StewMac tools

Help! Flat top too flat!

Please put your pickup/wiring discussions in the Electronics section; and put discussions about repair issues, including fixing errors in new instruments, in the Repairs section.

Help! Flat top too flat!

Postby Colin Lyall » Mon Jan 16, 2012 11:34 am

Hi. I have made a mistake. I have realized awfully late (hangs head in shame) that the top of my 6 string steel has next to no bow in it. The neck fitment and purfling is already complete. On the up side, I believe I erred on the side of heavy bracing (std X bracing layout) and and internal bridge plate. Is there a chance I'll be ok or am I staring down a barrel? I only use light gauge strings which might also help. Is there ANYTHING that I can do at this late stage to prevent the top buckling? Any thought? Thanks!
Colin Lyall
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2012 11:27 am

Re: Help! Flat top too flat!

Postby Charlie Schultz » Mon Jan 16, 2012 11:55 am

Hi Colin and welcome. Please, the forum rules require that you use your real first and last names. You may PM me with the details and I will correct your account. Also, this is still a test bed for the new MIMF forum, so we're not quite ready to go live yet- you may have better luck getting your question answered over on the live mimf.com for now. And lastly, you are referring to doming the top? There are a some well-known makers that do not dome their tops- if your top is not too thin and you have good bracing (as you say), you may be fine. You might want to look up William Cumpiano's blog of August, 2011 for his opinions.
User avatar
Charlie Schultz
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1225
Joined: Fri Dec 23, 2011 6:53 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: Help! Flat top too flat!

Postby Colin Lyall » Tue Jan 17, 2012 2:23 am

Hi Charlie. Did you get my PM? Not sure if I did it correctly. I'm a bit techno challenged.
Colin Lyall
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2012 11:27 am

Re: Help! Flat top too flat!

Postby Charlie Schultz » Tue Jan 17, 2012 7:13 am

Hi Colin, no I did not see a PM from you yet.
User avatar
Charlie Schultz
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1225
Joined: Fri Dec 23, 2011 6:53 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: Help! Flat top too flat!

Postby Colin Lyall » Tue Jan 17, 2012 7:59 am

I don't know whether to put the message in the top window or the bottom window in the PM section? The bottom window already has a lot of stuff in it as per below.

For the record tho - my surname is Lyall.

THIS WAS IN THE BOTTOM WINDOW:
Subject: Help! Flat top too flat!

Charlie Schultz wrote:Hi Colin, no I did not see a PM from you yet.
Colin Lyall
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2012 11:27 am

Re: Help! Flat top too flat!

Postby Colin Lyall » Tue Jan 17, 2012 8:02 am

Interesting - all the gibberish that I copied and pasted into my reply above turned into the Subject. Must be script of some sort that assembles itself in the message. The wonders of science!
Colin Lyall
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2012 11:27 am

Re: Help! Flat top too flat!

Postby Charlie Schultz » Tue Jan 17, 2012 8:34 am

Hi Colin, you should be all set now!
User avatar
Charlie Schultz
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1225
Joined: Fri Dec 23, 2011 6:53 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: Help! Flat top too flat!

Postby John Hall » Sun Jan 22, 2012 8:31 am

this may not be that big a deal. With RH changes your top will go up and down. Martin tops are pretty flat on initial set up. If you place a straight edge across the top at the bridge , how much clearance is there on the sides of the guitar ?
Also when you place the straight edge on the fretboard , at what point does the line hit at the bridge/saddle location?
John Hall

Learn from others mistakes, You can't make them all yourself
John Hall
 
Posts: 27
Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2012 5:49 pm

Re: Help! Flat top too flat!

Postby Simon Magennis » Sun Jan 22, 2012 9:10 am

Colin Lyall wrote:Hi. I have made a mistake. I have realized awfully late (hangs head in shame) that the top of my 6 string steel has next to no bow in it. The neck fitment and purfling is already complete. On the up side, I believe I erred on the side of heavy bracing (std X bracing layout) and and internal bridge plate. Is there a chance I'll be ok or am I staring down a barrel? I only use light gauge strings which might also help. Is there ANYTHING that I can do at this late stage to prevent the top buckling? Any thought? Thanks!


Don't worry. Be Happy.

Some gross generalisations:

Steel string guitars are sometimes called "flattops". If you look at guitars going back a while the steel string as seen today mostly comes from the central European tradition, Martin being one of the best known names. They build bodies and necks separate and joined them up at the end. They tended to have flat tops intentionally as the neck angle could be adjusted when it was put onto the instrument and thereby achieve the necessary string height. This style possibly lends itself to more workshop/production oriented building.

The dome top is more from the Spanish style of building which used a solera to get the neck angle of the integrated neck correct. The solera usually had some doming to assist with this.

We can speculate that the climates in the two areas also promoted one method over the other. The Spanish probably didn't need to worry quite as much about humidity and so could take their time closing up the box. Where as the Germans/Austrians/Czechs would have been very anxious to get the box shut as quickly as possible. This is probably easier with a flat top and no neck in the way.

All that is simply a pre-amble to say that a flat top is not necessarily any issue whatsoever. So long as the neck to bridge relationship works out, all maybe good. The only disadvantage I can think of, and this is probably why steel string builders put some dome in, that the different reaction of the various wood in the top to humidity might cause it to go concave if the change was drastic.

Over on the old version of this forum there are been a number of discussions over the years about replacing the bridge plate when it is worn out so even if something goes wrong later, it is almost certainly fixable.
Simon Magennis
 
Posts: 371
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 7:51 am
Location: Near Frankfurt. Germany.


Return to Flat-Top Acoustic Guitars and Bass Guitars

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests

Your purchase from these sites helps support the MIMForum, but only if you start at the links below!!!
Amazon music     Amazon books     Amazon tools     Rockler tools     Office Depot    

The MIMF is a member-supported forum, please consider supporting us with a donation, thanks!
 • Book store • Tool store • Links •