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 Post subject: tap tone variation
PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2020 1:04 am 

Joined: Sun Sep 08, 2013 11:39 pm
Posts: 277
I started a pair of tenor ukuleles recently, and bought western cherry for the backs and sides, and decided to try some salvage western redcedar my brother-in-law gave me for the tops. I tried a couple of nice clear1x8 boards, cut a ukelele sized piece from them, but the grain ran out badly when I first split the pieces. The first piece from the next board split okay so I cut one top from that piece, and then a second top from the next piece along the same board. My wife wanted her top to have the dark wood in the centre, and I decided to put the light wood in the centre of the second top. What is surprising to me is that the top with the dark wood in the centre has a sweeter tap tone with more sustain and complexity. They are the same thickness and from within 16 inches or so of each other on the same board, cut, sanded and glued on the same days. The only possible other difference is that the light-centre top has the grain angling toward the joint rather than parallel. On the dark centre top the grain is pretty much parallel to the join. I could have trimmed the one top so the grain in the light wood was more parallel to the join but wanted to keep as much light wood as possible. Any thoughts?

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 Post subject: Re: tap tone variation
PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2020 7:53 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2006 7:09 pm
Posts: 6345
Location: Hegins, Pa
I don't think that tap tones on a raw top tell much. It is then bracing that makes them work. About the only think tapping tells you is that you don't have cracks. We all have differing theories and with this being as much about art if you like tapping keep going with it but keep an open mind. Try to find and unlock the secrets.
One of the best guitars I ever made had a tap tone of cardboard but when braced and on the guitar was amazing. That is when I started to take notes on tap tones and tops.
The best I can tell you is learn to match the braces for the top your making. In plain words learn to voice the top

John Hall
Blues Creek Guitars Inc
Authorized CF Martin Repair Center
president of Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans

 Post subject: Re: tap tone variation
PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2020 7:10 pm 

Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2014 12:14 pm
Posts: 1352
I don't even pretend to understand tap tones. Dana Bourgeois has a YouTube video discussing tap tones. I'm prepared to believe that he can reliably interpret them. But for me the process is mostly Magic.

The blank top for my 4th guitar had an exceptionally crisp tap tone, and it made what I think is an exceptional top. But I also used a custom bracing pattern....did I just get lucky with the bracing? Did the notable tap tone of the blank mean anything? John says probably not.

Don't believe everything you know.
Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
When things are bad, try not to make them any worse, because it is quite likely they are bad enough already. - French Foreign Legion

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