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– Comparison of the two most common guitar bracing
The luthier’s goal is to create a musical instrument that transforms the energy of the strings into wonderful music. To achieve this goal, the first thing to do is to design the soundboard. This is why the luthier gives more attention to the material and bracing of the soundboard. After numerous trials and setbacks, the luthiers found that installing a bracing on a guitar soundboard can enhance the strength of the soundboard while reducing its weight. Bracings of various structures control the vibration of the soundboard.
Therefore, the installation of the support beam is also a work that needs to be carefully measured: Too much to wear will reduce the vibration of the guitar, the volume will be smaller, and the strength of the guitar will be insufficient. If the stick is too tight and the amplitude is reduced, the bass of the guitar will be difficult to show the effect; Sticking too loose, the guitar will make noise again. Many modern luthiers have conducted various experiments on supporting beam structure and soundboard thickness for better control soundboard vibration. Let us look at the two common ways of installing the bracing.
Early stringed instruments used more Ladder bracing support, including guitars, violins, and mandolin. The Ladder bracing is mounted on the soundboard of the instrument in parallel with 3 or 4 or 5 sound beams. The advantage of the Ladder bracing is that it produces more high frequencies and is easier to produce. The disadvantage is that the sound quality of the instrument supported by the ladder bracing is poor, and the low frequency is not rich.
The overall strength of the instrument is not high. Many classical guitars use ladder bracing.
But many classical and blue-tone performers have a soft spot for guitars supported by ladder bracing.
Some people say that Martin is the original manufacturer of the X-shaped bracing. In fact, some independent violinists have begun to use the X-shaped bracing method to make the guitar sound better. The X-bracing is to form a crossed X-shape behind the sound hole, and there are two or three additional transverse sound beams (often called “scalloped bracing”) behind the saddle.
The X-shaped bracing is very stable, and the tone is more uniform and high-frequency.But the manufacturing process is more complicated than the ladder-bracing. Most guitar manufacturers today use the X-bracing to produce guitars.