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  #1  
Old 07-31-2021, 01:43 PM
FrankCousins FrankCousins is offline
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Default Second Flat top blues...

Back in 2013, I started my second flat top, a slight shape modification from an OM with a little more roundness in the upper bout and like the builder a little more 'flesh at the waist'. I left the drawing for some time to make sure it was a reasonable shape, and 8 years later, I do still like it... sadly I never got further than the top and back... So much has happened since then, moved job, moved house, wife getting Cancer, daughter being sick... many of the usual trials and tribulations we face... and things seemed to have worked out OK in the end...So I decided to go back to this build some 8 years after I started it... BUT now having a few motivational issues...

1. The top is a lovely old piece of Sitka from the 80s, with a natural aged patina, but in my rushing at the time, is too thick and too heavily braced...

2. The rosette... some of the paua was too heavily sanded and is a bill 'dull'....

3. I broke a side of the Malaysian blackwood (I bought a few sets very cheaply back before it took off/became popular...) but the replacements don't quite match the back...(I now wish I had left this set for who I have a few more under the belt)

So, I guess I am sort of stuck with a choice of:

1. Ditch and start again (wasteful, ungreen)
2. Remove braces and re-thickness top from back...
3. Use a different B&S set or continue with this mismatched set? (with the cost of MB these days, I think I must, too precious a resource to waste
4. Leave top as is and make it a 12 string?

So any advice form the more experienced on how to tackle this ?

Pictures 002 by frankscousin, on Flickr

IMG_0925 by frankscousin, on Flickr

46741_4960223679334_1550025438_n by frankscousin, on Flickr

Any advice gratefully received

Last edited by FrankCousins; 08-01-2021 at 09:59 AM.
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  #2  
Old 07-31-2021, 03:23 PM
Glen H Glen H is offline
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Been there many times . Finish the build. Some of these things that look like mountains are mole hills when youíre done. I have found that a large part of building is aiming for perfection but accepting flaws as just part of the experience.
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  #3  
Old 07-31-2021, 04:51 PM
Shuksan Shuksan is offline
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How are you judging that the top is too thick and too heavily braced?

The rosette looks great to me. I don't see a problem with the paua. Nice job on the sound hole binding.
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  #4  
Old 07-31-2021, 11:53 PM
RodB RodB is offline
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Agree with glen, why not finish the build, the rosette looks really nice as does the Sitka. Perhaps parr down the braces if you feel the need, or do as you indicate in option 2, but finish it! So the sides and back may not match but only you might notice.

So again IMO you should finish it for the experience and enjoy
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  #5  
Old 08-01-2021, 09:50 AM
FrankCousins FrankCousins is offline
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Thanks all.

The top is around 2.4mm - I think there was a bit of a problem with how I used the gauge... the bracing is still thick. When tapping, the tone is universally quite a high note, suggesting it would end up with load of trebles and no mids or bass..

Its being motivated after all this time to get this done, versus a fresh start I guess, despite knowing it would be a criminal waste of precious resource not to.

I have kept finding excuses to to work on other things...

I need a moment of inspiration I guess

Out of interest, does anyone have any recommendations for a 12str top thickness and bracing, just in case ?

Last edited by FrankCousins; 08-01-2021 at 10:00 AM.
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  #6  
Old 08-01-2021, 10:05 AM
FrankCousins FrankCousins is offline
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IMG_0926 by frankscousin, on Flickr

The bracing as is. Plenty that can be removed, but top thickness means might be better to remove all and get to work with scraper?
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  #7  
Old 08-01-2021, 12:25 PM
JonWint JonWint is offline
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What's your preferred top thickness? 2.4mm is thin in my experience.

Martin Authentic tops are sanded to 0.105" before final assembled box sanding. Finished wood thickness might be close to 0.1" or 2.5mm.

Bracing looks close to me. Reduce tone bars a bit and lower X scallops.
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Old 08-01-2021, 01:26 PM
Shuksan Shuksan is offline
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2.4 mm isn't a thick top, IMO. If anything, it leans toward the thin side, depending on how stiff the unbraced top was.

Your x-braces don't look heavy to me. The tonebars and finger braces are heavier than what I do but I've seen examples of successful builders who do those braces in a similar manner to what you have with good results.

I agree with the others above who have suggested to go ahead and finish building the guitar with what you have. I would definitely not do options 1 or 2. For option 3, I would proceed with the slightly mismatched sides and back you have. As for option 4, the top thickness and bracing you have now are already nicely in the ballpark for a 6-string guitar, based on the 2.4 mm thickness and on the photo of the braces, so I would stick with building it as a 6-string.

You may be pleasantly surprised with how it turns out.
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  #9  
Old 08-03-2021, 12:09 AM
FrankCousins FrankCousins is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonWint View Post
What's your preferred top thickness? 2.4mm is thin in my experience.
Sorry, was a typo, must have been thinking about what I would have preferred it to be... ;-)

It varies between 2.6-2.9mm, and the tap tone now that its braced is like a high pitched drum, pings nicely, but as mentioned, doubt I would get any mids or bass...

I think.. I will remove brace and thin a little more from back, but use the MB set and complete the build. No doubt will take me a while, but after 8 years, that wont matter !

Will periodically document progress

Thanks all
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  #10  
Old 08-03-2021, 10:14 PM
Taylor Ham Taylor Ham is offline
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Default Second Flat top blues...

Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankCousins View Post
Sorry, was a typo, must have been thinking about what I would have preferred it to be... ;-)



It varies between 2.6-2.9mm, and the tap tone now that its braced is like a high pitched drum, pings nicely, but as mentioned, doubt I would get any mids or bass...



I think.. I will remove brace and thin a little more from back, but use the MB set and complete the build. No doubt will take me a while, but after 8 years, that wont matter !



Will periodically document progress



Thanks all


If you want to get a deeper tone, you might want to keep the center stiffer than the edges. I would consider taper the last 2.5 - 3 inches of the X legs more, and having a thicker end of the finger braces butt up against the X. Installing a bridge plate will also help, as will the actual bridge.

Whatever you decide to do, good luck. I made a top and back for my first guitar that I didnt like, and ended up keeping them as a reference after I made new ones.
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  #11  
Old 08-04-2021, 03:15 AM
Neil K Walk Neil K Walk is offline
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Iíve been there myself. Finish it. Then start another before you forget what you did wrong so that you donít repeat it.
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  #12  
Old 08-04-2021, 09:08 AM
FrankCousins FrankCousins is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neil K Walk View Post
Iíve been there myself. Finish it. Then start another before you forget what you did wrong so that you donít repeat it.
I find I do this all the time, worse still, after 8 years I cant even remember what I did right! ;-)
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Old 08-04-2021, 09:24 AM
Neil K Walk Neil K Walk is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankCousins View Post
I find I do this all the time, worse still, after 8 years I cant even remember what I did right! ;-)
LOL. Same here. It's easy to forget but also easy to lose yourself in the process. I've taken lots of pictures along the way and started a couple of build threads that sort of serve as a diary. I'm not really the blogging type but I see others do that too.
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2006 Larrivee OM-03R (K&K Pure Western mini)
2009 Martin D-16GT (JJB 330)
1998 Fender American Standard Stratocaster
2013 DIY Medium Jumbo (cedar/mahogany)
2013 McKnight McUke
1989 Kramer Striker

Builds in progress:
DIY Medium Jumbo (Carpathian spruce/East Indian Rosewood)
DIY 000-18V Martin partial kit (sitka spruce/black walnut)
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  #14  
Old 08-04-2021, 03:00 PM
FrankCousins FrankCousins is offline
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I will post a few things as I go along in the hope that those with more experience can point out what I am about to do wrong as opposed to after I have done it ;-)

I think for the seriously only ever amateur like me, its all about the fun of the process, but with the costs of decent tone woods these days, its good to get advice before it goes pear-shaped as we say over here
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  #15  
Old 09-09-2021, 04:47 PM
Fathand Fathand is offline
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Have you thought about evening out the colour of sides and back with some dye?
Thinning the top with a scraper?
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