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Stephen's Faulk's bench

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Really nice guitar, Stephen.  It sounds great -


Do you mind saying something about the bracing?



The bracing is based on a design by a Cordoba family of makers named Rodriguez. That is like saying the Smith pattern. HAHA. 


The main feature of this one is the diagonal bar that is fit under the lower cross brace. And the two strips that are on either side of the sound hole. This design has been used by several makers, but strongly identified with Miguel Rodriguez, who probably developed it. 


The idea of the diagonal brace is to stiffen the treble side of the top. The two strips on the sides of the soundhole are to stabilize the edges of the soundhole. They also flank the fingerboard under the top which helps keep the mass of the fingerboard from stressing the top along the grain next to the fingerboard. And the diagonal bar and those strips probably serve other functions. 


The important thing to remember is that bracing systems are like chess openings. You can play any of them out, but the mid game and end game matter most. The end and mid game with this kind of guitar is how the bridge, bracing and top thickness and strength work together. 


The top, bridge and thickness and how flexible that leaves the top is important. Bridge design is more important in my view than which bracing you decide to use. A bracing design won't work without a good bridge. 


For these guitars it is also important to separate the main air mode from the main back mode by two and half steps or a bit more. The main top mode for this model should be about F# below middle C. If you can manage that and a good bridge these kinds of guitars will speak out well. 


What I like about this bracing is that it really supports a thinner top and works well with the idea of thin top mechanics. Some makers favor a thicker top, but this design seems to respond to thin stiff tops well or for me next purpose to make Cedar topped guitars with thinner tops. The diagonal brace gives support for a thinner top. Thin is a relative term, I am talking about tops between 2.6 mm and 1.8mm that zone is pretty important to me in respect to this pattern and whether the top is spruce or cedar. 


The bridge weight and stiffness relative to the top stiffness with braces is key and hitting that magic F# top mode without coupling the back and top modes. Not super hard, but it takes study. 



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There is an idea I have had about diagonal braces under the main cross brace, I'm not the only one who sees it this way. The diagonal cutting through the main top area of the fan braces serves to stiffen and separate the top into parts. This makes the top area smaller and a smaller area of top means less material for the bridge to drive. The bar does not totally create an unmovable barrier, it moves also, so it it hard to say or prove how much it limits top movement and serves to limit top area. But for some reason it works and it is one of those design elements that engineers love to test with sound equipment, while the rest of us just dumbly accept that is goes. Well, intuitively is a better, smarter word. 


I don't know why all chess openings work either, but you get a main idea of how they operate dynamically. Queens pawns openings give certain strengths and Kings pawn opening has another main dynamic. Guitar top bracing is pretty much like that. 

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  • 1 month later...

Thinking of violas and such all the time, but right now I have two links to good photos of my last two instruments and one sound clip.  I know a few of you are interested so I'll keep it up. 


OK back to the salt mines. 



 Madagascar rosewood, body, spruce top cutaway classical guitar built for a composer/performer in Nagoya Japan. He seems quite happy. 




Soundcloud clip of Madagascar rosewood -Spruce cutaway- Shohei Osumi guitarist in Nagoya Japan




Dropbox photos of Hinoki-Spruce flamenco guitar- this one is posted up thread,but these photos are much better. 



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  • 7 months later...

Back in the day, one of the many hats I've worn was showing dogs.  Yeah I was one of those guys in a suit running around in circles with a dog.  My mentor told me if I wanted to learn more about my breed's structure and movement to study other breeds. It was good advise that I think applies to instrument making as well.  For example, I found your post on the relationship between nuts and bridges in another thread very enlightening.  So show your cow bell guitars and pictures of your working methods.  I may not always comment, but I'll be reading.  Trolls I don't like, but you gotta love a good smart a$$.  ;)  So welcome back, and I hope you stick around.


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  • 11 months later...

More cowbells! 

I wanted to get back here sooner, but I moved to a new shop and there was lots of remodeling and trash hauling that kept me from building for 6 - 8 weeks. Still more trash to hall, but waiting for spring.

This is the last guitar I finished before moving, I thought bowed instrument makers might like the pegs. 



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The rosette has a moth motif. The pegs are set with a bit of silver wire in the end of the peg. I thought this was a nice thing and I'll continue it. It's getting too dicey to send shell through the international mail, I used to inlay ivory of abalone in the peg tips, but not now it it it going overseas. 

The body is Hinoki and the top is cedar. Surprising, it has not sold yet. Here's sound sample, it's the first guitar. I built all three guitars in this video. 








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Very nice Stephen.  The silver wire looks nice, and should be easy enough to do.   The head is very nice.  Elegant, but not overdone.  The rosette is beautiful.  

Hinoki is related to Port Orford Cedar?  I guess that they are really a cypress.  I have some curly POC to make into one or two violas.  It is WAY heavier than I thought, (.54 sg.) and maybe it would make a better back?  Light Engleman or something else for the top.  My POC doesn't have the nice grain definition that your Hinoki has, but has a nice flame at about 45 degrees.   Bringing out the lower fundamentals couldn't hurt a small viola.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 9/12/2015 at 8:57 AM, Stephen Faulk said:

The neck angle after the joint dried. A calculated it, but hit it a bit forward by half a mm. All is not lost I'm still very much in the ballpark. 


I'm interpreting as you're saying there is a 1/2 mm gap above the soundboard extension area.  If so, is the 1/2 mm permissable or should the entire plane be level?  I'd rather not have neck pull up issues later.  

Another question.  If the spanish foot isn't used during construction will a mortice like you made for your repair hold a neck for a classical build?  Mostly worried about what could happen down the road some.

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  • 3 months later...

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