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  #1  
Old 08-30-2011, 04:36 PM
fullsmile fullsmile is offline
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Default Forward Shifted Bracing, Why Did it Take So Long?

I know that in todays guitar world it is all about the forward shifted bracing. If this bracing is so great and superior to traditional bracing why did it take so long to develop? I can't imagine that people are just now moving bracing around so why has there been such a paradigm shift to forward shifted bracing? I tend to think it is more of a marketing ploy to charge higher prices for the "Premium Models" it costs no more to shift the braces so if it sounded better why didn't they do it sooner and why do they charge so much more for guitars with this bracing? Any thought from you guys, especially the luthiers? Yes I know it sounds a little different but I think people have largely been bamboozled into believing this is a monumental improvement.
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Old 08-30-2011, 04:43 PM
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The so-called "forward shifted bracing" was actually the original way that Martins were made , and the bracing was shifted rearwards to cope with the advent of heavier gauge strings.
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Old 08-30-2011, 04:46 PM
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This ought to be good...
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Old 08-30-2011, 04:52 PM
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From what I understand, Martin moved away from forward-shifted bracing because of a higher rate of repairs to the top...Unfortunately, the sound of the instrument also changed...Many here prefer the newer standard bracing...I , myself prefer the forward-shifted bracing....More punch with greater bass....
However, there are many here and on the UMGF that know way more than I do on this subject....
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Old 08-30-2011, 04:54 PM
fullsmile fullsmile is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by murrmac123 View Post
The so-called "forward shifted bracing" was actually the original way that Martins were made , and the bracing was shifted rearwards to cope with the advent of heavier gauge strings.
I am not a guitar historian but was this due to the advent of steel vs gut strings or more recent with mediums etc. And if it was gut vs steel has that changed at all or is there still a reason for the "normal" position of the braces to support the increased tension. I know they still offer "rear shifted" braces on some models. Is that for players that like medium guage or just to get a different sound? I was not aware that the brace shifting was due to string tension.
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Old 08-30-2011, 05:34 PM
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Doesn't have anything to do with the strings. The bracing gives a different sound. For many years, players didn't hold that sound in any higher regard than others with the exception of a handful. As players got more demanding of their instruments, Martin and others found that the original designs better fit the current need. Just a company giving it's customers what they want.
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Old 08-30-2011, 05:58 PM
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My understanding is that martin originally used forward shifted bracing then changed it due to structural issues resulting from the heavy guage strings that were used back then. Today we use much lighter strings so bringing back forward shifted bracing happened to work perfectly. I for one notice a huge huge tone difference between forward shifted bracing and all others. More everything, more rich and complex sound.
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Old 08-31-2011, 09:44 AM
fullsmile fullsmile is offline
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I understand that many people prefer forward shifted bracing but I still think guitar companies are ripping people off since it costs no more money in production but you can't get it at an entry level price point.
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Old 08-31-2011, 10:29 AM
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It may cost more in down-the-road warranty claims, though...???



(My guess is not, because the bracing of the upper bout is probably more critical for neck stability than the shifting of the X-brace, but I'll let the experts weigh in on that one... )
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Old 08-31-2011, 10:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantoj View Post
It may cost more in down-the-road warranty claims, though...???



(My guess is not, because the bracing of the upper bout is probably more critical for neck stability than the shifting of the X-brace, but I'll let the experts weigh in on that one... )
That's probably why they made the change away from "forward-shifted," but I don't know what gauge of steel strings people were using back then -- perhaps heavier than today. And Martin's tops were thinner than they use now.

The upper bout structure is important, and many of Martin's designs are still pretty weak in that area.

But the lower bout structure is also important. Too weak, and the bridge will rotate -- belly below the bridge, sinking above.
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Old 08-31-2011, 10:46 AM
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Forward Shifted is older than the more modern tapered that came in the mid to late 40's

A company like Martin can charge more for what most would consider to be a "better" sounding guitar. I would think 95 out of 100 guitars players would think a HD-28V sounds better than a new standard D-28.

Look at the D-28 Lineup over the past few years:

D-28 Standard Tapered X Bracing $2k
HD-28 Scalloped X Bracing $2.5k
HD-28V Scalloped forward shifted X bracing $3.1k
D-28 Marquis More heavily scalloped forward shifted X bracing $4.1k
D-28 Authentic. More heavily scalloped forward shifted X bracing $30k

Each time the bracing gets closer to a prewar D-28 and each time the price goes up. The top three are all the same woods sitka and EIR so its not a wood price thing. Obviously the last one has the super premium for Brazilian and collectability.
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Old 08-31-2011, 11:13 AM
pksghost pksghost is offline
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As said above the scalloped & forward shifted bracing pattern is not new, but is somewhat recently prolific. Why all the fuss now? The answer is twofold (my theory):

1) Before the age of instant information and the internet, what was under the top was rarely discussed. Few books written, and most of our information was obtained from the salesman at the music shop (cringe).

2) Guitar playing has never been this popular in so many genre's! It has to do with supply & demand! The current generation of players are reaching the age we can afford some of the finer things, and we have gobbled up the offerings Martin (and others) have built.

I've been playing about 30 years and have only been aware of what's under the top the last 5 or 6 years.

PK

PS: I sold an HD28 for the D28, built in 2008, I own (what a sweety she is!), and my number one axe is my adi top HD28-V. In my biased opinion the HD28-V is the holy grail of current production line guitars. A big plus, even with upcharge, was the adi top mine has (thank you myfavoriteguitars.com).

Last edited by pksghost; 08-31-2011 at 11:41 AM.
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Old 08-31-2011, 11:16 AM
pappy27 pappy27 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperB23 View Post
.......Look at the D-28 Lineup over the past few years:

D-28 Standard Tapered X Bracing $2k
HD-28 Scalloped X Bracing $2.5k
HD-28V Scalloped forward shifted X bracing $3.1k
......
So it costs $500 to get the braces scalloped; and $600 more to move them up an inch or so?
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Old 08-31-2011, 11:32 AM
pksghost pksghost is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HHP View Post
Doesn't have anything to do with the strings. The bracing gives a different sound. For many years, players didn't hold that sound in any higher regard than others with the exception of a handful. As players got more demanding of their instruments, Martin and others found that the original designs better fit the current need. Just a company giving it's customers what they want.
Sorry, you're wrong about that. As string gauges were getting bigger they were pulling the tops off more than Martin was comfortable honoring the warranty. Straight bracing, shifted to the rear a tad, was absolutely to build them sturdier due to the string improvements of the pre-war era.

From the Martin website, history timeline in the 1940's:

"C .F. Martin, Sr. creates and perfects X-bracing to give strength to the guitar top to handle the pressure of taut strings and heavy playing while still maintaining the very high quality Martin tone. Today C. F. Martin's X-bracing is still considered to be the best bracing pattern and is imitated by luthiers around the world."

PK
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Old 08-31-2011, 11:36 AM
pksghost pksghost is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pappy27 View Post
So it costs $500 to get the braces scalloped; and $600 more to move them up an inch or so?
Yes, supply & demand and a higher margin built in for potential lifetime warranty issues. The scalloping is done by hand, so you do hafta pay a skilled person adequately to get it right.

PK
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