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Old 04-03-2017, 03:26 PM
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Default Bass is cheap, but trebles are going to cost you....

evidently about 15 hours of sanding

Over the last few weeks/string changes I've been slowly tweaking a Taylor DN3 I bought back in January. I knew it had potential, and one thing that I really liked about it was the 4 3/8 maximum depth, giving a little quicker decay and more clarity.

Initially, I put some ports in it......then I did some minor brace and bridge sanding.

About three weeks ago I decided it was sounding so good that it was going to be MINE, and decided to see how far I could take it in regards to mass reduction.

The first few treatments involved just reducing the height of the braces, but the last couple I began scalloping and making them more peaked. I'd estimate that the overall reduction is well over 30% in regards to the main part of the X, the closest tone bar to the bridge and the small fans on either side. The bridge is probably down between 20 and 30% and I focused on the wings, and the ridges on each side, as well as the lower part below the pins - didn't really mess much with the pin/saddle slot area. I also took the bridge plate down a little bit (maybe less than 10%) as it was, and still is pretty thick.

I also spent a good amount of time waxing the top (Meguiars Deep Crystal 2) to reduce the thickness of the finish - with extra emphasis around the bridge area.

These last two 'treatments' have really dialed in the sound I was looking for. Deep, tight bass, fat trebles and mids that jump out like a scared cat. It's so dynamic it's hard to believe and records really, really well.

I've owned around 100 Taylors in the last 25 plus years and this one is sounding better than any of them. I have two world class instruments here with sound ports that I can refer to, and that helped a lot along the way - although I'm nowhere near the small size of those braces. The top is still flat as a pancake too....

This has been extremely therapeutic for me as I'm in the midst of some of the darker days of my life to this point. It's been nice to have a project to keep my somewhat sane.

I'll post a few pics here......







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Last edited by fitness1; 04-03-2017 at 07:46 PM.
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Old 04-03-2017, 03:38 PM
smurph1 smurph1 is offline
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Well I'm no expert but that looks like fine work.
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Old 04-03-2017, 03:44 PM
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Hey Fitness- Did you record a before and after with the Taylor? I would never have the courage (insanity ) to do that to any of my guitars, but the visual looks good. Congrats on dialing that guitar in!
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Old 04-03-2017, 03:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fitness1 View Post
These last two 'treatments' have really dialed in the sound I was looking for. Deep, tight bass, fat trebles and mids that jump out like a scared cat.
Whoa -- like a scared cat?

Are you about to become the Bryan Kimsey of the Taylor world?

Bet you'd get customers.
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Old 04-03-2017, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by acousticjazz View Post
Hey Fitness- Did you record a before and after with the Taylor? I would never have the courage (insanity ) to do that to any of my guitars, but the visual looks good. Congrats on dialing that guitar in!
Thanks guys - not sure anyone would pay me for this yet - LOL. I told someone the other day "I didn't build it, but I butchered it!"

I didn't do any before recordings (at least I don't think - I'll go back and look) This is a vocal tune I recorded with it with some simple guitar parts - it was done before the last "treatment" (which has brought it up another notch) Turn the volume slider up on the Box player before listening.

https://app.box.com/s/d3od34kp43rw8r6dvt5iy6hom5a5w0c6

Actually - I did find one that was done early in the process.....

https://app.box.com/s/xdplj4posvx92upsz12uatmafz3a6hkt

The differences probably aren't as obvious in the recordings as they are in person.
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Last edited by fitness1; 04-03-2017 at 04:59 PM.
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Old 04-03-2017, 05:18 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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If it's that good - and I have every reason to believe that it is - you need to find a way to run it past the powers-that-be at Taylor, as I think they'd be quite interested...
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Old 04-03-2017, 05:27 PM
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Nice scalloping. Must be hard to work in such a confined area. I have a friend that scallops a lot of cheaper guitars to see how much tone he can exude. I had him do one of my boxes and it had a lot more sustain. Nice work.

So you take a little down then string up to pitch watching the top?
Do you use a straight edge while looking in front and in back of the bridge?

That has to be a bit nerve wracking? Yet nothing ventured nothing gained.
Glad to hear you are happy with the improved tone.

I always wondered why some makers over brace their tops?
I guess they don't want to see the instrument again, perhaps re-top.
Warranty work over responsiveness, I suppose.
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Old 04-03-2017, 05:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve DeRosa View Post
If it's that good - and I have every reason to believe that it is - you need to find a way to run it past the powers-that-be at Taylor, as I think they'd be quite interested...
I thought about that, but one of the reasons (to address one of Tippy's questions) that factory built instruments are overbuilt is because they are trying to avoid warranty issues to a certain point. (As Mr Mcknight said "they don't want them returning to the "mother ship") This will now be much more susceptible to changes in humidity, and I probably wouldn't recommend anything but light guage strings.
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Old 04-03-2017, 05:51 PM
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Very cool Todd. What kind of tools do you use for that?

There's a less expensive factory guitar I'd love to try that on, though I'd probably end up producing some firewood!
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Old 04-03-2017, 05:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tippy5 View Post

So you take a little down then string up to pitch watching the top?
Do you use a straight edge while looking in front and in back of the bridge?

That has to be a bit nerve wracking? Yet nothing ventured nothing gained.
Glad to hear you are happy with the improved tone.

.
I did it in about 8 or 9 separate treatments. I've been playing this one almost exclusively and going through a set of strings about once a week. Saturdays and Sundays I have more time to sand, so it worked out well.

I didn't use a straight edge - just eyeballed. I also just used some pressure downward on the bridge with the strings off to see if the top was flexing. Still after all the mass reduction, I can barely see the top move with probably 10-12 lbs of pressure on it.

As I mentioned above, this has been far from never wracking for me - very therapeutic - I always enjoy hands on projects with tangible (and audible) results.
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'13 Charis SJ Koa/Sitka
'13 Mcknight/Poling GC Koa/Italian
'10 Eastman E10D Mahogany/Adirondack (heavily Todd-ified)
'14 Cordoba C9 Mahogany/Euro Spruce
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Old 04-03-2017, 05:53 PM
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Very cool Todd. What kind of tools do you use for that?

There's a less expensive factory guitar I'd love to try that on, though I'd probably end up producing some firewood!
220 grit paper......PATIENCE, my son.....
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'13 Charis SJ Koa/Sitka
'13 Mcknight/Poling GC Koa/Italian
'10 Eastman E10D Mahogany/Adirondack (heavily Todd-ified)
'14 Cordoba C9 Mahogany/Euro Spruce
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Old 04-03-2017, 05:56 PM
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Really nice track (Autumn), congrats on the project.....something I would not even know how to approach! Must be a real treat to see/hear this come together from this labor of love.
Nice going!
Fred
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Old 04-03-2017, 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by islandguitar View Post
Really nice track (Autumn), congrats on the project.....something I would not even know how to approach! Must be a real treat to see/hear this come together from this labor of love.
Nice going!
Fred
Thanks for the kind words - it's been a lot of fun listening to the changes. The other interesting thing is that the lightening of the braces/bridge has seemed to make the effect of the ports more obvious - which makes sense - more air moving from the top flexing a little more.

The ports are now actually a little larger than pictured.....


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"One small heart, and a great big soul that's driving"

'13 Charis SJ Koa/Sitka
'13 Mcknight/Poling GC Koa/Italian
'10 Eastman E10D Mahogany/Adirondack (heavily Todd-ified)
'14 Cordoba C9 Mahogany/Euro Spruce
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Old 04-03-2017, 06:12 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Originally Posted by fitness1 View Post
I thought about that, but one of the reasons (to address one of Tippy's questions) that factory built instruments are overbuilt is because they are trying to avoid warranty issues to a certain point. (As Mr. McKnight said "they don't want them returning to the "mother ship") This will now be much more susceptible to changes in humidity, and I probably wouldn't recommend anything but light gauge strings.
In the last several years CFM IV & Co. has produced historically-accurate uber-instruments with ultra-light materials and no neck reinforcement - the intended market is well aware of what they're getting and how to care for them, and warranty issues don't appear to be a source of corporate concern...

Can you say "Limited Edition" or "2018 Presentation Series"...?
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Old 04-03-2017, 06:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve DeRosa View Post
In the last several years CFM IV & Co. has produced historically-accurate uber-instruments with ultra-light materials and no neck reinforcement - the intended market is well aware of what they're getting and how to care for them, and warranty issues don't appear to be a source of corporate concern...

Can you say "Limited Edition" or "2018 Presentation Series"...?
Interesting - wasn't aware of that. I know Taylor hasn't (at least to my knowledge) dabbled in sound ports - so that alone may interest them. Maybe I could trade them looking at it for a 1 7/8 neck install
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'13 Charis SJ Koa/Sitka
'13 Mcknight/Poling GC Koa/Italian
'10 Eastman E10D Mahogany/Adirondack (heavily Todd-ified)
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