Doing a little experiment....

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Hans Bezemer
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Re: Doing a little experiment....

Post by Hans Bezemer »

Nice Ryan,
I like the experiment.
What kind of bracing did you use?

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Ryan Mazzocco
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Re: Doing a little experiment....

Post by Ryan Mazzocco »

Hans Bezemer wrote:Nice Ryan,
I like the experiment.
What kind of bracing did you use?
I actually very seriously considered using ladder bracing as Clay suggested, but I went ahead and X'ed it. This job was basically a re-top and I already had the bracing made up from the old one. So I re-purposed it.
It was very floppy and flimsy when I planed it down which was a great concern to me, but it stiffened up quite a bit once I got it braced. I guess we'll see!

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Ryan Mazzocco
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Re: Doing a little experiment....

Post by Ryan Mazzocco »

Okay Bryan Bear, the proof is in the pudding. Give us your assessment. I only want your brutal honesty and most constructive criticism. Unless you think it might hurt my feelings, then lie. :-)

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Bryan Bear
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Re: Doing a little experiment....

Post by Bryan Bear »

Boy Ryan, you said you were going to call me out but you didn't say on what. Had I known, I would have made sure to make better observations; it was pretty noisy when I was strumming on this one. The look was definitely non-traditional but not necessarily in a bad way! Interesting, just. Of what my brain is used to seeing. It definaty looked cool! The glue lines did look to be a bit thicker than what you usually see with just a center seam. I imagine clamping up all those little section was quite the undertaking and that probably led to the slightly thicker glue lines. I bring this up because there are a lot of joints and that adds up to a fair ammount of extra glue/mass. Who am I to say what that effect might be.

When I tapped the box it sounded good and felt responsive. But the noise in the room kept me from taking in the subtleties of it's tone. I hope you were able to get more feedback from the many guitar makers who are more knowledgable than I. There were a lot of them there, that's for sure!
PMoMC

Take care of your feet and your feet will take care of you.

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Ryan Mazzocco
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Re: Doing a little experiment....

Post by Ryan Mazzocco »

Now, Bryan... First thing: I don't like being misquoted. I didn't say I was going to 'call you out.' I said I was going to "put you on the spot." :D I think I succeeded either way.
And second: what? you're going to let a little distraction like 120 roaring Harley Davidson motorcycles screaming right outside the window keep you from making a full assessment? Or maybe it's just a really good way to dodge the issue. :lol:
Well I appreciate your feedback anyway. My own assessment: and I'm trying to be honest with myself here.... I will not be surprised if the thing blows up in the next 20 minutes. it feels good and solid, but with 150 glue joints that's just that many more that can fail under the pressure. Hey, maybe it will last, but I won't cry if it explodes. The look: yeah it looks pretty cool to me and apparently it does to a lot of other people too. It was fun watching a group of 3 or 4 pro/semi-pro luthiers staring at it trying to figure out what it was and how I did it. And a couple of my friends want me to make them one that looks like it. (I'm not so sure about that though and I warned them that it's not the best idea.)
The sound: hmmm... as one guy said today, "Well.... it works." To me it sounds no worse than an Asian import plywood top guitar. Maybe even a little better. But I wouldn't try to promote such an idea. It sounds a little thin. It's a trade off. the material was cheap, but took me the better part of an afternoon to make. I guess if I was charging myself for the time to make it, it would have cost more than a traditional spruce top and a significant drop off in tone quality.
So, that's what I think.

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Bryan Bear
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Re: Doing a little experiment....

Post by Bryan Bear »

Fair enough, sorry about the accidental mosquitoing <G>

For me (and my under educated opinion), the number of glue joints is not a structural problem, assuming they are well prepared and clamped well.
PMoMC

Take care of your feet and your feet will take care of you.

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Ryan Mazzocco
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Re: Doing a little experiment....

Post by Ryan Mazzocco »

we could be seeing the beginning signs of failure. Unfortunately, I was in such a hurry to string it up and get it ready for the show that I didn't take any measurements, so I have nothing to compare except just my faulty memory.
Here's what I know: I noticed last night that the top right behind the bridge area was starting to rise. I measured and the middle is 3/16" higher than the edges. Now, part of that is the normal dome of the top I'm sure since I did build it with a 25' radius, but I'm not sure how much of it is just the top deforming. I know it is because I can see the bridge starting to tilt. It's not loose, just starting to tilt, maybe by about 5 to 10 degrees.
I've noticed that my action is starting to settle in. in the first 24 hrs is raised .040" at the 12 fret, but the second day it only raised .010". I have it back down to a more comfortable .070" so we'll see how it does today.
I think it's starting to sound more alive. When I compare it with my Alvarez solid spruce mahogany dread I notice that to my ear it has more punch and loudness. Kinda cuts through the air like a sharp knife but lacks the warmer overtones that the alvarez has. As was mentioned before in this thread, I have too many variables to know for sure what's doing it. I've never heard a guitar with Brazilian Cherry back/sides, so I don't know what that would sound like with a traditional top.
anyway, that's where we are right now. I'll try to make a video or a sound clip later tonight.

Clay Schaeffer
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Re: Doing a little experiment....

Post by Clay Schaeffer »

"For me (and my under educated opinion), the number of glue joints is not a structural problem, assuming they are well prepared and clamped well."

I've often heard this repeated, along with " the glue is stronger than the wood". While this my be true under optimal conditions, most glue joints don't live under those conditions their whole life. Building a guitar with hundreds of extra glue joints as Ryan has done is fine as an experiment, but I think most of us prefer to minimize these joints where practicable.

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Bryan Bear
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Re: Doing a little experiment....

Post by Bryan Bear »

Clay, I understand and don't necessarily disagree but. . . We don't think twice about a well executed glue joint in the very center. Many of us would not bat an eye with wings on a soundboard. Those seem to be strong enough. At what point does it become too many? Obviously you can't make a top out of glue. . . I don't think anyone is really saying this would be an everyday technique (I know Ryan is in the market for top woods so he obviously isn't making this his standard approach), but I think the question is can it work. Or at what point is it too much?

It sounds like this one is moving around more than Ryan expected. It is hard to say if that is it just settling in or the signs of impending doom. Either way, my GUESS is, it is not the fault of the glue joints. He doesn't say anything about any visible signs of separation. It could be that all these joints are creeping. We also don't know much about how stiff the bracing is or other factors.

Ryan, this guitar was exposed to a fairly high humidity all day Saturday and two long car trips. It didn't ride in the trunk did it? I think that since it is very new and still opening up, as long as it is sounding better as it goes, let the top rise, keep playing (for a month or two) it and be happy you have an adjustable neck joint. See what happens, if nothing else, it will be a good learning experience.
PMoMC

Take care of your feet and your feet will take care of you.

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Ryan Mazzocco
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Re: Doing a little experiment....

Post by Ryan Mazzocco »

Bryan Bear wrote:Clay, I understand and don't necessarily disagree but. . . We don't think twice about a well executed glue joint in the very center. Many of us would not bat an eye with wings on a soundboard. Those seem to be strong enough. At what point does it become too many? Obviously you can't make a top out of glue. . . I don't think anyone is really saying this would be an everyday technique (I know Ryan is in the market for top woods so he obviously isn't making this his standard approach), but I think the question is can it work. Or at what point is it too much?
That's right. and I don't plan on ever doing it again. I just wanted to try it
It sounds like this one is moving around more than Ryan expected. I had no expectation and this result has not surprised me. It is hard to say if that is it just settling in or the signs of impending doom. Either way, my GUESS is, it is not the fault of the glue joints. He doesn't say anything about any visible signs of separation. I haven't noticed any yet. It could be that all these joints are creeping. Hmm.... didn't think of that.We also don't know much about how stiff the bracing is or other factors. it's looser than I would have liked. I recycled the bracing from the original top, already shaped and everything. If I had just made new bracing I would have made it a little stiffer.

Ryan, this guitar was exposed to a fairly high humidity all day Saturday and two long car trips. It didn't ride in the trunk did it? No way! I think that since it is very new and still opening up, as long as it is sounding better as it goes, let the top rise, keep playing (for a month or two) it and be happy you have an adjustable neck joint. See what happens, if nothing else, it will be a good learning experience.That's really all I was trying to do anyway.
so, since I last adjusted it down to .070" Sunday night it has now only come up .010" since and it is staying in tune. It's possible that it may have just about done all the moving it's gonna do for a while.

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Ryan Mazzocco
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Re: Doing a little experiment....

Post by Ryan Mazzocco »

Okay, this is my first attempt at posting a sound clip...
http://soundcloud.com/ryan-mazzocco/guitar-2-demo
I recorded this in one take on my phone so there's no fancy editing and sound enhancements like some have been worried about people doing. (you know who you are.) This is about as raw as you can get.

Samuel Hartpence
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Re: Doing a little experiment....

Post by Samuel Hartpence »

Sounds quite credible to me. A little on the higher end for my personal taste, but I know quite a few players who prefer the higher registers to be accented like this.

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Ryan Mazzocco
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Re: Doing a little experiment....

Post by Ryan Mazzocco »

Nah, you just need to turn up the bass on your speakers. :-D

yes that would be my one complaint about it too. but I don't think I can bring out the lows any more. It's already pretty flimsy

Clay Schaeffer
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Re: Doing a little experiment....

Post by Clay Schaeffer »

Hi Ryan,
Sounds like a guitar, not bad at all. Nothing jumps out at you, bass, treble or otherwise, kind of like an Ovation guitar. It might do well with an undersaddle pickup.
Thank you for doing and sharing your experiment. It is the multipiece top taken to the extreme. Please keep us posted on how it holds up over time.
At this point in time good quality, but cosmetically challenged soundboards can be had pretty cheaply, but it's hard to say how long that will be the case. Your guitar and Trevor's show that something acceptable can be made with less than stellar materials. Good job!

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