Tapping on my first backs and sides, have questions!

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Morecowbell
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Joined: Thu Feb 21, 2019 10:51 am
Location: Fishers, IN

Tapping on my first backs and sides, have questions!

Post by Morecowbell »

I got my first back and side sets - one Honduras mahogany and one black walnut - and i was just tapping them to see if I could learn anything about tap tone and sounds. To be honest, I wasn't expecting much, but to my great surprise I could hear stuff! Also to my surprise, the mahogany has a real ring to it, while the black walnut doesn't sound like much. So this brought up a few questions:

1) I thought black walnut was supposed to be between mahogany and rosewood, but I'd say this bw is definitely below this mahogany in tone - now I know every piece of wood is different but this surprised me. The bw back is closer to flat sawn, very pretty but might account for the lack of tone?

2) I bought this wood online from a reputable supplier (RC Tonewoods, Peter is great) and I like it, but of course couldn't listen to it before I bought it! So how do you guys buy stuff without listening to it? Or is that why there are pretty liberal return policies from tonewood suppliers? And is it also that the tone of the back and sides doesn't really matter that much so you can buy for looks as opposed to sound?

3) So what about tops where the rubber hits the road?!? I'm not flying to Alaska to tap on soundboards! So you just rely on the supplier and cross your fingers?

Fascinating stuff - thanks for any advice!

Clay
"Facts seldom sway an opinion." - John Hall
"The difference between theory and practice is that in theory there is no difference." - van de Snepscheut
ruby@magpage.com
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Re: Tapping on my first backs and sides, have questions!

Post by ruby@magpage.com »

After 8 guitars I still don't know what I am listening to. I have built with Maple, Oak, Ash, Osage Orange,Yellow Cedar and Mahogany, so don't have enough experience with any one wood to make a comparison. I would suggest not worrying about it and get your first one done - they all sound like a guitar when they are finished.

Ed
Ed M
Diane Kauffmds
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Re: Tapping on my first backs and sides, have questions!

Post by Diane Kauffmds »

Did you find the node okay with the BW? I'm just curious, because if you don't hold them in the right place, they sound like doors. It can take some moving it around until you find the right spot. My guess is that you'll like the sound of the guitar made with the walnut.

I've always had good luck with suppliers. The only time I've been able to tap my way through wood is at my local lumberyard. I'm not being facetious. I found a very old supply of cherry and black walnut, way back in the rafters at a local lumberyard. Although the stuff was a full 1" thick, and 12 feet long, it rang like a bell. A guitar that I made out of the cherry sounds amazing.
tippie53
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Re: Tapping on my first backs and sides, have questions!

Post by tippie53 »

after 20 years of building the only thing I learned about tapping is that the wood isn't cracked. I know a lot of good builders and all of them say poppycock to tapping.
I know plenty will disagree but what I learned it tap after you brace , that way you can voice the plate . Until you get the braces on it is a crap shoot.
John Hall
Blues Creek Guitars Inc
Authorized CF Martin Repair Center
president of Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans
http://www.bluescreekguitars.com
Morecowbell
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Joined: Thu Feb 21, 2019 10:51 am
Location: Fishers, IN

Re: Tapping on my first backs and sides, have questions!

Post by Morecowbell »

Great feedback, this is so interesting! I went back to show my wife and son, and was able to get a better sound out of the walnut - so Diane, maybe I found or got closer to the right spot. John, good to hear that, less left up to mother nature, more in the hands of the builder. And great advice Ed!
"Facts seldom sway an opinion." - John Hall
"The difference between theory and practice is that in theory there is no difference." - van de Snepscheut
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