The Acoustic Guitar Forum

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

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 12-03-2009, 08:30 PM
Kindness Kindness is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 2,138
Default Scalloped Vs. Non-Scalloped Braces

I am curious as to know the advantages/disadvantages of scalloped and non-scalloped braces. It seems that many of the vintage guitars come with scalloped. What are luthiers using today and why? How does it affect the sound?

Lisa
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 12-03-2009, 08:49 PM
Sammy_L_D Sammy_L_D is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Kitchener, Ontario
Posts: 830
Default

As a "rule" (and as I'm sure you know by now, there are exceptions to every rule in the guitar universe), scalloped braces tends to scoop out the midrange in favour of stronger bass and high treble frequencies, while non-scalloped tend to draw out the midrange for a more balanced response between all frequencies.

It should be noted that there's far more to it than simply "scalloped" versus "non-scalloped", but that's a good basic rule of thumb.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 12-03-2009, 09:17 PM
Glennwillow Glennwillow is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Coastal Washington State
Posts: 37,636
Default

Here's a good article on Martin's bracing patterns: http://www.frets.com/FRETSPages/Hist...tinbraces.html Frets.com is a great resource.

The idea of scalloping the bracing is to make the top more flexible so that it has more overtones, often more bass but sometimes more treble too. As Sammy notes, it depends on how it's done.

I like scalloped bracing, though I have some guitars without it, too.

Regards, Glenn
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 12-03-2009, 09:18 PM
Fran Guidry Fran Guidry is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Walnut Creek, CA
Posts: 3,572
Default

The top thickness, perimeter thickness, attachment method, bridge mass and shape, bridge plate mass and shape, brace mass, shape, and placement all work together to determine how a guitar top works with the strings.

Luthiers at CF Martin determined that in combination with all the other details of their top construction, for the sound they were seeking, they should carve away valleys in the main braces, a process they called scalloping.

When customers started putting on heavier and heavier strings the Martin luthiers sought to strengthen their tops by eliminating the scalloping. These non scalloped guitars are now quite sought after and desirable.

In the 70s Martin went to a heavier bridge plate of rosewood in place of their traditional smaller maple plate. These guitars are not very sought after <grin>.

Scalloping reduces the strength of the brace. If that's what is needed it makes the guitar sound better. If not, it makes the guitar sound worse.

Fran
__________________
E ho`okani pila kakou ma Kaleponi
Slack Key in California - www.kaleponi.com
My YouTube clips
The Homebrewed Music Blog
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 12-03-2009, 09:36 PM
Kindness Kindness is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 2,138
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fran Guidry View Post
The top thickness, perimeter thickness, attachment method, bridge mass and shape, bridge plate mass and shape, brace mass, shape, and placement all work together to determine how a guitar top works with the strings.

Luthiers at CF Martin determined that in combination with all the other details of their top construction, for the sound they were seeking, they should carve away valleys in the main braces, a process they called scalloping.

When customers started putting on heavier and heavier strings the Martin luthiers sought to strengthen their tops by eliminating the scalloping. These non scalloped guitars are now quite sought after and desirable.

In the 70s Martin went to a heavier bridge plate of rosewood in place of their traditional smaller maple plate. These guitars are not very sought after <grin>.

Scalloping reduces the strength of the brace. If that's what is needed it makes the guitar sound better. If not, it makes the guitar sound worse.

Fran
So, Fran, if scalloping does indeed reduce the strength of the brace, then would this suggest, and I say suggest, that the guitar could belly? I have never heard of this issue, but it does make one kind of wonder.

Lisa
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 12-03-2009, 09:42 PM
66strummer 66strummer is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 6,762
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by itself View Post
So, Fran, if scalloping does indeed reduce the strength of the brace, then would this suggest, and I say suggest, that the guitar could belly? I have never heard of this issue, but it does make one kind of wonder.

Lisa


It's always a possibility but even "affordable" import makes such as Blueridge use scalloped (as well as forward shifted) bracing that appears to have stood the initial test of time quite well so far...... I have however heard of "bellying" occurring on some modern day import guitars, usually ones that are very new in the market (generally first year production runs with build techniques and QC not being up to par yet).
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 12-03-2009, 10:42 PM
John How John How is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Cool, Ca
Posts: 142
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by 66strummer View Post
It's always a possibility but even "affordable" import makes such as Blueridge use scalloped (as well as forward shifted) bracing that appears to have stood the initial test of time quite well so far...... I have however heard of "bellying" occurring on some modern day import guitars, usually ones that are very new in the market (generally first year production runs with build techniques and QC not being up to par yet).
A belly on a guitar, new or old is not necessarily a bad thing as long as it doesn't cause problems with the action and remains stable. I would watch out for a pronounced belly as this could be trouble but a little I think is a good thing as it tells me the guitar is probably not over built.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 12-03-2009, 10:52 PM
66strummer 66strummer is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 6,762
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by John How View Post
A belly on a guitar, new or old is not necessarily a bad thing as long as it doesn't cause problems with the action and remains stable. I would watch out for a pronounced belly as this could be trouble but a little I think is a good thing as it tells me the guitar is probably not over built.

Very true, John. In fact many if not all acoustic guitars have a dome curve across the top (and back), highest in the middle (sort of like a pitcher's mound). In fact someone posted a Taylor video I watched yesterday of a dried out (underhumidified) Taylor that had lost this shape, developed cracks and flattened out. As it was re-humidified the dome returned to the top and the cracks began to seal. BTW I had a Takamine that developed bellying. The bulging was pronounced in the area below the bridge, where the string pull is greatest. It was less than 10 years old when this happened.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 12-03-2009, 11:20 PM
D.Kwasnycia's Avatar
D.Kwasnycia D.Kwasnycia is offline
AGF Sponsor
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Chatham Ontario Canada
Posts: 1,382
Default

Does scalloping take away strength? Some would say in a sense, but a Luthier that knows what they are doing, will take away as much wood as possible without taking away the strength.
Scalloping will allow the instrument to come to life, faster with the plucked string/strum. But the life of the note will drift off faster.
A straight or tapered brace will give more head room and power. A longer sustain can be achieved also with this kind of brace. I find that there is also good string separation also with a tapered brace.
I tend to use a scalloped brace more, that does not mean one is not better than the other. It all depends on what you are after in the character of the guitar or what you want to get out of it.
Also to say that a finger style guitar will have a scalloped brace is most common, but also a tapered brace is also really nice, is just makes things more evident. The scalloped brace will have more richness to the note and again, this all depends on materials also.
__________________
Dennis,
www.kwasnyciaguitars.com
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 12-04-2009, 12:20 AM
SteveS's Avatar
SteveS SteveS is offline
Me
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Monument, Colorado
Posts: 9,119
Default

I've built scalloped and what is called parabolic. I prefer the sound of parabolic bracing. That's just me and in no way means that I think scalloped is not a good way to build.
I do have trouble understanding why the peaks in those scalloped braces, which create localized areas of high stiffness and added weight, are a good idea. But I've played enough great sounding guitars built with scallops to know that I (we?) don't have complete understanding of the guitar.
__________________
“Reason is itself a matter of faith. It is an act of faith to assert that our thoughts have any relation to reality at all.”
― G.K. Chesterton
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 12-04-2009, 10:18 AM
Fran Guidry Fran Guidry is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Walnut Creek, CA
Posts: 3,572
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by itself View Post
So, Fran, if scalloping does indeed reduce the strength of the brace, then would this suggest, and I say suggest, that the guitar could belly? I have never heard of this issue, but it does make one kind of wonder.

Lisa
Are you saying that you think a belly is a bad thing?

Too much belly is a bad thing. No belly is also a bad thing in my experience.

Cutting material from the brace, especially reducing the height of the brace as scalloping does, weakens the brace. Scalloping lets the builder weaken the brace in a particular location and to a particular degree.

If the overall design includes the need to weaken that brace at that location to that degree then scalloping is good.

If not, not.

Fran
__________________
E ho`okani pila kakou ma Kaleponi
Slack Key in California - www.kaleponi.com
My YouTube clips
The Homebrewed Music Blog
Reply With Quote
Reply

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

Thread Tools





All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:10 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, The Acoustic Guitar Forum
vB Ad Management by =RedTyger=