Cedar top break in period

Discussions relating to the classical guitar which don't fit elsewhere.
Jeffrey Armbruster
Posts: 1476
Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2013 3:16 am
Location: Berkeley, California

Re: Cedar top break in period

Post by Jeffrey Armbruster » Sat Dec 17, 2016 7:26 pm

Well I guess the luthiers here are happy to know that they're skilled machinists now, thanks to the dictionary! I wonder if he irs recognizes the distinction...?

In any case, preconceptions (bias) can work both ways. Those who have experienced an opening up of their guitars may be biased towards expecting it to happen with the next one. And those who are convinced that it's a lot of hokum will likewise discount any variation as being due to other causes.
Paul Weaver spruce 2014
Takamine C132S

hanredman
Posts: 379
Joined: Thu Jul 25, 2013 11:00 am
Location: Abingdon Virginia USA

Re: Cedar top break in period

Post by hanredman » Sat Dec 17, 2016 8:09 pm

robert e wrote:Please don't shoot the messenger, but even assuming one can reduce this to an equation with two elements A (player) and B (guitar), the fact that one changes is not proof that the other doesn't.
Yes, although I know I am not the same every day, judged by my behaviour and ability to do things better some days than others. I think the argument is rather around how do we determine if the guitar changes from day to day, or over time, and how to measure it, rather than simply by the perception we have.
Joseph Redman
Amateur Guitar Builder

Bill B
Posts: 1026
Joined: Wed Dec 26, 2012 2:06 am
Location: Michigan

Re: Cedar top break in period

Post by Bill B » Sat Dec 17, 2016 8:16 pm

Jeffrey Armbruster wrote:Well I guess the luthiers here are happy to know that they're skilled machinists now, thanks to the dictionary! I wonder if he irs recognizes the distinction...?
.
It was a very well respected luthier who first used the word "machine" to refer to a guitar in this thread. I was responding to him.
2013 Angel Benito Aguado
2005 Ramirez R-2

User avatar
tom0311
Amateur luthier
Posts: 1441
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2012 12:37 pm
Location: Witney, Oxfordshire

Re: Cedar top break in period

Post by tom0311 » Sat Dec 17, 2016 8:39 pm

Jeffrey Armbruster wrote:Well I guess the luthiers here are happy to know that they're skilled machinists now, thanks to the dictionary! I wonder if he irs recognizes the distinction...?
Why not put forward some ideas as to why the guitar isn't a machine? Who knows, it might be an interesting discussion. I had never thought of the guitar as a machine, but I certainly don't disagree with the statement.
“There are two means of refuge from the misery of life - music and cats.”

astro64
Posts: 622
Joined: Sat Aug 06, 2016 7:43 pm
Location: American Southwest

Re: Cedar top break in period

Post by astro64 » Sat Dec 17, 2016 9:08 pm

hanredman wrote:
robert e wrote:Please don't shoot the messenger, but even assuming one can reduce this to an equation with two elements A (player) and B (guitar), the fact that one changes is not proof that the other doesn't.
Yes, although I know I am not the same every day, judged by my behaviour and ability to do things better some days than others. I think the argument is rather around how do we determine if the guitar changes from day to day, or over time, and how to measure it, rather than simply by the perception we have.
Aha, but you see the demand that it should be measurable does not necessarily make sense, since we don't use it to judge guitars in general. I am all in favor of measuring things, as a scientist, but I am willing to admit that in cases of preference for how instruments sound, or if one string set is better than another, or if a guitar sounds the same now than 10 yrs ago, our measurements might well fail. Can one measure that a 1940 Hauser is a better guitar than a 2016 model X...? Don't we trust our ears for that? Why would a guitar not change over many years of playing it? Everything else does. I agree it doesn't have to be a change for the better in all cases, but it likely changes. Machines do too. Else I could drive my car forever.

Jeffrey Armbruster
Posts: 1476
Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2013 3:16 am
Location: Berkeley, California

Re: Cedar top break in period

Post by Jeffrey Armbruster » Sat Dec 17, 2016 9:22 pm

Look, doubtless people have hit someone over the head with a guitar in a drunken rage. This would meet the dictionary definition of a weapon. In legal documents, the guitar may well have been referred to as a weapon. Nevertheless, exclusive of the Southern states, I'd wager that no guitar shop advertises itself as a small arms merchant. Guthrie used the word machine precisely because it was uncommon in that context; it was a metaphor, part of his agitprop. He meant to distinguish his guitar from the real machines--tanks, guns, missiles--that were actually killing people. His words and music would overcome the war mongers, he hoped. Some punk rockers may well call their guitars weapons, but again its a metaphor. No one would rob a bank with a guitar (hand over all your money or I'll play Lagrima badly!) I've never read on this forum 'I need advice on tuning my weapon or machine. Of course not. It goes without saying. Again, I refer to common usage.

In a nursery rhyme, a guitar is used as a boat. Playing guitar doesn't make me a midshipman. I haven't looked, but I'd be surprised if guitars are used as examples in the dictionary as either machines or weapons or boats. They would, however be examples of musical instruments. This gets more to their essence.

but there's connotations to consider as well. I'd guess that most of us are reluctant to call our guitars machines because the latter term suggests something mechanical, mindless, and entirely utilitarian. My guess is that those who do think of their guitars in a utilitarian way are also skeptical when others suggest that their instruments have properties (opening up) that go beyond the denotation of a word like 'machine'. Fair enough. Let's see if 'playing our machines' catches on here!

Having said that, I don't know if guitars open up, etc. And sure, I can see the point of calling a guitar a machine; why not, if you want. It meets the criteria, I suppose. I like the idea of calling mine a boat, somehow.
Last edited by Jeffrey Armbruster on Sun Dec 18, 2016 4:58 am, edited 4 times in total.
Paul Weaver spruce 2014
Takamine C132S

Alan Carruth
Luthier
Posts: 2587
Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2007 6:56 pm

Re: Cedar top break in period

Post by Alan Carruth » Sat Dec 17, 2016 9:44 pm

As to guitar makers being 'skilled machinists', I've found over years of teaching that machinists tend to make the best students. The guys that worry me are the ones who say: "This will be easy for me. I've been a framing carpenter for thirty years, and I know a lot about wood" Machinists know a lot about working to tolerances, which is something the carpenters can take along time to learn.

Whether it makes sense to say that a 'played in' guitar can 'go back the sleep' depends on whether the change is reversible. One possibility would be microscopic fractures in the lignin 'glue' that holds everything together. Lignin is a 'thermoplastic'; it softens with heat, which is why we can bend sides. It's also common for thermoplastics to 'cold creep' under sustained loads, and wood does that too. Another characteristic of many thermoplastics is that they can 'heal' when fractured. We've all seen hard candies that have glued themselves together into a lump, and I once had a cracked watch crystal that 'healed' over time. There are other reasons to think that this is a plausible model for both 'warming up' and 'playing in' and there could be others. All we need now is data.

Pat Dodson
Posts: 2893
Joined: Sun Dec 28, 2014 11:32 am
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Cedar top break in period

Post by Pat Dodson » Sat Dec 17, 2016 10:15 pm

Alan correctly says, "All we need now is data."

But here's the rub; we need data from an experiment or study that it is currently not possible to undertake. And from one where the design will always be the subject of argument. And when the data is available some will say "Well that's not my experience -so there!"

Is opening up real or imagined? I am reminded of the final stanza of Lewis Carroll's 'The Hunting of The Snark'. The Baker has found it. But what is it? His fellow hunters strain to hear his report as the Baker plummets from a cliff into a chasm.

In the midst of the word he was trying to say,
In the midst of his laughter and glee,
He had softly and suddenly vanished away—
For the Snark was a Boojum, you see.

Bill B
Posts: 1026
Joined: Wed Dec 26, 2012 2:06 am
Location: Michigan

Re: Cedar top break in period

Post by Bill B » Sat Dec 17, 2016 11:49 pm

Alan Carruth wrote: We've all seen hard candies that have glued themselves together into a lump, and I once had a cracked watch crystal that 'healed' over time. There are other reasons to think that this is a plausible model for both 'warming up' and 'playing in' and there could be others. All we need now is data.
I've never heard of a self healing watch crystal. i just tried to Google it but only found stuff about new age "healing crystals " which I'm sure is not the same thing. what was the self healing crystal made out of?
2013 Angel Benito Aguado
2005 Ramirez R-2

Pat Dodson
Posts: 2893
Joined: Sun Dec 28, 2014 11:32 am
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Cedar top break in period

Post by Pat Dodson » Sun Dec 18, 2016 12:38 am

Bill B wrote:...
I've never heard of a self healing watch crystal. i just tried to Google it but only found stuff about new age "healing crystals " which I'm sure is not the same thing. what was the self healing crystal made out of?
Possibly quartz? I quote from crystal-informationdotcom which has many illustrative photographs.

"Self Healed Quartz crystals are crystals that have been damaged and repaired themselves. The different types include – Self Healed Bases, Self Healed Termination faces, and Earthquake Self Healed Crystals."

Most remarkable though are Alien Quartz Crystals.

"Alien Quartz crystals are the multi-threaders of the crystal World. Being Double Terminated – they work in full duplex mode (simultaneously in both directions). That is to say they can receive multiple threads of information in the multi-terminated end, then weave the threads into a single thread of information. The crystal then projects that information out through the single termination."

What more proof do we need? To all who doubt I recommend this extremely informative and entertaining website. :wink:

Bill B
Posts: 1026
Joined: Wed Dec 26, 2012 2:06 am
Location: Michigan

Re: Cedar top break in period

Post by Bill B » Sun Dec 18, 2016 10:50 am

Pat Dodson wrote:
"Self Healed Quartz crystals are crystals that have been damaged and repaired themselves. The different types include – Self Healed Bases, Self Healed Termination faces, and Earthquake Self Healed Crystals."
when a quartz crystal "heals" itself, that doesn't mean scratches and cracks go away. that means the crystal begins growing again. they don't grow in the shape of watch crystals.
2013 Angel Benito Aguado
2005 Ramirez R-2

Pat Dodson
Posts: 2893
Joined: Sun Dec 28, 2014 11:32 am
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Cedar top break in period

Post by Pat Dodson » Sun Dec 18, 2016 12:25 pm

Bill B wrote:
Pat Dodson wrote:
"Self Healed Quartz crystals are crystals that have been damaged and repaired themselves. The different types include – Self Healed Bases, Self Healed Termination faces, and Earthquake Self Healed Crystals."
when a quartz crystal "heals" itself, that doesn't mean scratches and cracks go away. that means the crystal begins growing again. they don't grow in the shape of watch crystals.
Hi Bill

Sorry! It can be difficult to judge people's real meaning online when they use irony so I try to give a clue to my feelings by use of smilies.

You are of course absolutely right. The information on that website is complete and utter new age tosh. But very entertaining new age tosh! :)

Cheers

Bill B
Posts: 1026
Joined: Wed Dec 26, 2012 2:06 am
Location: Michigan

Re: Cedar top break in period

Post by Bill B » Sun Dec 18, 2016 1:32 pm

Pat Dodson wrote:
Sorry! It can be difficult to judge people's real meaning online when they use irony so I try to give a clue to my feelings by use of smilies.
i believe Mr. Carruth was in earnest about his watch crystal.
2013 Angel Benito Aguado
2005 Ramirez R-2

Alan Carruth
Luthier
Posts: 2587
Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2007 6:56 pm

Re: Cedar top break in period

Post by Alan Carruth » Mon Dec 19, 2016 5:34 pm

I mean that the watch crystal developed a small, closed crack that gradually healed itself. It's not some new age mystical stuff. Glass is basically a liquid; similar in composition to quartz, but solidified out of a melt too quickly to form a crystal structure. It's a very viscous liquid, to be sure, but it's like any other liquid in that it can flow over time. This was a 'waterproof' watch; there was a gasket around the crystal that kept it under pressure. At some point I knocked it against something and made a small crack that went part way across the crystal. The pressure from the gasket kept it from opening up.

That was important. Glass reacts readily on a surface with water from the air, which weakens it. In a normal crack water molecules work their way in and react with the glass. Since a crack tends to have a high stress concentration at the tip the reaction that weakens it there allows the crack to propagate more quickly. It may also be that the chemical reaction goes faster when thhere is stress on the glass. This is why it can be an advantage to wet a glass surface when you're cutting it; it helps the glass to break along the score line. One article I read on this said that microscopic cracks in something like a window can lengthen at a rate of a few molecules per day to begin with, but since the stress at the end of the crack is proportional to the length of it, the rate acellerates. At some point a critical value is reached, and the window will suddenly break for no immediately apparent reason. This is particularly dramatic when it happens in a piece of tempered glass, such as a car window, which will go from seeming sound to suddenly exploding into a mass of tiny shards.

The keys are that the crack has to be large enough to admit a water molecule, and under some sort of tension so that the end is stressed. In the case of my watch the crack was visible by relfection off the surfaces, but not large enough to admit a water molecule, and the pressure from the gasket kept it from opening up. Thus the glass acted as any other liquid would, and coalesced over time. It took, iirc, about six months to heal a crack that was less than a centimeter in length. I was in high school at the time, and didn't know most of this stuff, but it was pretty cool, so I remembered it, and found the explanation later.

Bill B
Posts: 1026
Joined: Wed Dec 26, 2012 2:06 am
Location: Michigan

Re: Cedar top break in period

Post by Bill B » Mon Dec 19, 2016 8:19 pm

Alan Carruth wrote:I mean that the watch crystal developed a small, closed crack that gradually healed itself. It's not some new age mystical stuff. Glass is basically a liquid; similar in composition to quartz, but solidified out of a melt too quickly to form a crystal structure. It's a very viscous liquid, to be sure, but it's like any other liquid in that it can flow over time. This was a 'waterproof' watch; there was a gasket around the crystal that kept it under pressure. At some point I knocked it against something and made a small crack that went part way across the crystal. The pressure from the gasket kept it from opening up.

That was important. Glass reacts readily on a surface with water from the air, which weakens it. In a normal crack water molecules work their way in and react with the glass. Since a crack tends to have a high stress concentration at the tip the reaction that weakens it there allows the crack to propagate more quickly. It may also be that the chemical reaction goes faster when thhere is stress on the glass. This is why it can be an advantage to wet a glass surface when you're cutting it; it helps the glass to break along the score line. One article I read on this said that microscopic cracks in something like a window can lengthen at a rate of a few molecules per day to begin with, but since the stress at the end of the crack is proportional to the length of it, the rate acellerates. At some point a critical value is reached, and the window will suddenly break for no immediately apparent reason. This is particularly dramatic when it happens in a piece of tempered glass, such as a car window, which will go from seeming sound to suddenly exploding into a mass of tiny shards.

The keys are that the crack has to be large enough to admit a water molecule, and under some sort of tension so that the end is stressed. In the case of my watch the crack was visible by relfection off the surfaces, but not large enough to admit a water molecule, and the pressure from the gasket kept it from opening up. Thus the glass acted as any other liquid would, and coalesced over time. It took, iirc, about six months to heal a crack that was less than a centimeter in length. I was in high school at the time, and didn't know most of this stuff, but it was pretty cool, so I remembered it, and found the explanation later.
one of my kids came home from school one day a year or so ago, talking about how glass was a solid, and I "set her straight." I told her all about window panes in old churches that were thicker on the bottom, and all that. I told my kids glass is a slow moving liquid, and that her science teacher was wrong. Then when we couldnt agree, we decided to google it. Darn google. Glass is not a slow moving liquid at room temperature. It is an amorphous solid, and I doubt that your watch crystal could have flowed back together in 6 months. You could be able to fuse class by stacking it and leaving it alone if this were how it worked. A few cups left in your cabinet nested together and forgotten for a year would fuse.
2013 Angel Benito Aguado
2005 Ramirez R-2

Return to “Public Space”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Adrian Allan, albert-canuck, bear, Briant, CommonCrawl [Bot], Jeffrey Armbruster, kertsopoulos, lagartija, Rasputin, Yahoo [Bot] and 25 guests