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Is my top plate arch too low?


MikeC
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It could be fine, it depends upon the arch and the specs of the wood being used.

An arch this low could be fine with great wood, not so fine with sub par wood.

It is a difficult question to answer, no simple  answer.

What does the long arch look like?

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It's hard to get a good photo that shows the arch but I'll give it a shot.   it's hard to get the camera angle but here's a pic,  it looks too flat and low to me compared to the back plate which you can't really see the back in this photo.  Well I get some kind of server error when trying to upload the photo.   oh well,  I have another spruce jointed and ready to work on,  so maybe I'll just start over with that one. 

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, MikeC said:

I thinned it down too much I think.  Is 12.5mm too low for the top arch?   That includes the edge thickness.  So 12.5 from where it glues to the ribs.  

If you like, you can stress it up to 2-3 mm. But you have to be careful later when gluing to rib garland.

http://www.thestradsound.com/ongoing/stressingthebackplate

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5 hours ago, MikeC said:

 Is 12.5mm too low for the top arch? 

4 hours ago, Evan Smith said:

IAn arch this low could be fine with great wood, not so fine with sub par wood.

I haven't done many tests in that zone.  I do know that 8.5mm arch doesn't work (the one time I tried it), dead-flat worked better (the one time I tried it) but not good, then it caved in.

From a couple of tests at 13.5mm, I think it might be made to work* with good wood and some specific arch & graduation modifications.  But I'd start over rather than try to make 12.5mm work.  I don't like going below 15mm, or at least not by much.

* by "made to work" I mean you might get a workable instrument... but I also think you'd be limited in tonal possibilities, tending more toward loud rather than refined clarity.

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How thick?

What weight?

you can adjust a lot with string angle, bridge height and lining thickness on the top side.
 

I'd first finish it in the white and set it up in the white. If the lower registers are too strong and the too low arch produces a boxy sound the above measures should be able to fix it to some degree or at best make it sound properly.
 

IMO, one of the biggest ‘misconcepts’ is to see proportions of top, back, ribs isolated. 

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If you set it up with a 12.5mm arch and it's not good, making a new top with a higher arch would require resetting the neck (or tweaking it a lot while you glue on the new top).  I wouldn't want to go that route, and rather just make a new top with the desired arch height.  Unless you want to experiment and diddle with things...

 

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Arch height to me is a function of what size model and what tone you're aiming for.   In general, I have found that higher arching gives up some midrange power for a more refined tone.  My current nominal is for 16mm on my larger size (358) and 15mm on my smallest (352), which is intended as a compromise in power and tone, slightly biased toward power.  Lower arch could be OK, but I wouldn't aim for it.  

Of course, how you shape the arching, not just the height, is probably even more critical.  But the lower the height, the less options you have for shaping anything.

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You cut wood 2 - 3 mm thick and glue it on what would have been the surface to mate to the garland.  

I have done it once to save a maple back, where the edge was too thin.  It's a pain, and I doubt I would do it again... definitely not for spruce.

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