Same bracing same sound?

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
GuitarB
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Same bracing same sound?

Post by GuitarB » Mon Sep 04, 2017 2:22 pm

Hi community, i am a beginner guitar player. I am wondering if you make a copy of famous model(friederich, fleta, hauser...) using the same types of wood, same bracing based on plan purchase from lmii, will you get the same sound or really really close to the original? Thanks!
:D

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rinneby
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Re: Same bracing same sound?

Post by rinneby » Mon Sep 04, 2017 5:37 pm

GuitarB wrote:
Mon Sep 04, 2017 2:22 pm
Hi community, i am a beginner guitar player. I am wondering if you make a copy of famous model(friederich, fleta, hauser...) using the same types of wood, same bracing based on plan purchase from lmii, will you get the same sound or really really close to the original? Thanks!
:D
Close maybe if you are a skilled luthier, but probably no cigar :)
1965 - Masaru Kono No.5
1975 - Atushi Nakamura No.15
1977 - Kuniharu Nobe No.15
1996 - Masaru Kohno Maestro

Feel free to ask me anything about Japanese classical guitars.

Alan Carruth
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Re: Same bracing same sound?

Post by Alan Carruth » Mon Sep 04, 2017 6:05 pm

It's almost certain to sound like a guitar: how close are you trying to get?

The overall size and shape of the guitar do have a bearing on how it sounds: larger boxes tend to have a more 'bass balanced' tone, all else equal, for example. Slight differences in outline within a given size envelope are unlikely to have a major effect. On the other hand, when you're dealing with a design like the guitar, that is both highly evolved and strongly tradition bound, those small differences can loom large.

Wood varies, a LOT. One of the things that sets a really fine maker apart from others, and from the mass of shop/production instruments, is the knowledge and ability to take that variation into account. If you make careful measurements of guitars by the masters you'll find that things like the thickness of the wood vary a lot, not only from one instrument to another, but also from place to place on the instrument. This is particularly true of the tops. Inexperienced people often don't understand how precisely wood can be worked with hand tools by a skilled workman, and often attribute such variation to 'chance', or, perhaps, 'experimentation'. Some of it, maybe, but those old boys knew what they were up to, and did things for reasons. We might not understand the reasons; in many cases they would not have been able to explain it either in a way that would make sense in modern technical terms, but they were not being random either. Copying those variations won't make any sense unless you start out with wood that's just like the wood they used. Now are you going to figure out what that was? I can tell you that appearance isn't much help.

All of this, and a lot more, contributes to the 'sound' of each maker. For better or worse, after you've made a few, you'll start to find that you have a 'sound' as well. In the end, we all tend to build guitars we like, so what you make will depend a lot on what you like to hear.

Making an exact tonal copy of an instrument is at least very difficult, and may well be impossible. Even if you start out with 'the same' wood; pieces cut side by side from a billet, and control things very tightly, it's unlikely you'll end up with two that sound 'the same'. I've tried. It doesn't take much of a difference in the wood, particularly on the top, to make a difference in sound that most people can hear easily.

Then there's the issue of 'playing in'. It's not even totally settled that it happens (I think it does). If the sound of a guitar does change with playing then your new instrument is bound to sound 'newer' than the one you're trying to copy.

So, if you want to make a 'Fleta' sound, it helps to start out with a Fleta model. After you've made a few and start to get the feel of the wood you are likely to make instruments that are more like the originals than you used to, provided you have the character if those originals in your ear. If you managed to get wood that matches the original almost perfectly the best you can hope for is something that sounds pretty close to the original the day it left the shop. Is that a worthwhile goal? Certainly. On the other hand, you may well find that once you get going the charm of 'your' sound, and improving it, will derail the quest for a perfect Fleta copy. That's great too.

Ryeman
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Re: Same bracing same sound?

Post by Ryeman » Mon Sep 04, 2017 6:20 pm

This reminds me of a true story about an artist who was giving a painting demonstration to an Art Group. He was constantly interrupted by a man on the front row who kept saying "Excuse me. What size brush did you just use there?" or, "Excuse me. What colours did you use to mix that colour?"
Every time the artist gave an answer he had to stop and wait while the man wrote the details down in a notebook.
By the end of the evening the artist was thoroughly fed up with him, so imagine his dismay when he returned the following year to do another demonstration and the man was waiting at the door for him.
"I want a word with you," he said. "After your demo last year I went away and bought all the paints and materials you recommended. But when I did a painting with them it didn't come out anything like yours"

Alan

John higgon
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Re: Same bracing same sound?

Post by John higgon » Mon Sep 04, 2017 7:09 pm

Alan C has made some good points. The measurements that are probably more relevant are to do with stiffness, density and therefore deflection of the wood. These measurements are difficult / impossible to make on an assembled instrument but easier to do on the individual components. This is the approach which Trevor Gore describes in his book, and which experienced luthiers use (often quite intuitively) when making a guitar. To answer your question, your guitar will certainly sound like a guitar, but it's unlikely to sound like a Hauser even if you make an accurate copy in terms of soundboard thickness, etc. The differences in the structure of the wood will result in different sounding instruments.

GuitarB
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Re: Same bracing same sound?

Post by GuitarB » Mon Sep 04, 2017 8:41 pm

I suppose that if one uses the same bracing pattern, at least the sound signature must be similar. Otherwise, why many many luthiers (kenny hill, david schramm) charge a high price for their copy hauser, fleta... If the guitar doesn't sound like the famous why luthiers bother to copy them at all. Not to mention that the next heritage generation of hauser, fleta, rodriguez. Are their guitars don't sound like their father at all?

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Erik Zurcher
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Re: Same bracing same sound?

Post by Erik Zurcher » Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:24 pm

Ryeman wrote:
Mon Sep 04, 2017 6:20 pm
This reminds me of a true story about an artist who was giving a painting demonstration to an Art Group. He was constantly interrupted by a man on the front row who kept saying "Excuse me. What size brush did you just use there?" or, "Excuse me. What colours did you use to mix that colour?"
Every time the artist gave an answer he had to stop and wait while the man wrote the details down in a notebook.
By the end of the evening the artist was thoroughly fed up with him, so imagine his dismay when he returned the following year to do another demonstration and the man was waiting at the door for him.
"I want a word with you," he said. "After your demo last year I went away and bought all the paints and materials you recommended. But when I did a painting with them it didn't come out anything like yours"

Alan
Brilliant post! :bravo:
Reedition Domingo Esteso by Conde Hermanos 2004; Kenny Hill, model Barcelona 2001
"While you try to master classical guitar, prepare for a slave's life: the guitar will forever be your master and you its slave".

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Chris Sobel
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Re: Same bracing same sound?

Post by Chris Sobel » Tue Sep 05, 2017 1:20 am

Some good points here as usual... the delcamp treasure trove of lutherie knowledge.

Here is a counter point: if you want a guitar to sound like guitar XYZ the starting point is to copy everything. It may not sound exactly like the original but it will likely be closer than copying an unrelated design. Have a local luthier help you dial in the flexibility of the top and it should be a decent sounding instrument.

Temper your expectations however--lots of really accomplished luthiers set out to copy historic instruments and it often takes many prototypes to nail it.
CE Sobel Guitars

GuitarB
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Re: Same bracing same sound?

Post by GuitarB » Tue Sep 05, 2017 2:17 am

I don't intend to build the guitar myself. I commissioned the guitar with a luthier wanting to know that if the sound signature kind of similar to the original.

Grooveman JS
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Re: Same bracing same sound?

Post by Grooveman JS » Tue Sep 05, 2017 2:26 am

rinneby wrote:
Mon Sep 04, 2017 5:37 pm
GuitarB wrote:
Mon Sep 04, 2017 2:22 pm
Hi community, i am a beginner guitar player. I am wondering if you make a copy of famous model(friederich, fleta, hauser...) using the same types of wood, same bracing based on plan purchase from lmii, will you get the same sound or really really close to the original? Thanks!
:D
Close maybe if you are a skilled luthier, but probably no cigar :)
Heck .....upon closer examination; even cigars are different Jon ....:lol: :lol: :lol: :P :P

Back to the subject matter; like you said....if its a skilled luthier & assuming that he uses the same materials/dimensions & build plans, methods of the original instrument maker.... the completed instrument should share a lot of similarity in terms of tone characterisitcs but i really don't know about sounding or even playing exactly alike.....cos even batch produce instruments with all the above parameters end up with a variance, meaning they're still different in 1 way or the other..
Masaki Sakurai MA-RF
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Michael.N.
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Re: Same bracing same sound?

Post by Michael.N. » Tue Sep 05, 2017 7:27 am

Well obviously you start with the plan, the bracing, the same dimensions. That certainly gets you heading in the right direction and eliminates many of the variables. To take the painting analogy a bit further, why would you 'fake' an oil painting by starting with watercolours?
Not that it's practical but should all your wood have the same characteristics as the original, should you follow the dimensions in a precise manner, then it's going to sound exactly like the original. There's nothing left for it not to sound like the original - unless you believe in luthiers, magic dust and fairy tales.
Historicalguitars.

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Contreras
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Re: Same bracing same sound?

Post by Contreras » Tue Sep 05, 2017 10:29 am

Just a couple of things to say at this point ...

Firstly, an appreciation of the time and consideration that Alan Carruth puts into his responses ... always so measured, informative and on song ... not to exclude our other luthiers who also give their expertise so generously.

Secondly, this topic is a bit of an obsession of mine, and I have discussed it with other luthiers. I had the fortune (or misfortune) to be Simplicio-struck at an early stage of my guitar 'career' (not a career!). I have sought that sound (and playability) ever since and absent being able to actually afford a Simplicio, I turned my mind to omaggios. I suppose the exemplar of these is Andrea Tacchi who (along with his disciple the late John Weissenrieder) was able to make a close study of two different Simplicios on which he based his highly acclaimed omaggios. I figured that a guitar which was not just modelled on, but intentionally copied from an original, must approximate the original acoustically. Of course, the big imponderables are the wood, and time. I have no reason to think that the woods available to Simplicio were better than those available to Tacchi, or any reason to think he may have made better choices. So I have come to the conclusion that time is the key to it, and 90 years from now Tacchi's omaggios will be equally revered. I don't believe in magic, but talent and skill are very real and impossible to duplicate ... therein lies the magic of handmade wooden instruments.
Put down the bagpipes ...
... and no one gets hurt.

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Section_10
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Re: Same bracing same sound?

Post by Section_10 » Tue Sep 05, 2017 3:40 pm

Yes, as long as you mention the other enormous factors that were left out.

Density of wood
Thickness
Stiffness
Types of wood in bracing
Doming of the top
Plantilla
Types of kerfling
Order of construction
Top graduation
Types of glue

And most importantly, a luthier that knows all of these things and knows their effect and how to adjust for different woods.

There simply is no clone, only a luthier that has enough experience to know how to tweak and adjust woods for the guitar.

Alan Carruth
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Re: Same bracing same sound?

Post by Alan Carruth » Tue Sep 05, 2017 4:49 pm

Miichael N. wrote:
"Not that it's practical but should all your wood have the same characteristics as the original, should you follow the dimensions in a precise manner, then it's going to sound exactly like the original."

The kicker is in how precise the copy will need to be to be 'the same'.

I've tried twice to make matched pairs of guitars; once about 20 years ago, and then just recently. All the wood was cut 'in flitch' from billets that were as consistent as possible, and in the second case I measured all of the usual mechanical properties; which were well within measurement error. Dimensions and weights were a close as I could make them, and I used my usual 'plate tuning' method (a 'tech' version of tap tuning) to make the tops and backs as alike as possible in terms of the way they vibrated. They still sound different.

This is wood we're talking about here, not something off a production line with tight controls (more on that later). One of the tops has a small knot shadow in one corner of the lower bout that is not as evident in the other. In looking at the spectra of the two completed guitars I noted that one had a peak that was at a somewhat different frequency form the other. A search of the Chladni patterns in that range showed that the knot shadow caused the top to be slightly stiffer at that point, raising the pitch of one of the higher order resonant modes. Removing a shaving or two of wood from a brace in that area got the modes to be more alike, correcting the spectral difference in that range, and making the two instrumments sound more similar. They're still not the same though. As you go higher in pitch, smaller features become important, and they are harder to control.

Consider how sensitive cross grain stiffness in a top is to ring angle. We all know that perfectly vertical wood has the highest cross grain stiffness, and that it fallls off pretty rapidly as you go off quarter. If you measure this you'll find that departure of a degree or less when the wood is near quarter can make an easily measurable difference. Have you ever seen a piece of wood that was perfectly quartered everywhere? How about two, cut from the same billet?

Next time I try to make a matched pair I'll choose my top wood more carefully. I'm not sure it's possible to be careful enough, though. The fact is that 'normal' human hearing is remarkably sensitive to small variations, particularly at high frequencies. That's just where it's most difficult to control for the effects of minor variations in wood properties, as well as all of the usual manufacturing issues. Let's see; how many strokes did I just take with that sanding block?

One of my students works at a place where they make extremely precisely machined parts for turbines. These can be used in superchargers for trucks, or as jet engines, or fuel pumps in rocket motors. Most of these parts are made of stainless steel. They have found that they need to test the properties of the metal they order: small and unavoidable variations from one batch to the next can cause problems in the finished parts. When you're pushing the envelope, small things count. Don't think we're not pushing the envelope.

GuitarB
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Re: Same bracing similar sound?

Post by GuitarB » Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:04 pm

Well, my mistake, i should say same bracing- similar sound. This is better. I know very well that even the same maker build 2 different guitars, they don't sound exactly the same. I just want to sound signature to be similar like clear like a hauser, or sweet and lyrical like the fleta.

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