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  #1  
Old 10-10-2009, 02:14 PM
vintageom vintageom is offline
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Default Forward-shifted X brace vs. Standard X brace

I've have played and owned both X brace scenarios, and found that the forward shifting lets the bass resonate more and allows the top to move more freely, to me at least. But also, to me, I find that the crispness gets compromised to a small degree. I overcome this compromise with perhaps an Adirondack top, just to get back the extra "stiffness" so that it does not sound muddy when driven hard. Just my personal impressions. You perhaps disagree.

Now for the question and perhaps a builder would be a great resource for an answer. If Martin, for example, in the "pre-war" years used forward shifted X bracing, why would they have migrated to braces positioned rearward only to later market pre-war forward shifted bracing? What are the pros and cons of each type of bracing patterns, both structurally and long term durability. Is one better than the other? And secondly, perspectives on the resulting tone to your ears?

Thanks everyone.
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Old 10-10-2009, 02:33 PM
mellowman mellowman is offline
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I agree with your perceptions on the differences between forward shifted and standard bracing. I happen to really like the tone of a dread with forward shifted x bracing, mahogany back & sides, and adi top and I think others do as well judging from the popularity of Martin's D18-GE and Authentic.
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Old 10-10-2009, 02:43 PM
JoeCharter JoeCharter is offline
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Back in the days, people were using larger strings and the braces were moved down to make the guitar stronger.

Nowadays people use lighter strings and forward-shifted braces have regained their place in the sun.
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Old 10-10-2009, 02:56 PM
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(I've read more than I've seen)

From what I've seen and read Martin stopped using scalloped braces, and added a "popsicle" brace for better durability sometime around or during WWII. I've heard all kinds of stories about the rearward shifting of the braces, including that something happend to their template, or jig, and the braces got moved by accident. Maybe John Arnold will read this. I'm sure he can tell us the correct reasons.
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Old 10-10-2009, 03:50 PM
66strummer 66strummer is offline
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In playing both kinds (bracing) in some of my dreads, I tend to agree with the OP on the "bass crispness" factor of forward vs standard. Is the Martin D-18GE forward shifted bracing? Didn't realize that. One more reason for their popularity.
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Old 10-10-2009, 05:00 PM
mellowman mellowman is offline
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Yes, the D18-GE is has forward shifted braces. I got one a few years ago and really like it.
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Old 10-10-2009, 07:32 PM
66strummer 66strummer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mellowman View Post
Yes, the D18-GE is has forward shifted braces. I got one a few years ago and really like it.

Golden Era was no doubt a giveaway that I somehow missed . OK, back to our regularly scheduled topic .
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Old 10-11-2009, 05:48 AM
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I've got one (forward shifted bracing, adi top, mahogany back & sides) and one feature I've found with it is that it has more volume and cuts through/projects more than my non-forward shifted guitars. I don't know if that is a result of the placement of braces, or some other factor in the guitar's design, but it is an obvious difference - I've had several folks comment upon this feature.
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Old 10-11-2009, 06:24 AM
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A lot of the different Martin models exist mostly because of the bracing. The Difference between the D-28 (standard bracing), HD-28 (scalloped braces) and HD-28V (forward shifted scalloped braces) is pruimarily the bracing and they all sound different. When you get to the GE's and Authentics those forward shifted scalloped braces are also of a more vintage shape.

I agree that forward shifted scalloped braces add some bass and responsiveness, the negatives in some instances can be some loss of balance or clarity. Probably just as influential on the small body models is the size of the braces, 5/16" versus 1/4". To me 5/16" braces on OM/000's can be the culprit for the dreaded "boxy" sound, while 1/4" braced OM's can be almost as powerful as dreads. I know Martin geeks who prefer OM/000's and their criteria for purchases is that the braces be 1/4", now that I've had my OM-45for a while I agree.

All the above are choices rather than right/wrong or Martin and others wouldn't have the variety. As far as structural integrity, etc. hopefully the builders will chime in.......
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Old 10-11-2009, 06:35 AM
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I noticed with the forward-shifted X braced guitars I have you have to play over the soundhole or it looses volume and sounds twangy .
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Old 10-11-2009, 07:07 AM
Doubleneck Doubleneck is offline
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I noticed that my 1967 Gibson J-45 has forward bracing and your description matches the sound of a Gibson. Are these J-45 forward braced? I look at mine and there is no way that the X could be any closer to the sound hole. I never really hear this in describing Gibson guitars.
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Old 10-11-2009, 07:16 AM
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When the X is shifted forward, towards the sound hole, the tone is changed ... BUT ... more importantly the entire bracing structure is changed. Forward shifting allows the bridge area to be less stiff which allows the bridge to move a greater distance for the same amount of string energy input. There is a fine line to walk between too stiff and too floppy and finding that structural mean is the difficulty.

Some may make claims that the new guitars are built exactly the same as the pre-war guitars ... BUT ... upon closer examination, that is ... NOT ... the case. They may use the same bracing footprint ... BUT ... they are making changes elsewhere to cover their warranty in case the owner uses heavier strings than they should. There are lots of subtle ways to stiffen the bridge including: thicker bridge plates, taller braces, less scalloping, thicker and taller bridges, thicker tops, etc... So what may initially ... LOOK ... the same on quick reading of the specs ... closer examination of the two structures reveal VAST differences that are not apparent immediately to the unsuspecting.
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Old 10-11-2009, 07:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doubleneck View Post
I noticed that my 1967 Gibson J-45 has forward bracing and your description matches the sound of a Gibson. Are these J-45 forward braced? I look at mine and there is no way that the X could be any closer to the sound hole. I never really hear this in describing Gibson guitars.
Steve
My recently-sold 2007 Gibson J-45 Honeyburst Koa Custom had forward-shifted, scalloped braces and sounded very loud, full and resonant. I don't know if J-45s have always had forward-shifted braces since their introduction in 1942.

Regards,

SpruceTop
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Old 10-11-2009, 09:37 AM
SlopeD SlopeD is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim McKnight View Post
When the X is shifted forward, towards the sound hole, the tone is changed ... BUT ... more importantly the entire bracing structure is changed. Forward shifting allows the bridge area to be less stiff which allows the bridge to move a greater distance for the same amount of string energy input. There is a fine line to walk between too stiff and too floppy and finding that structural mean is the difficulty.

Some may make claims that the new guitars are built exactly the same as the pre-war guitars ... BUT ... upon closer examination, that is ... NOT ... the case. They may use the same bracing footprint ... BUT ... they are making changes elsewhere to cover their warranty in case the owner uses heavier strings than they should. There are lots of subtle ways to stiffen the bridge including: thicker bridge plates, taller braces, less scalloping, thicker and taller bridges, thicker tops, etc... So what may initially ... LOOK ... the same on quick reading of the specs ... closer examination of the two structures reveal VAST differences that are not apparent immediately to the unsuspecting.
Very insightful and interesting.
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  #15  
Old 10-11-2009, 11:05 AM
Glennwillow Glennwillow is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim McKnight View Post
.. So what may initially ... LOOK ... the same on quick reading of the specs ... closer examination of the two structures reveal VAST differences that are not apparent immediately to the unsuspecting.
Yes, this is great stuff!

- Glenn
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