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  #31  
Old 02-04-2009, 08:21 PM
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Tim and Lance have ruined me for life by tapping LS tops with them.
I'm doubtful I'll ever be able to afford/justify a guitar with an LS top.....I'll just have to dream and live vicariously through those who do.
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  #32  
Old 02-04-2009, 08:55 PM
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Originally Posted by El Conquistador View Post
SF,
Hey thanks for the really thoughtful response. I was just being nosey, but, your reply had some surprising information.

I have thought about the rather pricey "double top option". My understanding is the whole point of a double top is to DRAMATICALLY increase the repsonseviness of the guitar. So, your light touch should have greatly benefited by it. However, your experience differs. Things that make you go, Hmmmmmmmm.

I wonder if Tim may want to weigh in on this?
LC

Welllllll, I have several dozen DTs under my belt now and SWF & Kurt's opinions coincides with mine but let me rephrase my response a bit. Double tops are very responsive but they are naturally a LOT stiffer than a single top just by the nature of the design. The biggest benefit is a super w-i-d-e dynamic range.

Both Kurt and SWF have similar playing styles in that they have a very light string attack. In their normal playing style they really don't take advantage of the wide dynamic range of a DT and that is why I steered them away from DTs.

Sure, I could have put on my trench coat and went into super salesman mode and tried to convince them DTs are the greatest thing since sliced bread. In all honesty they would be much happier receiving a guitar that is voiced to respond and make full use of their unique playing styles.

It is vitally important to me, as a builder, to connect with the client and learn as much as I can about their playing style and string attack. We go through lengthy discussions during the design phase which helps me guide their top choices. Based on certain criteria I can narrow their choices down to 2 or 3 top species that I think would respond best in their hands and would provide a tone that they are seeking. If I would have sold Kurt a super stiff double top that was a flat pickers dream he would have been sorely disappointed and I would have a disgruntled customer on my hands. Instead, we guided his choices and I voiced the top to perform to its fullest potential in [his] hands. Therefore, Kurt is back in line for another build in the future

You are correct in your assumption that DTs do provide [some] players with a dramatically more responsive guitar [if] they have at least a medium/light string attack.
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  #33  
Old 02-04-2009, 09:09 PM
SongwriterFan SongwriterFan is offline
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So, looks like me explanation was reasonably accurate, then? Whew!

Let me just say this about Tim and Mary, too. They will certainly give you as much guidance as you request (and perhaps even more ) for your guitar build. But, they also know that it's YOUR guitar, and so the final decision is yours.

I could choose a really stiff top, and Tim would tell me what he thinks about it compared to my playing style. But in the end, if that's what I wanted, he'd build it for me, and try to make it as responsive as he could.

I've built two houses so far, and now this guitar, having to make LOTS and LOTS of choices. And I'll tell you, it's a bit scary knowing that anything I end up not liking about the house/guitar has a good chance of being my OWN fault.

But fortunately, in all three instances, I've had great builders to guide me. And ones that took the time to know what I'm looking for . . or at least what I *think* I'm looking for.
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  #34  
Old 02-04-2009, 09:22 PM
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Looks like another wonderful McKnight to me. I look forward to seeing the completed pics of this one
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  #35  
Old 02-06-2009, 10:55 AM
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Like I said in an earlier post: Tim will go to wit's end to build a guitar that suits the individual. He's also one of the very few luthiers, out of the many I've visited, who can drastically vary the tone and range of his guitars. I attribute this to his intense deflection testing, personally.

I had the "Cigar" double-topped guitar (cedar + Englemann, right, Tim?) in my hands over Christmas after having played it this past fall. It's a terrific guitar, don't get me wrong, but I didn't like it nearly as much as many of the numerous other McKnight guitars I've played -- and as Tim pointed out, I think it's because I simply have too light of an attack to make it "go."

That said (Tim, are you listening?!?), I'm still itching to have Tim build a guitar TOPPED with the 1700s walnut. Listening to that stuff ring was amazing. If anyone can make the walnut work as a top, Tim can -- but as I pointed out, I'll ultimately listen to Tim, mad scientist-engineer that he is, as to whether it's a wise gamble for me or not (but it is in the back of your mind, isn't it, Tim?!?).

Loving the thought of the walnut/LS redwood, though -- that oughta be one sweet, sweet guitar...
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  #36  
Old 02-06-2009, 11:07 AM
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I am listening Kurt but my gut tells me otherwise. There are some walnut topped guitars out there along with other hardwood topped guitars so there are not any real right answers to the quandary. IME hardwood topped guitars are much mellower than their softwood topped counterparts and they just don't appeal to me personally speaking. However, as SWF pointed out, I need to know when to offer advise and then back away because ultimately it is your decision in the end.

Seeing how you already have a light string attack I am not totally confident that a Walnut topped guitar would be as responsive in your hands as it [could] be with a softwood top. Maybe some other Walnut/Walnut owners will weight in with their experience.
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  #37  
Old 02-06-2009, 04:14 PM
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I wouldn't mind an all walnut or all koa from Tim . . but I think I'd want that to be a double-top.

For some reason, I think that *would* make a more responsive top than a single top.

Not sure if I'm right, though.

Maybe Tim will let us know HIS thoughts on that.
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  #38  
Old 02-06-2009, 07:32 PM
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DT is inherantly stiff. Hardwoods are usually, but not always, stiffer than soft woods used in soundboards so making a DT with an all hardwood top [I think] would be pretty dern stiff [but] this is only a guess.
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  #39  
Old 02-06-2009, 09:50 PM
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So why can't one just make a top of koa or walnut VERY VERY thin, since it's so stiff to begin with?
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  #40  
Old 02-06-2009, 09:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SongwriterFan View Post
So why can't one just make a top of koa or walnut VERY VERY thin, since it's so stiff to begin with?
Perhaps something to do with the optimum mass-to-stiffness ratio?

Or maybe this :

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  #41  
Old 02-06-2009, 10:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmmaak View Post
Perhaps something to do with the optimum mass-to-stiffness ratio?
I thought the idea was to get a high stiffness to mass ratio?

Or is that only for HEADROOM? And you actually want a lower value for responsiveness?

I've confused myself.
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  #42  
Old 02-07-2009, 07:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmmaak View Post
Perhaps something to do with the optimum mass-to-stiffness ratio?

Or maybe this :

Gee wiz buddy! You played the heck out of that Webber!
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  #43  
Old 02-07-2009, 07:14 AM
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I still am aware of unanwered questions of my own before I could dive in to a build my dream session with Tim. And I still have a pile of room to grow in playing style. Mean while I made the mistake of walkng into a loft of finished McKnights with price tags. I, I had to.

My biggest problem is getting quiet out of her. My attack of recent has gotten heavier handed. Maybe I am a double top canidate?
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  #44  
Old 02-07-2009, 07:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SongwriterFan View Post
So why can't one just make a top of koa or walnut VERY VERY thin, since it's so stiff to begin with?
Consider that spruce DT plates are in the .035" - .040" thickness range which is about as thick as a playing card! Going thinner poses pther problems namely installing a ROSETTE into a playing card! Arrrgggghhhh, talk about a challenge. I would estimate that for every three DT rosettes that I install I end up sanding through at least one of them and then they become fire wood. I go through an alarming amount of tops in the DT process.
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  #45  
Old 02-07-2009, 07:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SongwriterFan View Post
I thought the idea was to get a high stiffness to mass ratio?

Or is that only for HEADROOM? And you actually want a lower value for responsiveness?

I've confused myself.
Your assumption is correct but in order for the top to be responsive to {each individual player} there is a fine line to walk. If the top is overly stiff it will only respond, at its maximum potential, to a very heavy handed string attack. A top this stiff would not respond well to the masses nor should it.

I am not saying it (building a hardwood DT) can't be done. My rational thinking just opposes the thought. There are good reasons why more tops are softwood than hardwood based upon the way they vibrate especially after they are thinned out enough to be a guitar top. Hardwood tends to loose its vibrating ability when it gets too thin because it relies more on mass to be able to vibrate (I think) ?
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