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Hollow Solid Body


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Simpler than an actual semihollowbody with bent sides? Sure. :D

Chambered solidbodies are very common and have a long history. It's a great idea and should work very well as long as you've planned it out.

Greg

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Loss of tone? Unless you're filling each routed out hole with something that rattles, you certainly wont be losing any tone. I've got a 6-string fretless build coming up that follows this idea a bit. Given this is the old design, it will have quite a few changes.

fretless3.jpg

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Here is a quote from David when I asked the same question about chambering a solid body.

Chambering does two things; first it lightens the weight of the guitar, and second it increases the resonance but decreases the sustain. It is a balance that you want to go for. If you want a light guitar get some lighter weight woods and chamber for tone. too much chambering can kill resonance. I would suggest tapping the body when you route every 1/4 " so you can get a feel for what it is doing. I try to find a balance of resonance and sustain by going for a bell like tap tone.
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<Drak, kicking back, watches the smoke curl up from his Camel, and sits back to enjoy the show>

Hey Drak, if you care to do more than sit this one out . . . I know you mentioned in previous threads (I just did a nice search on chambered guitars and read a bit) that you have made a bunch of them and could not really say definitively what difference the chambering made, but I am going to assume you like them o.k., or at the very least have worthwhile experience with them, so . . .

For those of you who have actually built solid and chambered guitars, including but certainly not limited to Drak, particularly if you have done two guitars of the same materials and designs with one chambered and one left entact, a few questions:

1) Are there any concrete differences in the the sound and usability between the two? Did one become muddier with more gain, or was the tone more articulate, bassier/treblier/fuller/thinner/etc. than the other? I do not think one adds or subtracts tone (I do not think of tone as a quantity), but what qualities do you find it changes?

2) Is one going to be better suited to certain style(s) than the other?

3) Do you tend to gravitate toward a chambered over a solid-bodied, or vice-versa? If so, one way or the other, why?

4) Are there any negatives or quirks about chambered guitar bodies you care to share with rookies like myself?

I actually DID search through the archives. Still, if there are any good threads that already say what you are planning to type, just the URL is fine. I may have missed some good replies buried in threads not specifically about chambering, or some good threads in general may have flown under my radar.

-Cheers

Edited by Dave I
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Sorry, not getting drawn in.

Peace, and contentment be with you friend. :D

That is too bad. I hope you change your mind; I'm just trying to gather opinions, particularly from people who have hands-on comparative experience in this, not trying to stir anything up. That being said, I respect your decision.

-Cheers

Edited by Dave I
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3 things to think about

1. don't hollow out around the center of the body or you will destroy the sound

2. Don't make the body so light the neck drops when you are holding a beer and adjusting your amp (look I made a divining rod)

3. you don't have to make the cavities pretty because no one will see them (Ok an f hole) so use a big fostner bit and drill press for most of the cavity work then a router if you care about looks.

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I've done few full solidbodies, but I've done several chambered (multi-chamber, and fewer large chamber, even a single huge one with a bridge block) electrics, all set necks, all more or less the same materials.

1) None of them have sustain issues, even the most chambered (with a thinned, 1/4" all the way around carved top) has not lead to 'destroying the sound'.

2) They all balance well. This is important.

3) Most of the cavities are hogged with a forstner then cleaned up a bit with a router. I'm a touch **** retentive that way, perhaps, although not to the point where I've bothered making templates.

4) Chambered bodies are more lively, more complex, more resonant, feed back more easily (without F-holes, it's very controllable, even at high volume), and I haven't found the sustain suffers in a significant (ie, affects the overal sound negatively) way. Bigger chambers = more effect, smaller chambers reduce weight and give it a slightly more lively feel, but not nearly as significantly.

5) I almost always build chambered bodies. I like the liveliness, and it's perfectly well suited to, well, anything but high-gain metal as far as I'm concerned, where I prefer something a little less complex from the get-go. A large part of this is also my choice of scale length, pickups, pickups, s'more pickups, woods (maple over mahogany), and so on. However, keep in mind this is my personal 'truth', and works for the way I build my instruments, and I end up with a sounds I like. It's not a solid Les Paul sort of 'thing', it's a little more acoustic-y. Start building and see what YOU like.

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3) Most of the cavities are hogged with a forstner then cleaned up a bit with a router. I'm a touch **** retentive that way, perhaps, although not to the point where I've bothered making templates.

Oh come on! How can you live with yourself knowing that the inside of those never to be seen again chambers don't have perfect edges! Sorry I can't handle that idea, a few weeks ago, I had to stop myself from sanding down a nearly invisible ridge that occured during clean up with a router. I will say that I was able to stop myself, but I had to rush to glue the top on otherwise I would have had to fix the problem. Chamber template J

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3) Most of the cavities are hogged with a forstner then cleaned up a bit with a router. I'm a touch **** retentive that way, perhaps, although not to the point where I've bothered making templates.

Oh come on! How can you live with yourself knowing that the inside of those never to be seen again chambers don't have perfect edges! Sorry I can't handle that idea, a few weeks ago, I had to stop myself from sanding down a nearly invisible ridge that occured during clean up with a router. I will say that I was able to stop myself, but I had to rush to glue the top on otherwise I would have had to fix the problem. Chamber template J

If it makes you feel any better, I actually scraped the inside of my chambered 'archtop'. And did make a template for that. Made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, so I may well do that again.

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4) Chambered bodies are more lively, more complex, more resonant, feed back more easily (without F-holes, it's very controllable, even at high volume), and I haven't found the sustain suffers in a significant (ie, affects the overal sound negatively) way. Bigger chambers = more effect, smaller chambers reduce weight and give it a slightly more lively feel, but not nearly as significantly.

Do you place the chambers kind of randomly along (but not across) where the strings and bridge go, or is there any science or rules-of-thumb to that?

5) I almost always build chambered bodies. I like the liveliness, and it's perfectly well suited to, well, anything but high-gain metal as far as I'm concerned, where I prefer something a little less complex from the get-go. A large part of this is also my choice of scale length, pickups, pickups, s'more pickups, woods (maple over mahogany), and so on. However, keep in mind this is my personal 'truth', and works for the way I build my instruments, and I end up with a sounds I like. It's not a solid Les Paul sort of 'thing', it's a little more acoustic-y. Start building and see what YOU like.

Do you use Maple over Mahogany as in you prefer to use Maple INSTEAD of Mahogany, or you use Mahogany with Maple on top a/o bottom?

Finally, do you find there is any truth that the smaller/shorter chambers increase treble response while the longer/larger chambers increase the bass response?

-Cheers

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1) Both randomly and across the string path. I basically make sure the neck is supported fully, and that the bridge is supported sufficiently. On long-tenon necks that go way into the body, nothing under the string path, obviously, but I'm currenlty making what's essentially an archtop acoustic, with a braced carved top, no block under the bridge, which will have a tailpiece. There's no science behind it - at least, nothing published or peer-reviewed, and I can't pretend to have a cogent hypothesis on the how and the why, it's purely empirical data. Example of chambering on a long-set tenon instrument:

http://www.xs4all.nl/~mvalente/guitarpics/pat_body_13.jpg

Resulting sound: very 'solidbodylike', more that other one I did with a very similar body shape and chambering, only one large chamber with a solid centrepiece, but still a bit livelier overall.

2) Maple over mahogany as in figured maple top on a mahogany back and a mahogany set neck. the Les Paul wood recipe, if you will, or PRS (since I tend to use a 25" scale). I can't say I'd say there's much of any truth to the resonant frequency response aspect of the longer/larger vs. shorter/smaller; the trebliest guitar I've ever built was a deep bodied one with a single huge route and just a block under the bridge area. I just find that the smaller, non-communicating chambers make things a little more solidbodylike, so it depends on what I'm going for/who I'm building for. Higher gain, smaller chambers, if any, everything else remaining equal (which it doesn't, either).

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Loss of tone? Unless you're filling each routed out hole with something that rattles, you certainly wont be losing any tone. I've got a 6-string fretless build coming up that follows this idea a bit. Given this is the old design, it will have quite a few changes.

Planning to do a Fretless 6-string 36 fret Bass, Cirrus-like.

What is the Reccomended String height or action on the First fret and 24th Fret?

Did a test neck with almost the same "over-fretboard-height" at Bridge as 24th Fret and 1st fret just 2mm lower, and it buzzes annoyingly.

Therefore it is useful to know what heights I should aim for.

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