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  #61  
Old 03-08-2018, 08:48 AM
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Simon Fay Simon Fay is offline
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As a guitar builder, the one thing I'm surprised about (and object to) concerning the V-brace marketing is the stark contrast given to the bracing types. I look at bracing as a system. If you build with ultra thin tops then you need to do something different than if you brace with thicker tops. If you want a certain sound that emphasizes bass and mids then you would brace that differently than a guitar with more treble response and projection. If the guitar sounds muddy then there are numerous things that can and should be done to remedy that.

The basic x-brace system has a myriad of different possible configurations that make a massive difference on how the guitar sounds. In addition, there are a multitude of bracing systems that depart more significantly from the x-brace (Taylor's V-brace, Gore's Falcate bracing, Kasha, and many, many more). BTW, all these guitars still sound like "guitars". Classical guitars are different beasts altogether but that rests almost entirely on beginning with a different starting point/sound generator - nylon strings.

When I look at the difference between the previous Taylor X-brace and the V-brace - I don't see massive differences in the way the top is able to physically move. The big horizontal transverse brace below the soundhole is reminiscent of classical guitar bracing and should help sequester vibration in the waist and lower bout region. The lower bout region bracing seems to be reasonably braced (not too heavy which is often a problem) and seems to promote a guitar with more cross dipole movement (the bridge would like to rock/seesaw left and right.

At the moment, I'm not exactly sure what would happen with the long dipole movement (the bridge rocking back and forth in the direction of the strings). Just like the x-brace, with the v-brace you've got a bulk of bracing that exists right below the soundhole that will absolutely affect vibrational patterns.

In short, I still see massive similarities between how the guitar top is allowed to move. Any bracing with steel strings has to put a big brace between the bridge and soundhole otherwise the guitar will fold in on itself. I do see a more flexible lower bout and less bracing which I think is a good thing. However, those same things can be accomplished with an x-brace. Additionally, other types of bracing styles can be modified to use more or less bracing as well and create numerous degrees of flexibility in the soundboard.

Regardless of what Andy Powers may present, there are always tradeoffs and the art of guitar building is finding a balance. The wonderful thing about guitars is that there are always these lovely variations of tone that come from different ways of bracing. The issue that I take with the Taylor marketing is that there is somehow a magical best that is only possible with this Taylor V-brace.

I'd love to play these guitars - just looking at the bracing I bet these are some of the most responsive guitars Taylor has ever built. But I'm struggling to reconcile what I know about guitars with what Powers is saying - that the V-brace allows the guitar to move in a revolutionary new way. Different bracing patterns are starting points for builders to achieve tonal diversity. Like the X-brace, the V-brace seems to have a nice range of potential derivations which I think is fantastic. But there are other bracing systems that have come before with similar pathways and that have a similar layout to the V-brace in terms of the major load bearing beams.
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  #62  
Old 03-08-2018, 08:54 AM
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Another erroneous statement by Andy is: "...since guitar strings do not introduce pure sine wave signals, but multi-frequency content ... When you sum these things together, you end up with a surface that resembles wrinkling tin foil...".
Yeah I had a problem with that statement but forgot to comment on it in my other post. More like multiple waves setting up patterns on the top. And the waves do not crash into each other but the higher tones, the smaller ones travel on top of the lower frequency ones. You might get a distortion in the shape of the patterns from the bracing that cause some areas to vibrate greater than others or to favor some frequencies. My thoughts are that much of Taylor's 'improvement' is in using the cross brace below the sound hole. The area that radiates the sound is concentrated in the lower bout and less energy is used to move the area above this brace. I could be wrong but we will not know without someone doing a Chladni pattern on it.



Now I do not have a Taylor to test but that spectrum graph of your guitar seems quite smooth. I am used to seeing responses more in line like this.



It is a shame the person did not zoom in on the area of interest but it is what it is. The resonances are much more pronounced, have a higher Q, which could effect the sound output. If you have two peaks close to each other and a scale tone is between them the note could waver back and forth between the two resonances. Or a big peak could shift the note away from the note that was produced by the string length.
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Old 03-08-2018, 08:55 AM
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OK Herb, I'm picking up the glove. Here we go.
Well done Picker2! You used science and facts to rebut Andy's reasoning. The new bracing may very well sound better but he didn't do himself or Taylor any favor with his explanation of why.
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  #64  
Old 03-08-2018, 08:55 AM
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I don't think that Andy's goal is to build a sterile guitar with very little overtones, but to build one with less opposing ones or off tone ones. The V bracing is an attempt to guide the overtones into ones that are more like the primary one.
That's my take away from the OP's response letter from Andy. But although that goal might not be to "build a sterile guitar" this whole change is trying to fix a "problem" that

1.) Many don't feel exist. I don't mean players deny the acoustic guitars imperfections, but many feel those imperfections are part of what make give the instrument it's unique tonal character.

2.) What exactly is sacrificed in terms of tonal character is still subjective. A clear A-B test of a 2017 X-Braced 914ce to the new 2018 V-Class braced 914ce would give some answers, but Taylor has been careful about putting such comparisons in the spotlight. They left this type of comparison out of the NAMM videos altogether. This also leads to another point

3.) You'll notice in all instance Andy Powers talks up these changes between X-Bracing and V-Class bracing and his goals in terms of taking the guitar closer to (Taylor's idea) of perfection. But what's cleverly missing is quantifiable data. For example, you don't hear Andy say something like "We've measured a 8-12% increase in intonation accuracy". Now that he's putting into context a clear picture of how Taylor has defined "improved intonation with V-Class bracing" we know these measurements were taken. So why is Andy Powers only talking in broad terms about what was measured and not specific measured improvement in numbers? Probably because those percentages are so small it wouldn't help the product sell.

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What comes to my mind is a twelve string guitar. I think most people can't tell when their 6 string is a tiny bit out of tune, from one string to the next, but if you have one of the strings of a 12 string pair off, it really is obvious. The tones are no farther off than most people play their 6 string, but because the 12 string pairs are SO close, the tones seem to highlight their differences.

Perhaps Andy is trying to keep the top from resonating in harmonics that are a touch out of tune from the fundamental and related frequencies. Or, maybe I have missed his explanation by a wide margin.
What I suspect will happen is that once Taylor's entire lineup has shifted to V-Class bracing, players will find they really like it on certain models and really dislike it on others. Some of us may love it on 12 string guitars but not on 6 string models, etc.. Beyond all the marketing, you can't change the sustain and volume balance without also changing the tonal character of the guitar. Some players will like the change and some won't. Taylor's job is to convince everyone that the change is for the better and that we'll all love it. It's the consumers job to not be gullible and to try and form an objective opinion of their own. When you have other players you respect telling you "this is better" that does hold weight for most of us even if it's not a conscious influence.

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Could it be that the X bracing was not designed for best possible sound, but easiest way to make the top strong enough for steel strings and still light enough to resonate loud enough ?
I don't think Andy Powers believes that tone was compromised in any way. But be suspicious of anyone who tries to definitively declare the tone of these new guitars as better or worse. Tone quality (in terms of timbre) is subjective.
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  #65  
Old 03-08-2018, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Simon Fay View Post

I'd love to play these guitars - just looking at the bracing I bet these are some of the most responsive guitars Taylor has ever built. But I'm struggling to reconcile what I know about guitars with what Powers is saying - that the V-brace allows the guitar to move in a revolutionary new way. Different bracing patterns are starting points for builders to achieve tonal diversity. Like the X-brace, the V-brace seems to have a nice range of potential derivations which I think is fantastic. But there are other bracing systems that have come before with similar pathways and that have a similar layout to the V-brace in terms of the major load bearing beams.
I see the bracing as more in line as a fan braced guitar, the V is just missing a brace in between it. Maybe in the next major redesign. I can comprehend the idea of the sound being 'more in tune' with resonances with a lower Q. The more things are evened out the less the deviation of one note to the other. How well they achieve it and how desirable it is remains to be seen.
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  #66  
Old 03-08-2018, 09:11 AM
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No rolling eyes necessary TAYLORFAN50, just read my posts a little up in this thread. I explained all my concerns, in high detail and with simple words.
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Old 03-08-2018, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Rmz76 View Post
3.) You'll notice in all instance Andy Powers talks up these changes between X-Bracing and V-Class bracing and his goals in terms of taking the guitar closer to (Taylor's idea) of perfection. But what's cleverly missing is quantifiable data. For example, you don't hear Andy say something like "We've measured a 8-12% increase in intonation accuracy". Now that he's putting into context a clear picture of how Taylor has defined "improved intonation with V-Class bracing" we know these measurements were taken. So why is Andy Powers only talking in broad terms about what was measured and not specific measured improvement in numbers? Probably because those percentages are so small it wouldn't help the product sell. Even a very tiny improvement would be all Taylor's marketing team would need to move forward and try to convince the world that they've created the next great thing and give value to their new patents for the next 20 years.
Speaking factually here, based on long observation of Guitarro Bizarro World. This is all said with an olive branch and as nice as possible, and with a tongue firmly in cheek at times.

They don't have to provide data today. Facebook, Twitter, whatever other Social Me Me Media people use along with forums like this one will spread their gospel like wildfire, never stopping to figure out if it is even remotely true. Once the serious fans get a hold of their facts they'll repeat them as though they've built a thousand guitars themselves and they know this all to be true.

It isn't really new, it has been going on for a long time now, just getting easier to start and more and more distanced from reality. The internet proves that if you say something enough times it becomes true to those that did or will buy your product.

Taylor never needed that, they already make great guitars with a whole bunch of serious users. They didn't need to re-define intonation, but this kind of "fact" will become an evident truth to true believers.

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  #68  
Old 03-08-2018, 09:23 AM
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Now I do not have a Taylor to test but that spectrum graph of your guitar seems quite smooth.
It depends on how you tap. If you tap with the flesh of your finger, like I did, you don't excite all higher frequencies and get a smoother graph. If you use a sharp piece of metal, you will get a graph more like yours - and damage the top of your guitar.

However, those higher frequencies contribute very little to the tap tone of the top, which is predominantly determined by the first few large peaks in the spectrum, which are much louder as you can see in the graph. In addition, all those high frequency peaks are impossible to systematically control by adjusting your bracing, so they don't really matter.

In addition, the peaks in your graph seem to have a higher Q, but they don't. Note that the horizontal axis is logarithmic so the axis gets compressed for higher frequencies. If the Q's were high, your guitar would produce high-pitched pinnggggg tones if you would you tap it. And no guitar does that.
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Old 03-08-2018, 09:29 AM
robj144 robj144 is offline
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...

It is true that the polygon contains many kinds of different frequencies, but they all add up to make just a simple polygon. A guitar top does something similar, albeit in two dimensions.
Are you sure the guitar does something similar? The reason the string is a polygon is due to the initial conditions of the pluck are related to a geometrical shape. This I've seen many times. I have not investigated the surface of a guitar. However, for a Gaussian type initial shape on a rectangular surface I have modeled and it indeed looks like tinfoil after some time. The guitar surface will be different and what's driving it is different, but it could well be tin foil.

Here are two videos I just made to demonstrate. The string, which you know well:



And a plate with an initial Gaussian disturbance. It's a little computer intensive, so I have to pause the animation to see the shape. However, it does after a short time resemble tin foil:

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Old 03-08-2018, 09:31 AM
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Well done Picker2! You used science and facts to rebut Andy's BS reasoning. The new bracing may very well sound better but he didn't do himself or Taylor any favor with his explanation of why.
Thanks Dwight, and I wholeheartedly agree with you. I really believe the current Taylor marketeers are seriously damaging the brand image that Bob painstakingly built up over the past 40 years. And I'm very sorry about that. Even though some accused me of 'brand bashing' here on the AGF, I was doing exactly the opposite!
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Old 03-08-2018, 09:36 AM
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Well done Picker2! You used science and facts to rebut Andy's BS reasoning.
Does it rebut ?? There is science and then there is science.
I assume Picker is honestly attempting to use science but the question is how accurately ? His post for me has brought up more questions than answers .

Like is tapping the top of guitar like a drum really going to give you the same response characteristics as plucking a string ?
Seems to me if one wants to disprove AP's claim that a lower freq. is also generated when you pick the E string at the 12 fret . Wouldn't it be more scientific to replicate and graph the claimed action as opposed to a different action ?

And do the guitar strings actually move in an orderly triangle "All of the time"

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Old 03-08-2018, 09:36 AM
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However, the most disturbing point about Andy's story, in my opinion, is the fact that he only tells that V-bracing solves all the alleged intonation issues, but he never explains how it does such a thing. Why would V-bracing systematically shift all resonance frequencies towards positions where they are "more in tune" with the strings? How can you reproduce this effect on mass-produced factory guitars? If it works so reliably, there must be a very fundamental principle underneath it. But Andy fails to make this clear - in fact he does not even mention it. I think that is disturbing.
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That said, I still just go back to Taylor biting off more they can chew with their marketing. All they had to say was, "We developed a new bracing pattern. We like it, and we think you will too..."
In the 1960's, Dr. Michael Kasha, a physical chemist, stated that classical guitar design, historically being largely based on empirical results, resulted in poor, or inefficient designs and could be improved upon by applying science to the problem. To this end, he created a scientific model of the guitar and, based upon that model, made changes to classical guitar design that he claimed would so obviously improve the sound of the classical guitar that they would, within five years' time, universally replace traditional classical guitars designs. In support of, and justification for, his design changes, he published extensive, detailed descriptions, rationales and matematical equations for his new design and what it would accomplish.

There are a variety of reasons why his scientific model and changes to classical guitar design were never adopted in any significant way and never did replace traditional designs. One of those reasons was that his very scientific sounding model and theories lacked any physical evidence/testing to support his theories. His theories, his model, his presentation sounded great - very scientific, very plausible - but, in large measure, simply weren't true. It was largely a case of arm-chair theorizing, wherein one can "reason" one's way to any rational conclusion, only to find that it simply isn't true. (The ancient Greeks had "reasoned" that heavy objects fall faster than lighter objects. It was not until Galileo performed actual experiments, gathered objective, repeatable data, was it proven that the long-believed "truth" was incorrect. Simply believing something to be true doesn't make it true.)

In the absence of any hard data - scientific measurement - he relied upon the subjective opinion of players to determine whether or not his design changes produced "better" sounding instruments. A few die-hard followers believed Kasha model guitars sounded better but, by far, most players didn't. (Many didn't care for the sound.)


Fast-forward to 2017. Taylor introduces a "new", radical bracing design that they claim, based upon scientific theories, is "better" than other preceding designs. So far, no objective results of scientific testing have been publicly released showing hard data to substantiated their specific claims of improvement (e.g. improved intonation). Instead, there is subjective opinion that Taylor believes it is better and thinks you will believe it too. Taylor has offered scientific-sounding, plausible-at-face-value, rationale for why their design is an improvement.

The question that remains is, is it really an improvement? Does it accomplish the things they say it does, regardless of how they suggest it accomplishes that? In the absence of hard data, there is only subjective opinion.

In the absence of any hard data, it seems irrelevant to "get into the weeds" of the scientific explanation/justification. If there is no proof that validates a theory, it is just a theory, and becomes an intellectual, subjective argument of who's theory one prefers. As far as Taylor's new guitars go, you then like them better or you don't, you either believe the scientific-sounding verbiage, or you don't. Much like modern politics, where you choose what "facts" you want to believe.
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Old 03-08-2018, 09:38 AM
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Does it rebut ?? There is science and then there is science.
I assume Picker is honestly attempting to use science but the question is how accurately ? His post for me has brought up more questions than answers .

Like is tapping the top of guitar like a drum really going to give you the same response characteristics as plucking a string ?
Seems to me if one wants to disprove AP's claim that a lower freq. is also generated when you pick the E string at the 12 fret . Wouldn't it be more scientific to replicate and graph the claimed action as opposed to a different action ?

And do the guitar strings actually move in an orderly triangle "All of the time"

Yes, it does. That's an artifact from the device that captured the strings. It bugs me all the time when people post these vids on Youtube to demonstrate how strings vibrate.
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  #74  
Old 03-08-2018, 09:38 AM
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Are you sure the guitar does something similar? The reason the string is a polygon is due to the initial conditions of the pluck are related to a geometrical shape. This I've seen many times. I have not investigated the surface of a guitar. However, for a Gaussian type initial shape on a rectangular surface I have modeled and it indeed looks like tinfoil after some time. The guitar surface will be different and what's driving it is different, but it could well be tin foil.

Here are two videos I just made to demonstrate. The string, which you know well:



And a plate with an initial Gaussian disturbance. It's a little computer intensive, so I have to pause the animation to see the shape. However, it does after a short time resemble tin foil:

It does not look like tin foil at all. Tin foil is not yellow!

Thanks for these clips. The plate simulation looks like the solution of a 2D wave equation right? There seems to be no stiffness. But it does show the point I made earlier: the individual frequencies needed to produce the initial shape of the top, shown one by one, would give the idea that the total behaviour were much more chaotic. In fact, in your clip you do see quite some orderly behaviour. If you would add significant stiffness to the plate, like a real guitar top, and not start with a narrow peak but with a larger, bridge-shaped vertical displacement executing a rectangular wave shape (like a real guitar), it would look even more orderly. And be MUCH more computer intensive too!
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Old 03-08-2018, 09:47 AM
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There is science and then there is science.
Ha ha, no my friend, there is only science! That's the definition of science.

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Originally Posted by KevWind View Post
Like is tapping the top of guitar like a drum really going to give you the same response characteristics as plucking a string?
Yes KevWind, this is a very fundamental principle of physics and mathematics. You have to frequency-transform the string's audio signal (sounds complex but it's a standard procedure), multiply it by the graphs shown in this thread, and then back-transform to an audio signal. That will give you the sound of that string as if it were mounted on the guitar that produced the graph.

This is the way they add reverb to audio files. You go to a large church, record the reverb of a short click, and then you can use that recording to add the church's acoustics and reverb to any audio recording made anywhere else.
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