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PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2011 11:32 am 
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Joined: Sat Oct 21, 2006 1:16 pm
Posts: 189
Location: Beuningen, the Netherlands
Hi guys, been a while away while making a electric bass. (I'll post it soon) Now I am on to built me a D-size guitar that has to be used in a band with high volumes. The guitar I use now that playes the most tight with the loud bass next to me is my Ovation. But still it is hard to keep the top vibrating on its own.

So my plan is to make a flatpicking D-sized one with a Sitka top.
It has to play punchy with not too much fundamentals.

I have around for the back/sides:
-Padouk
-Sapele
-East Indian Rosewood
-Bubinga

1. What backwood suits the purpose most?
2. What thoughts do you think should I have about the stiffness of the top.
(thickness, type of bracing, etc)

Thanks Herman


Last edited by Herman on Mon Jan 31, 2011 11:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2011 4:55 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 13, 2006 12:34 am
Posts: 608
Location: Wilmette, IL
Good to hear from you! Aren't the maple J-200's known for that very effect you are looking for? I am thinking the Padauk is going to give you something closer to a rosewood dread, and the sapele is ging to be more for fingerstyle....lots of punch but not quite the same richness or sustain. I would think its the maple that gives the crispness and allows it to stand apart, and the jumbo size gives it the bass response. My thoughts anyway.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2011 6:30 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 30, 2010 6:44 pm
Posts: 1665
Location: Arkansas
Herman, for building a loud dreadnaught, I would use the forward shifted X-Braces as described in this StewMac article on "banjo killer" bracking:

http://www.stewmac.com/tsarchive/ts0051.html?actn=100101&xst=3&xsr=107754

Describing a particular tone in your mind is difficult at best. When you say "punchy", do you mean a strong attack that really cuts with short sustain as opposed to a note that has less "attack" but blooms with good sustain? If so, I would think that medium density woods would be the ticket (like mahogany, walnut, or maybe even maple though maple has high dampening). It seems lighter weight woods have a faster, peakier, punchier (is that a word?) response which "uses up" or "dumps" the strings energy quicker than a dense rosewood which sustains better. If that's what you're after, the sapelle set you have may work well. Not sure how dense the Bubinga is so can't comment.

If you want a lot of headroom (meaning you want the guitar to respond loud without getting muddy when you hit the strings hard), I wouldn't thin the soundboard too thin. So maybe leave it a little thicker than one where you want a loud response to a light touch. Also, you might want to use a spruce top on the denser end of the spectrum. In my mind, a denser, thinner top would suit this purpose better than a lighter, thicker top with equal stiffness.

One other point, I'm thinking you are going to get plenty of fundamental with a dreadnought. You can use a radiused top with radiused sides to add a little complexity (vs a true flat top). Maybe a slight extra bit of radius in the top would take away some fundamental........not really sure about this so just throwing it out there for discussion.

Herman wrote:
...Now I am on to built me a D-size guitar that has to be used in a band with high volumes. The guitar I use now that playes the most tight with the load bass next to me is my Ovation. But still it is hard to keep the top vibrating on its own.

So my plan is to make a flatpicking D-sized one with a Sitka top.
It has to play punchy with not too much fundamentals.

I have around for the back/sides:
-Padouk
-Sapele
-East Indian Rosewood
-Bubinga

1. What backwood suits the purpose most?
2. What thoughts do you think should I have about the stiffness of the top.
(thickness, type of bracing, etc)

Thanks Herman

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 11:56 am 
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Joined: Sat Oct 21, 2006 1:16 pm
Posts: 189
Location: Beuningen, the Netherlands
Heey Ken, Dave and Darryl,

Nice to be in touch again, Thanks for answering.

Since I have no maple around I'll go with Darryl's suggestion of the Sapele. This was my first guess anyway. A bit more doming of the top is also a good idea.

According to Somogyi a loud guitar that projects very good should have a lot of cross-dipole resonance. That comes with a more tight X-brace angle. Foreward shifting comes with a larger angle. So the two bite. I don't know what that thought is worth, I'm no expert on the matter.
But I like an experiment. So I wil seriously consider your suggestions and go in the following direction:
-a bit thicker top than usual (±10%)
-a bit extra doming (1mm at the bridge)
-not too much scalloping
-the Sapele as back/sides
-foreward shifting
and lets see what happens.

What do you guys do when your guitar tends to have too much feedback when playing amplified?


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 2:37 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 30, 2010 6:44 pm
Posts: 1665
Location: Arkansas
Herman,

Is it required that you open the X-brack angle to 100 deg when shifted forward? It might be if the upper arms interfere with the UTB, not sure. If not, you could leave the angle at 98 deg or less if you can.

I'm not sure I completely understand the thought that the cross dipole helps projection.......unless it produces sound in the frequency range where our ears are more sensitive.

Another thought for you to consider which I think will help the power of the guitar, cutting through the mix, and reduce boominess in a mike which can lead to feedback.......use an oversized soundhole. Al Carruth says this likely produces more power. It raises the pitch of the main air resonance which may help apparent loudness so it "cuts" better. And it definitely will help the boominess that makes guitars difficult to mike. You might try a 4 1/2" soundhole. Clarence White's old guitar that Tony Rice plays has a 4 9/16" soundhole best I remember and supossedly it mikes very well. Somewhere on the net Brian Kimsey wrote a review of this guitar that you might find interesting.

Be careful not to make the top too stiff. If you use a dense piece of spruce, put extra dome in the top, then leave it a little thicker.......it all adds up.

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Last edited by Darryl Young on Mon Jan 31, 2011 8:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 3:36 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 21, 2006 1:16 pm
Posts: 189
Location: Beuningen, the Netherlands
I agree with Tony. Hi Tony!
With the Martin plan next to me, I think it would work with the UTB, but the upper part of the X would be just on the edge of the soundhole. Structually maybe no big deal, but aesthetically very ugly. If I decided to go with the forward shifting, I will follow the drawing that Stewmac offers ans the 100 degree X.
And Darryl, I will certainly use the 4 1/2" soundhole.
My baritone was an experiment, this one too and is going to be the loudest guitar on earth that stands straight next to a booming bassamplifier. Does that sound ambitious? Hm,at least I can try.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 2:28 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 30, 2010 6:44 pm
Posts: 1665
Location: Arkansas
I have no idea how it affects overtones, but I think the 100 deg X-brace angle will help the guitar be loud. May also help the monopole mode which is the biggest power producing mode of the guitar. With that oversize soundhole, this thing shoud cut through nearly anything. This is similar to how I will layout my first dreadnaught build. For sure will use forward shifted X-braces, 100 deg angle, and an oversized soundhole.

What kind of soundboard are you thinking of using? I'm going with red spruce. I also like Euro and Carpathian (which is Euro). Seems less muddy sounding to me than Sitka. I've read that Lutz is pretty good as well but I've never heard it in person.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 6:11 am 
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Joined: Sat Oct 21, 2006 1:16 pm
Posts: 189
Location: Beuningen, the Netherlands
I have some stiff and very silky Canadian Sitka. I've built with Sitlka, Engelmann and European spruce. In my perception the Sitka has the largest headroom. Looking at the desired volume, this seems to be the best choice.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 4:01 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 30, 2010 6:44 pm
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Location: Arkansas
Herman wrote:
I have some stiff and very silky Canadian Sitka. I've built with Sitlka, Engelmann and European spruce. In my perception the Sitka has the largest headroom. Looking at the desired volume, this seems to be the best choice.


I'll bet the Sitka will work great Herman. I probably shouldn't have used the work "muddy" above.......just coudn't think of the right word. Sitka has a great sound in it's own right......unfortunately, I'm not very experienced at describing tone. And it is on the stiff side for spruce so should work very well in this application.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2011 4:25 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 21, 2006 1:16 pm
Posts: 189
Location: Beuningen, the Netherlands
Got the rosette and bigger soundhole in place. Made it 4 1/2 inch as Darryl suggested. (Did crack the snakewood rosettestrips though while bending and had to make a new wenge one. Yes dear children, after 10 guitars we make f***ups all the time)

Yesterday I laid out the bracing. But a forward shifting is no option. The upper parts of the X-brace will touch the soundhole-edge and that is no option for me. Ugglely!
I'll stay with the modern Martin layout with the 120 degree tone bars from the old design. I'll see where that will lead.


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