The Acoustic Guitar Forum

Go Back   The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > Build and Repair

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #16  
Old 06-01-2019, 10:21 PM
Neil K Walk Neil K Walk is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: SWPA
Posts: 6,610
Default

This reminds me of the time I got into a car crash. It started with my friend (who was driving) saying "watch this!" I lived and learned to drive like an old man.

Put the guitar down, take pictures and put it up for sale. Take the money from the sale and use it as seed money toward the guitar you really want. Moral of the story: a solid wood guitar that isn't falling apart is NOT a good candidate for such tinkering.

In the meantime, there are less destructive ways of tinkering with it.

1: put in a bone saddle
2: put in a bone nut
3: on a Martin dread, put on medium strings. Lights do not drive the top as well.
__________________
~ Neil (sofa player, shower singer and basement whittler)
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 06-02-2019, 05:56 PM
redir redir is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Mountains of Virginia
Posts: 5,172
Default

I just used blue tack to stick my phone to the bridge. I thought it would not be reliable but I did it several times and got the same results. If I have time I'll try and take a few pics later.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 06-03-2019, 12:59 AM
Hollowed_Wood Hollowed_Wood is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 28
Default

I still haven't been able to get any kind of reading. It seems my bridge has NO rotation, my level app is garbage, or I'm not securing it to the bridge well enough.

I might have to go get a jig.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 06-03-2019, 03:09 AM
mirwa mirwa is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 2,410
Default

If You have no rotation, then that is a super stiff top and would benefit immensly from some brace shaping

Back the strings off so they are loose, calibrate your phone on the bridge, tune each string without moving the guitar to pitch check the new reading

My tool, is a piece of plastic i cut on my laser, very simplistic

Steve
__________________
Cole Clark Fat Lady
Gretsch Electromatic
Martin CEO7
Maton Messiah
Taylor 814CE
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 06-03-2019, 03:48 AM
Hollowed_Wood Hollowed_Wood is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 28
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by mirwa View Post
Back the strings off so they are loose, calibrate your phone on the bridge, tune each string without moving the guitar to pitch check the new reading
That's what I did. I just don't have a way to get the phone to sit steady on the bridge. There's so little bridge material behind the pins and the sides are sloped. I've got the guitar held steady, but I can't say for sure the phone isn't moving, causing a false read of 0. I'll figure something out.
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 06-03-2019, 06:59 AM
hat hat is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 1,219
Default

Another question to ask is what is the neck angle, and corresponding saddle height like on your guitar? If it has a shallow neck angle, and short saddle, then it exerts less force on the top, and so less reaction from the top.
__________________
______________
---Tom H ---
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 06-03-2019, 08:45 AM
redir redir is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Mountains of Virginia
Posts: 5,172
Default

Go get some blue tack. It seems to work well. I started with the guitar tuned up and stuck the phone to the bridge and calibrated it to 0deg. Then I de-tune the guitar and the reading came out to 1.7deg. after letting it sit for a minute it was at 1.8deg so give it time for the wood to settle. Then I tuned it back up and the bubble level was right back at 0deg again which indicates to me that it is accurate.

When you stick the phone to the bridge make sure it isn't touching the strings. Also I do this while the guitar neck is held in a vice. I think it would be very important if you don't have a proper vice to engineer something that will keep the guitar 100% stable when doing this.
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 06-03-2019, 08:55 AM
mirwa mirwa is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 2,410
Default

I discussed with trevor foley a while back the differences in readings I found and those that he noted and redir has noted as well, readings will be different between reading of the bridge and of the top at the bridge location.

It is up to the luthier doing the mod to have there own method of establishing how they check said stiffness. My point at the start is one cannot just willy nilly start carving braces based on a model of guitar

Steve
__________________
Cole Clark Fat Lady
Gretsch Electromatic
Martin CEO7
Maton Messiah
Taylor 814CE
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 06-03-2019, 02:31 PM
Hollowed_Wood Hollowed_Wood is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 28
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by mirwa View Post
My point at the start is one cannot just willy nilly start carving braces based on a model of guitar

Steve

Hey, yeah, I got you at the beginning. Here's an example of what I was NOT asking:

"I just got a D-16. I want a PHATTER sound. Which brace do I cut? Thanks!

What I was asking is:

"Has anyone ever modified a D-16's bracing to good effect? Is there a known mod that people sometimes do to these, that is reported to make them sound better? Like removing the popsicle brace and then scalloping a straight braced 70's D-28. That's a somewhat common thing"


Answers I was hoping to get:

"The Hybrid X brace system is already pretty scalloped. Unless your specific guitar is a dud, there's probably not much you can really remove without weakening the guitars integrity"

"I've never heard of anyone altering the bracing of a D-16"

"Although I don't recommend altering the bracing of a finished/tuned guitar, I have read a few threads where users who wanted more from their D-16 found that adding a little extra scalloping to the ____ brace opened it up a lot more"

"I've heard a lot of people describe the D-16 as tight. For some reason Martin seems to have over-braced this area _________. Some users report altering there has made a world of difference."




Here's a quote from Maury's about the Hybrid X brace:


"It's hard to pinpoint exactly what the tonal differences between the regular X bracing and A Frame bracing patterns are. This is because there really isn't a situation where all else is equal except for the bracing style. If you look at it on paper it seems like the A Frame bracing, with its fewer tone bars on the lower bout would move more easily than an X braced guitar and therefor give more bass. It's been my experience that A frame guitars actually have a weaker bass. They tend to sound a little tighter and are just generally less responsive. Whether this is the fault of the bracing or a different variable is hard to say just showing once again that it's never about just one piece of the instrument but about how all of the pieces work together.*"


That describes exactly what I'm experiencing with this guitar. And it points out that it is a common tonality to the Hybrid A frame pattern, which would suggest that there might be a mod that will commonly change their sound. Is it so strange to wonder if anyone has altered this system after the fact to create a desired change? I'm not of the mind that every commercial good I purchase comes exactly as I need it to be.


Expecting the kind of reply I got from Neil, I added to my post:

Before all the naysayers jump in and say: 'just get a different guitar' - I plan on that. But I also plan on keeping this one as a practice/campfire guitar. And I would like it to sound better.

I've ordered a bone saddle to replace the stock tusq one. And a bone nut.
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 06-03-2019, 02:34 PM
Hollowed_Wood Hollowed_Wood is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 28
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by hat View Post
Another question to ask is what is the neck angle, and corresponding saddle height like on your guitar? If it has a shallow neck angle, and short saddle, then it exerts less force on the top, and so less reaction from the top.
The neck angle and saddle height are good. Though I bought the guitar used, it doesn't look like much if any has been taken off the saddle yet. The break angle is good. 3-4/32 at the 12th fret. Action is good.
Reply With Quote
  #26  
Old 06-03-2019, 09:56 PM
Neil K Walk Neil K Walk is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: SWPA
Posts: 6,610
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hollowed_Wood View Post
Hey, yeah, I got you at the beginning. Here's an example of what I was NOT asking:

"I just got a D-16. I want a PHATTER sound. Which brace do I cut? Thanks!

What I was asking is:

"Has anyone ever modified a D-16's bracing to good effect? Is there a known mod that people sometimes do to these, that is reported to make them sound better? Like removing the popsicle brace and then scalloping a straight braced 70's D-28. That's a somewhat common thing"


Answers I was hoping to get:

"The Hybrid X brace system is already pretty scalloped. Unless your specific guitar is a dud, there's probably not much you can really remove without weakening the guitars integrity"

"I've never heard of anyone altering the bracing of a D-16"

"Although I don't recommend altering the bracing of a finished/tuned guitar, I have read a few threads where users who wanted more from their D-16 found that adding a little extra scalloping to the ____ brace opened it up a lot more"

"I've heard a lot of people describe the D-16 as tight. For some reason Martin seems to have over-braced this area _________. Some users report altering there has made a world of difference."




Here's a quote from Maury's about the Hybrid X brace:


"It's hard to pinpoint exactly what the tonal differences between the regular X bracing and A Frame bracing patterns are. This is because there really isn't a situation where all else is equal except for the bracing style. If you look at it on paper it seems like the A Frame bracing, with its fewer tone bars on the lower bout would move more easily than an X braced guitar and therefor give more bass. It's been my experience that A frame guitars actually have a weaker bass. They tend to sound a little tighter and are just generally less responsive. Whether this is the fault of the bracing or a different variable is hard to say just showing once again that it's never about just one piece of the instrument but about how all of the pieces work together.*"


That describes exactly what I'm experiencing with this guitar. And it points out that it is a common tonality to the Hybrid A frame pattern, which would suggest that there might be a mod that will commonly change their sound. Is it so strange to wonder if anyone has altered this system after the fact to create a desired change? I'm not of the mind that every commercial good I purchase comes exactly as I need it to be.


Expecting the kind of reply I got from Neil, I added to my post:

Before all the naysayers jump in and say: 'just get a different guitar' - I plan on that. But I also plan on keeping this one as a practice/campfire guitar. And I would like it to sound better.

I've ordered a bone saddle to replace the stock tusq one. And a bone nut.
I apologize for my previous reply. I have a D-16GT that is approaching 10 years old. It differs from yours in that it has solid mahogany back and sides and has a mortise-tenon neck joint and black plastic body binding. It also has a Spanish cedar neck. I should also add that while the bookmatching reveals a moderate amount of runout (I wouldn't expect AAAA quality from a sub $1000 guitar) it did have a good amount of silking.

Like you, I was initially underwhelmed with the tone but when I experience that with any of my guitars my first remedy is to experiment with different strings. I settled on D'Addorio EJ17 phosphor bronze medium gauge. I found that 80/20s lacked the brightness that I like in the treble range and that light gauge strings lacked the tension to full transmit vibrations to the top.

Eventually, I found that with regular playing time on it and keeping it closer to 40% than 60% RH I came to actually enjoy its tone. Sure, it isn't a D-18GE but for the $950 I paid for it it's not something I'd expect.

Truth be told, I've never heard of anybody wanting to put money into what I consider to be a budget solid wood guitar but neither would I risk compromising its structural integrity by reducing mass of the braces. I think that you're more likely to get a better increase in kinetic energy by increasing the string gauge and a better transfer of that energy by switching out the saddle with a nice consistent-density bone saddle. I think that the increased tension of the heavier strings will deform the top as Martins are wont to do: by bellying behind the bridge because it is rotating. I've never thought of that as a desirable thing though. I've had braces crack and separate on lesser guitars from that.

Also, as you mentioned the hybrid X bracing is already scalloped on the lower lengths of the X brace. The A frame bracing pretty much immobilizes that area and is designed to try and reinforce the cantilevering of the fretboard extension, not transmit tone. Scalloping it any more sounds risky in my book. It will allow the lower bout to belly even more, and again I can't think of that as a good thing because that's going to cause the bridge to lift off the face of the guitar and further deaden the tone by decreasing the amount of downward pressure on the saddle.

Again, to summarize in order to get it to be more resonant here's what I'd recommend:

1: keep it out of its case as much as possible. For me I find that it sounds best at 35% RH which is about what the RH is in the factory. I found that anything over 50% is when the tone seems to become muffled by the RH. It's not the guitar, it's the moisture in the air attenuating the sound waves.

2: play it in an acoustically neutral room like a living room or a parlor where there is plenty of furniture to stifle rather than reflect. You'll still get some "slapback" off the walls but not a harsh echo. While playing outside is fun, from the player's perspective you're not going to experience the full tone of the guitar - but the person in front of you might. That's why I put a pickup in mine. I knew it would need help outdoors.

3: go with medium gauge phosphor bronze strings and keep them clean. If not, expect to change them at least monthly. They lose their luster long before they become visibly corroded IMO. I've found that Martin strings are particularly susceptible to this.

4: switching from synthetic to organic (bone) saddle will actually warm up the tone somewhat. If the trebles seem "brittle" a bone saddle might be a good idea but you might lose some articulation.

5: experiment with different picks. My preference is for nylon picks 1mm thick (Dunlop blacks) because they has a softer attack sound but still sufficient rigidity to transmit energy to the strings. OTOH I find that hard plastic accentuates the attack (click sound) and thinner picks sound quieter because they give up their energy by flexing.

Sorry for the wall of text. That's my well thought out answer. With that being said, I still like the MMV better than the D-16RGT and would have jumped on one if I hadn't just bought the D-16GT. There's something about that 15 series' A-frame bracing that seems to really free up the lower bout than the 16 series.
__________________
~ Neil (sofa player, shower singer and basement whittler)
Reply With Quote
  #27  
Old 06-04-2019, 09:15 AM
redir redir is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Mountains of Virginia
Posts: 5,172
Default

We understand what you are asking. Just because we don't have actual experience modifying a d16 in particular as guitar makers we can offer valuable advise as to how we interpret Martins various bracing styles and what we might do to modify them. The bridge rotation test is a perfect place to start. Based on those results we could take this a bit further.

Otherwise you would have posted this question to the forum and then you would have no reply's. That would make you feel left out, and we don't want anyone to feel left out

My guess as to why the A-Frame guitar with the only one tone bar has less bass when you might think otherwise is that the top is too thick.
Reply With Quote
  #28  
Old 06-04-2019, 09:33 AM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 6,796
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by redir View Post
My guess as to why the A-Frame guitar with the only one tone bar has less bass when you might think otherwise is that the top is too thick.
There you go: leave the braces alone, thin the top. Now we're getting somewhere.
Reply With Quote
  #29  
Old 06-04-2019, 10:51 AM
Neil K Walk Neil K Walk is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: SWPA
Posts: 6,610
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by charles Tauber View Post
There you go: leave the braces alone, thin the top. Now we're getting somewhere.
LOL. I still feel like we're tempting fate here.

I'm loathe to retell the tale of how I involuntarily and neglectfully revoiced my D-16GT. I'm lucky it's still in one piece because I've seen some pretty ugly key cracks in my time but I'm the witless wizard when it comes to loose braces. Even though it did somewhat improve the tone the term "opening up a guitar" has negative connotations with me!

Moral of the story: when you have a doubt don't proceed. Just walk away and think twice before coming back. Turning the screw until you hear a crack and then backing off a half turn is only a joke. Please don't ask me how I learned that. That's another story I'm loathe to tell that I cannot in good conscience blame JLD for.
__________________
~ Neil (sofa player, shower singer and basement whittler)
Reply With Quote
  #30  
Old 06-04-2019, 11:02 AM
hat hat is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 1,219
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hollowed_Wood View Post
The neck angle and saddle height are good. Though I bought the guitar used, it doesn't look like much if any has been taken off the saddle yet. The break angle is good. 3-4/32 at the 12th fret. Action is good.
If you are not planning on playing it up the neck much, mainly just playing in the lower position you could make a taller saddle to try. Just a little added height might change the volume/bass quite a bit. Maybe also, as mentioned above - check the thickness of the top. Another thing that might help would be to slot the bridge pin holes. That will make the string break angle over the saddle tighter, which should help.
__________________
______________
---Tom H ---
Reply With Quote
Reply

  The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > Build and Repair

Thread Tools



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:43 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, The Acoustic Guitar Forum
vB Ad Management by =RedTyger=