Guild dread top bracing 1971-1995 REDUX

GardMan

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In response to the ongoing "Differences between a DV 72, DV 73 and DV 74 ", I have compiled and revised my PPT "sketches" of the dread bracing patterns I have observed on Guild dreads I have owned. The first pic shows the three bracing patterns, as viewed from outside the guitar, as well as which guitars have/had which patterns:

161083471.jpg


The second shows some side detail of the neck block area:

123842603.jpg


Note the bracing locations and sizes are estimated... no measurements have been taken (yet).
 

wileypickett

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So far as you know, are the bracing patterns consistent throughout the life of each model? I.e.: do all Westerly D35s, for instance, follow the same bracing blueprint?

I ask because, as one LTGer among many with a lot of Guild acoustics, I'd be happy to see if the bracing in my models matches yours.

And what about 12-strings?

Thanks!
Glenn
 

GardMan

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So far as you know, are the bracing patterns consistent throughout the life of each model? I.e.: do all Westerly D35s, for instance, follow the same bracing blueprint?
Thanks!
Glenn

No, bracing is NOT necessarily consistent during the life of a model, even at one factory. In fact, it was comparing two Westerly-built D-35s (my '72 and my wife's '78) that started my whole interest. I had noted that the two D-35s had VERY different tone, the '72 being warmer having more bass, the '78 having more jangle, and the '72 was nearly a pound lighter, so I started looking inside and noticed the different neck block bracing (see figures and model #s in OP).

This started a ritual every NGD... get out the mirror and flashlight and look around inside the sound box, usually when the strings were off for the obligatory NGD string change/set up. A good idea anyway, to make sure everything is OK inside (and also looking for date stamps on braces, neck blocks, etc). This is how I discovered the different sound hole bracing, originally in my '92 D-55, then my '94 DV-72. I'd also look at the bridge plate and tail block... so a couple other things to note.

I have seen both maple and rosewood bridge plates...
Maple: '71 D-44 (may not be original), '72 D-35, '92 D-55, '94 DV-72, '95 DV-73
Rosewood: '74 D-25M, '76 D-50, '78 D-35, '81 D-46
I don't remember: '74 G-37

Most of my dreads have one-piece mahogany tail blocks. There are three interesting exceptions:
My '92 D-55 had a two-piece tail block, where a cross-grain piece had been glued along one side of the block (see pic). This appears to be factory... there was no indication that it was a repair, and the whole block was symmetrically oriented.

Both the DVs have notably smaller tail blocks that appear to be (hard to see) two piece cross-grain laminates (where the seam is in the plane of the block).

I've only looked at guitars I have or do own, so have never looked inside a 12-string or any other body style...
 
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Neal

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For sure. I will take some time today to investigate the top bracing on my Westerly dreads.

'71 D-25 (popsicle like the D-35?)
'73 D-35 (probably popsicle like Dave's)
'74 G-37 (I have Dave's guitar, so that one is known - popsicle...hmmm, I see a pattern developing here)
'81 D-212 (neck block extension like the older D-25 archback?)

Neal
 

wileypickett

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Curiouser and curiouser!

Well, one thing we know Guild WASN'T and that was consistent. I think the fact that they were trying out new bracing patterns and exploring different ideas is pretty cool. They weren't bound by a hard-and-fast set of rules, but were open to experimentation.

I'll check out my DV72 for you (and posterity!) and let you know if it has the soundhole reinforcement.

Good sleuthing!

Glenn
 

GardMan

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If you scroll down thru this old thread, you can the soundhole reinforcement plate on a top pulled off an '84 D-15 by Telenator.
 

twocorgis

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I've seen the earlier thread, and thanks for the update Dave. My '73 D50 is an absolute boat anchor next to my other acoustics, but still manages to sound good, but now I'm wondering which one of the bracing patterns it has. Might have to have a wee look inside next time I change the strings and see where it fits in the scheme of things.

One thing I have learned about acoustic guitars is that light builds almost invariably sound better, which has me GASsing a bit for a Hoboken Guild flat top.
 
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AcornHouse

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I've seen the earlier thread, and thanks for the update Dave. My '73 D50 is an absolute boat anchor next to my other acoustics, but still manages to sound good, but no I'm wondering which one of the bracing patterns it has. Might have to have a wee look inside next time I change the strings and see where it fits in the scheme of things.

One thing I have learned about acoustic guitars is that light builds almost invariable sound better, which has me GASsing a bit for a Hoboken Guild flat top.
If you notice, the bracing pattern is the same below the soundhole for all three patterns.
In bracing design, it is conventional wisdom that anything above the transverse brace (that's the thick one right above the soundhole) has little impact on the top's vibrations, and, consequently, the overall sound. That transverse brace, and anything north of it, is there to counteract the force of the neck trying to fold the guitar in half due to the string tension. Which is why Guild added that neck block extension in the second and third patterns. The soundhole is the weak part that the neck "aims" for. (That's why designs that don't have a central soundhole can eliminate the heavy transverse brace.)
 

JohnW63

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That's why designs that don't have a central soundhole can eliminate the heavy transverse brace.

Like Ovations !

Here are their center hole bracing patterns:

OGbrace.jpg


And there Adamas or Elite pattern:

4.jpg


There may very well be more variants of these, but, a quick Google search found that one.
 

twocorgis

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If you notice, the bracing pattern is the same below the soundhole for all three patterns.
In bracing design, it is conventional wisdom that anything above the transverse brace (that's the thick one right above the soundhole) has little impact on the top's vibrations, and, consequently, the overall sound. That transverse brace, and anything north of it, is there to counteract the force of the neck trying to fold the guitar in half due to the string tension. Which is why Guild added that neck block extension in the second and third patterns. The soundhole is the weak part that the neck "aims" for. (That's why designs that don't have a central soundhole can eliminate the heavy transverse brace.)

While flying back from Memphis earlier this week, I had a chance to read the David Crosby interview in issue 25 of the Fretboard Journal, and David right there explained to me why I think my D18 David Crosby Signature is the best square shoulder dread I've ever played, and it's insanely light. My second best sounding guitar is my Orpheum Jumbo (and it might be as good), and it's insanely light for a jumbo too. I've also owned two Bourgeois guitars that were the same way, one of which (a '99 Slope D) I never should have sold, and have tried to buy back from the guy that bought it from me. There must be something to it.

"FJ: What was that first 12-string you heard?
DC: Bob Gibson’s. Freddy had one, too.
FJ: You just knew you wanted one, immediately?
DC: Yeah. I mean, listen to the damn thing. It’s like
a piano. This one [holding his original D-18 that he
had converted to a 12-string] in particular. I think this
is probably the best acoustic one I’ve ever heard.
I tried to copy it a number of times. Santa Cruz made
me a copy of it. Martin made me a David Crosby model
12-string that’s a 12-fret like this.
I sent Martin this guitar, and they said, “Somebody
very amateurishly shaved the braces in here. That
wouldn’t have been you, would it?” And I said, “Uh,
yeah.”
FJ: You did?
DC: Yeah. I shaved the braces a little bit with a Coke
bottle and some sandpaper.
FJ: When was that?
DC: That was when I first got it. When I bought it,
I was in Chicago. I rode a bus out to the only store in
Chicago that had a D-18, which was all I could afford
from Martin. I got it and I wanted it to be loud. And
even though this was late ’50s or early ’60s, you can
make ’em louder. They were building ’em lighter then
than they do now.
Now they’re building them to try and last 50 years.
Which is admirable on their part, on the one hand, and
yet, on the other hand, those guitars don’t ring anywhere
near. When they made the David Crosby D-18,
I said, “Build it light.” I said, “Do not build it to the
kind of specs you have been building, where you
expect a guitar to last 50 years.” And so those David
Crosby D-18s ring like a bell, because they’re built
lighter and braced lighter."

 

davismanLV

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I think that's the deal, Sandy. You want a guitar to be light and responsive and ring like a BELL!! And you want it to last 50 years without a neck reset or any other related problems. You can't really have both. It's a tightrope walk with these acoustics. A balance between durable and incredible. People want both but... you can't really do that. At least, not that I've ever seen. Thanks for the quotes. DC knows about these things. And that DC Martin you have is a BEAUTY!! :encouragement:
 

davismanLV

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Also, Dave, the D65S from 1994 is also the same upper bracing pattern as the DV-72. Reinforced soundhole with no braces around. I reached in and checked it last night. I'll take some photos next time I change strings.
 

JohnW63

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You do have to make it light, but if you don't want a bunch of returns, you need to make it fairly strong and stable. Tight rope indeed.

I wonder if anyone had tried carbon fiber bracing ? That is certainly strong and light, but, does a guitar need to be as strong as carbon fiber can be ? How much mass can you remove from the top by not using spruce of some flavor and replacing it with CF ? I guess the problem might be , once set in it's shape, you can't really alter CF much. Hard to fine tune.

I need to ask some Ovation know it alls about any CF topped guitars also having CF bracing.
 

wileypickett

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People's expectations that a guitar is supposed to last 50 years or more is why makers cannot and do not make guitars any lighter than they do and why makers are pretty obliged to sacrifice some sound quality for durability.

We don't expect our cars to last that long or our toasters or our vacuum cleaners, but for some reason musical instruments are supposed to last a lifetime.

Since most people invest under two grand for a guitar these days -- and invested considerably less than that 50 years ago -- that's quite an expectation to have! Perhaps an unreasonable one?

There is a guitar maker who lectured at one of the Guild of American Lutherie conferences on this very notion. (I wish I could remember off the top of my head who the maker is -- sorry!) He makes his guitars very light and has a reputation for guitars that sound incredibly lively, with lots of sustain and volume.

But he explains that that quality comes at a cost.

His guitars sell at boutique prices; he apparently does a good business, has a waiting list, etc. He also makes sure his customers understand what they are getting for their money and what they're not getting. They can depend on the guitars he makes sounding incredible and giving great service for a good 20 years or so with proper maintenance.

After that -- he makes no guarantees.

Glenn
 

jcwu

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Make them light, make them cheap, no warranties. That way when guitars go kaput, it doesn't kill my wallet to replace it.

There you go. Affordable good tone!
 

twocorgis

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People's expectations that a guitar is supposed to last 50 years or more is why makers cannot and do not make guitars any lighter than they do and why makers are pretty obliged to sacrifice some sound quality for durability.

We don't expect our cars to last that long or our toasters or our vacuum cleaners, but for some reason musical instruments are supposed to last a lifetime.

Since most people invest under two grand for a guitar these days -- and invested considerably less than that 50 years ago -- that's quite an expectation to have! Perhaps an unreasonable one?

There is a guitar maker who lectured at one of the Guild of American Lutherie conferences on this very notion. (I wish I could remember off the top of my head who the maker is -- sorry!) He makes his guitars very light and has a reputation for guitars that sound incredibly lively, with lots of sustain and volume.

But he explains that that quality comes at a cost.

His guitars sell at boutique prices; he apparently does a good business, has a waiting list, etc. He also makes sure his customers understand what they are getting for their money and what they're not getting. They can depend on the guitars he makes sounding incredible and giving great service for a good 20 years or so with proper maintenance.

After that -- he makes no guarantees.

Glenn

That may well have been Dana Bourgeois himself Glenn. He's a frequent speaker at lutherie conventions, and perhaps the foremost authority on top bracing schemes anywhere. I think he explains it very succinctly here, which was taken from the Guitar Guru" section of Acoustic Guitar magazine. I'm going to visit his factory in early October, and am really looking forward to seeing his operation.
 

D30Man

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It goes back to what you want. My D30 weighs about 8000 lbs. She sounds great, but maybe not as responsive as the new super light Galloup Student Guitar I just picked up.. My D30 will last a long damn time.. I even went into the body with a finger plane and shaved down the bracing.. This gave me some more volume.. It is the trade off. Do you want a guitar that is built to last ( just about any Guild you pick up ) or do you have a few grand to drop every 10-20 years on an amazingly responsive lightweight boutique guit?? I think at this point I am just repeating what has already been stated by Tom in so many words. You kind of have to pick one.. The good news is the built to last guits can be retro-voiced. Not to mention the tone it gives you over time as it is played like my 36 year old D25ch..

I will say the thought of carbon fiber bracing is intriguing...
 

Neal

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I checked the bracking pattern on my '71 D-25, '73 D-35 and '74 G-37. All identical, just like Example #1 above.

In fact, the D-25 and D-35 are identical in every way I can measure or observe, except, of course, for the mahogany vs. spruce top.

Neal
 
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