Jump to content

Chambering The Body

Recommended Posts

Well, by the overall mass of the wood being reduced, I guess the theory is that it'll be more apt to resonate. On the other hand, some people maintain that the more mass your body has, the better the sustain will be.

I suspect that the truth lies somewhere in-between and will depend on the wood and the type of chambering done.

One thing I'd watch out for is the assumption that it will have more of an acoustic tone, which is simply not true. Magnetic pickups operate based on the string's vibration over the pickup. While the chambering will certainly alter the tone of the guitar, this will be due to changes in mass and resonance, not due to the coincidence that your guitar will likely become more acoustically audible, too.

Personally, I feel that at the end of the day, your choice of pickups, strings, and nut/bridge (plus the general combination of woods regardless of chambering) will affect your tone more than the chambering itself.

Lightness is a good thing, though, no? :D Reason enough for me!

Be aware, however, that while I tend to make my responses based on what I've learned, and also on common sense, I'm not an experienced luthier like some of the folks around here. Then again, all trades and arts (including luthiery) can be full of information both good and bad regardless of experience level.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would put myself in the same category greg just mentioned.. i'm by no means an expert...

..but I have played for many years and efinitely have my opinions on this matter.. Hollowbodies have a different tone than solid bodies. period. And chambered solid bodies have a little different tone than pure solid bodies.. Yes, theoretically the body is just a big support for the bridge, pickups and neck.. and the tone exists only in the 'vacuum' of those components but in reality the body's makeup does affect the tone. Otherwise you'd see guitars out there made of all kinds of crap.

My theory, and anyone can smack me down if I'm wrong.. Is that all pickups are a teensy bit microphonic. Some of the boutique guys even refuse to pot their pickups because if you completely take away the pickups ability to capture the acoustic tone of the instrument, you're sterilizing your overall tone a lot.. But the majority of pups have a little microphonic nature to them even if potted.. Potting just stops the ultra-microphonic squeal.

Given this, your raw tone existing on the string between the bridge and the termination point, can be colored by the resonance and acoustic properties of the body and neck.. Sometimes a minimal factor but it's the little details.. Some people want a really bright snappy sound and some want a warm middy sound.. your woods can tune your sound in either direction.. and chambering affects it just like your choice of wood can.

Now i don't know that i buy into the "tuned" chambers and all that jazz.. on an acoustic instrument there is something to resonating frequencies and the like but on an electric.. i don't know that it makes that much difference.. The bodies makeup does let you tweak the timbre fo the instrument though, and allows you to develop it's character.

Anyway, that's my most humble opinion..

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've seen this topic brought up more often than I can possibly tell you about on many many guitar/luthier forums over the years.

And the only answers I ever really see is theories and conjectures and sometimes (not here tho) massive pontifications and pronouncements of pure BS tonal conjecture.

I have seen guys who have never even finished one single guitar write pages and pages worth of completely hypothetical crap reguarding this subject.

Do a search on the MIMF and you'll be reading for days about it.

There 'is' an answer, but really there is no answer. You do it and you see what happens. It's as simple as that. The answer is on a sliding scale of events depending on a lot of other key factors, let's put it that way.

I myself have chambered ~scads~ of bodies all different ways and even I couldn't give you an answer.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

it makes the guitar sound more acoustic like when its not plugged in....

Possibly. On the other hand, the most 'acoustic' sounding electric guitar I have is my good ol' Melody Maker (which I'm currently in the process of falling for all over again, aw shucks :D ).

I mean, that unplugged, this guitar is quite nearly as resonant, and has nearly as much volume as my Hofner archtop. Really.

The trick has always been trying to find a pickup/amp combination that is able to bring out the natural sound of this guitar...I think I've finally found a good combination, a Sansamp Tri AC and a GFS Memphis mini humbucker...

So I'm going to side with Drak on this one...every guitar is different, some solidbodies will resonate like a hollowbody, some hollowbodies will be tight-sounding as a solidbody...

Personally, I love semi-hollowbody guitars, I think they look great and feel great (because they're so much lighter). And maybe the man's right--they sound great because the pickups (in French they're called 'micros' and that's for a good reason) capture some of that sound.

Oh I forgot to mention, my Melody Maker is a reject --it's only 33 mm thick! And it weighs something like 2.5 kilos...amazing to hold!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

well, let me throw my two cents worth to the discussion..i tend to make most of my guitars out of fairly dense wood..walnut and mesquite being my favorites. these solid bodies seem to sell better.

but i have made a couple of semi-hollow bodies by sandwiching three pieces of wood and cutting chambers in the center piece and then adding a front and back. i generally add pafs to this type of guitar and the end result is a mellow, jazzy/bluesy sounding guitar.

i haven't done it yet but i suspect that if i added some really hot pups to them they wouldn't sound that different than a solid body when amplified.

ok, maybe that was three cents worth. :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well i think it all goes to prove that there are so many elements that color the tone of an instrument.. It's like the ingredients in cooking.. Each spice adds flavor.. too much of one can cancel out the effects of several others..

With the right mix of woods and electronics you can get very creative with your tone.. But if you go put duncan invaders on a gibson 335.. it probably isn't going to sound like a 335 anymore :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...