Neck dive / balance & tension

Discussions relating to the classical guitar which don't fit elsewhere.
KBell
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Neck dive / balance & tension

Post by KBell » Mon Jan 01, 2018 8:03 pm

A question... I’ve been playing on the same guitar for about 20 years and it has a lot of neck dive - I don’t have anything to compare it to but i assume some degree of neck dive is appropriate and acceptable and typically resolved / mitigated by the classical position (angled neck)

Even in this playing position (I use a foot stool) my guitar falls head first and requires active engagement from my right arm or left hand to provide stability / balance.

My questions:

Is neck dive common and does anyone experience an accumulation of tension when playing based on this?

Thanks for any and all replies - and happy new year

K.

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BugDog
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Re: Neck dive / balance & tension

Post by BugDog » Sat Jan 06, 2018 11:31 pm

I'm sorry but I'm not sure what neck dive is.

Normally, when held in standard CG position with a foot stool, the guitar can be held in the lap without use of the hands. I counterbalance fretting pressure with the right arm a lot. It's not the guitar neck that I have to hold up, its my left arm. Sometimes I'll "hang" my LH from the neck.
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lagartija
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Re: Neck dive / balance & tension

Post by lagartija » Sun Jan 07, 2018 3:10 am

In the classical position, held between the legs with the neck angled up, the guitar is neutral as BugDog says. It remains in place and both hands are free to move without having to support the guitar.
I assume you are playing a classical guitar (12 frets free of the body) and not a steel string guitar or relative (with 14 frets free of the body). If it is a classical, it could just have very massive tuners and an unbalanced headstock. That would be unfortunate, since playing an instrument like that leads to the tension problems you are having, not to mention impeding your right arm mobility. :-(
You could try using a strap to support the headstock...
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simonm
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Re: Neck dive / balance & tension

Post by simonm » Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:06 am

BugDog wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 11:31 pm
I'm sorry but I'm not sure what neck dive is….
+1

I was envisioning the guitar on a diving board and heading for the swimming pool. No clue what the phrase means. :desole:

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lagartija
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Re: Neck dive / balance & tension

Post by lagartija » Sun Jan 07, 2018 2:52 pm

:lol: I assumed he meant that the headstock takes a dive towards the floor if you let go of the neck and don’t hold the body of the guitar.
:-?

simonm wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:06 am
BugDog wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 11:31 pm
I'm sorry but I'm not sure what neck dive is….
+1

I was envisioning the guitar on a diving board and heading for the swimming pool. No clue what the phrase means. :desole:
When the sun shines, bask.
__/^^^^^o>
Classical Guitar forever!

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R.V.S.
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Re: Neck dive / balance & tension

Post by R.V.S. » Sun Jan 07, 2018 3:34 pm

I think it's not uncommon, but many players are used to always having their right arm resting on the guitar so they don't perceive it as a problem. Or solutions to other, more serious posture-related issues have solved this minor problem for them already.

The guitar may not be at a steep enough angle. Raising your footstool a bit might help. Do you notice yourself leaning forward at all when you play? If so, this might be a good thing to try.

Also, sometimes it's not just an issue of weight balance but an issue of friction (or lack of it) – sides with a glossy finish can slip on your leg very easily.

Guitar supports generally solve both problems – they're usually curved to fit the contour of your leg so that the guitar won't slip, and they allow the guitar to sit at an even steeper angle without twisting your back out of alignment.

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Re: Neck dive / balance & tension

Post by simonm » Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:44 am

Assuming that the above interpretations of what "neck dive" means are correct, KBell simply needs to go to a good classical guitar teacher who will show them how to hold the guitar. However, fixing 20 years of playing with a bad posture might not be that simple.

Two thoughts come to mind.
1) A strap.
2) A guitar support that keeps the neck quite high. The ErgoPlay Tröster is one I tried.

KBell
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Re: Neck dive / balance & tension

Post by KBell » Mon Jan 08, 2018 5:52 pm

Thanks for the replies - the interpretations of 'neck dive' are correct. And yes, it is a classical instrument - hand made by a reputable and well known luthier who I don't want to reference by name. It is otherwise in every way a beautiful instrument.

I've looked into other guitar supports but I'm always anxious about damaging the French polish so I've persevered with the footstool. I've just reached the point where I've tired of fighting the instrument for it to balance.

I've used friction creating material to help but the issue is less about the body of the guitar sliding on my leg and is more to do with the weight of the headstock (yes, likely caused by the tuners).

I'll look into the ErgoPlay Troster as suggested by simonm

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Re: Neck dive / balance & tension

Post by astro64 » Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:36 pm

What might help is getting a support designed by Kris Barnett that is held in place with magnets taped to the rim inside the guitar. The magnets are heavy and add some mass to the body of the guitar. It also solves the problem of having to use a footstool. It is an excellent support. It is currently sold by Sagework Guitar Supports. There are various threads on it in this forum.

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Re: Neck dive / balance & tension

Post by OldPotter » Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:41 pm

Just wondering if its possible to add weight to the lower bout of the guitar to help balance it? Perhaps a bag of lead shot resting inside ? I have a vague memory of Trevor Gore adding weight to guitar sides but am not sure of the reasoning. If it works then something more permanent could be done.
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Andrew Pohlman
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Re: Neck dive / balance & tension

Post by Andrew Pohlman » Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:33 pm

I suggest tying a helium balloon to the head stock to compensate for the imbalance. :D The audience appeal would be phenomenal! :D

On a more serious note, the weights added by Trevor Gore, referenced above, are for minimizing energy losses into the sides. They are nothing as crude as ballast. The suggestion of guitar supports is a good one as that would stabilize the instrument. I just don't like the look of them. But if the imbalance needs correction, supports may be the best answer.
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Re: Neck dive / balance & tension

Post by simonm » Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:32 pm

KBell wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 5:52 pm
… I'm always anxious about damaging the French polish..
Hmm … let me think. My back or the french polish on my guitar … tough call…. :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

Damaging the french polish might be annoying but it pretty much the easiest finish to get touched up.

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Re: Neck dive / balance & tension

Post by JohnB » Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:12 am

It would be interesting to find out whether the guitar is in reality "head-heavy"

If I hold one of my guitar's horizontally, facing upwards, I can balance the guitar on the palm of my hand when the palm is placed at the end of the body, adjacent to the heel. I've tried this on two guitars (a Stephen Frith and an Ana Maria Espinosa) and they both balance in this position, with an inch. (If you do this TAKE CARE - have the other hand ready to stabilise the instrument.)
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DCGillrich
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Re: Neck dive / balance & tension

Post by DCGillrich » Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:53 am

In my experience, it is quite ok to use a suction cup type guitar support on a French Polished guitar. I place a light non-permanent adhesion plastic on the surface (e.g. Kling-on which comes in 7 cm x 9.5 cm rectangles). The plastic is left on, but the suction cups can be removed every day. The plastic is easy to lift off and leaves no marks. The plastic strips improves adhesion of the suction cups -- a French Polish surface can be slightly porous. Cheers... Richard

OldPotter
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Re: Neck dive / balance & tension

Post by OldPotter » Tue Jan 09, 2018 8:29 am

On a more serious note, the weights added by Trevor Gore, referenced above, are for minimizing energy losses into the sides. They are nothing as crude as ballast. The suggestion of guitar supports is a good one as that would stabilize the instrument. I just don't like the look of them. But if the imbalance needs correction, supports may be the best answer.
Yes, I totally forgot the point I was trying make. If a weight is added permanently to the sides it might have a secondary effect on the sound. Whether that is good or bad needs testing.

It seems to me to be obvious from the OP that the guitar is neck heavy. Unless a support alters the balance point, then using one won't alter that. I don't see a problem with adding weight to the other end, especially as it could be trialled without damage. I don't have many guitars, but none of them are out of balance in that way, they all rest on my thigh without any strain on the left hand.
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