vaulted-back classical guitar?

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
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pogmoor
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Re: vaulted-back classical guitar?

Post by pogmoor » Sun Jan 06, 2019 5:37 pm

Ryeman wrote:
Sun Jan 06, 2019 2:33 pm
Go down to Oxford and visit the Ashmolean Museum. Take the 5 course Stradivarius guitar out of its glass case when nobody's looking...
You'll be lucky :lol:

The musical instrument gallery at the Ashmolean is an interesting place to visit nevertheless.
Eric from GuitarLoot
Renaissance and Baroque freak; classical guitars by Lester Backshall (2008), Ramirez (Guitarra del Tiempo 2017),
Yamaha (SLG 130NW silent classical guitar 2014).

RobMacKillop
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Re: vaulted-back classical guitar?

Post by RobMacKillop » Sun Jan 06, 2019 5:42 pm

Not good enough. You need facts, not jokes.

Ryeman
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Re: vaulted-back classical guitar?

Post by Ryeman » Sun Jan 06, 2019 6:12 pm

RobMacKillop wrote:
Sun Jan 06, 2019 5:42 pm
Not good enough. You need facts, not jokes.
I wasn't joking. A typical bridge on a Baroque guitar has such a small footprint that it is obvious to any maker that it couldn't take the tension of modern guitar strings without coming off.
I'm not expounding some new pet theory here.The lightness of construction of lutes and early guitars, allied to the low energy from low-tension strings, is common knowledge among modern makers of these instruments.

Alan

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Michael.N.
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Re: vaulted-back classical guitar?

Post by Michael.N. » Sun Jan 06, 2019 6:48 pm

Gut has higher density than nylon, therefore it has a higher tension when both strings are at the exact same diameter. Steel has a higher density than gut therefore it's tension is the highest - assuming same pitch, same gauge strings.
Baroque guitars and lutes are strung at around 3 Kg per string (although doubled), modern guitars at around 7 kg per string.
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Ryeman
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Re: vaulted-back classical guitar?

Post by Ryeman » Sun Jan 06, 2019 7:21 pm

Michael.N. wrote:
Sun Jan 06, 2019 6:48 pm
Gut has higher density than nylon, therefore it has a higher tension when both strings are at the exact same diameter. Steel has a higher density than gut therefore it's tension is the highest - assuming same pitch, same gauge strings.
Baroque guitars and lutes are strung at around 3 Kg per string (although doubled), modern guitars at around 7 kg per string.
Michael, I just hope Mr. MacKillop believes you....


I'd like to get back to my original question about the feasibility of an arched back classical guitar. Dr. Ephraim Segerman of Northern Renaissance Instruments in Manchester has done a huge amount of research into historic string making techniques and usage. I read all his research articles in the Galpin Society and Lute Society journals in the 1970s when I was making lutes and used to visit him to buy gut strings for lutes. It is his belief that the deep vaulted back of a Baroque lute favoured bass response (the one thing Alan Caruth was slightly concerned about) and that the Baroque guitar had slightly higher tensioned treble strings to help the treble sound. Maybe this approach could be adopted with a modern vaulted back guitar.

I'm really intrigued by the vaulted back guitar, and have decided to make two - a classical and a steel string. In fact I started making an internal mould this afternoon.

Alan

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Re: vaulted-back classical guitar?

Post by RobMacKillop » Sun Jan 06, 2019 7:35 pm

My understanding of your position was that gut strings on baroque guitars were much lower in tension than modern strings, and that would be a consideration to take into account when using the vaulted back on a modern guitar. The point Michael makes (one I thought too obvious to mention) is that the baroque guitar had double courses. When doubled, the tension is little different from modern strings. But maybe I misread you, and apologise for pushing you towards the comments you made. I'll withdraw from the debate, if indeed that's what it is.

Ryeman
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Re: vaulted-back classical guitar?

Post by Ryeman » Sun Jan 06, 2019 7:52 pm

RobMacKillop wrote:
Sun Jan 06, 2019 7:35 pm
My understanding of your position was that gut strings on baroque guitars were much lower in tension than modern strings, and that would be a consideration to take into account when using the vaulted back on a modern guitar. The point Michael makes (one I thought too obvious to mention) is that the baroque guitar had double courses. When doubled, the tension is little different from modern strings. But maybe I misread you, and apologise for pushing you towards the comments you made. I'll withdraw from the debate, if indeed that's what it is.
Yes I think that maybe you did misread what I said, but no harm done, and no need to apologise. I made my comments about the features of Baroque guitars in response to something that Alan Carruth made about the modern tendency to judge everything against what we produce now. I was agreeing with Alan and was simply trying to say that, in spite of their differences (which I listed) Baroque guitars obviously fitted the bill for the times in which they were made.

Alan

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Michael.N.
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Re: vaulted-back classical guitar?

Post by Michael.N. » Sun Jan 06, 2019 7:54 pm

Might just be my experience but I never heard any advantage of a vaulted back over a flat one, not when it came to baroque guitars. Baroque guitars don't really do much bass anyway. I've not been enamoured with the Chambure vihuela either, never liked the look of it. However my thoughts shouldn't stop anyone else wanting to make or play such an instrument. I've no idea what difference such construction would make on a modern guitar. My guess (it is a guess) is that the difference won't be all that great. Happy to be proven wrong though.
Historicalguitars.

Alan Carruth
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Re: vaulted-back classical guitar?

Post by Alan Carruth » Sun Jan 06, 2019 9:05 pm

I've never made a guitar with a vaulted back, either steel or nylon strung. I have made both steel string and Classical guitars with carved arched plates, but that's a different beast. Lehmann (www.lehmannstrings.com) had a couple of vaulted back steel strings at the Woodstock show in 2017. Sadly, I can't comment on the sound: my good hearing aids chose that time to go on the fritz, and I was working with grossly inadequate backups.

As far as I can tell, the normal 'flat' guitar back contributes to tone in two ways:
1)in the lowest 'bass reflex' range it helps to 'pump' air in and out of the sound hole, enhancing the output somewhat, and
2) at higher frequencies it 'steals' energy from the top, which is much better adapted to produce sound. This reduces the output overall to some extent, but also provides some 'tone color'. IMO the problem with Ovations is that lack of 'color'.

Baroque guitars had much smaller plates, but quite deep ribs. Given the relatively gentle curvature of the sides the area above and below the waist would be fairly flexible, and could help make up for a lack of activity in the small back to provide some color. Naturally i did not get as much data as I should have on the one 'sorta-Baroque' guitar I made, and have none on any actual ones, so that's conjecture.

A vaulted back would probably not flex in the way a carved arch would, let alone acting like a 'flat' braced back. It would, like the back on the Ovation, be much closer to the ideal of a 'reflective' back, and would not function in the same way either in the low 'bass reflex' range or higher up. OTOH, the added stiffness and (perhaps) mass would tend to react back on the top, essentially 'keeping the sound in the top' to produce more power and projection. Trevor Gore does this by mass loading the ribs on his guitars, and covers that well in his books. Part of the 'projecting' sound of the one Smallman I had in the shop (briefly) may have been due to the massive and stiff carved back.

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martinardo
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Re: vaulted-back classical guitar?

Post by martinardo » Sun Jan 06, 2019 9:51 pm

His top bracing pattern is quite interesting too
Being careful not to stray into the dreaded dark Wood of Hyperbole, I thinks some of DARs top soundboard bracing

is akin to a wonderful sculpture park. The other components aren't too shabby either. Not having heard a single note

means my eyes are doing the judging. :shock:
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Stephen Faulk
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Re: vaulted-back classical guitar?

Post by Stephen Faulk » Mon Jan 07, 2019 6:36 am

Vaulted back? Sure. Use it on a balsa lattice guitar.
Last edited by Stephen Faulk on Mon Jan 07, 2019 6:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: vaulted-back classical guitar?

Post by Stephen Faulk » Mon Jan 07, 2019 6:39 am

On higher pitches in baroque music- It was thought that, previous to research done in the last 10 - 15 years, pitch in late Renaissance through Baroque was relatively lower overall than modern standard pitch. That's not so, as pitch standards varied regionally- baroque guitars often had longer scales than the scale lengths that the first waves of historically accurate baroque guitar makers worked with in the 70s through mid 1990s, after that and currently many baroque guitar makers are doing 660 to 700 mm scales.

This means high tension. All you have to do is look in the Stewart Pollens book on Stradivari Patterns and note the scale lengths on the unaltered extant guitars.

Not that I want to get drawn into an argument.

Also the musical intent of Baroque guitar music and reentrant tuning make comparison between baroque guitar function, sound envelope, and pleasure of playing very different. Not a clean or equivalent comparison.
Patience at the bending iron pays in rounded dividends!

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Michael.N.
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Re: vaulted-back classical guitar?

Post by Michael.N. » Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:07 am

Not high tension, unless you are counting the course as one string, then it might be at modern guitar tension. Each string by itself will only be in the region of 3.5 Kg - which I think most people would call very low tension.
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Re: vaulted-back classical guitar?

Post by Stephen Faulk » Tue Jan 08, 2019 2:49 am

I don't have time to parse it out, but variable according to the 'concert' pitch used, the tuning used and the way individual players prefer tension in terms of good rasgueado. But there's a range of tension, and not completely comparable to modern ideas of tension with flouro and nylon. Also string making technique changed several times and offered many iterations of gut strings, so there's that. Just thinking about the span of time between Monteverde and Bach strings changed a lot.
Patience at the bending iron pays in rounded dividends!

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Re: vaulted-back classical guitar?

Post by SteveL123 » Thu Jan 10, 2019 3:58 pm

Alan Carruth wrote:
Sun Jan 06, 2019 9:05 pm
I've never made a guitar with a vaulted back, either steel or nylon strung. I have made both steel string and Classical guitars with carved arched plates, but that's a different beast. Lehmann (www.lehmannstrings.com) had a couple of vaulted back steel strings at the Woodstock show in 2017. Sadly, I can't comment on the sound: my good hearing aids chose that time to go on the fritz, and I was working with grossly inadequate backups.
(................)
Alan, what were the good hearing aids and what were the inadequate backups? How do they differ? What did they cost? Are hearing aids hi fidelity? I do not have a hearing problem yet. I did try 3 hearing aids when I had the opportunity just to see how they sound and they were just terrible! Noisy, harsh and sharp! I only tried it with conversation, not music. I don't think music would have been any different. These were hearing aids that cost between $1,000 to $5,000.

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