Tuning the plates of an instrument is something that violin makers have been doing as a matter of course for a long time. Only in the last decade has the art and science of plate tuning been applied to guitars, both steel string and classical. There is nothing secret or mystical involved. It is a matter of understanding the physics of the modes of vibration of the guitar and coupling that with a knowledge of bracing.
"Basically, I excite the plates using a frequency controlled sound source in order to display the Chladnii patterns associated with each mode, enabling the frequency of each of the modes to be determined and adjusted. Bunching of the modes around a narrow range of frequencies can result in an over-emphasis of particular frequencies and a lack of emphasis on others. Tuning is the process of adjusting the stiffness of the braces and the top in order to spread the modes and give the instrument a truly balanced response over the full tonal spectrum."
That is the True Art of the Luthier.
Mass is a prime consideration. My aim is to produce the lightest , stiffest, and most responsive sound board possible.
It is common knowledge that the properties of a finish can have a significant effect on the tone of an instrument. All my instruments are finished with this in mind; to enhance the figure and depth of the timber and to have the smallest impact on the acoustics of the instrument. As the finish ages the solvents continue to dry out resulting in a very thin, low mass finish which does not impede the vibration of the guitar.
Over time the instrument opens up and takes on a natural patina reminiscent of all great guitars.
On playing my guitars and mandolins one discovers an evenness of tone and a balance of volume as you play up and down the finger board. The result is an optimised system with a sound that leaves many "factory built guitars wanting".
Copyright © 2018 Lawrence K Smith. All rights reserved.