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Old 05-16-2012, 03:24 PM
ChrisMartinMan ChrisMartinMan is offline
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Default How much belly bulge is acceptable?

And just a normal part of owning a guitar that is not brand spanking new?
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Old 05-16-2012, 03:34 PM
WordMan WordMan is offline
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It really depends on the construction of the guitar - when the top bellies, it can lead to loose braces, a popped bridge (had that one happen), etc. On the other hand, I kinda like a bit of belly on an older guitar - I wish I could say it definitively adds to the vintage tone, but sometimes it feels like it does .

I typically have my guitars checked out once over 1 - 2 years - a key checkpoint is the health of the internal structure, given any bellying going on. So - I don't think there is a "correct" answer as much as the fact that bellying has its pros and cons and if you like the guitar, just make sure you get it checked out periodically to ensure that the bellying isn't translating to a big structural issue any time soon...
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Old 05-16-2012, 03:34 PM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is online now
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When the instrument is structurally compromised or it raises the action beyond the available saddle adjustment.

No, it isn't a given with every non-new instrument. How much - or if - depends on the instrument.
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Old 05-16-2012, 04:38 PM
Tony Burns Tony Burns is offline
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depends on how much - a little bit is not unusual , lighter bracing attributes to this somewhat . It scares alot of people , what scares me are older guitars that don't have any -
Can you post a picture ?
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Old 05-16-2012, 05:32 PM
Howard Emerson Howard Emerson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisMartinMan View Post
And just a normal part of owning a guitar that is not brand spanking new?
Look at any guitar built by Dana Bourgeois, right off the assembly line. Quite rounded.

Yet my Flammang L-40, built in 2005, is almost dead flat, no doubt because I had tapered bracing done instead of scalloped, along with a 24.9" scale.

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Old 05-16-2012, 05:37 PM
VegasGeorge VegasGeorge is offline
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LOL! When I first read the title of this tread I thought it referred to the player, you know, "belly bulge!" My wife is always on my arse about that. I thought, "Oh no, not here too!"
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Old 05-16-2012, 06:17 PM
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Hi Chris...

If you mean some bowing up (or bulge) behind the bridge, especially on the bass end of the bridge, it's often normal depending on the builder.

If your guitar was built with the top cambered, then it has some bow is built in.

If you have a hand built flat top (like my Olson Dreadnaught) they often bow some with age. My Olson has a 'bump' on the bass end, but not an undue amount even after 19 years of constant play and a Cedar top. I have discussed it both with the builder and my guitar tech (another builder) and they feel no desire to take any corrective measures.

What you really (REALLY) don't want is any dip between the bridge and soundhole...that is usually indicating bad things.

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Old 05-16-2012, 06:24 PM
Herringbone Herringbone is offline
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Default Somebody....

Somebody on here or somewhere on the internet, said something to the effect that "I don't trust a guitar that doesn't have some belly buldge". I'm certain these were not the exact words, but you get the idea.
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Old 05-16-2012, 06:42 PM
Bobele Bobele is offline
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I was not aware that this happens, but it makes sense that the 'pull' of the strings over time create a bit of bulge behind the bridge. My old guitar, a 2009 Taylor didn't have any bulge AFAIR, but my current 31 year old Yammie has a bit of a wave close to the corners of the bridge. I wonder if this has been there all the time, or it has gotten worse as humidity spikes (as it does here now)?
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Old 05-16-2012, 07:47 PM
Chico Maui Chico Maui is offline
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I bought a used Martin D12X1 with what looked like to me to be just a little bit of bellying. Fortunately it appears that I was right. It had not been humidified for the previous year and after I had it consistently humidified for a few weeks I had a set-up done and it seems to have stabilized. What this leads me to think is that to some extent the belly doesn't matter as much as the relative stability of the top related to humidity. Of course, there's no real answer to the OP's question, but this is my recent and limited experience.
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Old 05-16-2012, 08:16 PM
OleGibby58 OleGibby58 is offline
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Older Gibsons were built to include a bit of 'belly bulge', or in other words the tops were not braced to be completely flat under tension even as new instruments. Still the case with Gibson flattops from Bozeman IME. Every Gibson I've had has had 'belly bulge'. My HD-35 and a host of other Martins had the same thing, from vintage to newer stuff.

Too much is too much and I've rarely encountered it except in a guitar that had loose braces or something else going on.

'Top sink' = the top sinking above above the bridge toward the soundhole also happens but is not planned into the build and generally not a good thing at all compared to 'belly bulge'.
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Old 05-16-2012, 09:37 PM
TNTaylor414 TNTaylor414 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Herringbone View Post
Somebody on here or somewhere on the internet, said something to the effect that "I don't trust a guitar that doesn't have some belly buldge". I'm certain these were not the exact words, but you get the idea.
Pretty sure that's a Norman Blake quote. I think somebody here has it in their sig.

My D28 Marquis has a bit of bellying going on. It's not visable, but taking a thin, soft cloth and feeling the whole area below the bridge, I can feel some bellying. It seems pretty even though, almost like it was built that way (I hope). It feels very symmetrical, about 1-1.5" from the edge of the guitar, all the way around the lower bout, it starts a gentle rise to the bridge. Scared the crap out of me the first time I felt it.

Anybody else out there with a pregnant Marquis? Should I start crying now?

Last edited by TNTaylor414; 05-16-2012 at 09:50 PM.
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Old 05-17-2012, 02:36 AM
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Had a guitar years ago that was developing what I considered to be an unacceptable bulge. Popped in a JLD Bridge Doctor and the bulge receded dramatically. Guitar sounded markedly better as well. Dunno if the JLD product is still available, and YMMV.
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Old 05-17-2012, 04:54 AM
fab4 fab4 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VegasGeorge View Post
LOL! When I first read the title of this tread I thought it referred to the player, you know, "belly bulge!" My wife is always on my arse about that. I thought, "Oh no, not here too!"
My first thought as well. Funny.
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Old 05-17-2012, 06:04 AM
ChrisMartinMan ChrisMartinMan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TNTaylor414 View Post

Anybody else out there with a pregnant Marquis? Should I start crying now?
Well the guitar at issue is my HD28V. So as to one poster, yes it has scalloped, light bracing. As to one of my favorite AGF helpers, yes it is just a little bit of bulging behind the bass side of the bridge.

Also, the action is perfect, so that is not an issue.

I will try to send photos tonight. FYI, I live in a very humid neighborhood (underground springs everywhere) with constant humidity in the house at 60+%. Since noticing this (which may have always been there), I have been keeping it in a case at 50% humidity and tuned down a half step. I really wish I could just keep the thing out and tuned normally because it cuts down significantly on my random playing time.

Thanks everyone.
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Last edited by ChrisMartinMan; 05-17-2012 at 06:50 AM.
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