Consequence of Soundboard Untidiness/Imperfections

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
Rosewood
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Consequence of Soundboard Untidiness/Imperfections

Post by Rosewood » Thu Mar 08, 2018 11:13 pm

As the soundboard is arguably the most important area of the guitar that contributes to overall sound quality, I wondered what peoples’ thoughts were with regards to the impact of untidiness when constructing the top.

Examples I have seen:
- Excess hide glue
- Cracks that are easily glued back together.
- Chisel impressions on the underside as a result of feathering brace ends.

Would any of these examples introduce changes to the wood that disrupt how the vibrations propagated through the soundboard?

Most people go to great lengths to achieve a very high standard of cosmetic appearance on the outside of the guitar. Yet although the ‘neatness’ of the soundboard construction is hard to see, I just wondered whether people do as thorough job in cleaning up and remedying minor mistakes given the potential for impact on sound?

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Brian McCombs
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Re: Consequence of Soundboard Untidiness/Imperfections

Post by Brian McCombs » Fri Mar 09, 2018 12:13 am

Neatness counts. I'm proud to make it look as tidy as I can, but the guitar is handmade after all, chisel marks, digs and some signs of work should be expected under careful scrutiny. I don't think it impacts sound much if at all.

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geoff-bristol
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Re: Consequence of Soundboard Untidiness/Imperfections

Post by geoff-bristol » Fri Mar 09, 2018 12:50 am

I don't think neatness is at all important for sound - in fact the latter may be the case - ie lack of symetry, uneven thicknessing etc ?
Everyone has their take on it - as 'inside' stuff that no one sees. Most old classic instruments were finished inside way rougher than most makers today. I don't think that degraded them at all. I just like clean cut and scraped - straight off the tools. More important is that everything is tight and glued well.

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Michael.N.
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Re: Consequence of Soundboard Untidiness/Imperfections

Post by Michael.N. » Fri Mar 09, 2018 7:32 am

Rosewood wrote:
Thu Mar 08, 2018 11:13 pm
As the soundboard is arguably the most important area of the guitar that contributes to overall sound quality, I wondered what peoples’ thoughts were with regards to the impact of untidiness when constructing the top.

Examples I have seen:
- Excess hide glue
- Cracks that are easily glued back together.
- Chisel impressions on the underside as a result of feathering brace ends.

Would any of these examples introduce changes to the wood that disrupt how the vibrations propagated through the soundboard?

Most people go to great lengths to achieve a very high standard of cosmetic appearance on the outside of the guitar. Yet although the ‘neatness’ of the soundboard construction is hard to see, I just wondered whether people do as thorough job in cleaning up and remedying minor mistakes given the potential for impact on sound?
None of those will impact on the sound of the guitar. The excessive glue might but the maker would have to be extremely liberal and sloppy in the use of glue. It doesn't take much time or effort to avoid the excess glue and the chisel marks, in fact it's pretty easy. You certainly shouldn't be seeing evidence of any cracks glued back together.
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joachim33
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Re: Consequence of Soundboard Untidiness/Imperfections

Post by joachim33 » Fri Mar 09, 2018 9:22 am

Have a look at viewtopic.php?f=11&t=117948 for how a real Torres looks on the inside and viewtopic.php?f=11&t=115821 for how a real Smallman looks inside.

I would say, polish your nails instead of the inside of the soundboard :wink:

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Michael.N.
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Re: Consequence of Soundboard Untidiness/Imperfections

Post by Michael.N. » Fri Mar 09, 2018 11:53 am

They weren't too concerned with internal neatness in the 18th and 19 th centuries. There are exceptions of course. The Lacote's that I've seen have been pretty neat internally. These days it's much more expected that both factory and luthier built guitars should display clean and neat internal work. The competition is fierce, makers are almost compelled to 'raise the bar'. Smallman is very much the exception rather than the rule.
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Alan Carruth
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Re: Consequence of Soundboard Untidiness/Imperfections

Post by Alan Carruth » Fri Mar 09, 2018 5:01 pm

A certain amount of glue squeeze out is to be expected, and I know of at least one luthier who leaves a bit just to let people know it's really hide glue. It doesn't hurt anything. Chisel marks in the top can be a problem as they can be 'stress risers'; places where cracks will start, if they're big enough. AS has been said, the old boys tended to work quickly, and didn't worry too much about cosmetic issues. They usually got the structural stuff right, though, as far as I can see, and as for acoustics, that's in the ear of the beholder. Even old instruments that are pretty fancy on the outside can be quite rough where you can't see them.

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