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Thread: Taylor V-class bracing - No direct mando content

  1. #26
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Taylor V-class bracing - No direct mando content

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    Registered User fscotte's Avatar
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    Default Re: Taylor V-class bracing - No direct mando content

    Braces replace the stiffness lost by keeping the plate lighter.

    A routed channel? Why not just sand it thinner like we do on a mandolin recurve?

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    Registered User Drew Streip's Avatar
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    Default Re: Taylor V-class bracing - No direct mando content

    Quote Originally Posted by fscotte View Post
    Braces replace the stiffness lost by keeping the plate lighter.

    A routed channel? Why not just sand it thinner like we do on a mandolin recurve?
    Probably because it's less labor intensive and more easily replicated from one soundboard to the next. And it's more visually striking, which helps the marketing materials.

    But I do think it's an idea worth considering for flattop instruments. In this day and age, they (Taylor) can afford to do repeated stress testing to ensure that the tops won't be more prone to cracks and punctures than a normal top.

    I can't hear any improvement in tone by watching videos on a laptop, but I'm sure they're fine guitars that probably experience the same amount of variation between "meh" and "wow!" that other large scale operations produce.

    I know -- not an exciting or extreme answer. Sorry to not stir the pot.

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    Default Re: Taylor V-class bracing - No direct mando content

    Phil, I am sorry if you think my post was off the mark. But you have been around here long enough to know that sometimes threads go off on tangents. It’s happened to me multiple times. Are you saying it’s never happened to you? I don’t work with acoustics on a day to day basis but I have studied acoustics and therefore I have interest and opinions on the subject as it applies to the instruments I play on a day to day basis.

    I added my anectdotal stories about my experiences with the Taylor Guitar Company just to point out that they have a history of making claims of “improvements” without a lot of evidence to back them up. If you read that article in Wood and Steel carefully, you see that there is a LOT of pseudo scientific double talk and gobbledegook about the acoustical improvements, without a shred of actual scientific evidence presented. No measurements, no raw data, no apparent scientific methodology utilized. Maybe they did it scientifically, but that is not communicated in the article. It sounds more like they built prototypes, let people play them, and collected anecdotal “evidence” like “The notes sound sweeter”. Talk about subjective!

    Fscotte, I would speculate that they use the rout instead of thinning the edges because it would be much easier from a manufacturing standpoint. Program a CNC to cut a single rout? Simple. Thinning edges consistently would be a lot more difficult and time consuming, I should think.
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    Registered User Tom Wright's Avatar
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    Default Re: Taylor V-class bracing - No direct mando content

    Quote Originally Posted by MontanaMatt View Post
    Perhaps the routed channel acts like the recurve section on mandolin and fiddles, allowing the top to pump like a speaker cone?
    That is my guess, too, because the cross brace under the soundhole will stiffen the top a lot, preventing in/out flexing. I think the idea is to head a bit more toward stiff speaker cone and away from flexing drum head.

    There sure can be new ways to brace---Buchanan changed in his latest model, which uses some kind of channel at the edge to trap the x-braces and flex them into a pre-stressed state, I think. In any case it is very much more lively and projects quite a bit better. He told me the idea comes from his work with Weissenborn guitars.
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    Default Re: Taylor V-class bracing - No direct mando content

    Before bowing out of this discussion, I just wanted to give a special shout out to the response by Graham McDonald. He really hit the nail on the head on so many levels. It would appear that he agrees with me on the “science” presented in the Wood and Steel article, although he stated his case in a much nicer way than I did! Also appreciated that he brought out that similar designs have been tried in the past by others. It is indeed a truism that “there’s nothing new under the sun”, isn’t it? Thanks for your insight, Graham.

    Don, out.
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  10. #32
    Phil Goodson Philphool's Avatar
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    Default Re: Taylor V-class bracing - No direct mando content

    @multidon:

    Thanks. I agree with everything you said. That's why I asked here for any thoughts that would add/detract to the claims of Taylor from folks who spend some time and expertise thinking about and working with these things. We expect advertising to boast about every change they make to enhance sales, even if the physics & acoustics are sometimes sketchy.

    But sometimes we get a little enthusiastic about sharing all of out personal thoughts and get off the intended track. No harm, no foul.

    Looks like we'll have to try out a few of these puppies in the future to see if the hype is meaningful. If it IS, then we'll have to come back and deconstruct everything again to figure out WHY it works.
    Phil

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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Taylor V-class bracing - No direct mando content

    Quote Originally Posted by Philphool View Post
    ...Looks like we'll have to try out a few of these puppies in the future to see if the hype is meaningful. If it IS, then we'll have to come back and deconstruct everything again to figure out WHY it works.
    Amen. One of the riskiest strategies for evaluation, is to start with the manufacturer's or seller's description of the effect of "improvements." The proof of the pudding may well be whether Taylor's extending use of the V-bracing design throughout its guitar lines. They do have a record of frequent innovations, some of which "stick," others don't.

    I think calling Martin a "legacy guitar company," when Martin's making approximately a zillion models, made from everything from aged tonewoods to Formica, is inaccurate. Martin's "legacy" is its long history of building successful guitars, but it hasn't stopped the company from introducing innovations -- for better or worse. (I bought a Formica Little Martin as a travel guitar for a cross-country train trip, and it was surprisingly acoustically decent. And Taylor's made about a zillion Baby Taylors, I guess. Dueling innovations...)
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  13. #34

    Default Re: Taylor V-class bracing - No direct mando content

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    I bought a Formica Little Martin as a travel guitar for a cross-country train trip, and it was surprisingly acoustically decent.
    Allen, I'm picturing Woody Guthrie on top of that boxcar with his guitar....................or was it David Carradine?

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    Registered User Tom Haywood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Taylor V-class bracing - No direct mando content

    Has the "best that can be done" been found in mandolin and guitar design? Of course not. Innovative and creative thinking is the only way to discover something better. There may not be anything new under the sun, but new combinations of old ideas can lead to new traditions. Designing a mandolin more like a violin certainly led to new traditions. There is every reason to try those mandolin bracing and top thicknessing techniques, or something similar, on flat top guitars to see if it makes a lasting difference. And of course it has to be a little different than what has already been done in order to secure a patent for future profitability.

    What are the physics involved in this change to a V bracing system? I suggest there are way too many variables to come to some sort of objective agreement. We can say that the top will vibrate differently due to different support. We can say that it will likely sound different in some way because of the way the braces control the top vibration compared to some other design. But there are a hundred other design factors that all working together will create the sound.

    The hype is strictly about selling guitars. Will you buy one because you can hear a noticeable difference in the sound? Will you buy one because you know it will last for 40 years? Of course not. If you buy one it's probably because you like Taylor brand guitars and want the latest, or it's because you are buying your first good guitar and are attracted by the sales pitch. (It's the latest and greatest, and you get all this at an affordable price.)

    Taylor is known for constant innovative design, and particularly for trying different bracing ideas. It seems they are making their tops thinner and lighter all the time (thin like Santa Cruz, IMO), thus the need for innovative bracing. About three years ago, they redesigned the 810 and compared it to the Martin D-28. They played wonderfully like Taylors do and they held up pretty well in a bluegrass setting, but I don't see many of them floating around. My concern was that the top was very thin and the bracing, although pretty traditional, was tiny in size. A guitar company gets the legacy status because their old guitars are around and are sought after many years after they were made.

    BTW, there are several guitar and mandolin makers who do achieve an incredible amount of both volume and sustain. Makes it hard for me to imagine that a new design is necessary.

    But I'm all ears.

  16. #36
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    Default Re: Taylor V-class bracing - No direct mando content

    I think Graham McDonald has nailed it. My first reaction when I saw the Taylor A brace was that it was a modified falcate brace. Falcate bracing is quite labour intensive because it involves laminating and bending and adding carbon fibre tow to the top and bottom of the braces, so is not feasible in a factory. It is a more efficient bracing so the top can be made lighter and the guitar is louder and more responsive. When I have tried a falcate braced guitar the most obvious thing is they have a huge dynamic range. Taylor's A brace I would suspect would have a similar effect, but can be made in a factory with CNC capabilities. Taylor has put out a lot of marketing pseudoscience that is confusing a lot of people, particularly the claim about improvements to "intonation". Intonation is in quotation marks because Taylor seem to have a different understanding of what intonation actually means from the rest of us. After reading and listening to recordings I finally got the message of what they mean, but then doing the same thing on my own guitars I hear the same "improvement". So I don't think it is anything new under the sun. In fact a very similar A brace pattern was published a few years ago on an Dutch Internet forum so the US patent office probably should not have granted the patent to Taylor. One thing most people seem to have missed about this is that Taylor's A brace is symmetric. Most guitar X bracing is assymetric because it follows the Martin pattern. Symmetric bracing has always made more sense to me because there is no such thing as treble and bass sides of a soundboard when you start looking at modal patterns. The only thing that is sure is that the A brace is likely to sound different. Whether it is better or not is up to individual preferences.
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  18. #37
    F-style Apostate
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    Default Re: Taylor V-class bracing - No direct mando content

    For those who care, I noticed in a video tour of the Taylor factory from a while back, a couple of years at least, that they were making the routed channel around the edge of the top plate, and I thought to myself what a nifty idea it was for freeing up the plate. My assumption at that point was that they did it to all of their guitars. Had there been failures from that channel, I'm sure it would probably be general knowledge by now since no deed, good or bad, goes unremarked on the internet; secrets are few and far between.


    As far as I can tell, the new bracing looks a bit like modified ladder bracing of sorts, which of course, Collings has been doing in a more traditional form lately with it's Waterloo series guitars. As far as appropriateness of a new bracing scheme goes, I always try to remind myself that everything traditional and accepted as such was new and innovative once.

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    Default Re: Taylor V-class bracing - No direct mando content

    Nobody buys Taylors any more. Too many of them around.

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    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Taylor V-class bracing - No direct mando content

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Mando View Post
    Allen, I'm picturing Woody Guthrie on top of that boxcar with his guitar....................or was it David Carradine?
    David Carradine was on top of the boxcar with a MOSSMAN! What a mess of a movie! Whatever. Has no bearing on this but, I had to chime in.
    The Taylor thing, will either make an impact on those who buy one or not, there will be more Martin guitars than Taylor if for no other reason than they’ve been in business longer.
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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Taylor V-class bracing - No direct mando content

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Mando View Post
    Allen, I'm picturing Woody Guthrie on top of that boxcar with his guitar....................or was it David Carradine?
    I think it was Carradine playing Guthrie -- and a romantic (and romanticized) image it was, too.

    Reminds me of Pete Seeger dropping out of Harvard, and deciding to ride freight trains through the South and collect songs. Broke his banjo jumping off the first freight he rode; had to scare up a guitar to keep going. Lots more people talked about "hopping a freight train" than actually did it. More likely hitchhiking, as Guthrie wrote:

    I've been hitting that Lincoln Highway, I thought you knowed,
    I been hitting that Sixty-Six, 'way down the road;
    Heavy load and a worried mind, looking for a woman that's hard to find,
    I been doing some hard traveling, Lord.


    Now, if Guthrie (or Seeger) had access to a sturdy Formica guitar made by Martin, who knows how far it would have taken them?

    Later:Thanx, Tim, didn't know it was a Mossman. Another anachronism, riding the rails with a guitar that couldn't have been built until 40 years later. I love it when details are lovingly researched to ensure accurate presentation....
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    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Taylor V-class bracing - No direct mando content

    Quote Originally Posted by Philphool View Post
    ...I'd love to hear some comments from those of you who work with the physics of these things on a regular basis. Thanks.
    So would I.
    What I do know about the physics of these things is: the top will vibrate in it's normal modes of motion regardless of how it is braced. There is plenty of literature out there to explain the normal modes of motion in a guitar top, and it doesn't take much reading to understand the basics. I hardly know more than the basics myself, and that is generally enough for my purposes.

    Listening tests done with guitars with various bracing systems lead to the conclusion that 'it's not how you make it stiff, it's how stiff you make it'. In other words, tops of similar stiffness and mass will sound similar regardless of the bracing pattern. There may be differences in the frequencies of some top modes resulting from bracing causing localized variation in top stiffness, but mode shapes will remain similar regardless.

    Here's the top bracing in a 1926 Gibson that I restored 10 or 12 years ago (give or take).
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Default Re: Taylor V-class bracing - No direct mando content

    Click image for larger version. 

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    This V bracing pattern may make a great sounding guitar, but claiming that Andy Powers invented it seems like they are stretching the truth pretty far. Maybe Andy read Graham MacDonald's book, The Mandolin Project and saw the above bracing pattern and thought, I'll tweak that for a guitar. But "invented" seems out of line to me. "Adapted for guitar" might be a better way to advertise it. There is nothing new under the sun.

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    Registered User Tom Haywood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Taylor V-class bracing - No direct mando content

    Thanks, John, for posting that photo. I searched for a photo of a mid 20s Gibson guitar bracing to show this, but couldn't find one.

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    Phil Goodson Philphool's Avatar
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    Default Re: Taylor V-class bracing - No direct mando content

    Quote Originally Posted by sunburst View Post
    .....
    Listening tests done with guitars with various bracing systems lead to the conclusion that 'it's not how you make it stiff, it's how stiff you make it'. In other words, tops of similar stiffness and mass will sound similar regardless of the bracing pattern. There may be differences in the frequencies of some top modes resulting from bracing causing localized variation in top stiffness, but mode shapes will remain similar regardless......
    Thanks for that John.
    We've heard about how the mode shapes aren't very changed by lots of things that people have tried, but I haven't heard a good description of how mode shapes correlate with tone production. Although pretty much all guitars sound like guitars and mandolins sound like mandolins, would most people say that there often are differences in tone among instruments that are made with similar materials, shapes, and graduations?

    Do we have any good specific information about what determines the differences that we hear, other than saying that it's due to differences in stiffness and density that can't be easily measured in individual instruments?

    Thanks for any helpful comments.
    Phil

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    Mandolin tragic Graham McDonald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Taylor V-class bracing - No direct mando content

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Mendel View Post
    Click image for larger version. 

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    This V bracing pattern may make a great sounding guitar, but claiming that Andy Powers invented it seems like they are stretching the truth pretty far. Maybe Andy read Graham MacDonald's book, The Mandolin Project and saw the above bracing pattern and thought, I'll tweak that for a guitar. But "invented" seems out of line to me. "Adapted for guitar" might be a better way to advertise it. There is nothing new under the sun.
    And I happily acknowledge the Gibson Army/Navy models of a century ago which used something quite similar.

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    Registered User Tavy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Taylor V-class bracing - No direct mando content

    Quote Originally Posted by peter.coombe View Post
    I think Graham McDonald has nailed it. My first reaction when I saw the Taylor A brace was that it was a modified falcate brace. Falcate bracing is quite labour intensive because it involves laminating and bending and adding carbon fibre tow to the top and bottom of the braces, so is not feasible in a factory.
    Exactly, the thing that strikes me most of all, is how easy that is to implement, there's no "X" to cut, just shape the braces and stick 'em on


    One thing most people seem to have missed about this is that Taylor's A brace is symmetric. Most guitar X bracing is assymetric because it follows the Martin pattern. Symmetric bracing has always made more sense to me because there is no such thing as treble and bass sides of a soundboard when you start looking at modal patterns.
    That's true, however, I've always rather liked asymmetry: it allows modes which would otherwise be sound-cancelling (side to side rocking modes, out-of-phase radiation from each anti-node) to be net sound producing instead. Whether that's a good thing is of course a matter of taste.

  32. #47
    Registered User fscotte's Avatar
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    Default Re: Taylor V-class bracing - No direct mando content

    If you have two tops exactly the same, on two guitars that sound different, then perhaps the other 80% of the guitar is the culprit.

    I find the back has just as much influence on tone as the top. Why no routed channel on the back?

  33. #48
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Taylor V-class bracing - No direct mando content

    Allen,
    The lobby card had “Woody”Carradine Alan carrying the OOO size Mossman having the “Tree of Life” inlay!
    Walking past that I actually stopped and pointed and laughed out loud!
    Oh, well I will probably make som similar bone head mistake in my life so I’ll stop snickering now.
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

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  35. #49

    Default Re: Taylor V-class bracing - No direct mando content

    Quote Originally Posted by Timbofood View Post
    Allen,
    The lobby card had “Woody”Carradine Alan carrying the OOO size Mossman having the “Tree of Life” inlay!
    Walking past that I actually stopped and pointed and laughed out loud!
    Oh, well I will probably make som similar bone head mistake in my life so I’ll stop snickering now.
    There was a similar criticism of Gary Busey's portrayal of Buddy Holly in the movie. Busey is shown playing various Fender guitars including Telecaster, Stratocaster, and Bronco -- Buddy Holly was known for using a 50's Stratocaster, but the guitars in the movie were from the 60's and 70's, so some of the visual details were wrong -- obvious to guitar fans, as well as Holly fans.

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  37. #50
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Taylor V-class bracing - No direct mando content

    Welcome the the hell of having some knowledge of period instruments and having to keep our mouths shut!
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

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