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Burnout Drednought

Discussion in 'Instrument Makers' started by dee, Aug 26, 2014.

  1. dee

    dee Member Full Member Thread Starter

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    I'm considering a new project. The keyword here is "considering". That being said, I need some input and advice. This might sound totally silly, but new projects don't start without the ideas from our wildest imaginations.
    What's this leading up to? First of all, I own an Ovation LLC047 guitar. Ovation guitars are somewhat unique in their design due to the way the back is made...it's curved or cupped. This makes the guitar very comfortable to hold and helps to drive the sound upward toward the neck.
    My idea is to (attempt to) create a guitar body similar to the Ovation by using a burnout technique with a solid part of a log. Like the ancients used to make canoes. I am familiar with the physics of sound waves on the ultrasonic level, being that I'm an old diagnostic ultrasound tech. However to arrive at an answer utilizing Poinselle's laws to the question of end result sound for this type of undertaking just isn't going to work. Hence, I seek the advice of the unlimited talent in this forum.
    Here's a few pictures to give those not familiar with the Ovation guitar. AGOVFB-LC047LH-f.jpg OVA-LCC047-HB-5.jpg
    Dee

    AGOVFB-LC047LH-f.jpg

    OVA-LCC047-HB-5.jpg
     
  2. Fret440

    Fret440 Member Full Member

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    Here's another idea for going about this... from the internet, not from me...

    Jacob

    Roundback Strips.jpg
     
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  3. dee

    dee Member Full Member Thread Starter

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    Wow, that's a beauty! And StrangeWood Guitars is your business? The idea of creating a guitar body using a burnout technique came to me while I was researching canoe's. I'm pretty tenacious when I get an idea. A burnout wouldn't require bending and might have a structural advantage. Being a solid piece would also allow for some nice shallow carving design. Once the inside was burned out, cleaned and sanded, a sound proof coating could be applied to better the reverberation (returning echo). then a top thin sheet jigsawed out and glued to the front. The inside could be custom shaped to direct the sound out. The whole body could be crafted with little more than simple hand tools, albeit somewhat time consuming. The thickness of the body would be a result of how deep the burning and chiseling went. It could be checked with a caliper device.
    Please do give feedback and your personal insight on sound reverberation.
    Dee
     
  4. dee

    dee Member Full Member Thread Starter

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    I was wondering about an equation to describe the sound inside an acoustic guitar. So...I asked a friend of mine that happens to be a research chemist for Dow Chemical, and this is the answer I got.

    "Figuring out this equation for one known shape would be doctoral thesis material. After that, it could probably be generalized for one variable such as the size of a round hole at one particular location. It would actually be easier to build a guitar and take measurements. Good luck with it. I'm sure Stradivarius didn't have any equations!"

    Sorry I asked. lol. I was simply wondering if there was a way to figure out how this thing might sound before I made it? Ha!
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2014
  5. Fret440

    Fret440 Member Full Member

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    Even then, you could make two identical instruments, with all the wood coming from the same trees and all the measurements being exactly the same, and you would still end up with two instruments with differing sonic characteristics. Truth is, every piece of wood is different in its properties and has to be carefully worked for desired sonic traits. It's easier if a guitarist says they like certain sounds, then I can shape the wood to enhance those things.

    Jacob
     
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  6. dee

    dee Member Full Member Thread Starter

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    That's a great answer Jacob, thank you. I'm going to give this a shot. I'm thinking oak, or pecan, but pine would be easier to work. And...if it doesn't sound too good, at least it'll be purdy to look at.

    "It's easier if a guitarist says they like certain sounds, then I can shape the wood to enhance those things". quote from Jacob

    I prefer sounds more on the tremolo side, less baritone. Could you suggest some ways to enhance tremolo?
     
  7. NYWoodturner

    NYWoodturner Wood Spinner Staff Member Administrator Global Moderator Full Member

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    Dee - This is avery thought provoking post and line of thought. Equations aren't my thing and I have never built a guitar. I have however played one and do own an Ovation. (The most neglected Ovation in the world) Just about every piece of music I listen too has a guitar in the lead and I have worked with a tad bit of wood...
    All that being said I think the idea of a burnout has merit. My gut feeling is that it will produce a very mellow sound - (like what a flugelhorn is to a trumpet). As a woodworker, my knee-jerk reaction to pine is :scare3:.
    From a reverberation standpoint I think the harder and denser the wood is the crisper and brighter tone you will get. Pine would be at the extreme opposite end of that scale.
    I hope you chase the idea demonically and keep us posted. I for one am SUBSCRIBED :popcorn:
     
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  8. dee

    dee Member Full Member Thread Starter

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    That's great advice, and I'm overwhelmed by your encouragement. I agree with utilizing a dense wood. Do think oak would be a good choice? And I wonder if coating the inside with a carbon-graphite composite of some sort would give it extra punch, and decrease sound being absorbed in the wood...as you know, sound travels through different mediums at different speeds. High frequency=less penetration, low frequency=more penetration. But all sound frequencies regardless of their wavelength will at some point send a return echo if there is a gate set. Thus the gate being the coating inside the body. That's the Doppler effect in in a nutshell. The hollow space inside is also a consideration. Air chaotically scatters sound-waves, hence it's a terrible conductor of sound. What do you think about a coating inside? What do you think would make a good top?

    There's a lot of pecan trees around where I live...do you think pecan would work? I think there's also some gum trees.
    And again thanks so much, I'm learning tons of stuff in this forum. You guys are awesome.

    Peace, Dee
     
  9. NYWoodturner

    NYWoodturner Wood Spinner Staff Member Administrator Global Moderator Full Member

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    I don't think Oak would be as good of a choice as many other woods. It has an open grain and would inherently have an open cellular structure and thus a sound deadening property. (In my mind LOL) Pecan is much denser. Mesquite is readily available in your area and would be a better choice I think. Footnote: My opinion is worth squat when it comes to guitar building.
    If you prove your theory out - and I think you will- I may have an Aussie burl cap that would make an excellent final exam...
     
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  10. dee

    dee Member Full Member Thread Starter

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    You are actually helping me more than you might think on this project, even before I begin. If not for you, I might just be burning the midnight oil, or rather a piece of oak! So, oak is out. This project is going to require a dense tight grain. Come to think of it, the open cellular structure of oak could be a tuning nightmare. Your opinion is worth great value.
    IMG_20140827_061557.jpg A rather cheesey sketch, but it should give you some idea about my concept.

    IMG_20140827_061557.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2014
  11. dee

    dee Member Full Member Thread Starter

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    Changed my mind. I found a nice piece of oak. When I get the inside burned out, I'll spray in a carbon-graphite sound barrier coating to enhance the echo so it's not lost in the open grain.
     
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  12. duncsuss

    duncsuss Trying to turn a little better each day Full Member

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    I don't want to squelch your creativity or be negative ... but ...

    When you've burned out the hole, the bottom will have fibers oriented pretty much the same as a guitar body made the regular way. The walls, however, will be made up of a combination of regular grain and "short grain". Think of the point where the neck attaches to the body, or the point where you'd put a peg for a strap. At those points, the grain will be running from the cavity to the outside world, maybe 1/4" tops -- very weak, unless you make the walls quite thick in these places.

    Either way, I think this would impact the sound a lot.
     
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  13. dee

    dee Member Full Member Thread Starter

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    Duncan, that's a very good point. It's been raining a lot where I live so I haven't started the burn-out yet. And now I'm glad I haven't. What are your thoughts on cutting cross section, and leaving the part where the neck will connect thicker?
    Thanks, Dee
    Oh btw, the piece of oak I obtained was free.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2014
  14. duncsuss

    duncsuss Trying to turn a little better each day Full Member

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    Quite honestly, I don't think it's possible to know how it will sound without trying it. Strength issues can be addressed by adding structural support (gluing in strips & blocks, for example) or by leaving the walls thicker in some places.

    I'm just guessing ... don't take my word for it!
     
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  15. dee

    dee Member Full Member Thread Starter

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    Here's the piece of oak that I got for free.
    IMG_20140915_120800.jpg
    In fact, those pieces of cedar where also freebies. If you look closer at the oak, you'll see red line(s) on the oak. That's not the exact pattern, it just gives me an idea of where I need to work the oak down. This piece fits the specs for a dreadnought, CM, or auditorium guitar from the Breedlove dimension chart provided in the "Blanks" thread posted by R-13.
    Peace, Dee

    IMG_20140915_120800.jpg
     
  16. brandon

    brandon Member Full Member

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    Dee i think this is an awesome idea. I too am building a guitar using unconventional material (Popsicle sticks) I will sneak out to the shop and get pics when the wife leaves for work (I have been banned while recouping) lol
     
  17. brandon

    brandon Member Full Member

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    Here are a couple pics of my project. The concept design and my progress Scan2 copy.jpg IMG_20140917_080532616.jpg
     
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  18. barry richardson

    barry richardson Moderator Staff Member Global Moderator Full Member

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    Like Duncan said, end grain wood at the top and bottom of the body will be weak, I don't think it will withstand the neck strain with tensioned strings. If you do a dulcimer type design where the neck and body are one piece it may work, but a dreadnought?:nodice:
     
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  19. dee

    dee Member Full Member Thread Starter

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    Great advice Barry. I'm considering many options on the recommendations provided by the good folks in this forum.

    That is very cool Brandon!
     
  20. Blueglass

    Blueglass Member Full Member

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    I love the idea of the burned out body. Oak is supposed to be a great tone wood. It's stability is why many luthiers don't really use it. I think I would burn it out but leave everything to thick and then dry for awhile. Or maybe do like arch top makers and use a drill bit with depth markers and hollow it roughly with a bunch of drill holes and then a chisel? Just suggestions.
     
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