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Oh God, I've Been Thinking Again


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I know this normally leads toplaces that I don't want to go, but I've been thinking again (can I hear a groan comming from the US).

I was playing my acoustic last night and I was pondering the vibration of the soundboard. Now theres a great amount of effort done to make it all flexible and braced in the right places. I've even seen some really funcky designs to spread the load over the area of the soundboard. So why the hell do we allow a big fat greasy arm to rest on the top of it and dampen the vibration. Seems a bit odd to me.

I was thinking what would happen if, for example, the body was made slightly narrower and a solid rest for the forearm was added so that you could not touch the soundboard (the rest wouldn't touch it either). Obviously there will be some detailed work getting it all to feel right etc, but I thought the concept may be fairly interesting.

Here's a quick sketch that I did:

armrest.jpg

What do you think?

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Do this test. Have somone listen to your guitar from about 3 feet away (thats a meter for you foreign folk :D ) Now play your guitar, now while still playing move the guitar away from your chest and don't touch the top with your arm. Ask the person if they heard a diffrence in the sound. There IS a diffrence when your touching your guitar or not.

I'm not sure if your idea will work correctly, but it deffinitly solves a problem in an interesting way that won't detract aesthetically from the guitar.

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rather than designing a whole new guitar and then having to build it you might take a hint from the lowly banjo. if you have a beater acoustic laying around that you wouldn't mind a couple of holes in make a smaller arm rest, get an L-bracket from your local hardware store and mount it from the side of the guitar. i imagine that a rest that was just a couple of inches wide and 8 to9 10 inches long would do the job nicely.

then if it gives you the results that you're looking for you can build a guitar from scratch like the one in your drawing..pattent it, get filthy rich and we can all say we knew you when. :D

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Unfortunately I can't see your sketch right now(software blocks some images on this computer). I will look at it tonight.

It is a very good thought. There are a quite a few builders that are looking to improve the shape of their guitars to make it easier to keep your arm off the soundboard. The deep rear bout really makes it hard to keep your arm away(especially on deeper designs- say dreds). I personally think modifying the wedge thickness in this area is a great idea(and really quite simple to do). Building a brace from a stiffer side could be a good idea as long as it doesn't torque or compress the box(of course even if it had a downside, the possitves of keeping the arm off the soundboard could be well worth it.). Maybe a little strip of copper purfling with a small electrical charge (potentail beween the strings and purfiling) would train the player to not touch your soundboards :D .

Peace,Rich

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Ok, Now I see the pic. Looks like it would be tricky to keep something that large under control, but the concept is solid. Looking at the links above. I like the idea of a thinner design. It would be nice if the guitar was specifically braced for the rest. I personally get really protective of the outer ring of the soundboard. I intentionally try to make that a slightly more flexable area(kinda like the rim of a speaker cone- not by any means that flexable, but you get the idea). Of course the kerfed 3/16" or so would be fair game. I think your idea of bringing a point of attachment around the side seems cool (a little extra side bracing for backing could be a real good thing). I still believe the idea of making the box thinner (modify the back wedge shape) would help by making it easier to get your arm over without squeezing the body. Plus really deep bodies can get uncomfortable.

Keep thinking dude! You have great ideas :D

Rich

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Crap, had a look last night and I've thrown out the two dodgy old acoustic bodies that I had laying around.

I'm not intending on actually building this at the minute, all projects are on hold while I learn to play better and after I've payed for the wedding (except getting the Eggle up and running).

Just thought I'd throw that idea out there.

Maybe I'll try it on my 3/4 length spanish guitar.

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  • 1 month later...

Not to bust your bubble, but I had the same idea, and someone at the chiladni pattern yahoo board does this regularly. He just mounts an extended wood side piece that goes an inch or two over the board. Ive had about 5 'breakthrough" ideas so far, and all of them have been done by individual builders Ive seen. Only one or 2 of my ideas I havent seen so far, but Im betting that they have also been done. Lots of smart builders who have lots of ideas. Ive even seen my weird * idea done by someone. grrrr oh well.

My bridge designs and my headstock designs are origonal to some degree, but that wont effect sound.

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