Normal for body depth to be bigger at lower bout?

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
CrisJoaquim
Posts: 12
Joined: Fri Jan 05, 2018 6:03 pm

Normal for body depth to be bigger at lower bout?

Post by CrisJoaquim » Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:09 pm

I recently tried out two guitars, an esteve model 70 and a guitar from my luthier. one thing I noticed was that the body depth of these two was a little deeper than other classicals that I have played, and the lower bout seemed to be deeper, at least that's what it looked like in the case.

Is there a purpose for this?

Alan Carruth
Luthier
Posts: 2843
Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2007 6:56 pm

Re: Normal for body depth to be bigger at lower bout?

Post by Alan Carruth » Sun Jan 14, 2018 3:48 pm

It is normal, at least in modern guitars. As for why it's done, that's hard to say. Pleading tradition only kicks the can down the road: you're still left with the questions of why it was done in the first place, and why it persisted. One maker I know who has looked into this more or less systematically has said that tapering the body depth tends to produce a more 'even' sound. The usual reasoning goes that it reduces the chance of a prominant 'standing wave' resonant frequency that could arise between a parallel top and back. That makes some sense, but i would not regard it as 'proven'. There is also an ergonomic argument, that a tapered body is more comfortable to hold. Since some makers only taper the box by 6-8mm it hardly seems to be a major benefit, but sometimes even small changes can be significant.

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