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On ‎5‎/‎31‎/‎2020 at 9:57 AM, GarrettS said:

What would you do?

It's complicated ;)

So I had a look through the thread you linked to over at the Troy Grady website, and I can see the issue you're facing with regards to the length of your left forearm when standing with your upper arm vertical and relaxed. TBH it's not something that I would have considered myself as a builder or as a player and is more one of the various ergonomic foibles of the guitar in general, but I can make the following observations:

  1. In the first video your left hand thumb position when standing has a tendency to overhang the top of the neck quite a bit. When doing 3-notes-per-string runs, because your thumb tends to hook over a lot your hand is quite tense. It's the kind of shape your fingers and hand forms if you were trying to crush a tennis ball in one hand. It looks like a very tense grip and can't be doing the muscles in your fingers and forearms any good. I'd actually suggest you need to play with the strap much shorter and the guitar higher up and more horizontal, which would help relax your wrist and allow the thumb to come back around more towards the back of the neck. When you play in a seated position (third video) you can see how much higher the guitar sits on your torso, but also how much more relaxed your left hand is and how much further away your thumb rests from the edge of the fret board (further towards the back of the neck). I personally try to adjust my straps so that the instrument hangs roughly at the same height and angle as it would when seated. It doesn't look particualrly rock 'n roll, but it's a damn sight more comfortable than playing with the instrument in the Jimmy Page position.

  2. Placing the rear strap button on the front of the guitar clearly doesn't work for you. In your second video it's quite easy to see how uncomfortable it is, and how much the strap is forced to pinch your body as it snakes around your lower-right torso to the front of the instrument. However placing the front strap button behind the upper horn will help angle the neck away from your body and should be considered a good thing for you ergonomically, as it allows a little more length for your forearm to fit behind the neck when reaching for the upper frets.

  3. In my builds I have noticed that the shape of the rear comfort carve can make a difference in the way the guitar hangs on the body. Strandberg's Boden model has a comfort carve that is deeper towards the right side than it is towards the left. The red line highlights this angle:image.png

    I have started incorporate a similar shape to the comfort carve in my own builds and can confirm it tilts the neck further away from the body and allows the left forearm a little bit more length to fit in behind the neck. It's been a few years since I've owned an Ibanez RG, but I'm pretty sure the angle of the comfort carve is more horizontal, which would tend to make the guitar to hang more square-on to your torso. This may be something you'd like to consider if you decide to chase a custom guitar with a builder.

  4. I would pesonally shy away from blocky guitars in an attempt to be ergonomic. The inherent shape of them does not lend themselves well to being comfortable players, either on the strap or seated. The fact that you cannot find the Billy Bo locally, and that it is a special order item with no returns makes it an expensive way to try a guitar if there's a risk it doesn't fit your requirements. Overly thick-bodied guitars are likely to give similar issues, either with weight or position fatigue. You mention that your ideal playing position is with the guitar held away from the body by a couple of inches - my gut feel from watching your videos you've posted on the Troy Grady forums is that you more need to optimise the angles the instument hangs on your body.

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On 5/27/2020 at 11:29 PM, curtisa said:

doesn't take into account the materials used, how it's constructed or the hardware installed.

correct.

what construction method would affect balance in a solid body?  neck thru, glue in, or screw on, its all pretty much all wood.

all a cardboard mockup really gets you is shape. you have to move on to wood, prefab necks, etc to really start sorting out balance.

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25 minutes ago, norm barrows said:

correct.

what construction method would affect balance in a solid body?  neck thru, glue in, or screw on, its all pretty much all wood.

all a cardboard mockup really gets you is shape. you have to move on to wood, prefab necks, etc to really start sorting out balance.

Cardboard guitar gets me the shape and then I can weight it with rocks or metal.

 

10 hours ago, curtisa said:

It's complicated ;)

So I had a look through the thread you linked to over at the Troy Grady website, and I can see the issue you're facing with regards to the length of your left forearm when standing with your upper arm vertical and relaxed. TBH it's not something that I would have considered myself as a builder or as a player and is more one of the various ergonomic foibles of the guitar in general, but I can make the following observations:

  1. In the first video your left hand thumb position when standing has a tendency to overhang the top of the neck quite a bit. When doing 3-notes-per-string runs, because your thumb tends to hook over a lot your hand is quite tense. It's the kind of shape your fingers and hand forms if you were trying to crush a tennis ball in one hand. It looks like a very tense grip and can't be doing the muscles in your fingers and forearms any good. I'd actually suggest you need to play with the strap much shorter and the guitar higher up and more horizontal, which would help relax your wrist and allow the thumb to come back around more towards the back of the neck. When you play in a seated position (third video) you can see how much higher the guitar sits on your torso, but also how much more relaxed your left hand is and how much further away your thumb rests from the edge of the fret board (further towards the back of the neck). I personally try to adjust my straps so that the instrument hangs roughly at the same height and angle as it would when seated. It doesn't look particualrly rock 'n roll, but it's a damn sight more comfortable than playing with the instrument in the Jimmy Page position.

  2. Placing the rear strap button on the front of the guitar clearly doesn't work for you. In your second video it's quite easy to see how uncomfortable it is, and how much the strap is forced to pinch your body as it snakes around your lower-right torso to the front of the instrument. However placing the front strap button behind the upper horn will help angle the neck away from your body and should be considered a good thing for you ergonomically, as it allows a little more length for your forearm to fit behind the neck when reaching for the upper frets.

  3. In my builds I have noticed that the shape of the rear comfort carve can make a difference in the way the guitar hangs on the body. Strandberg's Boden model has a comfort carve that is deeper towards the right side than it is towards the left. The red line highlights this angle:image.png

    I have started incorporate a similar shape to the comfort carve in my own builds and can confirm it tilts the neck further away from the body and allows the left forearm a little bit more length to fit in behind the neck. It's been a few years since I've owned an Ibanez RG, but I'm pretty sure the angle of the comfort carve is more horizontal, which would tend to make the guitar to hang more square-on to your torso. This may be something you'd like to consider if you decide to chase a custom guitar with a builder.

  4. I would pesonally shy away from blocky guitars in an attempt to be ergonomic. The inherent shape of them does not lend themselves well to being comfortable players, either on the strap or seated. The fact that you cannot find the Billy Bo locally, and that it is a special order item with no returns makes it an expensive way to try a guitar if there's a risk it doesn't fit your requirements. Overly thick-bodied guitars are likely to give similar issues, either with weight or position fatigue. You mention that your ideal playing position is with the guitar held away from the body by a couple of inches - my gut feel from watching your videos you've posted on the Troy Grady forums is that you more need to optimise the angles the instument hangs on your body.

 

Thanks for taking a look at my other thread.

Troy has already started deleting my posts, so it's not a reliable archive for where my content resides. Unfortunately, there are some good comments on there, too. I'll refrain from posting over there for now until I can figure out how to get an archive of my posts. A bulk of my life's writings have been lost due to censorship.

The problem is not necessarily what to build at this point, it's how do I start. I don't want to commission a $4000+ experiment. I want get as close as possible to trying it before building it.

The strap button being on the face of the guitar there would be good if the guitar had a longer body. That will make the guitar longer and left shift it. That's why the BBJ looks appealing. Similarly, I've wrapped the strap over the top of the flying wing and it works great. I did this with an RRX24 and a Vulture (James Hetfield ESP). 

I don't have one position for playing standing up. I move the guitar around. For rhythm, it's normal; mid-level; a bit higher than Satriani. But when I want to play higher on the fingerboard, I want to be able to get the guitar so it's at an angle, higher, and away from my belly. There's a few ways to do that but none of them are easy with a super strat. https://www.instagram.com/p/BsKYHaalrcE/

Your idea for neck pitch is what I want to do on a neck thru.

Edited by GarrettS

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I looked at the other thread when you first posted.

3 things jumped out at me.

1.  the way you hold your left hand.

your seem to do something like this...

IMG_20200531_135534.thumb.jpg.84aa09442bac29db075d4a6904717033.jpg

 

Odds are you want to do something more like this....

IMG_20200531_135432.thumb.jpg.170150c2c5d21c98e7cb0b683900e4a5.jpg

 

In the first photo, the wrist is almost straight.   I guess you then bend it over trying to reach stuff.

In the second photo, the wrist is at nearly a 90 degree angle, and the first finger is kept parallel to the fretboard (as in full barre chords).

This 90 degree angle and keeping the SIDE of the first finger parallel to the fretboard is something that all players struggle with at first.  Its a learned position, not a natural one, like the vulcan live long and prosper sign.   Your fingers can do it, but they have to be TRAINED to do it.

I can instantaneously assume the barre chord grip with my left after 40 years of playing - but i can't with my right. I have to force it, its work, and strain. 

Note that I say the SIDE of your 1st finger, cause you want to do full bars with the thumb side of your 1st finger. This tilts your whole hand towards the nut, draws the left elbow into the body, and reduces the twist in the wrist.

 

Full bar major chord at second fret - 12 string strat clone - seated.  The elbow is tucked against the ribs. The back of the hand is at about a 45 degree angle with the forearm.  Note how the side of the first finger is used to bar all six strings.

IMG_20200531_141556.thumb.jpg.7ee945cb6c31998ea7ad98fcb60398b3.jpg 

 

 

The second thing that jumped out at me is that you seem to be born with what is known as "bassist hands" - big beefy hands with short fingers - makes it a little harder to reach things, and a little harder to fit all your fingers in there.  A slight disadvantage compared to someone with hands like Hendrix or Buckethead, but not a show stopper. I had a buddy like that. He ended up going with a gibson scale length as opposed to fender scale length.  You should experience both before you decide.

 

 

And the third thing - the hand wrestling can't be helping with the situation.  <g>

 

 

Take a look at your measurements:

hand span  - distance from tip of thumb to tip of pinkie with fingers spread as wide as possible. I have a hand span of 9 inches.  a recent NFL draft pick made google news due to his 9 1/2" hand span.  Buckethead is probabaly 9 1/2 to 10. hendrix was supposed ly 10 or 10.5.  I can span an octave plus one white key on a real piano, hendrix could do an octave plus two white keys.   Hand span will influence how easy it is to reach notes without stretching.

arm span - distance from center of chest to tip of middle finger, with arm straight out to the side. I have an arm span of 37 inches.  longer arms means the guitar is further away for the same elbow angles.  This is why long armed players may tend to sling the guitar somewhat lower - to move the strings a comfortable distance away from the shoulders, as opposed to "all up in my chest and neck" - as preferred by some players (with shorter arms perhaps?).    A lower slung guitar makes you and the guitar less topheavy as a unit - probably an advantage when busting a move playing live.    A shorter scale length makes everything easier to reach,  but there's less room for wide fingers - as the frets are slightly closer.

Girth - more rotund players are sometimes known to favor things like teles with belly carves

Finger length - center of knuckle to tip of middle finger - i clock in at 4.5 inches. I stand 6 foot. I have friends who are built like quaterbacks who easily have middle finger length of 5 or 5.5 inches.

Finger width - width of middle finger at 2nd knuckle - i measure 3/4 inch.  my buddy with the gibson easily had 1 inch wide.  Thin fingers will make precise fretting easier, and will make it easier to get all your fingers in there - especially at the upper frets where finger space is limited.  The width of the middle finger knuckle bone is a good indicator of over all how thin/fat your finger bones are.   Similar to determining body frame size by measuring the wrist bone.

Hand muscularity - big and beefy, or gracile and thin?   This is the other half of the "finger width" equation.  Bone size and muscularity combine to determine finger size, which determines how hard is is to get all your fingers into those tight spots for clean fretting.

If you want to see an example of someone who seems to have been born to play, check out buckethead.  long arms, and VERY long thin fingers.

 

Note that he's using a gibson scale length, the picking area is at the center of his body, the neck is at a 30 degree angle with the ground, and it looks like there's a bit of tilt back so he can just see the fretboard. his hands are so big he can have his thumb on the side or even reach around, and still play single notes, but he still keeps the thumb mostly behind the neck. 

 

Hendirx, OTOH, had hands so big, his thumb almost always wrapped around.  A guitar was nothing more that a broomstick in his hand.   Note the size of his hand compared to the neck when he first walks up to the mike (time index 0:25), before he starts playing.     But again, the picking area is at the center of the body, and the neck is at 30 degrees to the ground, and the fretboard is tilted slightly towards the player.

 

Edited by norm barrows

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5 hours ago, norm barrows said:

what construction method would affect balance in a solid body?  neck thru, glue in, or screw on, its all pretty much all wood.

OK, how about chambering? Laminating a neck or body with a mixture of different timber species? Adding carves and cutouts to an otherwise flat piece of timber that changes the way the instrument fits around the curves and contours of the player? What about if the body is made from alternative materials - aluminium, perspex, Kevlar? There's plenty of things that affect the balance of an instrument other than it just being 'pretty much all wood'.

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5 hours ago, GarrettS said:

The problem is not necessarily what to build at this point, it's how do I start. I don't want to commission a $4000+ experiment. I want get as close as possible to trying it before building it

Which makes it tricky. All I can suggest is that you need to try as many different instruments as you can lay your hands on and take note of what features do and do not work for you. You can then work those ideas into a mockup to help evaluate whether they fit your expectations and requirements. From there you could take the mockup to a builder and discuss your options with regards to implementing it into an instrument.

I still wouldn't disregard changing the way you play and hold your existing instruments though. Subtle changes in the way you approach the guitar can have drastic differences in how you operate with it, and the cost is nothing other the time taken to experiment.

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26 minutes ago, curtisa said:

Which makes it tricky.

Where can I try a Billy-Bo Jupiter? 

Should the builder build a custom mock guitar with the right weights and measurements? How much should that cost to get an idea of the balance of it?

 

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6 hours ago, GarrettS said:

Where can I try a Billy-Bo Jupiter? 

I can't answer that. Unless someone here knows of a retailer near you that stocks it, or you can find someone privately who has one to try, you may need to change the target you're aiming for.

 

6 hours ago, GarrettS said:

Should the builder build a custom mock guitar with the right weights and measurements? How much should that cost to get an idea of the balance of it?

You'd have to pose the question to the builder of your choice. You're effectively asking them to make a guitar-shaped object that doesn't play; an ornamental prototype. Maybe they could make it from throw-away materials like plywood or MDF. The cost of materials might be low, but you'd still be paying their hourly rate to make it plus any time associated with consultancy (eg, discussions regarding what you want, measurements and drawings, follow-ups with you regarding how it feels, subsequent tweaks to the design, multiple iterations if required etc). Obviously you'd then have to pay again for them to build the working instrument from that prototype. If it truly is a bespoke one-of-a-kind instrument built from quality materials and components, with a round or two of prototyping and development I wouldn't expect much change from $10-15K as a starting point.

It's easier for both the builder and customer if you can approach them and say, "here's a design that gets me 90% there - can you help me make the last 10%?" If you can get to that 90% point by either making your own mockup out of cardboard/polystyrene/MDF/plywood/an old coffee table/your bedroom door, or you can point out a model that you've tried that you know was really close, the builder is more likely to be able to get you there in one go and be able to provide you with a reasonable quote for doing so.

You said earlier you got close with a Vee body shape. Maybe focus your attention on other guitars which have the elongated body shape such as the Gibson Explorer (and variants), Gibson Firebird, Ibanez Destroyer, Ibanez Xiphos or Dean Dimebag.

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I've made no progress.

On 5/31/2020 at 5:39 PM, curtisa said:

You said earlier you got close with a Vee body shape. Maybe focus your attention on other guitars which have the elongated body shape such as the Gibson Explorer (and variants), Gibson Firebird, Ibanez Destroyer, Ibanez Xiphos or Dean Dimebag.

V guitar are light and the strap buttons are roughly in the right places. But they can't be played sitting. 

The billy bo jupiter model is almost like a V but can be played seated. But I can't commission a guitar I never tried. I want to try it, even if a knockoff, so long as that knockoff has the correct chambers.

Explorer is a heavier guitar. The firebird might work if it has the right cutaways. Razorback and Xiphos felt uncomfortable. 

I don't know what to do.

=I tried playing standing up again today. Almost impossible. I've been playing seated with the guitar three inches from my torso, so my left arm has room to be. I tried standing and playing because playing funk seated is difficult because the right arm is curled up. Standing, the right arm is more extended. 

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On 5/31/2020 at 6:50 PM, curtisa said:

OK, how about chambering?

As I suspected - we're down to semantics.

by my definition of "construction methods"...

:chambering is not soild-body.   its like semi or hollow body.

carves and cutouts are a shape, not  a construction method.

alternative materials are materials, not construction methods.

i guess that leaves "fatsening methods" as my definition of construction methods - IE glue, screws, nuts and bolts, nails, press fit parts, lashing with cordage, soldering, brazing, welding, etc.

And if you consider screws etc to be hardware parts, like pickups and bridges (as I do), that just leaves things like glue, string, solder, and brazing rods as construction methods that add weight.

Thus my question.

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23 minutes ago, GarrettS said:

I tried standing and playing because playing funk seated is difficult because the right arm is curled up. Standing, the right arm is more extended. 

So compared to the "traditional" playing position, you want the guitar to be further away, and further to the left - correct?

This moves the elbow away from the ribs, and relaxes the angles on the left shoulder and left elbow.

Further away you can get with a simple spacer on the back of a conventional design.

Further left while maintaining balance with headstock tuners will mean a long body design with lots of weight at the bottom end, like a Gibson V, Jackson randy rhodes,Jackson  roswell, Gibon Moderne, or something like my x-4 or guitar #3 counterweights.

You can add a leg bar to a V, Randy Rhodes or Roswell and make it playable while seated

I suspect the long curve on the right side of the Modern is strategically placed for use as a leg cutout with excellent balance.   I almost made one at one point, and studied the shape rather in-depth.

If you go nohead, its easier to balance. as the weight of the hardware is better distributed to begin with.

If in general you want your left arm out to the left more, you may want to stick with longer fender scale lengths.  It should get you about an extra inch of arm stretching room compared to a gibson scale length.

 

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18 minutes ago, norm barrows said:

So compared to the "traditional" playing position, you want the guitar to be further away, and further to the left - correct?

Yes.

 

18 minutes ago, norm barrows said:

This moves the elbow away from the ribs, and relaxes the angles on the left shoulder and left elbow.

Yes.

18 minutes ago, norm barrows said:

Further away you can get with a simple spacer on the back of a conventional design.

Further left while maintaining balance with headstock tuners will mean a long body design with lots of weight at the bottom end, like a Gibson V, Jackson randy rhodes,Jackson  roswell, Gibon Moderne, or something like my x-4 or guitar #3 counterweights.

Yes, long body design. And the upper strap button a bit lower, like around 19th fret, like with a V.

18 minutes ago, norm barrows said:

You can add a leg bar to a V, Randy Rhodes or Roswell and make it playable while seated

OK. I've never tried that.

18 minutes ago, norm barrows said:

I suspect the long curve on the right side of the Modern is strategically placed for use as a leg cutout with excellent balance.   I almost made one at one point, and studied the shape rather in-depth.

Yeah, looks good. Similar dimensions to the BBJ. Can't find one at GC or sweetwater. Can't try it.

18 minutes ago, norm barrows said:

If you go nohead, its easier to balance. as the weight of the hardware is better distributed to begin with.

That's the plan. Headless, thicker body. I'm worried the body will be too heavy, especially if I go thick, like 9cm, even with heavy contours.

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45 minutes ago, GarrettS said:

And the upper strap button a bit lower, like around 19th fret, like with a V.

strap button placement vs balanced when seating are two semi-separate arts/sciences.

i tend to figure out seated first, then figure out where buttons need to go, given the weight distribution once its balanced for playing while seated.  I dont change the balance for standing. I balance it seated, then set the strap to that balance. 

strap buttons will determine  how high / low it hangs, how far left/ right, and the "roll centerline" for tilting towards the ground / sky.  the weight distribution between the two buttons will determine the angle it hangs at.

The trick is to find a button location that gets you both the guitar location and angle you want.

You can test with an existing guitar by masking it with painters tape to protect the finish, then duct tape wood dowels (or whatever) on for leg bars, strap button bars and/or counterweight bars.    Wood or cardboard can be taped on as spacers for a thicker body.   Lead fishing weights, stone, brick, or wood (PT is heavy) can be used as tape-on counterweights.

From there you might move on to a custom body sketch, then a fullsize cardboard cutout, then perhaps modding a kit, or using a kit with a body you make.  Or  make a new body for your existing guitar.   Or make a body, and order a neck and hardware and make it totally custom - you get to spec out every last nut and bolt.    If you do make a body, you'll need cutting, sanding, carving/routing, and drilling tools, either hand or power versions.

 

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1 hour ago, GarrettS said:

OK. I've never tried that.

I sold my randy rhodes due to its lack of a leg cutout.

i put a simple drywall screw sticking out of the side of my roswell.   It was just enough to keep it from sliding. I later removed it for cosmetic reasons.

And I've heard of V's with leg bars / cutouts added.   If you Google it, I'm sure you'll find some.

1 hour ago, GarrettS said:

Yeah, looks good. Similar dimensions to the BBJ. Can't find one at GC or sweetwater. Can't try it.

The Moderne is a very rare beast.  Introduced at the same time as the flying V, but never actually mass produced.   They released a "reissue"  for a few years decades later.   But apparently there were perhaps at most three prototypes originally built.    I believe only two prototypes are known to still exist.  There may be a kit though...

 

looks like the "reissue" was the first production run, in 1982.

you can get an Epi clone for about $600, and here's a "Chibson" clone for $280....

https://www.dhgate.com/product/unique-design-moderne-korina-1958-reissue/534584933.html?f=bm|GMC|pla|8141954144|84397643496|534584933|pla-863384510794|113003009|US|jugg__guitar|c|2|&utm_source=pla&utm_medium=GMC&utm_campaign=jugg__guitar&utm_term=534584933&gclid=CjwKCAjwt-L2BRA_EiwAacX32b9ty-Fr_pnkLBREH2QD0f1iuZepnbrQwOvqaJZ1i5L8dB5AXloYFhoCWr0QAvD_BwE 

 

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1 hour ago, GarrettS said:

thicker body. I'm worried the body will be too heavy, especially if I go thick, like 9cm, even with heavy contours.

use a spacer instead of a full body. keep it as light as possible while maintaining sufficient strength, and only add mass for balance.

and don't forget moment arm.   twice the length and half the weight for the same torque around the center of balance.

The downside is that guitars with long counterweights are long and awkward.   Most guitars are 3.25 feet long   My "guitar #3" is 5 feet long, and its somewhat awkward - like swinging an axe - you need a clear field of fire around you.  My "x-4" build is 4 feet long.  much more manageable, but still takes some getting used to.  Its a nohead design, so it needed less counterweight to begin with. 

 

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Think of it this way. all you really need is the bit of wood from the neck to the tailpiece. It only has to be wide enough for the neck, pickup, bridge, and tailpiece mountings.  and it only needs to be 1/2 to 3/4 in thick.

Everything else - strap horns, leg cutouts, balance - is about putting the strings and controls where you want them, and prvoding things like arm or wrist rests, or upper fret access.

So start with a neck and that 3 x 10 x 1/2 ( or so ) plank of wood and figure out what to add to make it fit you.

leg cutout / bar will determine left /right location when seated.

leg cutout depth / body width will determine up / down location when seated.

spacers/ body thickness / belly carves will determine close to / away from the body location when seated.

balance will largely determine neck angle when seated.   leg cutout shape may have some effect.

balance and leg cutouts / bars  will determine how it "hangs " when seated.

balance and strap button locations will determine how it "hangs" when standing.

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8 hours ago, norm barrows said:

by my definition of "construction methods"...

:chambering is not soild-body.   its like semi or hollow body.

carves and cutouts are a shape, not  a construction method.

alternative materials are materials, not construction methods

The original discussion was regarding balance of the instrument. Why would the method of construction of a guitar (and yes, when talking holistically about balance you have to consider all aspects of the way the guitar was put together, including the materials used, it's shape and the distribution of weight due to hollows, voids and curves actively created by the builder) not take into account the above items?

Your original statement was:

On 6/1/2020 at 3:21 AM, norm barrows said:

what construction method would affect balance in a solid body?

AFAICT the response provided doesn't seem unreasonable given the topic at hand.

 

6 hours ago, norm barrows said:

The downside is that guitars with long counterweights are long and awkward.   Most guitars are 3.25 feet long   My "guitar #3" is 5 feet long, and its somewhat awkward - like swinging an axe - you need a clear field of fire around you.  My "x-4" build is 4 feet long.  much more manageable, but still takes some getting used to.  Its a nohead design, so it needed less counterweight to begin with. 

It's a novel suggestion, but I doubt many people would consider it a practical solution. I would argue that a guitar that's almost as long to the right of the body with an attached counterweight as it is to the left with the neck is creating far more problems than it solves, 

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On 6/4/2020 at 10:06 PM, curtisa said:

It's a novel suggestion, but I doubt many people would consider it a practical solution.

I don't advocate long counterweight guitars - its just something i'm experimenting with - like the thumbscrews.

With the counterweight experiments (remember the lead brick idea for the red guitar?), I'm reaching the conclusion that shorter is in general better.   Even my Roswell is somewhat awkward due to its body length - and its heavy.

In the long run, I suspect a slightly longer (3.5 foot) thin body and strategically placed weight on the lower right back side will be the answer - combined with nohead designs of course.  This should result in the best compromise between overall length and weight in a balanced guitar.

traditional headstock designs would be similar, simply with more top end weight to be countered.

 

.

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2 hours ago, norm barrows said:

I don't advocate long counterweight guitars - its just something i'm experimenting with - like the thumbscrews.

With the counterweight experiments (remember the lead brick idea for the red guitar?), I'm reaching the conclusion that shorter is in general better.   Even my Roswell is somewhat awkward due to its body length - and its heavy.

In the long run, I suspect a slightly longer (3.5 foot) thin body and strategically placed weight on the lower right back side will be the answer - combined with nohead designs of course.  This should result in the best compromise between overall length and weight in a balanced guitar.

traditional headstock designs would be similar, simply with more top end weight to be countered.

 

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First off, I need to get the basic shape down. The BBJ probably will work, so I need to try one.

Shorter is perhaps OK for your shoulders, Norm, but that does not work for me for reasons stated. Again, that right-shifts the guitar and that's the opposite of what I want. I want the guitar left-shifted. The way to make that happen is with a longer body shape.

Different body types fit things differently…  Automobile manufacturer and clothing designers don't get this either… They design clothes and cars I can't fit into. No jeans fit me and with my broad shoulders, few coats that aren't designed for obese men will, either. In the most obnoxious cases, I hear things like "Oh, you can fit in the car, just lean the seat way back." Guitar builders will say these general-purpose best practices, too; things like "a strap button on a long horn is best because it gives the guitar more stability" without considering that that right-shifts the guitar and pulls it too close to the player's torso. Some players have a more prominent breastplate abdomen, with set-back shoulders and for those players, it can work. I have the opposite.

The counterweight for a headless guitar idea is getting ahead and seems unnecessary. Rather, chambering the guitar and choosing a lighter tone block will lighten it and that will be better. 

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5 minutes ago, GarrettS said:

Shorter is perhaps OK for your shoulders, Norm, but that does not work for me for reasons stated. Again, that right-shifts the guitar and that's the opposite of what I want.

I'm leaning towards shorter AND shifted left.   I do a lot of semi-palm muting, so i rest my wrist just behind the saddles.  So for me the "picking area" is at the bridge pickup.  When i sit down to play air guitar, my right hand rests on my right leg.  So to put the picking area where i want it, the leg cutout needs to be at the bridge, not the middle pickup, IE about 4 inches to the right. this shifts the entire guitar 4 inches to the left. This actually makes balance worse, but playing position better.   So now your guitar sort of has a 4 in longer neck, and a 4 inch shorter body - from a balance and "how far does this thing stick out?" point of view.  Add 4 inches to the bottom of the body, and it sticks out no more in that direction -. you just have a long neck - and better balance, and a 4 inch longer moment arm to hang weight off of.. 

By shorter, i mean overall length of 3.5 feet as opposed to 4 or 5 feet long.   3.5 feet is still longer than most standard guitars, which seem to tip the scales at 3.25 feet.

If I were you I would make a cardboard "neck template", and a cardboard "body blank".  I would tape the neck to the body, then cut away material from the body until it fit me and placed the neck where I wanted it when seated. This would get me a basic body shape. From there I'd probably go with a cheap prefab neck, and cheap wood for a test body.  I'd use that to work out balance when seated.  So now it fits me, and balances when seated.  Then I would figure out where the strap needed to be for balance, adding strap button arms as needed for testing.  When that's done, I have a guitar that fits me, is balanced sitting, and hangs correctly standing. If it looked good enough, i might leave it at that. If not, i would likely use that design to build a nice one with more expensive parts.

 

 

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37 minutes ago, GarrettS said:

The counterweight for a headless guitar idea is getting ahead and seems unnecessary. Rather, chambering the guitar and choosing a lighter tone block will lighten it and that will be better. 

Unfortunately, unless you're copying a known design, its hard to tell exactly how bad neck dive (IE imbalance) will be until you try.

chambering and lighter wood below the desired center of gravity  (CG)  will work against you.  above the desired CG it works in your favor.

so where is the desired CG?   where it causes the guitar to balance on your right leg at the proper playing position and angle, all by itself.   And, it seems that location is directly above the leg cutout at the centerline of the guitar, when the guitar is at the desired playing location and angle when seated.  This puts it a bit above the leg cut out.   On most guitars, this is near the neck pickup position.  and most guitars have an actual center of balance at about the 20th fret - very close to the neck pickup position.

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23 minutes ago, norm barrows said:

If not, i would likely use that design to build a nice one with more expensive parts.

 

perhaps transforming any leg bars or strap bars into horns and cutouts in the body, while I was at it.

This body I made for the "Ergo 12" started as a neck and a big rectangle of cardboard. I cut away (and taped back on) cardboard until I got the shape I wanted, then transferred it to plywood.    But it will likely have balance issues.   That's a '69 fender acoustic 12 string neck, and it weighs a ton with a dozen tuners installed.

IMG_20200607_190401.thumb.jpg.c8b7c856890d1355521ba64a3514f9b9.jpg

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