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Old 04-17-2018, 01:32 PM
Alan Carruth Alan Carruth is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2011
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Again, keep in mind that the bracing is primarily structural, although it does affect the sound, of course.

" While I am far more mechanical than artistic, something is telling me parallel braces won't sound as good as non-parallel."

'Good sound' is, of course, in the ear of the beholder. All of those slight variations alter the tone in some way, probably, but there are so many variables in the equation that it's hard to say just what any given feature really does. In theory, maybe, there's an ideal brace layout for any particular top that would vary depending on the properties of the wood and what sound you're going for. You might, for example, alter the X-brace angle depending on the long to cross grain stiffness ratio of the wood. In practice I don't think anybody really knows how to find that 'ideal' layout for sure . I suspect there are a number of people who believe they do... for the most part, most makers just try something and see if they can tweak it later if it's not exactly what they wanted.

Even if you knew what the ideal layout was, it wouldn't work well if it was not made well. Good glue joints and neat cuts are part of it, but there's also the need to profile the braces so that they work right in context. Other things, like the bridge size and material and the height of the strings off the top get in there too.

All you can do in the beginning is to pick a design you like, for whatever reason, and make it as well as you can. After you've made a few you'll start to see what's going on, and get ideas about how to tweak the design to make it work better in a given case. Some of those ideas will even be right!
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