FAQs about Classical Guitars - Discussion

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
Carson Allard

Re: FAQs about Classical Guitars - Discussion

Postby Carson Allard » Sun Oct 19, 2014 12:55 pm

Thank you for this post. I found it quite helpful. I do have a question regarding number of strings on the classical guitar. Aside from the obvious additional notes, why are there seven, eight and ten string varieties? What are the factors (musical and technical) that influence a guitarist's decision to play with more strings? Why aren't these more popular? I am relatively new to this site so I apologize if this discussion has already been held somewhere else in the forum.

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Re: FAQs about Classical Guitars - Discussion

Postby ronjazz » Fri Feb 06, 2015 12:29 am

I play 7-string guitar, and the addition of a low A is the reason, so that I can function in the "real" bass range for an octave and a third. As a jazz player, I played the electric 7 for years, great for duo work with singers, hornplayers or even another guitar; over the past few years, I've also gone to 7 on the nylon-strung instruments, for more bass, and the ability to play full chords in the high positions. It's also useful for lute and keyboard transcriptions, and sometimes I retune to a B or C or even Bb. Brazilian and Russian guitarists commonly use the 7-string. With a good pickup system, like the RMC system in the Godin Multiac 7-string, one can function as bassist with chords, as I do in the African group I play with, and as I have done in my trio with sax and percussion. I now consider the conventional 6-string a "small" guitar.
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Christofel Jacobs

Re: FAQs about Classical Guitars - Discussion

Postby Christofel Jacobs » Fri Jun 26, 2015 6:22 am

wow, this is really helpful for someone who want to start playing guitar.
i can help other people who want to start playing with this explaination
really helpful :D

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Re: FAQs about Classical Guitars - Discussion

Postby Jack Douglas » Fri Aug 28, 2015 2:12 am

Hi James,
I have a player's question about string spacing at the nut and the thickness of the neck at that position. I had left hand pain for some time and unrelated to that traded guitars recently. My old instrument had a string spacing at the nut of 46 mm and, I can't remember the thickness, but it was 3mm thinner than the new guitar I obtained. The string spacing at the nut on the new guitar is 43 mm and the neck is 3 mm thicker. My left hand pain has disappeared (I have short fingers and a small hand). I'm sure there's an anatomical explanation, but maybe you can address this. Thanks.
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James Lister
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Re: FAQs about Classical Guitars - Discussion

Postby James Lister » Fri Aug 28, 2015 9:30 am

I don't think I can explain anatomically why the new guitar is better for you, but it's certainly true that different string spacing, neck thickness and profiles work better for different players. It's also true that thinner necks aren't always easier. Last year I made a guitar for a customer who was tall, and had large hands. He was struggling with hand strain, and had found guitars with thicker necks less of a problem. He wanted me to make his guitar with a neck 30mm thick at the nut. I was doubtful at first, and in the end went with 29mm, but the guitar worked really well for him (and had really good sustain!).

One of the problems is that the vast majority of guitars are made fairly close to standard dimensions, so it's difficult for players to try different combinations of nut width, neck thickness and profile, string spacing and scale length to find what works best for them.

James
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Re: FAQs about Classical Guitars - Discussion

Postby Jack Douglas » Fri Aug 28, 2015 5:11 pm

Hi James,
Thank you very much for your kind reply. I think my experience demonstrates how seemingly small differences in dimensions can dramatically change the comfort and feel of a guitar. In my case both instruments were made by well known and respected luthiers. I was not aware of the string spacing dimensions or neck thickness on either of the instruments until they were pointed out by a very knowledgeable guitar aficionado. My Velazquez had the wider string spacing.
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Waddy Thomson
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Re: FAQs about Classical Guitars - Discussion

Postby Waddy Thomson » Fri Aug 28, 2015 6:03 pm

3 mm is a big difference in neck thickness and string spacing! I can see why it would make a difference in feel and playability. Doesn't seem like much, but in reality it is quite large, comparatively.
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Debussychopin
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Re: FAQs about Classical Guitars - Discussion

Postby Debussychopin » Thu Feb 18, 2016 6:51 pm

I bought a real cheap used guitar for travel and keeping in the car while at work. It came with the bridge about 99.99% stable (fwiw) meaning that it is separating from the corners just very very slightly at the low E end. You can glide a thin piece of paper at those points but then abruptly stops at where it is still stable, so perhaps about 3 mm on each corner it is not glued.

Is this an issue I can fix on my own?
Will this separate from top at an accelerated fashion (meaning , once there is a little separation, the oxidation of the glue starts to speed up due to exposure to outside air)
Or will this be most likely viable and playable instrument for at least 2 or 3 years (acceptable for me) if taken care of and not abused?

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Re: FAQs about Classical Guitars - Discussion

Postby Smith » Sat Feb 20, 2016 7:55 pm

Great post! Thx!

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Re: FAQs about Classical Guitars - Discussion

Postby quavers » Sun Jul 03, 2016 5:28 pm

Beads instead of traditional tying.

I recently read an article about the use of glass beads as an alternative to traditional tying. This seems to be a little more convenient than traditional tying around the bridge block. Also, it looks as though you would be able to cut the end very close to the knot and avoid any excess string from touching against the top. Another advantage would probably be that there would be less chewing up of the bridge block after repeated changing.

More recently, I have seen a product referred to as bridge beads (actually they are square) through which the string is threaded and knotted internally and not seen from behind the bead. I myself think that they are a little unsightly.

What are the advantages or disadvantages of this stringing technique?

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James Lister
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Re: FAQs about Classical Guitars - Discussion

Postby James Lister » Mon Jul 04, 2016 8:17 am

quavers wrote:Beads instead of traditional tying.

I recently read an article about the use of glass beads as an alternative to traditional tying. This seems to be a little more convenient than traditional tying around the bridge block. Also, it looks as though you would be able to cut the end very close to the knot and avoid any excess string from touching against the top. Another advantage would probably be that there would be less chewing up of the bridge block after repeated changing.

More recently, I have seen a product referred to as bridge beads (actually they are square) through which the string is threaded and knotted internally and not seen from behind the bead. I myself think that they are a little unsightly.

What are the advantages or disadvantages of this stringing technique?

If you search for "bridge bone beads", you'll find a few discussions on this topic.

Basically, they increase the break angle of the strings (as do 12-hole tie-blocks), which can help if it is very low, but won't make much difference otherwise. They can help reduce wear on the tie-block, especially if the wood isn't very hard, or if there's no bone capping. They do add a little weight to the bridge, which may or may not be a problem.

James
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Mdruide
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Re: FAQs about Classical Guitars - Discussion

Postby Mdruide » Tue Nov 22, 2016 5:27 pm

Hi! James,

I read some of your FAQ : Like What double top guitar and I was wondering after watching John H. Dick (luthier in Iowa , USA) video if I could understand he is making also a double top guitar but his new model have a double back also, and it suppose to have more projection and sustain...

Since I am in the process of trying these double top guitar like Carsten Kobs and other, Have you ever heard luthier that make double back also ?

Here is interview on youtube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmabBu3yACQ

Thank for your output

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James Lister
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Re: FAQs about Classical Guitars - Discussion

Postby James Lister » Mon Nov 28, 2016 10:47 am

Mdruide wrote:Have you ever heard luthier that make double back also ?

Yes, it's not very common, but some luthiers use double back construction. There's a few words about it later in the FAQ:

James Lister wrote:
21. What's a double-back guitar?

A double back guitar has a second “back”, mounted inside the guitar body. The second “back” is normally made of softwood, and is in some ways like a second top (hence the confusion of names). The idea is that this second back vibrates in sympathy with the top, possibly improving projection. As this second back is not in contact with the player, it’s vibrations are not damped by the player’s body (which the real back is).


I didn't have time to watch the YouTube link, so I'm not sure if John Dick is doing the same thing. My feeling is that if it made that much difference to projection and sustain, a lot more luthiers would be doing it, but that's just my opinion.

James
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Mdruide
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Re: FAQs about Classical Guitars - Discussion

Postby Mdruide » Mon Dec 12, 2016 10:54 pm

Thank you James

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Re: FAQs about Classical Guitars - Discussion

Postby Mdruide » Thu Mar 23, 2017 7:22 pm

Hi! James,

I have been away for a while and I have try a new double top cedar with Brazilian rosewood from Canadian luthier Martin Blackwell and I was hook on the superb overall tone especially the E6. It feel like a traditional guitar but a better sound projection, it is not the loudest double top guitar but it suit my taste and my use of it, since I am not a professional player. I purchase it even if it as a steep price tag . It came with D'Addario Pro Arté EJ45.

I have purchase with my other guitar the Savarez Cantiga Alliance, and my question is will these give this guitar a too much crystalline tone color. My saleman told me that the major double top luthier choose Pro Arté for is neutral but best sound projection...

Thank you for your time


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