6:17 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 8:03 am
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Location: Chestertown Maryland
And Neil Harpe wrote a small book on Stella guitars, most of which were ladder braced. It has images of the inside of some, and a short discussion. Neil is also a great player of old time music on these restored instruments, so if you want to hear what one sounds like, he almost always plays a different one.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJfIs0NJIcI

He has retired from selling Stellas, but all of his CDs are worth a listen - just my cup of tea

Ed


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 6:25 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 8:03 am
Posts: 1212
Location: Chestertown Maryland
Hans Brentrup retired three years ago, but he built Larson copies, including many ladder braced. Ladder braces look like popsicle braces or bridge plates that go mostly full width 3 or sometimes 4 of them. He said 2 things - that many had a flat, not domed, top, and that the tops were thicker, in the area of .125. I built one with those two features and it is holding up fine after 5 years in Maryland. Not sure about now, but he answered any questions I had. I bought his book, but it was expensive.

Todd Cambio of Fraulini guitars copies old one like Stella and Larson. I have played 2, a 6 and a 12, and they are very loud, unlike mine which is softer. Lots of good information on his site

http://fraulini.com

One cool thing he does - for his pick guards (see his site) he routs the space out, glues the inlay into the routed spot, then mixes and pours the pick guard for a perfect fit around the inlay and the pick guard shape. I have to try that.

I highly recommend trying one - there are people that will play nothing else

Ed


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 9:02 pm 
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Joined: Sun Sep 08, 2013 11:39 pm
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Wow - I started this thread off on the wrong track because I thought I was talking about "ladder braced" guitars but I meant Larrivée's symmetrical bracing. Now you have put me on to real ladder braced guitars and it's a whole new world. I did some searching on the forum before I asked my question, and found a number of threads in which builders replaced ladder bracing on old guitars with X bracing, so I was assuming that must be considered an improvement. I still have a lot to learn. I am not particularly drawn to bluesy guitars, but Cambio's sound really distinctive.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 10:11 pm 
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Joined: Sat Nov 13, 2010 9:55 pm
Posts: 536
Location: Pittsburgh PA suburbs
Stray Feathers wrote:
Neil is probably correct. I have heard it called ladder bracing, but it is certainly not like the bracing used on a lot of backs. The illustration in the original post shows what I am thinking of. To further confuse things, Larrivée has introduced a "new" system of "scalloped hybrid parabolic bracing" on some of its guitars:

https://sonicstate.com/amped/2013/08/09 ... -pattern-/


That’s on their new 40 series, but the rest are the old symmetrical X bracing without any scalloping and a parabolic profile that is pretty stout. From what I’ve heard, Larrivee’s rarely have lower bout bulge but also take some more time to open up tonally.

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